Month: March 2013

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Sri Lankan Yellow Rice | Kaha Bath

After you make this recipe, you will be haunted. Your home will blossom with the tropical scents of Sri Lanka. And your mouth will beg to remember each bite: the slightly toasted note from the curry leaves, the vanilla-like pandan, and the ultra creamy coconut milk.  Not to forget the cinnamon, because.. well, how could we? This sweet, sweet earthiness pulls the rice together. Yes. When it comes to this rice, it’s all good. Now, there’s nothing simpler than this rice.  This is an “Add everything to the pot and cook” sort of recipe… and once you make it, I’m certain it will make it’s way into the regular rotation. It’s simply too easy and too flavorful. To make your life easier, just follow these simple guidelines: 1. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Asian market. 2. Pick up an armful of pandan and curry leaves and tuck them safely into your freezer door. 3. Toss them in a pot and enjoy the happily ever after that is Sri Lanka’s Yellow Rice, or Kaha Bath. 4. …

Easter

Fun Easter Recipes from Around the World

I always know when it’s Easter. My daughter is surrounded by a sea of plastic eggs. Jelly beans and skittles show up in the oddest places. But sometimes I want something a little less commercial. A little more homemade. And a whole lot delicious. Here are my three favorite Easter recipes from our Global Table Adventure… they are perfect for a fun afternoon of baking with your family, or go fancy and make them for brunch. 1. Easter Cookies, a.k.a. Figolla from Malta [Recipe] These lemon zest infused sugar cookies are stuffed with a marzipan filling, then iced. I love these so much, I even made them for a friend’s wedding. They are such a conversation starter, and it’s nifty they come from a tiny island in the Mediterranean (can we all just shut our eyes for a moment and just… go? 2. Romanian Easter Bread, a.k.a. Pasca [Recipe] Take everything you love about brioche and combine it with cheesecake. In spirit, anyway. This Romanian bread is gorgeous and would make excellent Easter Brunch (just …

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Coconut Roti

The best thing about thinking I don’t like something, is finding out how wrong I am. I’ve always operated under the assumption that flaked coconut is much too squeaky between my teeth. Sri Lanka and these Coconut Roti proved me wrong. There’s something so refreshing about dumping three ingredients in a bowl and emerging with warm, doughy flatbread that smells like a day in the tropics. Or Sri Lanka, to be specific. In fact, I did an entire post cataloging the best recipes with three ingredients or less from around the world. I learned how to make these by watching my friend shake flour and coconut shreds into a bowl. There wasn’t a measuring cup in sight. She added the water by feel, too. When I asked her the ratio of coconut to flour, she shrugged and said “a little coconut. more flour.” So, as you make these, remember her advice. There really is no wrong way to make coconut roti. As long as you eat them warm… Makes 8-10 small, or 4-6 large Ingredients: 2 cups flour …

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White Dal Curry

My friend Ruby grew up in Sri Lanka and spent the better part of her 40th birthday making sure I learned everything there is to know about the food. Here she is drinking Ceylon Tea, grown in … you guessed it… Sri Lanka! Ruby isn’t keen on cooking (or so she claims), so she supervised while her dear friend Iona showed me the ropes. Iona blew me away by whipping up not one, not two, but three curries. I fell in love each steaming, fragrant batch. There was everything from beef to chicken. But I left most excited about making this White Dal. Why? Because what tastes amazing and what I actually have time to make … well, they rarely come together. White Dal is something that can be thrown together very easily with a minimum of ingredients, which fits perfectly into my mom schedule. It also happens to be vegan, which is an added bonus.. The flavor is outstanding thanks to three simple ingredients: pandan, curry leaves, and a cinnamon stick. These first two can be …

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Menu: Sri Lanka

“When the dogs bark at the moon, the moon is not brought down because of it. “ Sri Lankan Proverb I love this proverb. Sometimes we forget how much we shine, because of the “barking” all around us. Sometimes we listen to that barking, rather than listen to the truth of our own reality. The fact is: a little barking can’t bring you and me down, no more than it can bring the moon down. Remember that, friends… you are beautiful. Keep on shining. The noise can’t drown you out. And while you’re shining, try this beautiful, vegan Sri Lankan feast. All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Quick White Dal Curry [Recipe] Masoor Dal with garlic, onion, turmeric, pandan (aka rampe), curry leaf, and a splash of coconut milk. Sri Lankan Yellow Rice | Kaha Bath [Recipe] The most haunting combination of rice, coconut milk, pandan, curry leaf, and turmeric. If I could eat this every day of my life, I’d be one happy girl. Coconut Roti [Recipe] You’re just three ingredients …

Sri Lankan elephants roaming in the Kaudulla National Park. Photo by Christophe Meneboeuf ( http://www.pixinn.net)

About the food of Sri Lanka

This week our kitchens take us to the small, pear-shaped island country called Sri Lanka. She’s just southeast of India, loaded with tropical hills, mountains, and a fresh, dreamy sort of ocean breeze. She was once known as “Ceylon,” a name which can still be found in the tea that grows abundantly on her slopes. Between the crocodiles, monkeys, and elephants, her lush forests hide coconut trees, one of the staple ingredients in Sri Lanka. [dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Fun Fact: Did you know the elephant is the national animal of Sri Lanka?[/dropshadowbox] So beautiful… My friend Ruby’s husband is from Sri Lanka and I got to sample several homemade dishes recently and fell in love with their use of coconut.* It is no exaggeration to say that coconut is in nearly every recipe. In fact, a fascinating article was just posted about the Sri Lankan coconut and its uses on Splendid Table. From coconut roti (a flatbread also found in India) [Recipe], to yellow rice [Recipe],  to dal [Recipe], the creamy milk and …

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Monday Meal Review: Spain

The more I need to laugh, the more I hole myself up in solitude. Does that make me an introvert? This week I holed up… major. I watched my paella turn canary yellow while my husband and daughter played in the yard. The trees were budding. The birds were singing. But I stood in my windowless kitchen. I stared into the paella as it plumped up. I wondered if I could drink in the steam coming off the rice, and whether or not it would conjure up the most honest sort of happiness. Can food do that? Because, if it can, I want to eat it. Surely Spanish food can. The truth is, I was so scared I’d mess up the paella, when my neighbors said they were too busy to join us, I decided not to invite anyone else over to try our Spanish Global Table. It just seemed easier to live a bit in the shadows. You see, I’ve been working on my book to be published by National Geographic in 2014… writing …

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Churros with Cinnamon Sugar

Much to my husband’s dismay, I am not well acquainted with deep-fried desserts. There is one exception: the apple cider doughnuts mom made when I was little.  She’d set up a giant pot of bubbling oil and we’d cut and drop discs of cider dough into the shimmering oil, waiting with glee until tiny donuts bobbed up to the surface, golden brown and irresistible. Then we rolled the puffy rounds in cinnamon sugar. But then… this week… Spain introduced me to Churros… and the words “deep fried” and “cinnamon sugar” popped back into my life… delighting me, Keith, and Ava in equal measure. Churros can be found in Portugal, Spain, Mexico, and even right here in the United States… yet I’d never had them until this week (is that a crime?). The fun bit? Churros can be straight, knotted, twisty, or curly. Or, as with mine, they can take on a life of their own. (Doesn’t wiggly, wobby, imperfect fried dough taste the best?) These strips of eggy dough are piped through a star tip into hot oil …

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Sangria

About five years ago Sangria was my go-to drink. A sweet, chilled glass served as my weekend wind-down and my mid-week pick-me-up. I sipped the ruby red goodness with friends… and it brought us joy, whether we were laughing or crying. Sangria became such a standby, I even served it at our engagement party in 2007. P.S. Look how glamorous (and eerie) our engagement photo was (Thanks to my amazing friend Rebekah Shannon!) … this feels like a lifetime ago… and I suppose it is, because it’s pre-Ava’s lifetime. But, back to the Sangria. Despite my initial flush of excitement with this Spanish drink, I eventually fell out of love with Sangria; the flavor grew to seem one-dimensional and way too sweet. I suppose the drink felt rather like dating a pretty boy. The fling was nice for a while, but without mutual interests – something deeper – the romance fizzled all too quickly. Then I made a batch of Sangria from scratch. That changed everything. Let’s just say I fell back in love. I made one major change: …

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Paella

Making Paella is quite the trick. Making authentic paella is even harder. My mission this week was to make a simple, yet flavorful paella for our Spanish Global Table. Something easy enough for a Monday, but special enough for a Friday. One that would be rather… well… business in front, party in the back. Or maybe not. Friends, I did my research. In fact, I spent a lot of time reading mediocre online reviews of what should have been amazing paella recipes. These recipes were crafted by chefs and superstars yet, without fail, half of the commenters complained of the paellas being bland, while the other half loved the bold flavors. I was mystified, until I happened upon this comment: “If you’re going to use saffron, then use it.” The recipe had, like so many, called for a “pinch” of saffron. After speaking with friends, we agreed that a “pinch” of saffron might lead someone to add three meager strands of saffron.. whereas another might grab a hefty pinch more equitable to a teaspoon (think of Emeril Lagasse’s “BAM” style). …

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Menu: Spain

This is such an exciting week at the Global Table. We’re finally cooking Spain. Let me tell you what… she’s sweet, crunchy, saffron-loaded, and blooming with smoked paprika. And she’s also… well… a little off. You see, I made a teeny weeny mistake on this menu (see Very Important Note #2, below). With humble apologies, I’d like to share this Spanish proverb and hope that we can be… One who draws water from stones. Saca agua de las pierdras.* i.e. Let’s be resourceful and make use out of everything that happens to us, good or bad. i.e. With the right attitude, there are no mistakes in life. Very Important Note #1: Thanks to all of you all who voted on our Facebook Page. You helped determine this fun, relatively simple menu with Paella. Yay! I couldn’t do it without you. Cheers! Very Important Note #2: I got the memo too late on the “Spaniards don’t put chorizo in their Paella.”  Yikes. For more authenticity, feel free to leave it out… this will give you a simple, coastal …

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About the food of Spain

Here we are. Spain. No pressure. (bonkers pressure!) When I started this lil’ ol’ Global Table Adventure, I honestly wasn’t sure we’d make it this far. That was more than three years ago. I had a six month-old cooing in my arms. And cooking 162 countries (let alone 195 – now 196 with the addition of South Sudan) seemed all but a fairy tale. But I plugged on. One dish per week. And so, here we are. We made it to the 163rd country! Spain. A rocky land, with a giant dry plateau called Meseta, and scrubby plains. Life is quite different from when we started all those years ago. Now, I have a three and a half year old who only rushes into my arms for brief, sweet respite. The rest of the time, she’s in this world, fully and completely. So, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine her in Spain. I can see her loving it as much as I did. I was there in December of 1998. I swam in …