Sunday, June 10, 2012

Darko's Plates of Love

Have we told you how much we love Darko, our awesome landlord? He's been a gracious and helpful host ever since we arrived in Zadar.

Meeting Darko and his family has really added to our trip. Every few days they stop by with a plateful of homemade food for us to try. We've sampled many traditional Croatian foods, such as wild asparagus (šparoga) salad:

Asparagus salad with hard-boiled eggs. From the New York Times.
Another day, we received a plate of grilled sardines (srdele), fresh from the morning's catch. According to Darko, local fish swim three times: "First in the water, then in oil, and finally in wine!" (We didn't have the heart to tell him that our fish only swam twice; since Jim and I don't eat fish, they never made it to our wine-filled bellies!)

From boat to grill under 20 minutes. Too bad we don't eat fish.
My favorite plate was filled with home-made desserts for Darko's birthday celebration:

Cake rolls and flaky chocolate pastries.
We also had some delicious Nutella-filled pancakes (palačinke), a great late-night snack!

From FoodBuzz.
But all of these wonderful dishes pale in comaprison to our bountiful, week-long cherry harvest, courtesy of one very prolific tree in our backyard. Each day, Jim and I collected about a kilo of shiny, red beauties. (I have a newfound appreciation for "grabbing the low-hanging fruit," an expression that's painfully overused in the corporate world.)

But the cherrypalooza didn't end there. The tree produced more cherries than we could eat! Despite our best efforts to eat them by the handful, there were still plenty left at the end of the day. So we started to get creative:

Good: French toast with cherry and bananas
Better: French toast with cherry and Nutella
Best: Jim's homemade cherry turnovers!
Much to our relief, cherry season was short and sweet. We were quickly running out of recipe ideas for fresh cherries ("Can we put them in tomato sauce? No? Well, how about some more French toast?") When we told Darko about our adventures in cherryland, he looked at us blankly and said, "Why didn't you just freeze them?" Duh...