Where creativity grows

Category: Foodie Map

Banitsa

The Foodie Map had been hanging for a few weeks and we still had not tried a new recipe when Tom mentioned that we should have some friends over for breakfast. That was just the inspiration I needed to try and find a breakfast recipe that would be perfect for our first pin. Off to Pinterest I went. I looked at recipes for everything from shakshuka to baked Swedish pancakes with blueberries, but eventually selected a recipe for Banitsa, a Bulgarian breakfast cheese pie. I liked that it had a very simple ingredient list that I could find in a regular American grocery store. I picked up the feta, Greek yogurt and phyllo dough and I was ready to “hit the culinary road!”

This was my first time working with phyllo dough and I thought it was more similar to puff pastry, but I was wrong. It is not nearly as sturdy and well, you need to defrost it ahead of time. Oops! I mixed up the filling and after a quick defrost of the pastry sheets I was ready to assemble the pie. The recipe details three different ways to assemble it and I opted for the traditional spiral. This recipe is unbelievably easy— it took longer for me to defrost the pastry sheets than to do anything else. Once everything was assembled, I poured a bit of melted butter over the concoction and popped it in the pre-heated oven. 

25 minutes later, Tom and I were SO excited to try our first entry onto the foodie map. I cut two slices and we dove in. You might expect that the filling would be more like a dense cheesecake, but while it was rich, it was also light. It had a great balance between the filling and flakiness of the pastry. 

We talked about how this recipe would pair well with either a meat or even a fruit, but we opted to keep it traditional. Overall, we really enjoyed this recipe and highly recommend it. 

Until next time.

Making the map

Earlier this year, Tom and I were sitting on the “raft” in the family room when he tossed out the idea for a Food Map. His idea was similar to the map we have upstairs where we track our travels around the world, but this one would track our foodie adventures. If I could find a map, he wanted to take on creating a custom frame for it—his first fine woodworking project. It was the perfect collaboration. When complete, it would hang in our dining room as a conversation piece. 

I set off on an internet adventure to locate the perfect map. My search brought me to Conquest Maps and this is the map we selected. We opted for a simple customization and a week later we had our map. In order to protect the map, I had it laminated with a mat finish at a local Kinkos. Our next step was to design a frame. I found one I liked online (if I can find the link, I”ll share it here) and Tom set off to figure out how to build it. Once he had a plan, we made a trip to a Great Spirit Hardwoods in Dundee to find wood for the project. After looking at their beautiful stock, we selected pieces of walnut and sapele. This was tricky for both of us since we didn’t have a lot of experience with raw wood and what it looks like after it’s finished. Tom researched and purchased a planer (he has talked about one for years!) and he was ready to start building the frame. A few weeks later, our frame was finished and ready to hang. 

Once the frame was finished, we decided that we would not retroactively add pins to the map, but rather start fresh. The map has three sets of pins to document our adventures: 1) Gold- in country 2) Silver- at home 3) Bronze – in a restaurant. Whenever we are in the mood to try something new, now we can look at the map and see what region we haven’t explored.  Each time we try a new recipe, I’ll include a link to the blog post here with photos and links to the recipes. We are incredibly excited to see where this idea takes us. Stay tuned!

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