East of Paris Bookstore

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ladies Balkan Brunch

For years, a group of my friends with Balkan backgrounds have been gathering for brunch during the Christmas season. We are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds -- Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Polish (yes I know that Poland is not in the Balkans, but we're an open-minded group). We also come from a wide geographic area in southern California and Arizona.  

Initially, we'd have brunch at a restaurant and then go to one of our homes for coffee and dessert.  A few months before the event, there would be serious, but friendly, sparring about which restaurant to pick. Overtime, we decided that it was more fun to do a pot-luck ... we think our food is better and there is no pressure to vacate the table.

This year we trekked to Thousand Oaks ... and a good and caloric time was had by all.

The quiet before the storm ...
And, whether we call it lunch or brunch, the table is always heavy laden with food ...

Green bean, pepper, corn, and red onion salad in a lemon and sumac dressing
Roasted red peppers with a hint of garlic
Cucumbers with yogurt

Spicy homemade smoked salmon
Homemade "Kifle" 
Bite-sized "bureks"
Salmon with lentils, rice, and caramelized onions 
Spinach and cheese pita with homemade filo dough 
"Podvarak" -- pork with sour kraut
"London" bars rich with walnuts and meringue
Café à la Turque


  1. Oh my goodness. It all looks so WONDERFUL. What an awesome tradition!

    Every Christmas, I have my writing friends over to my house for Christmas tea. I get out the good china dishes and we have conversation and fun. I really like the tradition I've started.

  2. Wow. What wonderful looking food. Although I can't eat I remember taste and those pictures got the taste memories going. How fun. I loved pot licks and all various ethnic foods. Calories don't matter when you have good food and especially good friends!


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