Kljukusa

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One of the super cool things about both the military life and transient DC life is the amazing people you meet.  They come from all over the world, have colorful life stories, and always end up enriching your life.  On the flip side of that coin, though, is the fact that, inevitably, they eventually have to leave.

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This month, not one, but three dear friends of mine are leaving.  Saadia is moving back to her homestate of Alaska.  Tasha has accepted orders to Colorado, and she’s taking her husband Ian and their gorgeous blond-haired baby boy with them.

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For about a year and a half, most of my Saturday mornings were spent with these three characters, as well as a smattering of other folks.  We would take turns watching the kids, doing some crazy work out that Ian had concocted, and cooking a Walton-sized breakfast that would be quickly scarfed down.

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Tasha grew up in Bosnia, and that has often influenced her style of cooking.  This Kljukusa is a hearty version of what Americans might consider a hash brown casserole.  It does call for some specific “local” ingredients that can be found in any gourmet food store that has a European section, or a specialty Balkan food store.  I have also listed substitutes that most people have in their kitchens.

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I’m going to miss them when they go, but I’m excited to visit them in their new homes!!  Safe travels Saadia, Tasha, Ian, and Orion.  Love you guys!!!

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Thanks to Saadia for satisfying my vanity and taking the pictures for the post.  🙂

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Before you read the recipe, I’d like to say that in the photos, I doubled what is written below.  If you are going by the pictures, it will be half of what you see.  We had about 10 people after the workout the day this was photographed, and I must admit, we ate it ALL!!

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Kljukusa

(Vegetarian)

  • 6-7 medium to large onions
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium heads of garlic
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp Vegeta OR 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup kefir (can be substituted with 1 cup Greek yogurt)
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: Sour cream, more cheese, bacon

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  1. Heat oven to 350 F.  Grease large cast iron skillet and set aside.
  2. Shred potatoes and onion separately.  If you want an arm workout, use an old fashion grater.  Or, be lazy like me, and use the grating attachment on a food processor.
  3. Squeeze the liquids from the potatoes.  This can be done by the handful (pictured), or by placing the potatoes in a thin (clean) dishtowel or cheesecloth, and wringing it out.  (I chose by hand because I didn’t want more laundry).  You want to remove as much liquid as possible.  This will allow the Kljukusa to crisp up nicely once placed in the oven.
  4. Finely chop the garlic.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, and garlic.
  6. Add the flour, Vegeta/salt, and pepper, stirring well to combine. (Note 1)
  7. Add oil, Kefir/Greek yogurt, and eggs, stirring well to combine.
  8. Pour mixture in pan.  Top with cheese prior to placing in the oven.
  9. Bake for approximately an hour, until golden.  After the first thirty minutes, check every 10-15 minutes.
  10. Bonus step: If you want the top to be extra crispy, once you have achieved a nice golden color, turn the broiler on for 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  11. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool slightly before cutting in wedges (or squares, if you like) and serving.

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Note 1: Don’t do what I did the first time Tasha taught me how to make this.  I did NOT stir “well”, and there were terrible, almost inedible pockets of pepper.  Even the next step of “add and stir to combine” will not atone for poorly executing this step!
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