Month: January 2011


Indonesian and Timorese Meatballs | Chicken Bakso / Baso

Makes about 16 2″ meatballs Stuck in an Italian meatball rut? I’ve got the answer: cozy up to Asian-style Bakso meatballs. You’ll be in good company – these mild and tender meatballs are beloved street food throughout Indonesia, East Timor and other nearby islands. You’ll find them bobbing in soups, or thinly sliced and tossed in noodle and rice dishes. The meatballs can be made with beef, chicken, fish or shrimp. Oh, and super thanks to you who voted on our Facebook Fan Page – your votes decided we should try bakso made with chicken. The mild chicken flavor is perked up with a dose of sautéed garlic and shallots. They are great in Bakso Noodle Soup and can be frozen for other uses. Ingredients: 1 lb ground chicken 3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 shallot, minced 1/4 cup tapioca flour 1/2 cup crushed ice 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper Method: Gather the shallot and garlic. If you don’t have shallot you could use a little red onion. Chop the shallot and crush the garlic. Cook …

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Deep Fried Tofu Squares

Serves 2-4 This crunchy, protein-rich alternative to croutons and crackers is perfect in soups and on salads. A great way to introduce tofu to someone who has never had it and particularly wonderful in our Bakso Noodle Soup. Ingredients: 1 block super firm tofu 1/3 cup rice flour (extra as needed) vegetable oil Method: Get ready for deliciousness. Preheat vegetable oil to 365F in a small, uncovered pot. Drain off a package of tofu, preferably super firm. Slice into even cubes. I like to see how perfect I can get the cubes. We used to get tested on things like that at the Culinary Institute of America. If you like plain tofu go ahead -sneak one … you’ll still have a lot left. Next, make it snow: cover in rice flour (or you can dip them into the flour, on a plate). Either way, all six sides of the cubes should be covered with rice flour. Drop them into the oil, taking care not to crowd them. When they are done they’ll be tan and …

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One-year Celebration Giveaway

Dear readers, As we lead up to the blog’s one-year anniversary, I want to celebrate you. Although we’ve never met, here are the things I imagine about you: You like to cook. Perhaps you like to bake. You dream of traveling the world, seeing new places, new faces. Cute babies make you smile. Am I right? Some of you have been here since the beginning, watching the site evolve through each great success and epic failure. Some of you just joined the fun, jumping in with enthusiasm. I thrive on your energy. Thank you all. Travel – even virtual – is so much more fun with the company of friends. To show my appreciation I am giving one lucky winner (or someone they love ) 45 new French Square Spice Jars. Here’s what’s awesome about them: They’re pretty. The base is square, meaning they won’t turn and pivot on you when you are putting them away. Your labels will always face the right direction They fit perfectly in drawers, which is the best place for your spices (dark and cool) …

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The (delicious) life of an Asian correspondant – Karen Coates

While I was once a world traveler, my life is now all about raising Miss Ava and quietly celebrating my family. Even if the travel bug has to wait a little longer, I can still get my travel fix in the kitchen or on travel web sites like Karen Coates’ The Rambling Spoon. The list of reasons I love her web site is long – her writing is at once beautiful, funny, tragic, and heartwarming. And her husband, Jerry Redfern takes killer photos. Who is Karen Coates? Karen Coates has spent a dozen years covering food, environment and social issues across Asia for publications around the world. She is a 2010-2011 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition, she is a correspondent for Archaeology magazine, and she writes a Food Culture column for The Faster Times. Karen was Gourmet’s Asia correspondent until the magazine closed in 2009. She is author of Cambodia Now: Life in the Wake of War and co-author of Pacific Lady: The First Woman to …

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Timorese Grilled Tuna Steaks with Garlic and Butter

Serves 4 Loads of garlic, butter, and sea salt make this tuna leap for joy. Forget tuna in a can. Fresh tuna steaks are as good, if not better than salmon. Bold and intense, this recipe will transport you to the flavors of East Timor and an incredible meal, as remembered by Karen Coates of Rambling Spoon. Read Karen’s story – the inspiration for our recipe. Perfect for Valentine’s day, or any special occasion. Ingredients: 4 Tuna steaks 4 Tbsp butter 3 cloves garlic coarse sea salt Method: Timorese Grilled Tuna Steaks are perfect for special occasions and as easy to make for 1 as for 100. In my humble opinion, however, two is ideal – after all, Valentine’s day is just around the corner. Gather your ingredients. Only four are required (the sea salt is not pictured)! I love the simplicity. Crush the garlic over softened butter… Breathe in deeply. Smile. Give the mixture a stir until the garlic is thoroughly combined… At this point you have two options. 1) Smear the mixture on a tuna …

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Menu: East Timor (Timor-Lest)

Far, far away is a country called East Timor.  Everything seems so different on that side of the world and yet, with hardly any exotic ingredients, we easily brought the flavors of this distant nation into our kitchen.  No specialty stores. No expensive grocery bills. Hurrah! Meanwhile, in other news, Ava has eating with a fork down pat. As in, she no longer needs our help to eat yogurt, apple sauce, or even Bakso Noodle Soup. Amazing! But… now what? How do I fill my time? Chicken Bakso (Chicken Meatballs) [Recipe] Seasoned with sautéed shallots and garlic, these mild chicken meatballs add oomph and variety to standard chicken soup or pasta. Deep-fried Tofu [Recipe] Extra-firm tofu dredged in rice flour and deep fried until a crunchy outer skin forms. Provides much needed texture in soups and on salads. Bakso Noodle Soup [Recipe] This famous soup is popular in East Timor and Indonesia. Our version is layered with ramen noodles, bok choy, celery leaves, chicken Bakso, and deep-fried tofu. Finish it of with a blast of …

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About the Food of East Timor

I love shiny new things. A pretty necklace. Babies. Entire countries. In the sparkling seas of southeast Asia, lies a rugged new country called East Timor (Timor-Lest). Since 2002 she’s been like a fledgling, working through the tricky business of self-sufficiency. While times are still tough, there’s beauty in watching her spread her wings, a country with possibility written all over her. The people eat what they can farm or fish. Meals are straightforward – chicken, fish, rice – Asian with a splash of Portuguese influence. The fantastic author, Karen Coates (former travel correspondent for Gourmet) writes about her voyage to East Timor: No matter how the day passes, dinner will hold its own. Pay a fisherman $10; get the whole damn 8-foot tuna (or snapper or other catch of the day) grilled with garlic, butter and salt over a beachside flame [Recipe]. Incredible. I can’t imagine anything better. If you’re still hungry after eating an 8-foot tuna, take a stroll and risk temptation. Karen tells me that vendors are happy to ladle bowls of bakso noodle …

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Monday Meal Review: Dominican Republic

Some would blame the moon. Lady fortune. Michael Jackson. The last few weeks I’ve had this creepy, crawly feeling. It starts in my elbows and works its way up the back of my neck. It’s like stardust is sparkling on my skin. Like I’m dancing in the rain. In great part, I blame you. You see, this blog is coming up on its one year anniversary. I’ve learned a ton about food from A-D, have watched my family grow healthier and better fed, and, finally, have had so much fun getting to know you! I’m really looking forward to another few years of fun (only 2.75, actually). However, it’s not just that. From what I can tell, 2011 is shaping up to be a really special year … so special it gives me the tingles. Here are the highlights so far: 1.  Ava finally got her molars in. I can give her hard food! The world feels so big… so… magical. 2. Mr Picky ate beets and liked them. How did I do it? I bought …

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Dominican Beans

Serves 4 They might not look like much, but these kidney beans taste like a work of art! Get your sofrito on! Ingredients: 1 cup sofrito olive oil 2 cans red kidney beans 1 cup stock or water salt & pepper Method: Heat up some oil in a medium pot. Add sofrito and cook… past the point where it releases all its juices… To the point where it starts to get toasty. That is the yummy bits that will make your beans incredible. Next, add the beans. And splash in water or stock. I used stock. Simmer gently until the beans are tender and flavorful. This took about an hour for me. Season generously! Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe They might not look like much, but these kidney beans taste like a work of art! Get your sofrito on!Dominican Beans CourseSides & Salads LifestyleGluten-Free, Potluck Friendly, Vegan, Vegetarian Food TypeLegumes, Miss Ava’s Favorite Recipes, Mr. Picky’s Favorite Recipes, Sasha’s Favorite Recipes Servings Prep Time 4people 10minutes Cook Time 1hour Servings …

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Dominican Stew Chicken | Pollo Guisado

Serves 4 I don’t know about you, but I tend to get in a rut with chicken. Growing up in Boston, my mom often just roasted a chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil, letting the natural juices and skin provide most of the flavor. This traditional Dominican recipe is a fun way to mix things up – the meat slowly absorbs the sofrito flavor, as well as hint of lemony freshness – the perfect match for chicken. Ingredients: 4 chicken thighs 4 chicken legs 1 cup sofrito (you could add 2 cups if you’d like more veggies) 1 tsp sugar vegetable oil (1-2 Tbsp) juice of 1/2 lemon (a whole lemon if it is dry) 2 Tbsp tomato paste 3/4 cup stock or water Method: Add the chicken to a large bowl. Toss with sofrito… … and lemon juice. Let marinate about 30 minutes (overnight is fine, too) Meanwhile, stir together the stock and the tomato paste. When ready to cook, heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sugar and the …

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Fresh Veggie Seasoning Base | Sazon/Sofrito

Makes about 5 cups Are you haggard in the kitchen? Overwhelmed at the thought of cutting up a bunch of fresh vegetables on a week night, but aware that – if you don’t – dinner is going to be b.l.a.n.d.? Dominican Sofrito (also known as Sazon) is your answer. Make a batch once or twice a week and you’ll have a great, healthy seasoning base that will amp up any dish. NOTE: In the Dominican Republic, sofrito can be made any number of ways. At the lovely web site Dominican Cooking you will find three examples that are completely different from each other (one even has radishes in it!). The moral? No Sofrito is better than your sofrito – make it the way you like it! Here’s the way I did it… Ingredients: 1 green pepper, cut in large chunks 1 red pepper, cut in large chunks 1 red onion, cut in large chunks 3 green onions, sliced 2 tomatillo, quartered 2 roma tomatoes, quartered 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped 1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped …

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Three Ways to Heat things up like a Dominican (with Poll)

I’m wearing two wool sweaters and a scarf. Indoors.  It’s freezing, freezing, freezing. Are you cold? Can you feel your fingers? I can’t. Let’s heat things up, Domincan-style. 1. Dance the Merengue or the Bachata (links go to YouTube videos) You’ll be shaking your hips as you click, click across the floor. You’ll also be burning calories and, most likely, you’ll be smiling. So grab a partner and let’s have some fun! Don’t have a partner? Grab a broom! 🙂 2. Eat Sanocho Comfort-food doesn’t really do this stew justice. It is on a whole other plane of existence. With variations around the Latin American world, Dominicans take the cake with a version that would make any meat-lover swoon (hello, Homer Simpson) – it includes heaping portions of seven meats. In one bowl you might spot goat, pork, tripe, oxtail, chicken, rabbit, or even pigeon. That’s some serious protein. 2. La Bandera Think for a minute – what what foods make up the colors of your flag? Now, imagine making dinner with those foods. That’s what Dominicans have …

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