All posts by Ashley R.

{Galerie} Winter in Romania

Winter in Romania | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

header via Augustin Lazaroiu

Sometimes words just don’t do a beauty justice.

Most of the time I hate everything about winter—the snow, the cold, the gloomy gray—but there’s something magical about how winter transforms Romania. It’s straight out of a fairytale, and I’m ready for my story to begin.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s some visual reading material 😉
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{Guest Post} Inside The World’s Most Ridiculously Extravagant Communist Building: The Palace of Parliament – Bucharest, Romania

Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

An Nou Fericit!
(Happy New Year!)

Well… we made it. 2016 was pretty rough. For all of us. Here’s to a better 2017!

I was thrilled to stumble upon an article filled with high-quality images of the famed Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania. It’s a point of feature in my new novel One Thousand Stars That Bind, and I’m sure most don’t realize how absolutely beautiful it is, even though it’s a representation of such a dark time in Romanian history. Communism, that is.

Since I don’t imagine I’ll be able to take a trip to Romania any time in the near future, I reached out to Nate at Yomadic.com to see if he’d let me syndicate his blog post right here on From Dill To Dracula. I’m thrilled to bring share an inside look at what’s considered the second largest administrative building in the world (second only to the Pentagon, mind you). Nate shares more facts about it, so I’ll let him take it from here.

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Top 5 Innovative Vampire Novels

header via Unsplash.com

Being a vampire novelist/fan/obsessor, I tend to gravitate towards those types of stories in my reading free time. It has nothing to do with me being Romanian… okay, so it might have something to do with me being Romanian. Vampires are in my blood. Pun absolutely intended. A few years ago I was asked to put together my top five most innovative vampire novels. Since it fits with the folklore of Romania (obviously) I’ve decided to syndicate it.
Also, this GIF is TheBomb{dot}com:

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Zacusca {Roasted Red Pepper Spread}

Zacusca {Roasted Red Pepper Spread} | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

Romanians love dips and spreads. I’ve already featured Salata de Vinete, an eggplant salad spread, and today I’m excited to bring to you another smokey veggie goodness recipe: Zacusca (pronounced zah-coo-sk-ah). And… surprise! Even though the star of this recipe is the red pepper, there’s eggplant in this one, too!

Fall is the perfect time to make this recipe. With the Autumn harvest, there’s an abundance of fresh vegetables with robust flavors just waiting to be made into something anew. Zacusca is smokey, salty, a little sweet, a little acidic, and fits perfectly atop a slice of crusty baguette. This is also a great recipe to couple with my Coca Bread, or Romanian Flatbread. It’s quick and easy to whip up and gives you a nice carrier to get the zacusca to your mouth.

Since it does take a while to complete this recipe, I wouldn’t fault you for passing it up. Thankfully, zacusca has become more mainstream, with some specialty grocery stores stocking it on their shelves. Here are some options I found from Amazon: here, here, and here.

 

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

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Romanian Flatbread

Romanian Flatbread | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

You’ll notice I don’t have the Romanian translation of this blog title. That’s because I’m not entirely sure it’s a Romanian recipe, though it is a family recipe and as many generations back as I can document my family has come from Romania. So I’m going to go with this recipe having Romanian roots. We call it Coca Bread (pronounced coke-ah) but I wasn’t able to find an equivalent recipe anywhere online so that might just be a family name.

That being said, this recipe is awesome and easy when you want (and/or need) a quick bread to sop up soup or sauce. It’s quick to make, doesn’t need time to rise, and I’m pretty sure you have all the ingredients already in your pantry/refrigerator. I’d liken it to a pita bread or naan, but there are still differences between those recipes and this recipe.

This is a fantastic recipe to have in your back pocket should you realize midway through cooking a meal that bread would really take it out of this world.

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

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Gomboti / Găluște cu Prune {Plum Dumplings}

Găluște cu Prune {Plum Dumplings} | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

I’m back from an unexpected hiatus, where I spent almost all of September, and a bit of October, writing and revising one of my novels. It’s set in 1989 Romania, so I’m able to feature a lot of the dishes on From Dill To Dracula within the story, which is an exciting meld of my two hobbies.

And, well, I’m back! I’m ready to kick off the fall season with fall colors, warm drinks, and these delicious plum dumplings otherwise known as Gomboti (pronounced gom-boat-ee) or Găluște cu Prune (pronounced gah-lou-sh-tay coo proon-ay). To me, everything about these scream fall, and after Milwaukee teased us with a little Summer in October, we’re back in fall temperatures and I’m ready to embrace everything that comes with it.

To be honest, we didn’t have these dumplings very often. I remember my grandma making them a couple of times, but that was enough to hook me. It has to have been at least a decade and a half since I’ve been able to savor the flavor (thanks for the writing tip, Ariana Grande).

By the way, my husband calls these Plumplings, which I don’t have a Romanian translation for, but I’m okay if you call these that, too 🙃

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

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Salata de Vinete {Eggplant Salad}

Salata de Vinete {Eggplant Salad} | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

About a week ago I teased on Twitter that I had purchased the biggest eggplant I’ve ever seen, specifically for this recipe:

Twitter Tweet | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com

I’ll let you be the judge of its size based on the pictures below, but seriously, it’s one massive eggplant. And it only cost me a dollar. I love the farmer’s market! This recipe took me a little longer than expected to cook up because of some unforeseen circumstances, but my eggplant survived the delay, and I’m so excited to share with you a delicious Romanian delicacy!

Growing up, eggplant was one of my favorite vegetables. It still is. That probably seems like an odd ingredient for a child to enjoy, but Salata de Vinete (pronounced sah-lah-tah de vin-eat) will change the minds of even the biggest eggplant hater’s (you know who you are). If you need convincing, here are 27 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eggplant.

This recipe similar to our Middle Eastern friend baba ganoush (another favorite of mine), but with a Romanian twist. This spread embodies all the smokey goodness of an eggplant that’s been charred beyond recognition, and forget the spongy eggplant texture you might be familiar with, and say hello to a creamy dollop of heaven.

The only problem I ever had with this recipe as a kid was having to wait for it to chill in the refrigerator for an hour after my mother finished preparing it. Even with the summer coming to a close (say it ain’t so!), there are still plenty of occasions to introduce this Romanian delicacy to your next cookout or party—serve it with crackers, pita, baguette or veggies! Yum!

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

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Unde e rețeta?

That’s Romanian for Where’s the recipe?

No recipe this week, folks. I teased something special, made from the giant eggplant I picked up at the farmer’s market last week, and planned on having it ready to go by today, but my beloved city of Milwaukee was on fire and I couldn’t bring myself to write, let alone cook.

Please accept my sincerest apologies, and you can expect a new post next week, August 22nd.

Dragoste (love) to the local police and fire departments.

Especially my husband—

and his fire family.

<3