Month: February 2013


Menu: Slovakia

This week is a culinary jackpot: a frugal collection of recipes, good for using up bread, beans, and bacon fat. While I had no idea Slovakia would be this enticing, Keith said “just looking at the ingredients on the counter, I knew I’d be happy.” And speaking of happy, I thought I’d share a great Slovakian quote about happiness… “He’s so pleased, he keeps getting younger.”* I love it.. although I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure what it means… All recipes and posts will be shared throughout the week. Grilled Garlicky Bacon Bread | Hrianka [Recipe] This is quite possibly the most amazing recipe in the course of this blog. Thick slices of bread griddled in bacon drippings, then rubbed with raw garlic. Easy. Smart. Bacony. Hello, friend. Slovak Sour Bean Soup [Recipe] This is stick-to-your-ribs comfort, as good as any creamy potato soup the world around… but with it’s own regional twist: a splash of vinegar and a swirl of sour cream. Inside you’ll also find beans and bacon. Win. Win. Quick Blueberry Bublanina [Recipe] The …

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Vrbové, city center. Photo by Stanislav Doronenko.

About the food of Slovakia

Just when I thought I’d seen the most beautiful castles in the world, Slovakia slides into my vision. Her mighty mountains, sparkling lakes, and deep forests are as lovely as any other in Eastern Europe, but the castles are simply unreal. It is not the architecture that speaks most strongly to me, but the way these stopping posts for the weary hearted reach out of nature with almost alarming boldness. One look can lead a dreamer to distraction. I can’t help but wonder…What lives once stood small and proud amid these mighty walls? A view like this can keep love alive for centuries… just nestle me somewhere in this photo and I’ll live out my days content. Call me an eternal romantic. I don’t mind. I’d rather have a heart that melts like a waterfall than a one of clammy stone. The best part? The castles aren’t Slovakia’s only comforts. Step out of the cool air, into their welcoming homes, and you’ll find kitchens a-bubble with the warmth of hearty stews – beans, pork, or …

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Monday Meal Review: Singapore

Hi, friends! Our weekly review is now  offered to you on video. I’m realizing that telling you the story of what we experienced is far more powerful with video; if photos are worth a thousand words, video must be worth a million. [dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]This week’s lesson: Singapore teaches us how condiments can spice up an ordinary dinner, Global Table style, even for the pickiest among us.[/dropshadowbox] As always, I’d love your thoughts: how do you use condiments (local or global) to give your meals a boost? UPDATE:  I had no idea this new format would stir such a strong response. Please know, I’m hearing you all… thanks for weighing in. It seems the general thought that the new video format is good, but the words need to stay? My intention was to move some of the text into the actual recipes, to make them stronger… but if you prefer it separated out, I’d love to know why. Thanks for your input… you’re the reason this blog exists (as …

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Singapore Chilli Sauce

The act of “saucing” food in Singapore is not as simple as I expected it to be. From what I can tell, there’s two schools of thought on the matter. First: the ‘dip & dunk’ variety, a.k.a. those who keep a bowl of incendiary hot sauce next to their plates for regular food baths. Second: the ‘drizzle & bedazzle’ variety, a.k.a. those who let the sauce rain down over their food, free-form. While I wouldn’t normally expect this to be a big deal, the foodies of Singapore are so impassioned that they are more than happy to come up to you and show you their preferred method… especially if you look even the littlest bit unsure (this happened to Bourdain countless times on his No Reservations trips there). Should this ever happen to you, my advice is to enjoy the free cultural lesson – the chance to learn from a local. There are hundreds of Singaporean recipes for Chilli Sauce (P.S. You can spell chilli with one “l” or two, and I can’t quite decide which looks right… thoughts?). …

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Coconut Curd | Kaya

Singapore is a true melting pot. In every kitchen, you’ll find time honored traditions from around the world, especially India, China, Malaysia, and Europe. Today’s recipe, Kaya, belies the British influence on the islands. Think tea time and crumpets. But Asian-style. Here’s the skinny: Kaya is Coconut Curd. Curd is a spread that’s thickened with egg yolks… In this sense, Kaya is just like Britain’s much adored lemon curd, but with the hauntingly addictive flavor of rich, velvety coconut milk instead of tart lemon juice. While the tropical spread would be incredible between cake layers, the most traditional use in Singapore is on toast for breakfast or teatime. Kaya is smooth and silky on the tongue, and makes any breakfast instantly feel special. The best part is that there are only three ingredients, the luscious blend is vegetarian, and, just by chance, gluten-free. Win. Win. Win. I suggest sipping a little tea or coffee on the side… perhaps with a mega view, like this: P.S. I think kaya would also be divine on crumpets, scones, or biscuits. P.P.S. Kaya would …

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Singapore’s Beloved “Chicken Rice”

The minute Anthony Bourdain said he got boo’d in Singapore over Chicken Rice, I knew the recipe had edged out all other contenders for a place on our Singaporean Global Table. It’s true – when the world-renowned food star admitted that, after 7 visits, not only did he not have a favorite Chicken Rice joint, but that he’d never even taken a bite of this national favorite, the apparent transgression was enough to send the crowd in an uproar. I can’t even imagine. Talk about food love. Unexpected and pure.   Food for Thought: All this hoopla made me wonder what about my culture’s food is this way – what dish must a visitor try to have truly experienced American culture? Pizza? Chowder? I have to say, I was stumped. I’d love to hear your thoughts, if anything comes to mind. For, now, back to business… let’s talk Chicken Rice. This is a deceptively simple dish – one that could be summed up as room temperature chicken over rice. But that summary would do the dish a great disservice. There’s …

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Menu: Singapore

“Where there is a sea, there are pirates.” Proverb from Singapore The funny thing about cooking food from a food lover’s paradise, like Singapore, is that I expected the food to be complicated, full of obscure steps and hair-pulling finesse. Food pirates, so to speak. But there wasn’t one in sight. Perhaps Singapore is a food lover’s paradise in every sense, even for the cooks, because this menu is not only simple, but benefits from just a few odd or more involved steps (like dipping a hot chicken in ice water, and stirring the coconut kaya often, so it doesn’t lump up). Easy, breezy, so we can get down to enjoying our dinner. All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Chicken Rice [Recipe] You can’t go to Singapore without trying Chicken Rice, or so says Anthony Bourdain. This simple chicken dish is served with ginger, garlic, and shallot infused rice, then slurried all over with dark soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro, green onion, and chili sauce. Singapore Chili Sauce [Recipe] …

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Downtown Raffles Place by Dem Romero

About the food of Singapore

Imagine a land of sparkling skyscrapers built in a land so humid that, if you shut your eyes, you could almost feel the rain forest drip down onto your cheeks. This is Singapore, a slick, modern, island nation known for her diverse population, epitomized by an astounding four official languages (Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil). Where once towering jungle stood, glass and steel now touch the sky. If you’re looking for sprawling nature, you’ll have to spread out a little, and explore her 50 other small islands. Anthony Bourdain said of Singapore’s melting pot: “If you love food, this might be the best place on earth.”  The irony, of course, is that this spectacular food comes served in Food Courts, something I steer clear of in our Midwestern malls, where sad toothpicks of syrupy chicken are pushed in my direction, as unwelcome as they are flabby. But food courts in Singapore are a different animal entirely. In the clean, often noisy kitchens which overlook clusters of metal tables and chairs, chefs are local stars – specialists in their specific …

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Monday Meal Review: Sierra Leone

Hi Friends! This week we’re trying something new with our weekly video, combining Ava’s Corner with a brief review from me. I’m a little camera shy, so I thought I’d do something a little silly, like sit in a green chair, in my kitchen. Just because. Special thanks to my dear husband, Keith (a.k.a. Mr. Picky), for editing our video, as always. I’d love to hear what you think of this new format in the comments. Enjoy: xo Sasha & family THE FOOD Okra & Eggplant Stew [Recipe] What I liked most about this dish: While the slick, slippery okra tested me, Mr. Picky and Ava weren’t even phased. In fact, they loved it (they didn’t even know it was in there, actually), which probably had as much to do with the fact that I didn’t make a big fuss (or any fuss, really) about the dish. I simply put it on the table, matter-of-factly. For Ava, the trick was to give her a piece of the meat ahead of time to nibble, with just a …

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West African Peanut Bites | Kanya

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this Adventure, it’s that my family’s unfaltering love of peanuts inexorably links us to the fine people of West Africa, where this little legume is  enjoyed in both savory and sweet concoctions. Peanut soups and cookies are both fair game, but today we explore Kanya, an altogether new delight. Kanya are naturally gluten free and beyond simple, made with just three ingredients: peanuts, sugar, and toasted rice flour. That’s it! Kanya remind me of fudge, but with a drier, slightly crunchy texture thanks to the toasted rice flour. There’s just one catch (there always is, isn’t there?)… If you want to make Kanya the old fashioned way, you’re going to need arms of steel to push, and punch, and grind the mixture until it is so pulverized that it begins to stick together. Women in Sierra Leone (and beyond) know this art well and can be found patiently pounding grains and peanuts in the dappled sunlight, laughing and talking all the while. When I read about Kanya, I …

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12 Romantic Recipes from Around the World, Just in time for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and there’s no better way to show love than to bump hips in the kitchen, or, at the very least, to deliver an edible prize to the champion who stole your heart.  While you’re at it, why not take your love on a mini vacation, via stovetop travel? Without leaving your own global table, they can experience Egypt, Belgium, Morocco, Malawi, and beyond. And you can go with them, in the most sensual way possible: with your taste buds. It’s all here, for the ravishing, so go on, eat your way around the world.   PART ONE: 5 Unique Ways to Give Your Sweetheart Flowers   1. Egyptian White “Coffee” Mix hot water with rose water, made from thousands (millions!) of rose petals and  a little sugar, and you’ll have a caffeine-free way to warm up next to your sweetheart.  A great drink for late night cuddling, since it won’t keep you up past your bedtime. Unless you want to stay up past you bedtime. 2. Moroccan Honey Buttered Semolina …

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