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Serbian Badnje Veče Christmas Eve Menu

January 6 is celebrated as Christmas Eve in the tradition of most Eastern Orthodox churches, including Serbian, which is my heritage. Technically, in Serbian this day is called Badnji dan during the day, and in …

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Koljivo, or Zito (Zhito)

Koljivo, or Zito (pronounced ZHEE-toe, meaning “wheat”), is one of the most important dishes a Serbian can make. Loaded with the symbolism of life, death, harvest and renewal, it’s presented at only a few special …

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Serbian Christmas Customs

My mother, born in Yugoslavia in 1920, was never a big fan of folk customs, which she saw as more antiquated than quaint. She was a twentieth-century teen who preferred swing music and Sinatra to …

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Ajvar (Serbian eggplant caviar)

Ajvar, pronounced AYE-var, is a savory relish with an indescribably delicate flavor. Ajvar is a wonderful way to use some of the summer bounty from your garden or CSA box. Make lots and preserve for …

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Kupus (Serbian cabbage soup)

The most fundamental heirloom recipes are often most at risk for being lost in the sands of times. Why? One reason is that “everyone knows” how to make them, and so nobody writes them down. …

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Homemade Tomato Soup (Corba od Patlidzan)

Here’s how I came to learn how to make tomato soup. I developed this homemade tomato soup recipe for the Badnje Vece meal that is a part of a traditional Serbian Christmas celebration. Badnje Vece …

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Vanilice — Serbian Christmas Crescent Cookies

These vanilice are classic Serbian nut crescent cookies, perfect during the Christmas season or any winter holidays. They’re rich with the heavenly fragrance of vanilla. I’ve made them with the traditional walnuts, and more recently …

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Serbian Tender, Yeasted Flatbread — Farmer’s Pogača

Pogaca is a yeasted flatbread that’s quick and easy to put together, and simply delicious. It’s fuller, higher and more tender than pita; more like a bakery loaf, but round and short. It’s wonderful for dipping into stews and soups like kupus or into dips and spreads like ajvar (Serbian eggplant caviar).

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Serbian Salata od Pasulja — Bean Salad

This uncomplicated dish has a clean taste with a light, crisp zing. In fact, it’s a perfect summer salad, Christmas customs aside.

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