I recently spent two weeks on a mission trip in Vienna, Austria working with students who are studying in a theologian degree program with TCMI International Institute. These students come from mostly Eastern European countries to spend some much needed rest time in the Vienna Woods while attending classes towards their degree. We, as short-term workers, are there to take care of their everyday needs such as meals, housekeeping and maintenance of the campus so they may concentrate on their studies.

This year we had 57 students from 11 different countries. One of my greatest joys is to meet these students and learn about their family and their ministries. They are always willing to share traditions and especially food dishes from their native homeland. As I sat at meals with the students, I made a point to ask them which of their country’s traditional dishes they would like me to spotlight on my food blog. It’s a blessing to see their faces light up when they talk about their favorite dish and reminisce about a family member who makes the best one.

So, for the next 11 days I will be spotlighting each of these countries and a traditional dish in honor of these students and their love for their homeland. I encourage you to try some of these dishes and if you like them, do further research on that particular country’s cuisine. You may find a new favorite recipe or two for your family!

Spotlight: Moldova

Dish: Plăcintă (pla-ch-in-ta)

Plăcintă is a Romanian, Moldovan and Ukrainian traditional pastry resembling a thin, small round or square-shaped cake, usually filled with a soft cheese such or apples.

Plăcintă is a very common street food. All the students I spoke with from these countries have a love affair with this pastry and have a family member who makes the best one in the country.


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 cups feta cheese
  • 2 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup oil for frying


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together 3½ cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the egg, buttermilk, milk and 3 tbsp of oil until dough comes together (dough should be tacky.) Knead in remaining ½ cup of flour until a soft dough forms.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 balls, using a ½ cup measuring scoop for even shapes.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 9″ circle. Place 1 cup of the cheese blend in the center and fold in the edges, pinching them to the top. Gently roll out again to an 8″ circle and fry over med-low heat until golden (about 2 min on each side.)



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