Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Fare in Moldova


By the will of a Gracious God, through the prayers of Sf. Pious Daniil the Hermit and the zeal of the good and faithful Voievod Stephen the Great, the Voronet Monastery was raised up, between the 26th of May and the 14th of September in the year 1488, with St. George the Martyr as its patron saint.

The exteriour paintings on a light-blue background are monumental, have clarity and compositional rigor. As blue as the sky of Voronet is, the painters tried to reproduce it on the walls of the holy church and succeeded to demonstrate that painted silhouettes could be clearly perceived even when watched from a distance.

There is a striking note of authenticity in the painting from Voronet. Aspects of the usual life of those times gather new connotations, being reflected in the painting of the church.


Moldovita Monastery ( Suceava County), a religious settlement founded in 1532 is dedicated to Buna Vestire (the Annunciation) and has its Patron Feast on the 25th of May.
It has the aspect of a fortress, with imposing towers and high, thick walls.

According to the architectural tradition set by Moldavian beloved ruler Stephen the Great, the church has a three-cusped plan, as well an open porch. 

The masters who painted its interior and exterior walls have decorated them with scenes from 16th century Moldavian life and the Bible.

St. George Fresco

Moldovita Ceiling

While in retreat at the monasteries in Romania, one can partake in the simple yet delicious foods prepared from the gardens tended by nuns or monks.

One such favored dish, which I often make in my kitchen is a vegetable stew.

Ghiveci Calugaresc


6 potatoes diced
1 zucchini sliced
2 carrots sliced

2 red peppers diced

1 eggplant diced
1/2 cabbage finely cut
3 onions finely chopped
1 can diced stewed tomatoes (Italian)
½ cup olive oil
1 cup peas
1 cup green beans
3 to 4 cloves garlic
Basil and oregano
salt, pepper, bay leaves, chopped green parsley

In a large oven ready saucepan sauté the onions for few minutes, add carrots, peppers and sauté on low heat 3-4 minutes more followed by the potatoes. 

Season the mixture and cook it for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining vegetables (peas, beans, eggplant, cabbage, zucchini), bay leaves, herbs, more salt, pepper and hot water to just cover the ingredients, stir gently to maintain the texture. Cover the pan with a lid and let simmer 30 minutes at low temperature.

Remove the cover, add the stewed tomatoes, chopped garlic (or pressed / crushed), and place in the oven for 25-30min at 300F.

It is ready when the sauce has reduced and a caramelized color shows on the top. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Serve with chopped parsley.

White wine from the region, in this case Moldova, should be paired, Feteasca Alba, Sauvignon, Muscat Ottonel.