Month: December 2011

Happy-New-Year

Globally inspired New Year’s Drinks for your every mood

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, I’m moody. Some years I want to stay up all night, partying with all the time zones, the whole world over. Some years I am so tired I can’t even stay up to watch the ball drop on TV.  More often than not, I’m snoring by 10 p.m. The nice thing about cooking the world is learning that there is most definitely a drink for every mood, no matter what time you drink it – no matter if you’re in a crowd or totally (and happily) alone. So, come along, no matter how you feel, or how you celebrate – let’s get moody this New Year’s … with a global drink from the far corners of the world, just right for where you are right now. Mood #1: The Homebody Feeling sick? Tired? Needing to curl up in a comforter and watch the ball drop from your living room? Try Hot Honey Lemon Vodka from Kyrgyzstan. You’ll be cozy as a clam and happy to boot. Plus the warm drink will …

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Stuffed and Fried Potato Wedges | Mbatan Batata

The New Year is all about possibility, hope, health, and doing things better. That’s why I’ll be deep frying as the ball drops. But I’m not deep-frying just anything. This isn’t the state fair (where everything from butter to kool-aid makes it into the bubbling oil). I’m in the real world. This is a Libyan dish – one that combines the best of everything – delicate potato wedges, stuffed with wonderfully spiced meat loaded up with fresh parsley, crunchy breadcrumbs and a whole lot of yum. I can count on one hand the number times I’ve deep fried in the last couple of years, so this is a big deal. And, while it isn’t steamed veggies, it’s pretty well rounded as far as fried food goes. Eh. Who am I kidding. This isn’t the healthiest dish in the world. But it is a nod to mixing things up, having little Adventures, getting out of my comfort zone. And that’s what I hope for all of us in 2012. Note: Some Libyans like to serve these swimming in …

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Menu: Libya

If I can pick food up with my fingers, I will. It just… tastes better. And forget double dipping… everyone needs their own dipping bowls in my house because theirs is not safe with me. I’m a triple dipper. Heck, I’m a quadruple dipper. This week, because holiday entertaining is still going strong, and because I’m in the mood for a good dippable snack, I chose finger foods. I found that Libya has some of the best around and – as you can see by Ava’s expression – she definitely agrees. What sounds good to you? Stuffed and Fried Potato Wedges (M’batan Batata) [Recipe] This is the best munchie food in the world. Deep-fried potato wedges stuffed with spiced lamb and parsley. Yep. That about says it all. Oh, except that you can triple dip it all you like in tomato sauce. Yum and awesome. Shortbread Cookies (Ghraiba) [Recipe] Two different cookies made with ghee, one plain and one with a bit of rich cocoa powder. The little balls are topped with cloves and pine nuts for a bit …

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About the food of Libya

I feel like I’m waking from a long walk in a deep fog. I spent this past weekend in a whirlwind of food, family, friends, and… the flu. I reached 101 on Christmas Day, which was just enough of a temperature to send me off napping for the better part of the afternoon. The interesting side effect was that I was ever more appreciative of the time I was awake and able to spend time with family. Now, as we roll back into normal life – cooking Libya – I find myself soothed by the familiar routine of stovetop travel. Translation? I’m happy as a clam to get back to business.  And – P.S. – I missed you. So, here we are. Let’s talk Libya. She’s a large country, mostly covered in sand (a.k.a. the Sahara). This means that the vast majority of Libya’s small population resides along the Mediterannean coast in rather crowded cities. Her people benefit from the same cooling sea as the rest of her neighbors and good thing, too, because the highest …

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Global Gingerbread Winners!

I hope you had a happy n’ fab weekend with family and friends. Today, let’s celebrate the world via gingerbread! Our gracious judges, Jenny Buccos from Project Explorer and Karen Chan from Globetrotter Diaries  were so kind to look over the Gingerbread for Peace entries and came up with 3 exceptional winners. The winners will earn hundreds in prizes, including gifts from AFAR Magazine, La Mer Collection, and donations to charities of choice. I’m so, so, so excited for them! In third place, we have The Chrysler Building by Molly Kitchen.  It is rare to see a gingerbread in black and white, but Molly pulled it off in style. Her beautiful structure shows great craftsmanship and we love that she put thought into how the Chrysler building related to the world as a whole. In Molly’s words: The Chrysler Building is one of the worlds most recognized and renowned art deco masterpieces. Its clean lines and terraced crown grace the New York skyline. The buildings simplistic and dynamic style serves as inspiration for this towering gingerbread house. As a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, …

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Reusable Grocery Bag 101 (Giveaway)

UPDATE: Thank you all for entering the contest. The lucky winner is Jordan, as chosen by Random.org! Please contact me to claim your prize, Jordan! I’ll be sure to get more in stock so everyone can purchase some soon. I’m thrilled at the wonderful response and all your fantastic emails. Thank you so much, you lift my spirit and keep me strong on this culinary marathon! I make a lot of trips to the grocery store. Over the years I’ve tried out many different kinds of reusable grocery bags and I’ve come to some serious, life-shattering conclusions. Well, okay, maybe not that serious. But still. Here’s my thoughts, in a nutshell… Reusable Wisdom 1. Forget about it. If I forget to bring the bag, it’s worthless to me. The types of bags I am guaranteed to forget are the large tote style. By the time I’m done unloading the groceries, I’m ready to flop on the couch. The last thing on my mind is going back outside to put them in the car. And if I do remember? …

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My very global Christmas menu is… vegan!

Sometimes I have my act together. Like Thanksgiving. I was pretty well organized and knew what I wanted to make way ahead of time. I had a grocery list two weeks before necessary and practically had everything timed out to the minute. Not today. I am still desperately trying to figure out what to make for our big holiday dinner in just a few days. Mom”s been mostly vegan these last couple of years days so I’m thinking we’ll have mostly vegan and vegetarian dishes, with one or two other treats, for Keith and I. So here are the contenders… Side Dishes: There’s a half ton of great vegan side dishes around the world. Many of my favorites are from back before I had figured out how to take a nice picture or write an entertaining post. However,  the recipes still taste great and are worth consideration. I’ll have my mom pick one or two of these: Mediterranean Roast Veggies (Briam) [Recipe] First up is this layered casserole from our Cypriot Global Table. I love it …

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A week of global celebrations

We’re taking a week to celebrate. To smile and laugh. To throw imaginary snowballs. To sing songs at the top of  lungs, despite the fact that we don’t know all the lyrics. To quote Ava: “we wish you, we wish you… we … wish you…WE WISH YOU!!!” (She’s working on memorizing the rest) I’m also going to share some great Global tidbits with you throughout the week. Here’s the itinerary: Global holiday menu ideas Sneak peak of our very own Global Table Adventure reusable shopping bags (!) Global New Year’s ideas Winners of our Gingerbread for Peace competition Meanwhile, feel free to browse the interactive map filled with countries I’ve cooked. And be sure to check out our halfway video. Spread the love!

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Monday Meal Review: Liberia

THE SCENE: The first of two cakes. I walk up to her proudly. I carry the still-warm cake in my hands. The scent of cinnamon, and molasses fills the room. “What is it?” she asks, peering into the pan. “Gingerbread cake” I reply. “Ooh,” she says. With a quick flourish I flip the cake over onto the platter. “Should we see what it looks like?” I ask. Her eyes grow wide. “Yeah!” she says. Dramatically, I raise the pan. “What is it?” she gasps, staring at the golden rings of delicately overlapped plantains. “Plantains” I say, smiling. She recoils, like a vampire from garlic. It’s been a while since we’ve had plantains. They’re like strangers again. “It’s… it’s… bananas!” I hurriedly say, grasping to find something she can relate to. She comes closer again, looking at the buttery, sugary goodness. “Bananas!” she smiles. But I can’t lie. Not for long, anyway. I wait until the exact moment she takes a bite to correct myself. “Yes, plantains are like bananas. These are plantains.” With the food already in …

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Smoked Ham & Green Bean | Jollof

I’m that girl who orders the same thing over and over again at restaurants. I know – not what you’d expect from someone cooking the world. But I can’t help it. I like knowing what to expect. Plus, there’s nothing worse than wasting hard-earned money on a dish that I could possibly end up hating. After all, it’s not like I can send the food back just because I don’t like it. Now, to be fair, I’m a completely different person at home. Without the burden of outrageous restaurant bills, I’m a free spirit.  I play with food. Experiment. Get all MacGyver on it. If things begin to head south, I’m quick on my feet. A dash of this and a squirt of that will usually bring the meal back into edible form. I rarely make the same thing, the same way, twice. Well, today we’re revisiting Jollof – a dish we made a few months ago with such success that I thought I’d make another popular variation for Liberia, a country that loves Jollof as much as any …

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Warm Mango and Cloves

Welcome to my weakness. The mango. If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed I make a lot of recipes with this heavenly fruit. Quite possibly I’ve made more mango recipes than anything else. Everything about the mango is perfect. Sweet. Golden. Juicy. And, right now, totally in season. So, go find one (or five hundred). Rain or shine. In Liberia they like to chop them up and cook them with cloves. About four cloves will give the mango an alluring, but not overpowering flavor – reminiscent of pie filling. If the mangoes are perfectly ripe, they don’t even need sugar. Otherwise, a spoonful should do you. Cook for just ten minutes and serve this as-good-as-pie-filling with a big dollop of whipped cream. The whipped cream melts just a little from the heat of the snuggly-warm mangoes… Good luck sharing this with anyone else. I ate the whole thing by myself. Ava was napping. Keith was working. And I, … well, I have no regrets. Here’s how you do it: Serves 1-2 Ingredients: 2 cups …

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Plantain Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake

  I’m not really a dessert person, so it’s all the more surprising when I come across a recipe which makes me want to lock the doors, draw the curtains, and eat until every last crumb is gone. I mean, seriously. Plaintain Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake??! If this isn’t the perfect holiday recipe, I don’t know what is. And of all the places for it to come from… Denmark is known for gingerbread. Germany. Even the United States. But I was genuinely surprised to find gingerbread cake in the bustling big cities of Liberia. Now, I’m not talking the same-old gingerbread you’ve had before. This is an African spin. Yes, it’s a standard upside-down cake, but instead of pineapple, it boasts a dizzying spiral of ripe, tropical plantains – a perfect match for the molasses-based cake.  The butter and brown sugar bubble and brown, making the edges of the cake just a little bit crisp – which is the best part. For those of you wondering, the love of gingerbread comes from Liberia’s historical ties with …

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