Happy Halloween, everyone!!
United Adoptees of Romania almost has 800 followers on Facebook! If you haven’t invited your friends to like UAR’s official Facebook page, you should!
United Adoptee’s of Romania will be starting their official ongoing fundraising site within the next couple of weeks. We will be posting updates on our Facebook page.
As you know United Adoptee’s of Romania has our own YouTube channel with tons of playlists ranging from music to history to language lessons. You can find it by clicking on this link below!
We want to keep our adoptees up to date on pop culture in Romania.
This month we would like to highlight the famous Romanian singer, Alex Velea. He was born in Craiova, Romania in 1984. In 2003, Alex became known on a show called “Star Factory”. His first album, Yamasha, debuted in 2006.
He is most famous for his Romanian Pop/Rap music. Here are some of his hits!
He has collaborated with many other famous Romanian musicians, such as Puya, Pancha Man, Connect-R, Marius Moga, and so many more!
And his most famous collab is with the person he married, Antonia – who was actually raised in America! We’ll write about her next month!
As for news, right now is Romanians voting on a ban of same-sex marriage. Romania is a very religious country that has kept a very traditional view on almost everything. A huge controversial topic right now is same-sex marriage. It wasn’t until about 2007 that Romania changed their laws, making being openly gay legal. Until then it was a crime. And being apart of the LGBT community is still looked down upon by most of society. Romanian’s will be voting on October 7th on whether specify in their nation’s constitution that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. Article 48 of the Romanian Constitution currently declares that the “family is founded on the freely consented marriage of the spouses.” The proposed amendment would replace the sex-neutral phrase “the spouses” with “a man and a woman.”
Here are some articles about this
We will definitely post the outcome on our Facebook page.
As for other Romanian music to come out in September; here’s what we got!
Since there are no holidays celebrated in Romania in October, we’d like to share a recipe that we borrowed from whereismyspoon.co
Don’t worry we put the link below!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your sarmale (cabbage rolls)!
1 large head cabbage (either sauerkraut or fresh)
½ cup white wine vinegar when using fresh cabbage
1 kg/ 2.2 lbs ground fatty pork belly
2 medium onions
scant ½ cup long grain rice
½ – ¾ cup cold water
300-400 g/ 10.5-14 oz smoked spare ribs
200 g/ 7 oz bacon, preferably smoked
lots of dry savory (cimbru)
lots of bay leaves
about 250 g/ 8.8 oz pureed tomatoes
polenta or white bread to serve
smetana or crème fraiche to serve
pickled hot peppers to serve
Preparing the leaves:
If you use sauerkraut separate the leaves and soak them in cold water for 2-3 hours.
If you use fresh cabbage, start by bringing a very large pot of water to a boil, a pot large enough to hold the cabbage head and still leave you someplace to handle the cabbage.
Remove the hard core of your cabbage. First, cut away the protruding part of the core. Then make incisions with a small sharp knife around the core, about 4-6 incisions around the core. Try to loosen the core by cutting through it from one incision to the other, like making lots of X signs. When the core is loose enough start removing it piece by piece cutting here and there to make it looser.
When the water boils add about 1 tablespoon of salt and the white wine vinegar. Carefully place the cabbage in the water, first with the hole facing down. Cook it for about 10-15 minutes, then turn it in and start removing the leaves. You will do that with the help of two forks, scratching and pulling at the edges of the hole. If they don’t come off easily continue cooking the cabbage until they start to come off. Be careful not to scald your hands with the boiling water.
You will only be able to remove one or two layers of leaves at a time, so patience is required. Keep turning the cabbage in the pot from time to time. After removing some leaves, leave them to drain and cool down in a large colander and continue cooking the rest of the cabbage until you are able to remove all the leaves. The leaves should be really pliable.
Making the filling:
In the meantime wash and drain the rice. Soak it in enough cold water to just cover it until ready to use.
You can also prepare the filling in the meantime. Grate the onions or chop them very very finely. In a large bowl mix together the ground meat, the rice and its water and the onions. Add salt, generously if using fresh cabbage and carefully if using sauerkraut, which is already quite salty. You can always sprinkle more salt on your cooked cabbage rolls when eating, but if they are too salty, there is not much you can do about it anymore.
Add lots of savory, rubbing the savory between your fingers before giving it to the mixture.
I am afraid I have never measured how much salt and savory I use, but I do put plenty of them in the mixture (less salt when using sauerkraut!!) I taste until I get the right amount. I don’t know if you are comfortable with tasting the raw meat, but in this case, I don’t mind it, it is just a tiny amount, more like licking my fingers or something like that.
Also, you have to add some water to the filling to make it really soft. This is not a filling like you would have for stuffed peppers, for instance, it has to be really soft. Add water little by little until you get the soft consistency. I add about ½ to ¾ cup cold water. Mix well with your hands, the mixture should be soft and slurpy.
When the mixture tastes well and the cabbage has cooled down a bit, you can start making the rolls.
Making the rolls:
First, prepare the leaves. You can halve the large leaves in the middle, dividing them at the stem, which you can discard. Leave the medium and smaller leaves whole, but cut away the lower part where the stem is very thick and try to cut the stem thinner with a sharp knife, which you will lead over the thicker upper side of the stem. If some of the leaves break, don’t throw them away, you will either be able to build some rolls with the help of two broken leaves or chop them finely and use as a base and topping for the sarmale pot.
Roll the cabbage rolls. Place some filling at the base of the cabbage leaves, fold the lower side over the filling, then the right side of the leaf over the meat and roll. Stuff the left side of the leaf with your finger inside the roll.
Assembling the pot:
Cut all the leftover cabbage into fine slices, the inner very small leaves, and any other rests. Place half of them on the bottom of a large pot (cast iron would be great, but I have used other regular large pots as well). The pot should be large enough to hold two layers of cabbage rolls and still have some space at the top so that the water in the pot will not overcook and make a mess on your stove top.
Place 2-3 bay leaves on the chopped cabbage layer, 5-6 peppercorns, a good sprinkle of dill seeds and an even better one of cimbru/ savory.
Separate the smoked ribs and place about a third of them on top of the chopped cabbage. Chop the bacon and give about a third of it on the cabbage. Arrange one layer of sarmale on top and top them with bay leaves, peppercorns, dill seeds, savory, bacon cubes and ribs again. If using fresh cabbage sprinkle the rolls with some salt as well. If using sauerkraut, you will probably not need more salt.
Arrange the second layer of cabbage leaves and top with bay leaves, peppercorns, dill seeds, savory, bacon, and ribs again. My pot only takes two layers of cabbage, but if your pot fits more continue in the same fashion. You should not have less than two layers though. The pot should not be full to the brim, the sarmale will expand a bit while cooking and the water will cook over if the pot is too full.
When all the rolls are in the pot, top everything with the remaining chopped cabbage.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil and carefully pour over the sarmale. There should be enough water to hold the rolls but not cover them completely.
Cover the pot and bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat to a minimum. Simmer, covered, leaving a thin crack open for about 2 ½ hours or until soft.
After this time preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the pureed tomatoes with some boiling water, enough to make the puree runnier. Pour the mixture on top of the sarmale and let it slip through them a bit. Alternatively, you can thinly slice a few ripe tomatoes and place the slices on top. In this case, add a bit more of boiling water as well, but not too much.
Continue cooking the sarmale for about one hour more in the oven, but this time uncovered. If you think that most of the liquid is gone you can add a bit more boiling water but don’t overdo it, most of the water should be gone by the end of the cooking time anyway and the top of my pot is always a shade darker and slightly caramelized, I like that.
Serve with polenta or white bread and smetana. And some hot pickled peppers, if you like them.
If you have any Romanian recipes, please email us at email@example.com.
We’d like to start sharing the stories of those adopted abroad, so if you are interested please send us an email! We’d love to hear from you!
October is kind of a slow month, we are excited to be getting into the winter months… that’s when the fun holiday traditions begin!