In Balkan homes, especially Bulgarian ones, homemade marzipan, which is softer and meltier than the store-bought variation, is an institution. The traditional way to make it involves blanching and peeling the almonds, but I’ve found that it works just as well with store-bought blanched almonds. Nevertheless, I refuse to skip grinding the almonds myself and using store-bought…
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The three stars of Balkan cuisine—eggplant, tomatoes and peppers—form a fantastic stew-y salad together. When my mom makes it, I eat it straight from the pan, still warm, with a spoon.
I usually make this pilaf during the high holidays because it is particularly impressive and decadent. The rice is juicy, yet the grains remain separate.