Month: May 2011

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Caribbean Dumplings | Spinners & Sinkers

Makes about 10 Perhaps you’ve had a rough week. Perhaps you need a little comfort. The time is right… come over my friends; let’s make a batch of Spinners & Sinkers. I thought I knew what a dumpling was until I met a batch of Caribbean Spinners and Sinkers. They don’t look like any dumpling I’ve ever had. They are long and gently tapered, which causes them to sink and spin and dance while they cook in simmering water. Traditional dumplings just bob and float. Spinners and Sinkers are also incredibly easy to make – an ideal activity for children – and, in my opinion, quicker to throw together than a traditional dumpling. They are dense and substantial – add them to soups and stews, such as Oil Down and your belly will be quite pleased with you. Recipe adapted from The World Cookbook for Students. Ingredients: 1 cup flour 1/4 cornmeal 1/2 tsp salt warm water, as needed Method: To make a fresh batch of comfort, start by mixing together the flour and cornmeal …

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How to walk like a Grenadian (w/ poll)

If you’re thinking this pale green fruit is sweet and unassuming, think again. By the time she turns soft and golden, she will pop open to reveal her true personality and it’s rather punk rock. First of all, there’s the vivid red mace which seems to slither and snake around the fruit’s dark inner shell. Despite the strange appearance, people try and eat mace both for it’s mild flavor and vivid color. Then, once you break open the hard casing, there’s the most floral fragrant goodness your nose (and mouth) have ever sniffed (and tasted). This is nutmeg, the spice we so affectionately use in grandma’s apple pie and in recipes like homemade nutmeg ice cream.  If you think that’s sweet, think again. Too much can make your tongue go numb, or even kill you. I told you, this is one tough broad. Finally, well… she proves exactly how tough she is – by allowing her dried, cracked, hard husks to be laid out in paths, like gravel, for pedestrians to enjoy. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Sometimes …

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Nutmeg Ice Cream

Makes 1 1/2 quarts Pull up a chair. I have a secret to tell you. You are missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures if you’ve never made homemade ice cream. I’ve spent many a summer day hovering over a spinning, whirring ice cream machine…  waiting – rather impatiently- for the liquid to solidify into creamy goodness, just so I can eat it up with a spoon directly out of the container. The milk and cream mixture completes its glorious transformation in less than thirty minutes in a machine (which is a great plug and play alternative to the hand cranked models of yore). Today’s recipe comes all the way from Grenada yet tastes so familiar, almost like summertime eggnog, thanks to the addition of their pride and joy – the noble nutmeg. I call it ever-so nutmeg because it is ever-so good. The bonus? Our recipe is a little lighter than some ice creams, which typically include equal parts milk and cream. NOTE: If you purchased a 2 cup container of heavy cream, …

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Menu: Grenada

Say hello to our menu, inspired by Grenada’s sandy beaches and lively seaside parties. While I’ve wished (over and over again) that Oklahoma had a shoreline, the best thing I can do for now is to have beach parties without the beach. I know it’s a stretch but, if it’s particularly windy, the Oklahoma wind almost sounds like the ocean… and then I don’t miss Cape Cod and Boston nearly so much. If you haven’t already guessed, let me just say – we do a lot of imagining in our house. Case in point: we read Ava about ten books a day. This latest book we picked up, called Thank You, World, is a brilliant way to dream about how things are done in other lands. In the picture above we’re looking at the ways kids sleep around the world; she’s pointing out the child happily crashed out in a hammock. Adorable. Vegan Oil Down with Yucca [Recipe] Oil Down can be made with breadfruit or yucca – our recipe uses the latter, the very ingredient I swore off months …

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About the food of Grenada

Have you ever known someone who is so lovely that, even if they were caught in a rainstorm, they’d still be stunning? Someone who never wears lipstick and mascara, but still manages to draw eyes from across the room? Welcome to Grenada. Pretty, no matter what the weather. And trust me, she’s had her test of hurricanes. Known as the spice island, Grenada has it all – from clear waters to winding mountain paths, and from tropical jungle waterfalls to bustling town markets. As for what’s in the markets… well… let’s just say if you’re looking for nutmeg, Grenada is the place to be. This cluster of seven islands is second only to Indonesia as the world’s greatest producer of nutmeg (as well as the outer fruit, mace) and it’s particularly great in the regional specialty, nutmeg ice cream [Recipe]. Just don’t eat a lot. Nutmeg can make your tongue numb. Too much can even kill you. Don’t ask me how I know that. The numb tongue part. Not the killing part. Let’s change the …

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Monday Meal Review: Greece

THE SCENE: “No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” – Julia Child, Appetite for Life Thirty-four candles flickered on the stone wall planter around us. Six tealights danced on the table before us. The moon was out of sight, floating somewhere above the trees. I reached for my glass of wine, feeling a warm summer breeze brush my arm, as if to say “hello.” Friday night. Four friends, sharing food in the calm peace that comes with not having to answer to anyone or anything for two whole days. The weekend. We’ve grown so accustomed to eating our food with our hands, we picked up the Greek salad with bits of pita bread, leaving the forks untouched. Even the lamb kabobs were finger food, for Keith and I. The spanakopita – definitely. The night lingered while we caught up on old news. And then, I shattered the moment. I could almost hear Julia Child groan. “I’m sorry for the dessert.” Almost as I said it, I caught myself. “It’s … simple, but I really hope …

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Greek Village Salad | Horiatiki

Serves 4 Mr Picky’s eyes bulged when I told him that an authentic Greek salad does not include lettuce. “I thought all salads had to have lettuce,” he said. I went down the list of ingredients, playing up what might be my favorite salad in the world, simply in the hopes of converting him. He hate olives and vinegar, and barely tolerates tomatoes, so it was a tough sell. Still, Greek salads are on my short list. In New England you can get one at almost every restaurant. Here, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I’ve only managed to find them in Greek restaurants, of which there is sadly a short supply. The good news? It’s spectacularly easy to make at home. I find dressing this salad at least thirty minutes ahead of time gives the flavors a chance to mingle. Ingredients: 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges 1 green pepper, sliced thinly 1/2 an English cucumber sliced thinly, or 1 regular cucumber peeled and then sliced 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly 3.5 ounces feta, cubed 1/2 cup kalamata …

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Grilled Greek-Style Lamb

Serves 4 When I started this Adventure I was seriously grill-challenged. Today, I am a new woman. I’ve learned how marinades can transform bland meat into craveable hunks of goodness, as with the intensely lemony Georgian Chicken recipe we made a few weeks ago. And now, today, I bring you Greek lamb… I would choose to eat these lamb chops over eating out any day of the week. The key is to slowly marinate the meat until it practically tingles from the inside out with garlic, lemon and a hit of rosemary. Ingredients: 2.5 lbs lamb, any combination of: Lamb Rib Chops Lamb T-Bone Chops Leg of Lamb, cubed (for kabobs) For the marinade: 4 cloves garlic 1-3 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp oregano 1/4 tsp pepper 2 strips lemon peel, or 1/2 a lemon zested 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice Method: Run to the store and buy some potted herbs. Plant them here, there, and everywhere. They’ll make your garden so gorgeous. An herb garden is unbelievably easy to grow and …

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Greek Yogurt with Honey

Makes 1 serving I’ll try every dish at least one time thanks, in great part, to this humble dessert. I first had it on my 8th grade class trip to Greece, during a day trip to the Delphi ruins. The road weaved and bobbed through dark green forests that clung to the mountainsides. I, too, was dark green by the time we stopped for lunch at a quaint restaurant nestled under a cliff. Unfortunately – or fortunately – Greek food awaited. There was no time to be sick. While I have no memory of the main course, I do remember the dessert – yogurt with a dollop of golden honey. I’ve thought of it often since then, much  like an elderly woman dreams of young love. Of course, at the time, I was nowhere as poetic. In fact, I met the dessert with an ugly face. A yuck face. I almost pushed it away, but – on a whim – decided to give it a chance. Thank goodness for small miracles. Ingredients* *These proportions should serve …

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the cheesiest of them all? (w/ poll)

You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but the Greeks love cheese almost as much as the air they breathe. They are seriously cheesy. So cheesy, in fact… well… let’s see if you can follow this: The average Greek woman weighs somewhere around 60 kg. The average Greek eats 25 kg of cheese per year. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the average Greek woman eats almost half her weight in cheese every year (just over 40%). Epic. I must move to Greece immediately and catch up for lost time. If you don’t believe me, read Lonely Planet Greece, where they clearly state that Greeks are so cheesy they “consume more cheese per capita than any other country in the world.” So what cheese does the cheesiest country in the world favor? The most beloved cheese in Greece is Feta – a salty, dry cheese made with goat or sheep’s milk. In fact, it is known as the National cheese of Greece. We’ve already featured feta in our Spanakopita recipe and will also feature it in …

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Spanakopita

Makes about 18 triangles While I probably ate Spanakopita in Greece, I can’t be completely sure. You see, I was much too busy singing “Some say love” to my first boyfriend while walking around ancient ruins, holding hands. Literally. We blushed occasionally. Our palms were sweaty. Gosh. Corny doesn’t begin to describe it, but – even still – I will attempt to convince you of the wisdom of Bette Midler which, ironically enough, applies directly to the mighty spanikopita: It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. So here’s my message for you: no matter what your trepidations might be, suppress them long enough to make spanakopita. Don’t worry about unwieldy phyllo dough breaking – just keep it covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Don’t worry about falling asleep while making them – borrow a friend to help you. You’ll laugh and conquer the challenge together! And, if you have a little spare time, take a trip to Greece and …

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Menu: Greece

This weekend was wonderful for three reasons. 1) I had the joy of being with my sweet daughter and husband for Mother’s Day. We went to the immaculate gardens at the Philbrook Museum and pretended to be 18th century royalty. Also, Keith made me French Toast and did the dishes. And took me to dinner. And had my knives sharpened. And got a pedicure… with me. It was pretty epic, as far as Mother’s Days go. 2) I got my first hair cut in over a year. Maybe in two years… I’m not sure. While I hated it at first, I’ve grown to love the fact that my neck is no longer covered by a ratty pony tail. 3) We reached Greece on this crazy world-food Adventure. I remember when I started this blog 1.25 years ago, how far away that seemed. Well, here we are, more than 1/3 of the way through the countries, with a menu I’d eat every week if I could. Spanakopita [Recipe] Spinach and feta cheese wrapped in lightly buttered phyllo dough. …

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