Month: October 2012

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Menu: Qatar (w/ giveaway)

I’m telling you right now: there’s something in the air. It’s that thing that makes me want to snuggle under the comforter and watch the leaves fall off the trees with one eye cracked and a steaming teacup nearby. There’s just one problem. It was 85F yesterday. Here’s the deal: even though summer is being stubborn, I’m moving on. I don’t care what the weather may be – if the leaves are red, then you can find me in bed with more blankets than I really need. Just because. And I might have some of these Qatari treats in there with me. Shhh, don’t tell. All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Cumin Seed Potatoes | Batata b’kamun [Recipe] Friends, this is your weeknight global fix. Simply fry up an onion with cumin, turmeric, and coriander and toss with boiled golden potatoes. An explosion of sweet, earthy spices awaits. Qatari comfort in a bowl. Olive oil Stuffed Grape Leaves | Warak Inab [Recipe] Headed to a potluck? This party dish can be …

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Pictures of some of the West Bay buildings. Photo by Kangxi emperor6868.

About the food of Qatar

I can’t believe we’ve arrived at Q. With one year and one month remaining in our Adventure, I am face to face with a tiny country jutting out into the Persian Gulf, east of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. This is Qatar’s week at the Global Table. Qatar. Just saying it makes me feel like I’m rounding third base, with my eye on the home run. Which, in turn, makes me a little sad, becausenow all I can think about is how little remains of this Adventure to eat the world. But Qatar has an answer for that. As they like to say: He who begets offspring doesn’t die. الّلي خلّف ما مات The idea of living on through our children – even if just as a whisper of an idea – is beautiful. And I think there’s many similarities between this blog and having a baby.  When we’re done going A-Z, you readers will be able to carry the Adventure on by  sharing the recipes with your families, at potlucks, and as gifts. The Adventure won’t die. …

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Monday Meal Review: Portugal

The older I get, the harder it is to find time to give. I am so wrapped up in my own life – my own business – that I forget that the easiest way to make the world smile is to give back. There’s a Portuguese proverb that reads: What is bought is cheaper than a gift. I had to reread the proverb several times to really grasp the meaning. I don’t think it means that we all need to be on Pinterest, super-crafting gifts for everyone (although that’s fun, too). While the proverb implies that a gift  cannot be bought, it also leaves it open to what constitutes a gift. Perhaps it could even be the gift of spending time together. Or really listening to someone unload their troubles (without the need to solve anything). Or maybe a gift is cooking something together for someone else. During this week’s Portuguese Global Table, Ava and I stood elbow to elbow. We giggled as we patted the soft dough into small squares, topped them with smoky chorizo sausage, …

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Tuna & Chickpea Salad | Atum com Grão

Paulo from Portugal told me Atum com Grão is the salad he served at his wedding. The wedding was in France, but they wanted to imbue the reception with a taste of his homeland. Being a very visual person, I immediately imagined his elegant, windswept bride in flowing white gown, chowing down on tuna and chickpeas tossed with onion, lemon juice, and parsley. To be honest, I relish the thought of a bride with tuna and onion breath. How brave. How confident! How awesome these people honor their traditions above and beyond all else. I love it. So here’s to crossing a bridge to new beginnings with the security of tuna and chickpeas on your side. If they can do it, so can we. (P.S. We can also replace the tuna with cod, he says and the lemon juice with vinegar. Lots of yummy options from Portugal.) Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 2, 15 oz cans of chickpeas (rinsed & drained) 1 12 oz can tuna, drained (I used solid white albacore tuna in spring water) 1 cup minced …

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Kale, Potato & Chorizo Soup | Caldo Verde

Under the glimmering night skies of Portugal, lines of people snake through the streets, waiting for steaming hot bowls of Caldo Verde. This is the nightclub crowd. The night shift crowd. And the I-can’t-sleep-again-because-I’m-thinking-of-him crowd. I was once a part of this group, wearing high heels until they ached. I was much too young to be out so late at night, but there was nothing like sizzling, steaming European street food to keep the evening’s excitement alive, even at four in the morning when all sensible people had retreated under their comforters. But who needs to go to sleep when there is Caldo Verde? Often sold with a steaming hot chorizo stuffed roll (called Pao com Chourico), this hearty soup is considered by some to be the national dish of Portugal. Each bite is a smooth blend of potatoes, garlic, and onion, with shaved kale and sprinkled with chorizo sausage. Compared to fritters and hot dogs, this is gourmet street food. In my excitement to eat the soup, I forgot to add a healthy drizzle of olive oil, …

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Chorizo Rolls | Pão com Chouriço

There are three ways to avoid the awkward party phenomenon. 1. You can get to the party early enough to snag a good seat on the couch. 2. You can bring a friend (it’s a well documented fact that, if you have a friend at your side, you’ll have someone to talk to when you don’t feel like dancing, someone to laugh with when you do feel like dancing, and someone to make sure you don’t do anything silly during the twilight zone part of the party). 3. Then there’s these rolls. Oh boy. Show up to a party with steaming hot Portuguese rolls filled with chorizo sausage and not only will you have something to hold onto when you’re not sure what to do with yourself, you’ll draw a crowd. People think bread is so hard to make, but the secret is you just pile everything into a bowl or standing mixer, mix it up, and let it sit for an hour and half. Then you shape it, let it rest and bake. Done! …

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Menu: Portugal (& Giveaway)

There’s a Portuguese saying “A caridade começa em casa,” or “Charity begins at home.” And what better way, than with food? This is the time of year to cook for friends, friends of friends, and not yet friends. This is the time of year to burst into a quiet room with the scent of freshly baked bread. When the gray skies hang low, you can be the entertainment in your home, office, and community. For starters, you can make a lot of people happy with Portuguese bread – especially when stuffed with chorizo sausage. You can also make people happy with nutritious, wintery salads, and soul-soothing soups. It’s even better if you have a three year-old share the goodies (not only is it cute, but it teaches her the importance of a giving spirit): All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Tuna & Chickpea Salad | Atum com Grão [Recipe] Think love in a salad… chickpeas, tuna, lemon juice, fresh cracked pepper and a happy drizzle of olive oil. It’s good for …

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Castillo de Marvao, photo by Elemaki.

About the food of Portugal

I’m not sure what I was thinking, but for some reason I had Portugal all wrong. I forgot about the impossible mountaintop castles, surrounded by water (and here’s another). I forgot about turquoise waters that swaddle neon villages. As for the food? I didn’t even have fish on my radar which is surprising, considering 1. most of Portugal’s border is coastal, 2. We’ve cooked Portuguese inspired food before, including Grilled Prawns with Piri Piri from Angola. Hello. Overcoming my extreme ignorance is exactly why I am on this Adventure. And I love it. Thankfully, one of our longtime readers offered to help me out. Three cheers for Paulo. First of all, he suggested a chickpea salad [Recipe] from his very own Portuguese wedding. I say if it’s good enough for a man’s nuptials, it’s good enough for just about anything. Paulo tells me the salad either includes tuna or cod and vinegar or lemon juice. Speaking of Cod, dried cod is everywhere, with enough recipes to fill every day of the year. Not only can you find it in …

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Monday Meal Review: Poland

I never expected a picnic to be so difficult. There’s a Polish saying, “Bez pracy nie ma kołaczy,” which means “Without work, there won’t be supper.” This was most definitely the theme of our week at the Polish Global Table. For starters, I spread out the cooking of each dish over the course of three days, slowly making each one when I could find the time. When I finally finished cooking, we took the apple pie to the park to share with friends. Keith didn’t catch much of “the scene” on camera, so I’ll have to relay it the best I can. After our first game (ever) of Frisbee Golf (which was quite fun, actually), we set up our picnic under a covered gazebo. We ate our meal with gusto (Ava was particularly hungry, since she had eaten her breakfast at some ungodly pre-dawn hour).  The breeze was mild and the sun was shining. Simply lovely. As I rummaged in our picnic backpack for the Tupperware filled with Polish apple pie, I heard footsteps. I looked up to find a serious looking …

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White Cucumber Salad | Mizeria

Misery. When I get out of a steaming hot shower in the icy heart of winter and frost settles onto my damp neck before I can towel off. When I eat too much food at the fair and go to bed immediately afterwards. When my feet are tired and hot after a long, long day but – for whatever reason – I can’t take my shoes off yet. When I eat cucumber salad? I feel fresh. Happy. Not exactly miserable. But misery is the Polish name of this crunchy, creamy cucumber salad made with sour cream, dill, a bit of sugar and a splash of vinegar. As for whether or not it lives up to its name? I’ll let you be the judge. Serves 2-4 Ingredients: 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced medium thinly sour cream 1/2- 3/4 cup, to taste 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill 2 tsp sugar, or to taste 2 tsp vinegar, or to taste Method: Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the instructions. Toss everything together and serve. Enjoy the misery.   Preferably …

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Polish Apple “Pie” | Szarlotka

We don’t always do what’s expected in my family. We laugh in the face of drama. We cry whenever happy. We eat pizza for breakfast. And we’re generally 10 years out of fashion (note: I’ll never slip into skinny jeans, so don’t hold your breath on that one). P.S. We never had normal birthday cakes. I liked to have the unusual and highly troublesome (in the best possible way) German Tree Cake on my birthday. Half the time my brother Damien requested apple pie for his. If we were Polish, homemade, sugar dusted Szarlotka is surely what he would have gotten. Since it’s apple picking season, any excuse is a great excuse to make apple pie. And I’m thrilled Poland has such a fun version… Now, I should clarify – this is not exactly pie per se – that’s simply the translation most often given for this sweet treat. Instead it looks more like a fruit bar with apple pie filling. The “crust” is like a cross between a shortbread cookie and pie crust. The dough is made …

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Cheese & Potato Pierogi

At any given moment I’m an arm’s reach from my cellphone. It’s not just a phone, it’s a laptop, a GPS, and – when my daughter tells it “I love you” – a female voice replies with almost lifelike bashfulness “You are sweet.”  Frankly, I’m frightened. That’s why, when I receive mail – real mail, bundled up in cardboard and clear packing tape – I get so excited. Cardboard boxes don’t talk back. The postage stamp doesn’t double as a GPS when I’m fifteen minutes late for a show. It simply sits there, until I open it. The best possible mystery. The way it should be. This week, Global Table Adventure received a package from my mom which tickled my funny bone in the most delightful way. This is reason #3,568,999 why my mom is so special. Ava, who was  as curious as I was, tore out the sheets of crinkly tissue paper to reveal a heavy duty heart-shaped bowl, small pitcher, and a covered sugar bowl. The bottom of each bowl read “Handmade in Poland.” …

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