Month: August 2013

ukranian-menu

Menu: Ukraine

“Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.” Ukrainian Proverb If you want your heart to sing like a Ukrainian, you’ll need a bundle of beets and an enormous pasta casserole. With bacon. (Of course). I’ve been trying to get my family to love beets as much as they love bacon for… years. Perhaps this is the week? The paring makes sense. If they go for it, it’ll be magic.. and totally Ukrainian. So what about you? Do you love bacon and beets in equal measure? All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week.   Ukranian Pasta Bake | Baked Lokshyna [Recipe] A happy blend of pasta, bacon, and creamy cottage cheese. This one’s all about back to school comfort. Big time. Ukrainian Beet Salad | Salat Vinagret [Recipe] Vegan and pink, this is one of Ukraine’s most beloved salads (you”ll also find it in Russia). The combination of beets, carrots, potatoes, and peas is refreshing, but it’s the sauerkraut that naturally “dresses” it.  

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About the food of Ukraine

“A dream is sweeter than honey.” Proverb from Ukraine This week we’re ambling over to Ukraine, in Eastern Europe.  We can get there on foot, by car, or plane, but why not chug-chug-chug through Ukraine’s ‘tunnel of love,’ a 3-mile section of lush, green train tracks? Seriously. What a dream. And then there’s the food. The food of Ukraine is hearty, spirit-warming vittles. Wheat porridge, called (Kutia/Kutya) is the traditional dish for Christmas eve. All year round, there’s lots of bacon, pasta casseroles [Recipe], dumplings (called Varenyky), and potatoes (caviar-potato pancakes, anyone?). On any given day, there will be roasts. And plenty of them. If all that sounds heavy, it is. This kind of food helps locals weather through chilly winters in the northern highlands. Where there is a Ukrainian, there is an apparent love for beets. Locals serve beets in salads [Recipe], roasts, and even in the ubiquitous borsch. We made borscht back when we cooked Belarus [recipe]; the main difference here, is that there are more vegetables and some added meat, like pork and beef. Then there’s stuffed …

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Monday Meal Review: Uganda

“It is better that trials come to you in the beginning and you find peace afterwards than that they come to you at the end.” Proverb from Uganda I spent our Ugandan meal talking about one thing, and one thing alone: our Global Table Experience event on October 12th. We’re attempting to put a dish from as many countries as possible on a stretch of tables at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The goal? 196. Gulp. I’m officially one of those people – so obsessed and focused on this amazing feat, that I can literally think of nothing else. My poor neighbor was focused on figuring out the lemon, rosemary, peanut oil, and harissa on his kebab, but I kept blabbing about the event. I sleep, eat, and dream about how on earth we are going to achieve our goal of putting a dish from every country in the world on a single stretch of tables. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Even if we get halfway there, what a feat! Especially considered all this food will be offered to the public – that’s you – for …

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The Global Table Experience

Would you like to be a part of something exciting? Something that’s never before been done? On October 12, 2013, I’ll be working with my community to try and put a dish from every country in the world on a 200 foot-long string of tables at the Philbrook Museum of Art. We’re calling it The Global Table Experience. It’s a peace statement; a way to say What if the entire world really could sit together around a single table in peace and harmony? The entire event is free and open to the public (yum!); if you can join us in person, we’d love to see your smiling face! Bring a can of food to benefit the Oklahoma Food Bank. But… guess what? Even if you can’t make it to Tulsa, you’re still invited. Here’s how YOU can join the Adventure: [dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ] 1. Pick a recipe from somewhere in the world to try. Try to choose something you’ve never had, possibly from a country you’ve never heard of.  We …

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Peanut Brittle with Coconut & Cardamom | Kashata

On the simmering streets of Uganda, you can walk up to a street vendor and satisfy your sweet tooth with a big bite of Kashata. Loosely speaking, Kashata is East African brittle.  It’s most popular in Uganda and Tanzania. It’s hard, sweet, and all kinds of delicious. I’ve seen Kashata shaped as cubes, balls, and diamonds. Some are flat, some are thick. Just like people, the shape doesn’t matter; it’s all about what’s on the inside. The most glorious Kashata are a blend of peanuts, shredded coconut, and either cinnamon or cardamom. You can also find Kashata made from all coconut or all peanuts. Moreover, sometimes you simply dump in whatever nuts you have on hand. Easy. Makes enough to share. 1-2 dozen (depending on how thin you spread the mixture) Ingredients: 2 cups sugar 1 1/2 – 2 cups peanuts 1 1/2 – 2 cups dried coconut (unsweet) 3/4 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon) pinch salt oil, for greasing Method: Let’s go to Uganda, where electricity is optional… because, truth be told, this entire …

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Rosemary & Lemon Harissa Kebabs

Summer still catwalks through the August air, unabashed and sizzling. There’s still time to grill, still time to sit out under the stars without a coat, or even a hoodie. There’s time to wear out those flipflops and kick back in sunglasses. And there’s still time to try Uganda’s kebabs, adapted  from Marcus Samuelsson’s beautiful cookbook Discovery Of A Continent – Foods, Flavors, And Inspirations From Africa.  The flavors are intense. Bright lemon juice starts of the explosion. A long marinade brings out bright sparks from the citrus. Then there’s a needling burn from the Harissa, a traditional spice often found in North African cooking. How much heat is there? As much as you can handle. Or as little as you’d like. Tip: You find Harissa mix at Whole Foods in the spice aisle (to be combined with water, olive oil, and crushed garlic), or you can buy a canned paste at a Middle Eastern market. Be sure to add this to taste, as some mixes may be spicier than others. IF you use the …

menu-uganda

Menu: Uganda

This week’s menu celebrates Uganda’s street food. With one recipe for the grill, and the other for your cookie jar, we’re bridging the gap between summer and autumn.  Which is about right, since school starts next week in Oklahoma. How.is.that.even.possible?? What about you? Are you already gearing up for the school year, or are your feet still firmly planted in summer, like our furry friend at the bottom of this post? All recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Rosemary & Lemon Harissa Kebabs [Recipe] Beef and vegetable kebabs marinated in a lemon, spicy harissa (as hot as you dare), rosemary, and peanut oil marinade. This recipe is packed with a zing that’ll make you fall in love with your grill all over again! This taste of Uganda is adapted from Marcus Samuelsson’s kitchen. Peanut Brittle with Cardamom & Coconut | Kashata [Recipe] Take everything you love about Peanut Brittle, and add a dreamy dusting of cardamom and a tropical heaping of shredded coconut. It’s just different enough for a fun housewarming gift …

Wagagai, the highest peak of Mount Elgon, Uganda. Photo by Kristina Just.

About the food of Uganda

“The person who has not traveled widely thinks his or her mother is the best cook.” Ugandan Proverb Oh boy, what truth this proverb holds. But I’d say the opposite, too: the further I travel from mom’s cooking, the better I remember mom’s food – and the more I crave it. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder. And I’m sure this is the way with Ugandans as well. If you’d like to float about in one of the world’s largest lakes, you just might take a trip to Uganda, in central/eastern Africa. At the southernmost edge of this beautiful country, you’ll find Lake Victoria. The lake is so large, the last time it dried up completely was 17,300 years ago. Fish reigns supreme in this part of Uganda. Pass through the center of Uganda, and you’re in the middle of marshland. Further to the north, Uganda is drier. A quick scan of typical recipes from Uganda told me one simple fact: the cuisine is a celebration of peanuts. Peanut oil is used in kebab marinades [Recipe]. Peanut sauce drapes over …

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Monday Meal Review: Tuvalu

  In times of plenty, it’s easy to forget about times of scarcity. When we have electricity, we forget what it feels like to read by candlelight (or not at all). When we have food, we forget what it feels like to not know where our next meal will come from (if we ever knew what that felt like at all). When I was a tiny tot, I spent some time in a homeless shelter. My mom was a single mom, doing the best she could (I love you, mom!), but one thing led to another and we found ourselves on the street. I don’t remember those days – I was too little, but mom does. She remembers, in particular, the long lines to get into the shelter, and the congestion once inside. She remembers not knowing what the next hour would hold, let alone the next day. Soon after, a friend took us in and mom gradually saved up enough money for us to get our own place. We persevered with assistance; I remember …

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Coconut Banana Fritters

I don’t usually pick my Friday afternoon snacks based on Prince William’s and the Duchess’ eating habits, but this week I couldn’t help myself. The royal couple were fed these amazing fritters during their stay in Tuvalu. What an endorsement. If they’re good enough for royalty, they are good enough for me. Trust me on this: each bite will transport you to magical Tuvalu, way out in the Pacific, where the sun shines brightly, the water sparkles like a smile, and every day feels like a vacation. They are indulgent in the most unapologetic way possible. The fritters contain many local ingredients, most notably coconut and bananas. Not just any bananas, my friends. These are nice, ripe, bananas. After a quick dip in bubbling oil, the fritters emerge soft in the middle and crisp and nut-brown on the outside. A heavy dusting of powdered sugar later and they become the perfect tropical doughnut. Makes 8 large, 12 small Ingredients: Vegetable oil, for frying 2 ripe bananas, rough chopped For the batter: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 …

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Tuvalu Tuna

If you ever make it to Tuvalu, you might as well snatch the Tuna straight out of the water, fillet it in the boat, and enjoy the mild fish right then and there. No cooking required. That’s the local way. But for those who are looking for something a little more tame, Tuna Curry is an authentic, delicious option. The recipe is very typical of the Pacific: it includes locally caught fish and coconut milk from harvested from the in the back yard, plus a bunch of imported ingredients. Imports are necessary because very little can grow in Tuvalu. The curry powder exudes Indian influence, which runs rampant in Oceania, as well as soy sauce, a definite nod to Tuvalu’s Asian neighbors. Even things like ginger and garlic are imported. Shipments of goods arrive once a month, weather permitting. This means, if you’re pantry runs dry, and the store runs out, then you’ll just have to wait until the giant vessel anchors offshore. And when it does? All hands on deck… Recipe adapted from Andy Explores. …