Month: October 2013

global table experience

Menu: Venezuela

I’ll be posting about our Global Table Experience event  in a few weeks, once we’re done cooking the world (just five weeks left!) For now, here’s a sneak peek of the tables taken by my friends over at Concepts PR (you can click it to make it larger). There is 90% of the world on those tables. Amazing. While I was supposed to be cooking Venezuela, all the Global Table Experience craziness was going on. You can see the line starting to form on the right.  There was a massive crowd. But more on that later. For now, let’s talk Venezuela. I chose two amazing but simple items to try: Watch for the recipes in the coming days… Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas [Recipe] Think pancakes, but made with blended corn kernels. Hot Cachapas are topped with cheese, then folded in half. Unlike Arepas, which require specialty flour, Cachapas are a very accessible taste of Venezuela. Venezuelan Fruit Punch | Tizana [Recipe] There are a million different ways to make Tizana, but two things …

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La Gran Sabana (Venezuela). Photo by Inti.

About the Food of Venezuela

Venezuela is the last of our South American countries, and, thanks to this T-shaped country, we’re saying goodbye to the continent in style. Let’s toast the 1,700 miles of coastline with a tizana [Recipe], a fruit punch made with tons of cut up fruit. Let’s cheer for the southeastern highlands with a sip of chicha, fermented corn drink. Let’s dance along her northern mountains with a splash of rum. And let’s slip along the northwestern lowlands with a thick and creamy glass of cocada (a.k.a. coconut milkshake). After we’ve drunk our fill, we can gobble up a a few arepas, topped with avocado chicken salad. These are the quintessential snacks of Venezuela, and can be filled with a million other things, too. If you want something more substantial, let’s pull up to a plate of Pabellón Criollo, a platter of black beans, slow cooked beef, rice, and plantains. This is the national dish of Venezuela, a favorite in all regions of the country. Of course, I like the idea of keeping things simple, too. Perhaps …

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ava eats the world

Celebrate the World & Win (Giveaway)

This week is a special week. We’re only five countries away from finishing cooking the world. Four years ago, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it to the letter “B,” let alone V! But I’m stubborn. And I love learning. And I’m … stubborn. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be done in less than 2 months! This is an appropriate time to take a pause… to take a week to breath in and settle into the idea of the finish line being so close. For many of us, this is coming much too quickly. In my family, we think this is a great time, though, too. We’ve spent four years celebrating the world. Four years teaching our daughter to love her world. Four years with all of you. As you may have noticed, we’re having a HUGE party at Philbrook Museum this weekend called the Global Table Experience. There’ll be samplings from 175 countries, prepared by 16 chefs and cooking schools in the Tulsa area. Never before has food from so many countries …

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Monday Meal Review: Vatican City

Are there recipes of loved ones long since gone that you continue to make? I asked this question on our Facebook page the other day, and several of you shared touching comments about your family recipes . Valerie keeps her family recipes in a box. Whenever she sees the handwriting of her loved ones who’ve since passed, she says it feels like a “tap on the shoulder.” But, for some of you, it goes beyond the recipes. Theresa says she still uses her husband’s grandmother’s canning supplies. How wonderful it must be to eat jellies out of the same jars grandma did! This week, when we made Cousin Alfred’s meat sauce for the Vatican City, I felt like I could taste the past. Like I was closer to him and those memories of standing in his kitchen, watching him cook. I also felt like I could taste my heritage, even though I’ve never been to Italy, let alone Vatican City. And we were fortunate enough to share the meal with our neighbors. Our neighbors of Scottish and German …

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Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce

When I ask my mother how I’m related to Cousin Alfred, the answer usually goes: “Well…” and then there’s a  contemplative silence. I can see her running through all our different relations, high up on the family tree, doing mental gymnastics to connect one branch to another. Eventually, she comes out with “I think he’s my mothers, mother’s cousin’s”… and then, either she trails off, or my attention span wanes because, really, all that matters is that he is family, one way or another. Alfred lived until he was 104 years old. I think much of his long life was due to making homemade ravioli and meat sauce. He taught me when I was about Ava’s age, or maybe a little younger. We made his spinach & pork ravioli for Italy and, today, we continue to keep Alfred’s memory alive with this sauce. Mom made sure to write down his recipe for meat sauce. But the title “meat sauce” doesn’t do it justice. This is meat sauce, yes, but it’s also filled with a half dozen …

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The Pope’s Fettuccine | Fettuccine alla papalina

Before I knew about Papalina-style noodles, I thought Carbonara was the bees knees. But it turns out that Papalina is the richer version of carbonara. It uses cream, Parmesan, and prosciutto instead of the pancetta or guanciale (pig jowl) from in carbonara. One peppery bite in, and mac and cheese is a bland, happily forgotten memory. Let me be clear. My translation of the Italian is not entirely accurate. Papalina means skullcap, not pope. But I dubbed this recipe the Pope’s Fettuccine because it was literally created for Pope Pius XII in the late 1930’s. And guess what he wore? A skullcap. Anyway, there are many versions of how the recipe was invented. The most common, is that the pope wanted to enjoy a very typical Roman meal. The chef in charge decided that carbonara was very Roman… but he decided that he wanted to make a special version, just for the pope. So Papalina was born. Beautiful, peppery papalina.   It makes for a fancy but easy dinner party meal. It truly is the grown-up mac and …

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Menu: Vatican City

Ava is the first to tell me what should be dinner. Even growing up with this Global Table Adventure since she was 7 months old, Ava asks for the same thing night after night: noodles. (Interestingly, her second most common request is avocado sushi). This week I got to tell her yes to noodles. Twice. There’s nothing wrong with carb-loading, right? Especially when eating the Vatican… right? I doubled up on pasta so I can share two amazing sauce recipes with you. One I learned from my distant cousin Alfred, another I learned this week thanks to a Pope!    The Pope’s Fettuccine | Fettuccine alla Papalina [Recipe] A simple pasta dish invented in the late 1930’s for Pope Pius XII, made with softened onion, prosciutto, a swirl of cream, plenty of good quality parmesan, and as many twists of fresh ground pepper as you can handle. Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce [Recipe] Ground beef, sweet Italian sausages, rich mushrooms, and the best Italian tomatoes around. This is the sauce to end all sauces, perfect ladled onto …

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About the food of Vatican City

The Vatican City is 0.17 square miles of gilded glory tucked inside Rome, Italy. It’s 0.53 miles by 0.65 miles. How small is that, you ask?  Let’s put this in perspective. To walk across the country is like taking two laps around a standard jogging track.  Which is why there’s no country smaller. And yet, Elizabeth Gilbert said that, if a country could be summed up in one word, the Vatican’s word would be power. So who exactly is a citizen of Vatican City? Almost all of Vatican City’s 839 (2013 est.) citizens either live inside the Vatican’s walls or serve in the Holy See’s diplomatic service in embassies (called “nunciatures”; a papal ambassador is a “nuncio”) around the world. The Vatican citizenry consists almost entirely of two groups: clergy, most of whom work in the service of the Holy See, and a very few as officials of the state; and the Swiss Guard. (Wikipedia) Peek over her walls, all you’ll find only one restaurant in the Vatican City. I have to admit I love Andrew Zimmern’s bold idea to triple this …

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