Month: November 2010


About the Food of Cyprus

Psst… does your heart ache? Even just a little? I’ve got the cure: take a tour of Cyprus. In this gloriously mountainous Mediterranean island even the loneliest heart will find love in the air and on the beaches. In fact, legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love, was born amidst the crashing waves and sandy shores of Cyprus. Befitting this romantic legacy, the Cypriot have a fascinating habit of cooking food in red wine. Almost anything can get a long slow simmer in the stuff – pork chops, potatoes, or even squid. The red color bleeds into the food making a rosy statement perfect for any date night. Most Cypriot food is an alluring blend of Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine – you’ll find staples such as oregano, olive oil, lamb, cucumber, yogurt and eggplant mixed on menus with such delicacies as octopus or squid. Once the romance of Cyprus grabs hold of you, celebrate with a dish fit for any holiday table. Oh, and I just happen to know the …

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Giveaway Winners

I should have known. When it comes to choosing between apple or pumpkin pie, there can only be two winners.  Six votes went to each pie. Now I know – both pies are equally loved. And, as promised, here are our two winners, selected at random by, and their comments. Carole68 I am thankful for the guardian angel that stood by my side and kept me out of the big trouble I could have gotten into ; thankful for my two beautiful daughters that lighten up my life ; for the good people in this world. My vote goes to apple pie… because it’s really a favourite here in our family, but also because pumpkin pie is not traditional here and we’ve never tasted it ! (we will one day). and to … AnneSATX My father passed away last month and I will be eternally grateful that the last thing I said to him the night before was, “I love you, Dad.” As for pie? Pumpkin, no contest! We enjoyed reading everyone’s entries to the …

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Happy Thanksgiving (Giveaway!)

I’ve heard Christmas music on the radio all week. Can you believe it? Call me old fashioned, but I think Thanksgiving deserves a little more time in the limelight. We need to sit in gratitude and savor every moment. The way I look at it, life is beautiful. I endured serious hardship in my early years, but I got through it. How? By first believing that,  in this great, big, topsy-turvy world, there’s always something to be thankful for… and second, by looking for just that thing to appreciate, that thing that could lift me outside of my grief. Sometimes it simply takes getting out there and… Trying something new… … No matter what the consequences… Gritting your teeth if necessary! And so, in the spirit of appreciation and gratitude, I want to thank YOU for joining this Global Table Adventure. Eating one meal for every country in the world is fun, but it’s even better with your support and company 🙂 Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now, for our little giveaway. Use it …

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Thanksgiving Menu Ideas from Around the World #2

Good day, fellow festive-folk. From addictive comfort food to iron-rich and healthy, I’ve got your Thanksgiving hook-up. That’s right… for the second day in a row, I’m sharing menu ideas to fill out your Thanksgiving table. Our regularly scheduled cooking will continue next week with Cyprus. At the risk of sounding like “The Count” on Sesame Street: yesterday our ideas came from countries that begin with the letter A… today they come from countries that begin with the letter “B.” Note: Be sure to read the associated Monday Meal Reviews for tips and tricks. (Bahamas) Island Macaroni & Cheese (Macaroni Pie) [Recipe] This macaroni and cheese is sliced into squares for serving – perfect for parties. (Belarus) Rye Bread [Recipe] Dense and high in fiber, rye bread is a staple in Belarus, preferred over wheat bread. In fact, Belarus is one of the largest producers of rye in the world. (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Balkan Baked Beans (Prebranac) [Recipe] Prebranac is an easy, addictive side dish made with white kidney beans, caramelized onion, garlic, and loads of paprika. (Bulgaria) …

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Thanksgiving Menu Ideas from Around the World #1

In honor of Thanksgiving week here, in the US, I “took a gander” through our old menu’s and picked out a few recipes that I would enjoy on our Thanksgiving table. Here’s my selections from the “A” countries… tomorrow I’ll share some from the “B” countries. Have a great day! 🙂 Note: Be sure to read the associated Monday Meal Reviews for tips and tricks. (Algeria) Hot Algerian Lasagna (Shakhshukha al-Bisakra) [Recipe] This lasagna contains ground lamb meat, diced potatoes, chickpeas, and harisa. Two teaspoons of cayenne make this dish fire-hot. Gruyère cheese cools things down (Andorra) Warm Spinach & Mushroom Salad [recipe] Warm spinach tossed with sauteed wild mushrooms, garlic, raisins, and slivered almonds. (Argentina) Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Arugula and Chevre [Recipe] The cavity of a steaming, roasted pumpkin is filled with goat cheese, arugula and mint vinaigrette. Any pumpkin variety is acceptable, depending on seasonal availability. Pastel de Papa con Elote (Potato and Corn Pie) [Recipe] Mashed potatoes topped with pureed corn and baked. (Armenia) Itch (Bulgur Pilaf Salad) [Recipe] Bulgur with bell pepper, onion, scallions, fresh parsley, and …

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Monday Meal Review: Cuba

I prepared our Cuban Global Table secure in the thought that noone was coming over. I didn’t vacuum. I didn’t deodorize (the house or myself).  Approximately 19 million landmines were in place. (I think some people call them “toys.”) By the time the cooking was done, crusty dishes were teeter-tottering over my head – including the remnants of three botched caramel sauces. The house was an extra deluxe mess. I rarely behave this way, but I was feeling like a rebel. Must have been a full moon. Then my phone rang. Sweat dripping down my forehead, I watched as it vibrated itself towards the edge of the counter. My neighbor and friend, Anitra was calling. Right before the phone careened over, I decided to pick up. “Hello!” I said. “What are you doing?” “Oh, you know… cooking” (Fact: 9 times out of 10, I’m cooking when my phone rings… Bizarre). “Well, I have some great hand me downs. For Ava. And I’m on a mission to get them out of the house. Can I bring them …

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Cuban | Hot Pressed Pork Sandwich

Serves 2 Ooey, gooey and sizzling hot, The Cuban sandwich will rock your world. The key to a great Cuban Sandwich is to obtain the best possible ingredients, especially when it comes to the bread and pork. Ingredients: 18″ long Cuban bread (can substitute Italian or French bread) yellow mustard (to taste) 4 slices of ham 4 slices of roast pork 4 slices of Swiss cheese thinly sliced pickles (to taste) Method: First of all, roast yourself a pork and use the leftovers in this sandwich. It will be so much better! Now, that that’s out of the way, let’s get started. Slice a loaf of cuban bread almost completely in half, lengthwise. Spread the bottom with yellow mustard. This is very important in a traditional Cuban. My stone ground mustard still isn’t speaking to me. Add sliced ham… deli ham is fine! And thinly sliced roast pork.  Make sure you trim off any fatty bits. This is regret speaking. Layer on the beautiful Swiss cheese and sandwich pickles. Cover with top of bread and …

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Cuban Bread | Pan Cubano

Makes 2-3 loaves The quickest way to a person’s heart is with homemade bread. The incredible flavor of this soft, doughy bread is unreal. I’ve been making bread for a long time (even wrote a hundred page thesis about Artisan bread baking in France), so that’s saying a lot. Great recipe – just make sure you start it a day ahead of when you need it! Special thanks to Kitchen Warfare for a detailed post on how to make this wonderful Cuban bread. Without their help, I would have been lost in making my adaptation! Ingredients: For the starter 1/2 tsp instant-dry yeast 1/4 cup cool water 1/4 cup all-purpose flour For the dough 1 cup cool water 1 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp sugar 1 Tablespoon lard 1 1/2 tsp instant-dry yeast starter 31/2 -4 cups all-purpose flour Method: For the starter: Combine starter ingredients in a small bowl… Cover with saran wrap and place in a cool spot for about 12 hours. I usually do this right before bed. In the winter, …

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Makes 1 drink The bold flavor of mint, lime juice, and sugar come together in this classic Cuban drink. If you have time, a simple syrup made of water and sugar cooked together is another possibility for sweetening the drink. Ingredients: 1/8 cup superfine sugar a handful of fresh mint 1/2 lime, juiced 1 shot rum crushed ice Method: Gather your ingredients… Drop a healthy handful of fresh mint leaves into a glass. Add the sugar and mash it together with the mint. Renowned author Mark Bittman says that there should be enough mint pieces to chew on. Squeeze in the juice of a lime for that tangy wow-factor. And a shot of rum. This is my faithful “Planet Hollywood” shot glass one of my brothers got me years ago. Remember when every kid had to have a Planet Hollywood t-shirt? I’m into the retro cool factor. Add crushed ice, stir well and drink! Minty fresh… Now, if only you can get your dentist to approve it! Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print …

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Cuban Thanksgiving Dish

If you’re here in the USA, looking for another idea for a Cuban Thanksgiving dish (or if you’re simply curious about Cuban food), I’ve dug up a fascinating sandwich recipe. Made on Cuban bread or white bread, the infamous “Elena Ruz,” includes cream cheese, strawberry jam, and sliced turkey breast. Weird, right? Yet… somehow, that sweet jam reminds me of cranberry sauce and … well … it is just crazy enough – it might work! Here’s Wikepedia’s notes on the Elena Ruz: Another sandwich of Cuba is the “Elena Ruz”. Elena Ruz was a young society debutante in 1930’s who would stop at El Carmelo, a popular restaurant and confectionary shop in Havana after an evening at the opera or a social function, and would ask the waiter if he would fix her a sandwich to her orders. It is prepared on white or Cuban bread, with a layer of cream cheese on one slice, a layer of strawberry jam or preserves on the other, and thin slices of turkey breast in between Intriguing. If …

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Pumpkin Flan

Makes one 10″ bundt pan Cubans love flan in any shape, size, or flavor. This week we’re cooking a pumpkin flan in honor of American Thanksgiving. This is the creamiest, sweetest, most luxurious pumpkin dessert ever. There are several tips for making excellent flan use high quality ingredients strain the flan mixture to get rid of all the little eggy bits and other yuckies that get in the way of perfect smoothness cool completely to allow the flan to set up firmly (it helps to make it the day before you need it) cook in a water bath follow important, high tech jiggle procedure to loosen the flan from the pan (see detailed instructions in recipe below). have a tall lipped plate to catch all your caramel. Don’t ask me how I know this. if you’re taking the flan to a pot luck, wait to unmold it there. That way there’s less of a chance of damaging the beautiful form. Ingredients: For the caramel 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup water cream of tartar, pinch For …

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Menu: Cuba

Try as I might, I could not let the Cuban sandwich pass me by. Which means, of course, that Homemade Cuban bread is also required (Oh, happy day!). Sure… it isn’t very Thanksgiving oriented (unless you throw some leftover roast Turkey in your Cuban Sandwich), but I’ll make up for it with the best Pumpkin Flan ever. And if that won’t do, dear friend, just have a Mojito. The Cuban Sandwich (Hot Pressed Pork Sandwich) [Recipe] A hot, pressed sandwich layered with mustard, ham, roast pork, sliced pickles, and ooey gooey Swiss Cheese. Spoiler alert: Tastes like good. Homemade Cuban Bread (Pan Cubano) [Recipe] A soft, doughy bread with big yeast flavor, thanks to the use of an overnight starter. Pumpkin Flan [Recipe] Pumpkin gets all dressed up for a Cuban style holiday, with cinnamon, allspice, cream, eggs, and milk. The crowning glory? It all sets in beautiful pool of caramel. Flan is the quintessential dessert of Cuba. Mojito (Mint, Rum, and Lime Juice Cocktail) [Recipe] Mint, lime juice, and sugar. Oh yeah… and rum.

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