Our reunion potluck is always made extra special by the dishes contributed by our native Bulgarian friends.  One of my favorite parts of the reunion each year is hearing some of our older Bulgarian kiddos get really excited about eating food they used to enjoy in their birth country.  If you want to make these treats for your family throughout the year, here are the recipes shared by Dani G. and Anna G.

Cucumber soup ("Tarator") - serves 8-12 (unless born in Bulgaria, then fewer :)
1 big container of yoghurt (organic varieties & Greek Gods taste more like yoghurt in Bulgaria)
1 long/European cucumber (diced or grated)
1-2 tbs olive or sunflower oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (may substitute with garlic powder)
12 oz water (add more if you prefer rarer soup)
1-2 tbs dill (fresh is better)
1 tbs grated walnuts or pecans
salt to taste

Serve chilled.
There is a salad version of the soup with the same ingredients as above minus water, however, the yoghurt is strained in a cheesecloth for a few hours and the cucumber may be substituted for diced pickle ("Snejanka").

Pastry ("Banitsa") - recipe from Anna

1 pack FILO dough 
4 eggs  + 1 1/2 cups of milk mixed
Feta cheese

Layer 2-3 sheets of FILO, sprinkle w crumbled cheese, fold into a roll and place in a pan, then repeat with more FILO, more cheese until FILO is over. Cut in small squares, spill over the milk and eggs mix, bake at 425 for 45min. Alternative fillings are a mix of cheese and spinach/diced leeks or grated pumpkin mixed with sugar. Old Bulgarian women do not use Filo dough but spread the dough, which is made of water, salt and flour with a rolling pin until almost transparent (idea for next year's activities!)

tarator, lutenitsa, and shopska salat

Peppers Burek ("Chushki Byurek")
4 big red peppers grilled well from all sides and peeled
2 cups Bulgarian feta cheese
2 tbs unsalted butter (optional)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbs dill
1/4 ts or less black pepper
other spices if desired
3 eggs & 
5 tbs flour 
Mix the cheese, butter, garlic, dill and black pepper. Fill the red peppers with the mix. Cover with the eggs & flour and fry. 
Lazy casserole version (adjust quantities to fit pan) - instead of baking fresh peppers, buy fire Roasted Yellow & Red Baked from Trader Joe's (or another brand that does nor contain vinegar). Layer of eggs/flour, layer of peppers, layer of cheese mix, another layer of peppers and top with eggs/flour. Bake until there is a nice golden crust on top.

1 pack FILLO dough
1 cup melted unsalted butter (or coconut/olive/etc oil)
9 oz walnuts
1 tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 lbs sugar/brown sugar
1 lemon
20 fl oz water
Coat a pan with the butter. Two layout options: 1) layer 2/3 of the FILLO dough in the pan, cover with the walnuts and cinnamon and put the rest of the FILLO dough on top, then cut into 2x2" squares; 2) take several sheets of fillo dough, spread some of the walnuts and cinnamon on top and fold the FILLO dough into a roll, then repeat with the remaining ingredients until the pan is full. Bake on medium heat until golden. Boil the sugar and water for 2 minutes, then add the juice of the lemon. Cover the baked fillo with the sugar syrup. Leave in the fridge for a night.