From the time I was a young child I remember sitting and listening as people told stories of finding that one person who they knew was meant for them. From my parents, to my grandparents, to their friends, everyone had a story, if not of finding their own love, than of someone they knew who had. I don't know if I really gave them anymore thought than all of the rest of the stories I heard through my childhood until that moment that I first saw Danijela.

From my very first glimpse of her I knew that she was the one I wanted to spend my life with and nothing anyone could say could sway me. Because of our ages, Danijela was just 16 when we met, we waited two years to marry and during that time we made so many plans for our future. I don't think two years could have moved any slower than those two did, and it certainly wasn't helped by our being separated because while Danijela was finishing school, I was away fulfilling my military obligations.

We married when Danijela turned 18, and nine months later we welcomed our daughter, Jasna into our lives. If I thought I had loved my wife before, it was nothing compared to what I felt toward her once she began to carry that life inside of her, than later gave birth. Can anything be as beautiful as a mother and her child. I could have spent hours just watching them together, envying her that closeness gained with our daughter as she breastfed her. It would deepen still further with the birth three years later of our son.

I'll never know why our love was tested in the ways that it was. I'll never know why the life that seemed so perfect from it's start would end so suddenly, but, it did. I do know though that the love I felt for Danijela, the love I still feel for her will always be with me. It took me a long time to understand that it's okay for me to keep loving her. It took me a long time to understand that there was room in my heart for someone besides Danijela, and once I realized that I not only loved her even more, but, I could at long last move on.

Muse: Luka Kovac
Fandom: ER
Words: 391
Now that we're settled in Boston, I find I'm spending more time in the kitchen than I ever did in Chicago. I enjoy it, I not only find it a great way to relax, but, it also gives me a chance to cook the foods I grew up with. I think being back in Croatia for as long as I was while my father was ill, and reconnecting with the importance of those family mealtimes made me realize that I wanted to share that with Abby and Joe once I was home.

I look at the comfort I find in the foods I grew up with, the thick soups and stews with their fresh baked croutons, the goulash and seafood, and yes, even the pastries, and I want that for my son. In fact, I'm cooking today, and as the smell of the simmering broth fills the whole house, all I have to do is close my eyes to find myself transported back to my mama's kitchen. I want my son to have these same memories, to enjoy the food as much as I do, so, I give him this gift as it was given to me, out of love.

Čobanac sa žličnjacima
Shepherd's Goulash

Ingredients

300g. (11 oz.) veal
300g. (11 oz.) pork
6 tablespoons oil
200 g. (7 oz.) onions
100g. (4 oz,) carrots
50g. (2. oz) parsley root
1 clove garlic
ground sweet red pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper
1 chili pepper
1 tablespoon ajvar ( a piquant, spicy and delicious mixture of round, red, sweet peppers (known locally as tomato peppers), aubergines, and chili peppers, first baked, then peeled, minced and cooked to a thick consistency).
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon smetana
half a litre (20 fl. oz.) white wine
1 tablespoon Vegeta

Foer Dumplings:
350 g. (12 oz.) flour
1 egg
salt

Chop the onion. Grate the carrots and parsley root. Wash and dice the meat. Chop the garlic.
Heat the oil and lightly fry the onion, add the carrot and parsley root and braise for a while. Then add the meat and spice it with chili (or cayenne) pepper, red pepper and salt. Add a little hot water, bay leaf, Vegeta and allow to simmer gently, adding further water as required.

When the meat is half cooked, add the dumplings, garlic, and ground pepper. Finally, stir in the ajvar, wine and smetana.

Dumplings:
Mix the egg, salt and flour with sufficient water to produce a thick dough. Work the dough by beating it against the side of the mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth and elastic and peels easily away from the spoon. Spoon pieces of prepared dough into a larger saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes, remove the dumplings and drain them.
.

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