Month: December 2010


A Little Perspective from Djibouti (with poll)

I don’t know about you, but I cook standing up. I never gave it any thought until today. It’s just what I do in my daily cooking routine. To add some pizzaz to my routine I even bought an apron. It has a sage green floral print and makes me look very tidy. Until you look down and see that I’m wearing fuzzy slippers (shh, don’t tell Fly Lady). So, what does this have to do with Djbouti? Just the other day, American blogger “Djibouti Jones” had a friend over for dinner. A Djiboutian friend. That friend asked her lots of questions. It was her last question that floored me. She asked “Why do you cook standing up?” Think about that for a minute. Soak it in. Ask yourself that very question. Why do I cook standing up? What cultural assumptions am I a part of… without even realizing it! Amazing. Turns out, in Djibouti, many people cook squatting or sitting around a fire. Different technique… different “normal” but, guess what? Dinner still comes out grand. …

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Dyed Rice | Rainbow Rice Palau

Serves 6-8 I could confetti dozens (hundreds!) of newlyweds with all the rice we’ve made for our Adventures around the world. While they’ve all been incredible, I’m here to tell you that Rainbow Rice takes the cake for beauty, novelty, and fun factor. Want your own festival on a plate? Here are 5 important tips to making perfect Rainbow Rice: Only use one or two colors to dye the rice. Any more becomes a bit… chaotic. Make a theme out of it – pink for a baby shower, red and green for Christmas, orange and red for Thanksgiving, etc. Only dye a little bit of rice (maybe 1/4 cup of cooked rice per color) so that the dominant color is white. Use a lot of dye for a more dramatic effect. To avoid color bleeding: let the dyed rice air out and finish steaming before mixing with the other rice. It helps to dye the rice from the top of the pot, which is naturally drier than the rice at the bottom of the pot. …

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Drink your way around the world this New Year’s Eve

A little bonus post, in honor of New Year’s Eve… Global Table-style! My party days are long over (unless you count staying up all night with a sick baby). Still, I appreciate a good drink on a special occasion. When it comes to New Year’s Eve, I’m in bed long before the ball drops – I don’t even stay up to watch it on TV (I don’t have one). Last year I went to bed at 10pm. I’m aware that I’m developing elderly tendencies a little too soon. I’m aware that I’m incredibly unhip. But my cushy, cozy, amaaaazing bed is just too tempting, especially when my eyelids are drooping. And, for what it’s worth, Mr. Picky agrees. Whether you are a big drinker or not, New Year’s Eve is a great excuse to educate yourself about international customs and try something new. I’ve run across several tasty drinks on my culinary tour of the world; here’s a quick rundown of some beverages you might try this New Year’s Eve (whatever you do… please, please, please, be …

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Menu: Djibouti

Food coloring fun,  one-sided “pancakes,” and one pot wonders… we’ve made it to Djibouti. This east African country really has a way with flavors – rich, bold, and warmly spiced – yet so simple to put together. I mean, what cook wouldn’t love a whole grain “pancake” that you don’t have to flip? I’m officially in love.  Even Mr. Picky wasn’t so picky this week. And that’s a good thing. Rainbow Rice Palau (Dyed Rice) [Recipe] Brighten up the dinner table with the vivid colors of Rainbow Rice. One bite fills your mouth with warm cinnamon, cumin, cardamom and more. Traditionally served for special holidays – try any combination of colors to coordinate with your special day. Djiboutian Lamb & Rice (Skoudehkaris) [Recipe] A one pot dish of lamb stewed with tomatoes, onion, rice, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and a teeny pinch of cloves. Yeast-Risen Flatbread (Laxoox) [Recipe] This yeast-risen flatbread/pancake can be eaten with sweet or savory food. It is browned on one side only – try it topped with lamb stew or dipped …

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About the Food of Djibouti

Djibouti: if you’re pronouncing the name of this African country right, English-speaking people will raise their eyebrows. Try it out – “dja booty.” The word has had endless inappropriate puns associated with it. But let’s move past the unusual name… to the unusual food situation. According to doctor’s without borders, less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the small, arid landscape can be farmed. As a result, most food is imported and expensive. I’ve read accounts of eggs costing seven dollars a dozen. Seven dollars! Meals are a blend of Middle Eastern, Somali, French, and other regional influences. Imagine slaughtering your own meat. Would you have the stomach for it? In Djibouti, the practice is fairly common – meat is purchased “living” and then, when feast day arrives, the animal is slaughtered and prepared. Lamb is particularly popular and is served in association with special holidays such as the Islamic one, Eid al-Adha. The national dish, called Skoudekharis, is a one pot dish of rice and includes generous portions of lamb [Recipe]. I found an incredible blog by the mom …

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Gingerbread Houses from Around the World!

Power tools, fireplaces, and an entire town made of “gingerbread” – today is all about gingerbread. First up, the winning entry to our Global Gingerbread Contest: Here’s the story behind her house: As a recent graduate with a degree in European History and a concentration in Slavonic/East European Studies, I really wanted my “international/foreign” house to reflect that region. While I originally hoped to incorporate some designs common to Psyanki or Wycinanki (aka, ornately dyed easter eggs and polish paper cuttings), I eventually settled on creating a little house inspired by the Slovak village of Čičmany. This tiny village is well known for its beautiful folk architecture that has been carefully maintained and preserved over the years–all the buildings are covered in a variety of white-painted patterns and designs. As a result, the houses  really do look something like life-sized gingerbread houses! While the village is, of course, quite unique, I believe it does reflect many motifs and values that are common through the last few hundred years of Eastern European folk tradition. It also …

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Save Christmas with 3 Dishes From Around the World

Mayday, mayday! I opened and closed the fridge about 10 ten times. Nothing to eat. Nothing to offer guests.  Each time I peered in, I hoped for a different result (there had to be something in there besides baby yogurt and beets… seriously) but … nope… there I was – December 22 – with a full house and no nom noms or drinks. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting three dear friends to drop by all at once (one of which hadn’t had breakfast or lunch due to a busy, busy morning) … but then again… it’s Christmas week… Now that I am fully traumatized (and my friends half starved to death), I’d like to share some wisdom: During the holiday season, always have an impromptu party on standby! You can learn from my mistakes and have the ingredients for this super easy snack and one of these two traditional Christmas drinks ready to go … you know, should someone decide to pop over to bring you a gift. And then you won’t have to serve …

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10 Fabulous Finger Foods from Around the World (a.k.a. Party Food)

I’d rather not eat pancakes if I have to use a knife and fork.  I much prefer tearing them into small, irregular pieces before dipping – just barely – into maple syrup and taking a bite. Licking my fingers completes the happy process. Yes… I love eating with my fingers (don’t you?). And, from what I’ve read, I’m in good company around the world. Here’s ten international, absolutely fabulous ideas to get you through this finger-lickin’ party season. 1. Camarao Grelhado Piri Piri (Grilled Prawns with Peppers) 2. Beef Empanadas 3. Armenian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Yalanchi Sarma) 4. Armenian Spiced Feta (Brinza) 5. Spicy Meatballs with Pomegranate sauce (Fesinjan Kyufta) 6. Himalayan Fruit Salad 7. Brazilian Romeo and Juliet (Romeu e Julieta) 8. Spicy Kielbasa Buns/Klobasneks/Klobasnikis (Klobásové Buchty) 9. Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller) 10. Smoked Salmon Smørrebrød

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5 Christmas Desserts from Around the World

Our pickup truck is overflowing with donations and our bedroom is now gift central (shh, don’t tell Ava). Thus is the cycle of life. Today, mostly because I can’t stop eating the candy meant for our stockings, I’m sharing 5 dessert recipes from around the world which are perfect – in my opinion – for Christmastime. So, put on your aprons! Let’s bring a little piece of the world to our families this holiday season. P.S. Stay tuned … all week I’ll be sharing recipes from around the world that’ll fit right in on your Christmas table… as well as a look at our gingerbread houses (We’ll start back up with cooking Djibouti next week). 1. Bajan Christmas Puddin’ (Pound Cake with Cherries) 2. Llokume (Turkish Delight) 3. Sacher-torte (Austrian Chocolate Tart with Apricot Jam) 4. Chilean Crema de Limon (Chilean Lemon Ice Cream) 5. Baked Milk Custard (Leche Asada)

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Monday Meal Review: Denmark

I’m not one to get manicures. I don’t even wear gloves when washing dishes to keep my hands from drying out (do you?). But still, some days I just can’t face getting my hands dirty. Like on days when I have to make meatballs. Here’s how it plays out: I look at the bowl of deftly seasoned meat. The meat looks back at me. I blink a few times. Eventually, after a big sigh, I roll up my sleeves, dunk my hands into the cold, clammy mixture and get to work. Then I remember I forgot to take off my rings and my stomach churns. Call me a prima donna, but this week I decided to skip the hassle and made my meatballs with 2 large spoons. My rings and fingernails stay gunk-free and my general sanity is forever relieved. It’s  just like making drop cookies. Here’s what you do: Scoop up a blob of meat with one spoon. Pass the blob back and forth from spoon to spoon, while simultaneously smoothing and honing the blob …

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Danish Apple Cake | Æblekage

Makes One 6″ Cake Æblekage can be made any number of ways, but this recipe is super special because Anne A., one of our Danish readers, found it in her mother’s recipe box.  We did a little tweaking and, voila… Global Table’s Aeblekage, a little like Anne’s mamma used to make. The texture is on the muffin-side of things; you’ll love it with coffee or tea. Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 1/2 cups flour 1 small apple, halved and sliced thinly 1 small apple, diced Topping: 1/8-1/4 cup brown sugar 1/8-1/4 cup chopped walnuts Dots of butter Use a 6″ cake pan Method: Put a load of laundry in the washer (optional). Preheat the oven to 350F. Meanwhile, cream butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one a time. Next up, vanilla extract – the best perfume in the world (just dabble a little on your wrists). Next, drop in the dry …

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Danish Meatballs | Frikadeller

Makes about 30 small meatballs I’m not usually a fan of meatballs, but these Frikadellers are Frikamazing. I added a slice of rye bread to give it a little something special. If you’re making them for a party, hold them in a warm oven for a few minutes, until ready to serve. Thanks to Stephanie Holguin for letting me adapt her recipe (she got it from a real live Danish person, hurrah!). I went a little over the top by adding heavy cream and using rye bread instead of plain sandwich bread. NOTE: I’ve since been told that, while it tastes really yummy, garlic isn’t the most authentic. A little finely chopped onion would be a more traditional choice. It’s up to you! Ingredients: 1/2 lb beef 1/2 lb pork 2/3 cup flour 1/2 cup of milk 1/4 cup heavy cream 1 ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp of pepper 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 slice rye bread Method: Add the meat to a large bowl… Season with plenty of salt and pepper… And a happy …

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