Month: December 2010


About the food of the Czech Republic

There’s only one reason to go outside when temperatures drop below freezing: to enjoy the thrill of hot food thawing you out when you come home. Otherwise, I vote for staying in bed all day, snuggled under a comforter, watching chick flicks… or dude flicks (do they even make those?). Thankfully, the Czech Republic has many wonderful foods for bitterly cold winter days.  This means that I’ll be able to leave the house this week. Hurrah! The Czech Republic is in eastern Europe where summers are hot and winters are c-c-c-cold. The nation consumes dishes loaded with all manner of potatoes and cabbage, as well as stews and roasts.  Think rugged, down-home cooking. Typical of many eastern European countries, the Czech Republic uses sour cream as a thickener, dipper, topper.. you name it, sour cream is in it. They also enjoy caraway seed and dill as principal seasoning agents. You won’t believe it (I almost don’t believe it), but I dug up a dish that includes more than half of these ingredients: Potato & Pickle Soup …

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Monday Meal Review: Cyprus

Sick babies are the worst. Poor miss Ava came down with croup not long after we cooked Cyprus (purely coincidental, mind you). But… croup… gah! If you don’t know, croup is a nightmare of epic proportions. Here’s how it works: in the still of the night, babies who seem a little sick, suddenly wake up really, really sick. With violent coughing fits. And I don’t mean just any cough. You’ll think a nasty poltergeist – or a barking seal – has taken over your sweet baby. You will not be able to believe such a sound could come from your child. Your heart will break into a million pieces, with each cough… over and over again. And, – as if the coughing isn’t bad enough – nature adds in a desperate wheezing, gasping sound with each breath. Eventually (after surrounding them with steam, or taking them outside into the cold night air, or rubbing Eucalyptus oil on their chests), the baby falls back asleep. Then, you – the frantic parent – spend the night standing …

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Mediterranean Roast Veggies |Briam

Serves 4 This simple layered casserole is vegan, rich, and addictive. The vegetables cook down into a soft casserole, but can be uncovered half way through cooking to reduce the effects of steaming. Ingredients: 1 zucchini 1 small eggplant 1  potato 1/4 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp oregano 1/4 cup olive oil 2/3 cup tomato sauce 1 1/2 quart casserole Method: Preheat the oven to 375F. Meanwhile, slice all the veggies into thin discs. Resist the urge to see if they’ll fly, like frisbees, across your kitchen. Drop some liquid sunshine (olive oil) into a 1 1/2 quart casserole (you can scale this up pretty easily, if you need to feed more people). Layer on some potatoes… Gather the salt, pepper, and oregano together… And sprinkle the blend onto each layer… Add on the eggplant… and more olive oil. Embrace the oil – this is supposed to be a luxuriously rich dish. Next up, zucchini. And half your tomato sauce. Keep piling everything on in layers… with spices and oil each time… Ending …

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Roast Lamb from Cyprus | Ofto Kleftiko

Serves 2-4 This completely fuss-free roast lamb dish, Ofto Kleftiko, maximizes the rich, succulent flavor of lamb and is so tender it literally falls of the bone. A great dish for holidays, festivals, or even pot luck dinners. Serve one shank per person, unless appetites are small. Ingredients: 2 lamb shanks, about one pound each 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground coriander 4 bay leaves salt pepper olive oil Method: Get the oven nice and toasty – set it to 375F. Meanwhile, drizzle lamb with olive oil… (a.k.a. liquid gold) Sprinkle with heaps of salt and pepper… Then, divide the cinnamon and ground coriander seed equally amongst the lamb shanks. If you’re feeling kind of crazy, you might add a bit more cinnamon. Take off your rings, roll up your sleeves, and rub the spices into the meat. Make sure to also coat the ends and bottom of the lamb. Place both lamb shanks on top of a bay leaf, on their own large square of aluminum foil. Add another bay leaf on top and …

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Brandy Poached Apples | Firikia Glyko

Serves 4 Sweet and spiked with cinnamon, Firikia Glyko is wonderful warm with vanilla ice cream, or cold with nothing more than a spoon and a smile. (Ice cream is my addition and, while not super authentic, is extra lip smacking) Ingredients: 4 small, firm apples (I used honey-crisp) 2 cups sugar 2 cups water 2 sticks cinnamon 4 whole cloves 1/4 cup brandy (optional) Method: Put on a frilly apron and a pair of fuzzy slippers. Add sugar and cinnamon sticks to a medium pot. Splash in some water and bring to a gentle simmer.  The cinnamon will start to perfume your house in the most magical, grandmotherly way. Meanwhile, peel 4 small apples… Remove the bottom with a paring knife. And replace it with one whole clove. Carefully place in the hot syrup and simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Be careful not to boil or the apples will cook too quickly and fall apart. Add the brandy in the last five minutes of cooking – or, like me, you can completely forget …

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Soapy, Soapy Cyprus?

You may or may not be afflicted with “soap mouth” when you eat coriander (a.k.a. cilantro). To avoid the experience, you may painstakingly pick pieces of the offending plant off of your plate. You might even send your plate back. You might scream out in agony. Or not. Listen… I have a secret. Even if you think coriander tastes like soap, you should give the plant’s seeds a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. To me, the flavor lacks any soapy aftertaste.   I ate bunches of this stuff, straight from the spice jar, just to prove it. Hopefully there won’t be any side effects. So… what does Coriander seed taste like? It is reminiscent of celery seed – but much more mild.  Here’s the best way I can explain it: if celery seed and coriander seed were music, celery seed would be heavy metal and coriander seed would be a delicate lullaby. That’s the best I can do. While the lovely people of Cyprus enjoy coriander seeds with just about anything – on roasts, …

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Red Wine Potatoes | Potatoes “Afelia”

While Afelia commonly refers to a pork dish, the term can also refer to any number of ingredients stewed/roasted in red wine and sprinkled with coriander seeds. Yum! In Cyprus, the most popular variants include mushrooms, potatoes, and artichoke hearts (all of which are vegan). Most recipes add a sprinkling of coriander seeds at the end of cooking (ground or cracked is best). Serves 4 Slowly roasted in olive oil and red wine, these potatoes are so rich you won’t need butter. A typical recipe from Cyprus and Greece. Ingredients: 2 pounds fingerling potatoes (or any small potato) 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup olive oil salt pepper ground coriander seeds, to taste Method: Put on some music from Cyprus. Then, preheat the oven to 375F Meanwhile, rinse and slit the potatoes (about 4 slits per potato – this allows the wine and oil to seep in and flavor them) Douse with olive oil. Don’t be shy. Some recipes I saw from Cyprus and Greece actually cover these with oil. Wow. Splash on the red wine …

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2010 Global Gingerbread Contest

I’m a sucker for the holidays. I wish I could live in a gingerbread house. One weekend a year I *almost* live out my dream… our dining room table spills over with candy, cookies, and frosting. I love the creativity. The fun. The family bonding. Being covered in sugar. This year I’d love it if you would join us… virtually. I’d even like to give away a nifty prize to the best gingerbread house. Are you game? Here’s how the contest will work: Make a Global Gingerbread House. It must be about 90% edible. The theme is international/global/foreign … be creative! Email: Sasha at global table adventure dot com. Include: A photo 100 word description/story about your house A link to your blog post about the contest. Ideally, your blog post will have more pictures and details about the “making of.” (Having a blog is not a requirement). Deadline is December 20, 2010 at midnight, Central time. After I look everything over, I will share my favorites here, on the blog. Finally, I’ll pick a winner. …

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Menu: Cyprus

I had a dream that my pillows and blankets were made of warm, snuggly food. (Snuggly?) What does it all mean? Call me crazy, but if there ever was a time to snuggle up with a meal, this would be it. Our menu from Cyprus is loaded with comforting, roasted dishes, as well as a “sweet as apple pie” dessert.  Perfect for chilly weather. Cypriot Red Wine Potatoes (Potatoes Afelia) [Recipe] Small fingerling potatoes roasted with loads of olive oil and red wine, then topped with a dash of ground coriander. Roast Lamb from Cyprus (Ofto Kleftiko) [Recipe] Celebrate the holidays in style with tender lamb shanks roasted with cinnamon, ground coriander and olive oil. Roasted Veggies (Briam) [Recipe] Eggplant, zucchini, potato, and tomato sauce cook together with plenty of olive oil. This vegan side dish popular throughout Cyprus and Greece. Whole Apples simmered in Light Syrup (Firikia Glyko) [Recipe] Small apples simmered in syrup with cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Add brandy if desired!

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