An International Christmas

Each holiday season, Americans gather with family and friends at mealtime to enjoy traditional favorites like turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes. This Christmas, the Edmond Outlook asked three UCO international students for traditional holiday recipes from their homelands.

Bulgarian Banitsa (Cheese Pastry)

4 ½ cups of flour,
14 oz. white brined cheese
4 eggs
2 cups of yogurt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 ½ oz. butter
1 ½ cups of water
salt to taste

Mix the flour, salt and water to make a hard dough which can be divided into large balls. Let stand for one hour. Then roll into sheets about ½ inch thick. Cover with melted butter and top with a mixture of beaten eggs, baking soda, yogurt and crumbled cheese. Roll together and place in a lined dish, either lengthwise or in circles. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until bread is a golden brown.

Lamb Drob Sarma
2 lbs. lamb with caul
2 eggs
1/2 cup of rice
2 bunches of spring onions
1 cup of yogurt
3 ½ oz. butter
mint, pepper and salt to taste

Boil the lamb in salt water and cut into pieces. Brown the finely chopped onions in butter. Add the rice, pepper and mint. Add 2 cupfuls of the lamb stock and boil for 20 minutes. Soak the caul in cold water, cut into pieces and fill with the above mixture. Arrange on a tray and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Beat eggs and yogurt together then pour over and caul and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Venezuelan Pan de Jamon (Ham bread)
¾ cup warm water
2 ½ teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ½ ounces unsalted butter
4 ¼ cups warm milk
2-3 pounds all purpose flour (about 12 cups)
½ teaspoon sea salt

 4 ½ ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ pounds sliced black forest ham
½ pound smoked bacon
4 ounces olives, pitted
4 ounces raisins
1 egg, beaten lightly to glaze the top
Combine the water and sugar in a small bowl; add the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes until foamy. Add butter and salt to the warm milk. Pour milk mixture onto the flour, mix, then add the yeast mixture and combine to form a dough. Knead until smooth, about 10-15 minutes by hand. Place in a large bowl, cover, and allow to rise about one hour at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator. Punch down the dough and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece of dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle about one inch thick. Spread each piece with softened butter then arrange the ham, bacon, olives and raisins on top, leaving a small strip bare at the top. Brush the strip with egg and roll gently into loaves. Place each loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and allow to rise for about 15 minutes. Brush each loaf with beaten egg and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until well-browned and firm, about 45 minutes. Slice and serve warm.

Lebanese Tabouleh

½ cup medium grain bulgur
1 1/4  cups water
4 cups loosely packed, roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, about 3 bunches
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced tomatoes, about 3 to 5 Roma tomatoes,
1/4 cup green onions chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup loosely packed roughly chopped mint leaves
For the dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Bring water to a boil, pour in bulgur, stir, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand 20 to 25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and bulgur is fluffy and tender. Pour off any remaining liquid. To prepare dressing, in a small non-reactive bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, salt and oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. In a large salad bowl, toss together parsley, tomatoes, green onions and mint. Add bulgur. Pour dressing over salad, toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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