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Around the World Lunch: Greece

Ava’s Greek Lunch

Around the World Lunch: Greece

For this edition of Ava’s Around the World Lunch we’re heading to Greece with mezze. If you play your cards right, the flavors of Greece can be in your child’s lunch box in less than five minutes.

Quick-Fix Secret

Tucked away in my pantry is my greatest quick-fix secret: stuffed grape leaves, a.k.a. dolma.  Sure, I’ve been known to make dolma. I happen to LOVE making them. But sometimes I’m in a hurry and need to grab something quick for my daughter’s lunch. While I’ve found dolma at grocery store salad bars, I don’t always think far enough ahead to grab some.

Thankfully our local Middle Eastern market sells dolma in cans for $3.99. There’s well over a dozen in each can. While not the same as homemade, they still have the same great pop of lemon and rich olive oil. They’re great to have around for hectic mornings!  Serve with pitted olives and a little tomato sauce for dipping, just like the do in Greece.

Is it Greek without Spanakopita?

I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out. This is another recipe you can make ahead and freeze, or simply keep a store-bought box of frozen spanakopita on hand. In the morning, while little ones are getting dressed and eating breakfast, bake off a few. For an even quicker fix, make homemade spanakopita for dinner the night before and save a couple for leftovers. Try not to eat them all before you pack the lunch!

Around the World Lunch: Greece

Fresh Salad

For a salad, I made a small bowl of tzatziki. Just stir together a cup of plain yogurt, one clove of crushed garlic, a teaspoon of mint, and half a cucumber that’s been peeled, shredded and squeezed dry. A good sprinkle of salt pulls all the flavors together. This is the only item in the mix that can take a few minutes to prep – and it can easily be made the day before.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Plan ahead. Make the dolma for a party on the weekend. Here’s an amazing recipe from Qatar and here’s another, more unusual version from Armenia. They keep for at a good week in the refrigerator, so you can easily set a few aside for lunches.
  • Not in the mood for tzatziki? Swap the yogurt salad for a traditional Greek salad. Remember, this means no lettuce!
  • Need a protein boost? Try meat-filled dolma. You can make or buy ones stuffed with spiced lamb or pork.

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!

besan doodh recipe

Besan Doodh: A Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash

Besan Doodh

One thought crossed my mind every time I took a sip of the Besan Doodh. The thought overwhelmed the bold cardamom and it distracted from the warm milk tinged with saffron. A small thing, really – a sentence, again and again, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I didn’t clip her wings.”

Malala Yousafzai. Photo by Claude Truong (2013)

Malala Yousafzai. Photo by Claude Truong (2013)

These are the words of Malala Yousafzai’s father. Malala is a young woman from Pakistan – just 17 years old. She is easily the greatest superstar in the peace movement right now thanks to her unapologetic opposition to those who would keep girls from receiving an education. Though she’d been blogging for the BBC since she was 11, the whole world paid attention when she took a shot to the head on the way to school at age 15, two years ago.

As of Friday, Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first Pakistani winner. In a nice nod to her work for children’s education, she found out about the award during chemistry class.

Malala’s father was the first person to write a girl’s name on the family tree – a family tree that went back hundreds of years. Her father stood back and let her be 100% equal to her brothers. He insisted she be educated. And now she is a voice of inspiration for girls everywhere. She is strong. She is without fear.

Though a child herself, Malala is like a mother, speaking for those who have no voice. Caring for them when no other would.

Catering to the smallest

Kailash Satyarthi. Photo by Leandro Uchoas.

Kailash Satyarthi. Photo by Leandro Uchoas.

And then there’s Kailash Satyarthi – the Indian man who shares the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala. His story comes through the airwaves more quietly, ungilded by the media – almost a footnote to the Nobel Peace Prize press of Malala. But Kailash’s work is no less important.

Kailash has spent every moment since the 80’s working against child labor and oppression in India and throughout the world. He started a nonprofit called GoodWeave that helps consumers know they’re purchasing carpets made without child labor. Look for the label (the web site has a listing of retailers). He’s directly saved more than 80,000 children from brutal oppression. Sources report that Kailash is also a passionate cook and has been known to personally prepare meals for many of children he’s saved. With these meals, scared children open up. Smile. Become children again. Become free again.

Kailash doesn’t limit his fatherly love to his own son and daughter – he is a father to all children – opening his heart to each child who needs him. Without hesitation.

This is family. In the truest sense.

Family is not just a handful of people living under one roof.

Family encompasses the entire planet.

Family has no borders.

What a gift these two people are to the world.

To the human family.

Please join me in celebrating Malala and Kailash:

Besan Doodh

To toast Malala and Kailash’s achievements I sought out a drink that I could share with my family. The trick was finding one that would be enjoyed in both Pakistan and India.

Enter Besan Doodh, a hot, milky drink slightly thickened with chickpea flour (called besan flour). The drink is popular throughout the Punjabi region, which spans parts of Northern India and Pakistan. In a nod towards the children Malala and Kailash help, this hot drink is often sipped to soothe little ones’ sore throats.

While some simply use the flour, ghee, milk, and sugar, I rather prefer the recipes that add some cardamom and even a garnish or two. The overall flavor is milky, buttery-rich (thanks to the ghee), and earthy from the flour. The touch of sugar and cardamom gives each sip an ethereal pleasure.

Tip: Look for besan flour at your local Indian market or try “Garbanzo and Fava flour” from Bob’s Red Mill. It works just as well (garbanzo is just another word for chickpea)!

Besan Doodh - Punjabi Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons ghee or butter
1 tablespoon chickpea flour
2 cups milk
sugar, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Optional garnishes:

Slivered almonds
a pinch saffron
golden raisins

Method:

First, make a roux:

Melt the ghee in a small pot and add the chickpea flour. Cook, stirring continuously. the mixture will clump up, then – gradually – the ghee will release the oils. Add the milk, a little at a time at first so as to not create lumps.

Second, season the drink:

Add sugar and cardamom. Any desired garnishes can be added now or to the bottom of the glass. I prefer to cook them, as it’ll make the final drink more flavorful.

Simmer the milk for several minutes, until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

I shared these steps on Instagram the other day!

Making a little surprise to honor Malala and Kailash.

Enjoy. (But whatever you do, don’t clip your small, dreamer’s wings).

Besan Doodh Recipe

 

P.S. Looking for other Indian or Pakistani recipes? Look no further.

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To toast Malala and Kailash’s achievements I sought out a drink that I could share with my family. The trick was finding one that would be enjoyed in both Pakistan and India. Enter Besan Doodh, a hot, milky drink slightly thickened with chickpea flour (called besan flour). The drink is popular throughout the Punjabi region, which spans parts of Northern India and Pakistan. In a nod towards the children Malala and Kailash help, this hot drink is often sipped to soothe little ones’ sore throats. While some simply use the flour, ghee, milk, and sugar, I rather prefer the recipes that add some cardamom and even a garnish or two. The overall flavor is milky, buttery-rich (thanks to the ghee), and earthy from the flour. The touch of sugar and cardamom gives each sip an ethereal pleasure.Finding a Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash
Servings Prep Time
2people 5minutes
Cook Time
10-20minutes
Servings Prep Time
2people 5minutes
Cook Time
10-20minutes
Ingredients
Optional garnishes:
Instructions
Make a roux:
  1. Melt the ghee in a small pot and add the chickpea flour. Cook, stirring continuously. the mixture will clump up, then – gradually – the ghee will release the oils. Add the milk, a little at a time at first so as to not create lumps.
Season the drink:
  1. Add sugar and cardamom. Any desired garnishes can be added now or to the bottom of the glass. I prefer to cook them, as it’ll make the final drink more flavorful. Simmer the milk for several minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Tip: Look for besan flour at your local Indian market or try “Garbanzo and Fava flour” from Bob’s Red Mill. It works just as well (garbanzo is just another word for chickpea)!

Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

Around the World Lunch: Egypt

Ava’s Egyptian Lunch

Around the World Lunch: Egypt

Ever since Ava’s Egyptian-themed birthday party this summer, she’s been obsessed with all things Egypt. Naturally, when I asked what she wanted to try for this week’s Around the World Lunch she sang out “EGYPT!”

Finger Foods 

First up? Ful medames (pronounced “fool”), Egyptian street food often served for breakfast and lunch. Ful is a dip made with fava beans cooked with onion and tomatoes. It’s high in protein making ful great for concentration during the school day!  For color and flavor I added torn parsley and drizzled some olive oil and lemon juice over the top, just like they do in Egypt. We treat ful like hummus, so on the side Ava has plenty of pita bread to dip, dip, dip. I also included tomatoes and a hard boiled egg, both popular ful toppings in Egypt.Ava-babushka

Dessert

As a nod to Ava’s Egyptian birthday party, I included a slice of Basboosa, a Middle Eastern semolina cake laced with rose water and lemon juice. This cake is dense and sweet – but the touch of lemon juice and rose water balances everything out.  It’s the perfect pick-me-up in for a Friday! (I should know, I snuck a couple of slices while making her lunch this morning!)

Tips & Tricks

  • Make the ful the night before – it’ll be even better in the morning and save you a lot of time!
  • If your child doesn’t like chunky textures, blend the ful completely smooth so that it reminds them of hummus.
  • Real talk: Ava’s lunch is not magic, it shifts around just like everyone else’s. To avoid a mess, I popped a lid on her bowl of ful after taking this photo.
  • Looking for more nutrition? Swap the basboosa cake for orange slices – the land along the Nile River is one of the world’s greatest producers of oranges – who knew?!

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!

 

Chana Masala Recipe

Chana Masala & The Remarkable Quest of Chris Guillebeau

Chana Masala Recipe

Psst… Be sure to enter the giveway at the bottom of this post!

I want to tell you a story about Chris Guillebeau – a man who traveled to every country in the world.

It took him 10 years.  He’s not the first to do it, and he won’t be the last. And yet his quest is remarkable.

Let me explain.

Chris_GuillebeauFrom Quest to Calling

I stumbled across Chris’ journey a few years back  when he had about three years left in his quest. I read with amusement about his jogging escapades on strange terrain, how airport lounges can double as offices (and triple as bedrooms!), and how he managed to maintain relationships with his family and friends all while exploring the world.

Like many people, I was immediately smitten with Chris’ quest.  It’s not simply that his journey mirrored my own (cooking every country in the world for anyone stopping by) – but it was the fact that Chris was able to escape the confines of standard travel blogging to become a remarkable life blogger. That is to say, he used his journey as a platform to teach bigger lessons about life, work, and love.

By choosing the unconventional path, he’d uncovered what I was just beginning to learn: Quests  -like visiting every country on earth or cooking every country – will teach you as much about yourself as it does the places you’re learning about (if not more).

Testing the theory

Chris had a hunch he wasn’t the only one who’d been transformed by a quest. One day he put out a call for reader stories that he’d share in his book The Happiness of Pursuit. Above all, he wanted to inspire more people to live out their dreams. Hundreds of people wrote in, from all corners of the globe.

I was one of those people. To my delight, my story was accepted along with dozens of others.

After several interactions I can tell you this about Chris:

  • His kindness is staggering.
  • He gets more done in 24 hours than most people do in a month.
  • Something he says or writes will probably change the course of your life. Maybe it’ll be subtle, maybe it will be big. But something will change.

The Pursuit of Happiness by Chris GuillebeauWhen you’re done, you’re still not done.

I just finished reading the book.

I particularly loved the stories that showed people expanding on their quests – like a birdwatcher who went from setting a record in Missouri  (sighting 275 distinct bird species), to eventually seeing more than 500 distinct species a year and then, finally, going for the world record.

I know a good deal about what it takes to set a goal and complete it, and yet I still found myself writing notes in the margins, discovering new ideas, and getting just the kick in the pants I needed to reinvigorate my quest.

After eating every country, I can definitely say that my appetite has been whetted, not sated. I want to learn more, understand better, and continue to share my love of world cuisine. And I want to make it easier for you to do this. Reading his book is helping me put actionable steps to what this will look like.

Edible Memory

The quests we undertake have a ripple effect on our lives. For Chris, traveling gave him a love of Indian culture and especially Chana Masala. He’s now a vegetarian and finds comfort in this highly spiced (and often spicy) Punjabi dish.

I like to think of his love for Chana Masala as a symbol of his quest and all the ways traveling the world has changed him. It might seem small at first, but the reality is this: Every time he eats this curry, he can think back to the places he’s been and still hopes to see. This curry is everything.

Chana Masala is enjoyed in both India and Pakistan. It is highly spiced and often spicy. A souring agent like mango powder or crushed pomegranate seeds is typically added to the curry. While both are available at Indian markets, I substituted a little extra lemon juice to create a similar flavor. I like the curry even better the day after it’s made, once all the flavors have time to mingle (speaking of which, whole coriander seeds have an intense flavor – substitute ground coriander if sensitive or new to curries).

A note on the spicing – one chili pepper makes the mix hot – build up from there if you have a high tolerance.

Serve with naan or homemade roti. Plain yogurt makes a nice side.

How to make Chana Masala

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or ground coriander)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped (reserve a little for garnish)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon homemade garam masala
4 cloves garlic, grated
One knob ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 teaspoons)
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1-3 green chili peppers like serranos (to taste), sliced
Two 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinse and drained
Juice of half a lemon

Garnishes:

lemon slices
onion slices
a handful torn cilantro leaves

Method:

Add seeds to hot vegetable oil in a medium skillet or pot. Cook until the spices sizzle and pop like an old fashioned record player (up to 15 seconds)

Chana Masala spicing

Add onion and cook until soft. Add spices, ginger and garlic and cook for a few moments until fragrant.Chana Masala Recipe

By now your house will smell glorious.Chana Masala

Add the tomatoes and cook until the juices dry out and the tomatoes begin to smell roasted. Add chickpeas and sliced hot peppers. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Chana Masala Recipe

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Garnish with cilantro and onion as desired.

Chana Masala Recipe

Serve with a nice, soft naan or homemade roti… and add a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt if the heat is too much.

Most importantly? Enjoy with a spirit of adventure.

Since you made it this far…

How about a giveaway? I’d love to offer a copy of The Happiness of Pursuit to one lucky reader. In the comments of this post, tell us what recipe holds a significance for you and why. Then check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

xxoo
Sasha

P.S. Here’s how much Ava loves the Chana Masala: All the way to her back!

recipe.chana.masala.img_6598 recipe.chana.masala.img_6608 recipe.chana.masala.img_6599

 

Ava's Around the World Lunch - France

Ava’s French Lunch

Ava's Around the World Lunch - France

This week Ava’s Around the World Lunch is inspired by the food of France.

The Snacks

We were in a bit of a hurry, so I started by grabbing some popular French snacks – a dark chocolate covered biscuit and a tiny, ultra creamy imported French yogurt called Petit Montenbourg (Ava’s favorite flavor is raspberry, but the little six-pack also comes with flavors like pear, apricot and banana). It’s really special that I can offer Ava the same snacks I enjoyed when I lived in France as a teenager (I was delighted to find both at Whole Foods).

Studying Monet at Philbrook in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Studying Monet at Philbrook in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Sandwich

As for Ava’s sandwich – we did a simple cheese sandwich, though butter and ham would also be very French. A little lettuce adds color and a bit of nutrition – remember romaine lettuce offers much more than iceberg (Romaine is 17% protein and one head contains 4 1/2 times more vitamin A than a large carrot!). I’ve always added greens to Ava’s sandwiches, so it’s never been a struggle to “get” her to eat them. Sometimes it’s just easier to put them on the healthy path from the beginning, rather than try to correct bad habits later.

A Few Tips and Tricks:

  • We use thin breads a lot for Ava – at 5 years old, they’re a lot easier for her to handle. If you’re making lunch for an older child, try using a baguette or a croissant.
  • If you can’t find the tiny French yogurts, you can use regular yogurt – simply look for flavors like pear, peach, raspberry, or apricot. If the yogurt is too big to fit into your lunch container, simply spoon it in. Add some fresh berries on top for a nutritious boost!

 

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

Ava’s Around the World Lunches began when I shared a few of Ava’s globally-inspired lunches on Instagram and Facebook. Turns out a lot of people are looking for lunch ideas – whether for school or work.

In this weekly column, I share one of our Around the World lunches with you. I give you tips, like where to find ingredients or possible substitutions. If you have ideas for lunches you’d like to see or challenges you need help dealing with, let me know in the comments!

 

Where in the world are all the vegetarians

Where in the world are all the vegetarians?

Where in the world are all the vegetarians

This post started innocently enough – I was curious where all the vegetarians were around the world. But once I went down the rabbit hole, I was lost for good.

Of the ten countries I was able to analyze, India takes the lead by a long, long shot. 31% vegetarian is amazing! And I wasn’t particularly surprised with the low results of Portugal and Spain (so many meat-heavy dishes there!). I thought Brazil’s would have been similar but it ranked quite high at 8%. Digging ever deeper, I found that the Brazilian city called Fortaleza is 13% vegetarian.

3 things to understand about vegetarian populations:

  • Individual cities within a country will skew more or less vegetarian, depending on the culture
  • The types of food a country loves will skew the results
  • Some people who identify as vegan also identify as vegetarian. Depending on how accurate the survey is, there’s a risk they might have been counted twice.

The huge frustration in my research.

I may have been able to cook food from every African country, but no thanks to the paltry information out there regarding these hidden gems. I ran into the same problem here. There’s remarkably little information available to be found about African vegetarians – every search I did came up blank. (If you have any, please pass it my way and I’ll make an updated infographic!).

Another shortcoming is in the results themselves: various studies often reveal disparaging percentages, depending on the interpretation of the word vegetarian (for more information, read on).

But it seems most can agree… here in the USA, we’re about 13% vegetarian.

World Vegetarian Day - percent of vegetarians in the US

A recipe for World Vegetarian Day

As you may know, I prescribe to Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” After learning what famous vegetarian Mahatma Gandhi loved to eat, I created a celebration meal in his honor for this World Vegetarian Day (October 1). If you haven’t already checked it out, read on to see what his favorite dishes were and what beautiful soup we decided to try in celebration of World Vegetarian Day!

P.S. The good news is October 2nd is Gandhi’s birthday and the entire month of October is World Vegetarian awareness month, so there’ll be lots of opportunities to try his recipe or one of our hundreds of other vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Gandhi quote for world vegetarian day

 

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

In our house we live by Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  This week we’re going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even the smallest creatures. Not one to mince words, Gandhi wasn’t afraid to puts his beliefs in black and white:

 No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn
Taught by the power that pities me
I learn to pity them

- Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Our daughter Ava has been eating mostly vegetarian for a while now, so she was particularly happy to celebrate World Vegetarian Day with a new-to-us dish.

recipe.Lemon.Rasam.img_6529

What to eat for World Vegetarian Day?

While we have hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes from around the world, I thought it’d be fun to try a dish Gandhi might have enjoyed during his lifetime. There’s quite a bit of information about his diet since he wrote extensively on the subject. According the Gandhi foundation and other sources, he generally avoided milk (except for goat milk later in life), partook in numerous raw meals, and (as a nationalist) had a soft spot for the cooking of his heritage (he was born in a small town called Porbandar in Gujarat, India).

Gandhi smiling at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. (Photographer unknown).

Gandhi smiling at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. (Photographer unknown).

For my research I looked to the Ganapati South Indian Kitchen, located in the UK. Ganapati is one of the few restaurants that specializes in serving up what are thought to be Gandhi’s favorites (along with some creative interpretation to allow for inaccessible ingredients). In fact, they have a special called the Mahatma Thali (a 12-item meal served on a banana leaf).

According to [Gandhi], a model meal for Indians should include goat milk, brown rice, dry cereals, seasonal raw fruits and vegetables, jaggery, pulses and pure ghee (in small portions).

The Mahatma Thali serves up everything from chutneys, pickles, and raw cabbage salads to curry, moong dal, red rice, and lemon rasam (a soup that can be seasoned many ways, including with lemon, as the owners suggest). More information about the restaurant and Gandhi’s favorite food is available in the Times of India, Mahatma on the Menu.

A recipe to clear the sinuses

After studying their menu I was inspired to serve lemon rasam to my family – a pure, brothy soup that’s perfect for the changing seasons and – thanks to the lemon, turmeric, and ginger – a highly restorative meal. Any illness you’re fighting should be tamed after a bowl or two of lemon rasam.

Lemon Rasam topping

Though distinctly seasoned with cumin, coriander and mustard seed, the juice of a whole lemon carries the high notes. To balance the staggering citrus be sure to add plenty of salt and as much chili pepper as you can stand. The spicier the Rasam, the healthier!

Rasam goes beautifully with long grain rice, like basmati. Though we were out of brown basmati and red rice – Gandhi would have preferred these… so if you have them, all the better.

Lemon Rasam

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1/3 cup yellow split peas (toor dal)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium tomato, diced
1-4 hot green chilies, sliced (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
One lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt

Garnish:

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
a couple teaspoons ghee or vegetable oil
cilantro leaves

Method:

Simmer the split peas along with 2 1/2 cups water and the turmeric in a covered pot until tender (30-45 minutes – times will vary depending on the age of the dried peas). Set aside.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Meanwhile, add 1 cup water to a small pot, the diced tomato, the hot chilies, and fresh ginger. Simmer covered until the tomatoes are tender and the broth is fragrant – about 10 minutes.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt. Add the reserved tomato and cooked split peas (and their broth) and remove from heat.

recipe.Lemon.Rasam.img_6461

In a small skillet, toast the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a little ghee or vegetable oil. When they pop, pour the mixture over the broth.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Garnish with a generous handful of cilantro leaves and serve with rice.

Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes

Enjoy with a smile in your heart and love for life!

xxoo

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Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam
Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.

ethiopia.img_6419

The REAL reason why people put butter in their coffee

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

We just celebrated International Coffee Day on September 29 (though every day might as well be coffee day around here)! In honor of the holiday, I did a little digging into the origins of butter in coffee… a hot trend in the United States. At the end of this post, follow the link to try your own Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

In Kate Bratskeir’s article entitled “Why People are Putting Butter in their Coffee”  a company by the name of Bulletproof is “credited for popularizing the concoction” (meaning butter in coffee). The article goes on to state the health benefits of adding butter to coffee – particularly how it stabilizes the caffeine hit for improved mental clarity and how it helps encourage weight loss.

I’m no scientist. And I don’t particularly want to weigh in on the debate of  whether or not butter can help you lose weight. I would, however, like to back up a moment and explore the idea of butter in coffee and who came up with the concept. I assure you it is not a 21st century coffee entrepreneur (albeit a kindhearted man who clearly cares enough to use good, organic beans and butter from grassfed cows). In fact, if you go to his web site, his inspiration comes somewhat circuitously from yak butter tea in Tibet.

“I learned about the power of butter at 18,000 feet of elevation near Mt. Kailash in Tibet.  I staggered into a guest house from the -10 degree weather and was literally rejuvenated by a creamy cup of yak butter tea.” – Dave Asprey

But when it comes to butter in *coffee*, the people who should be credited  are the Ethiopians.

How to roast your own beans for an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

A little History:

Coffee is thought to have originated in Yemen sometime during the 6th century. But it was shortly after the first coffee “cherries” were discovered in nearby Ethiopia during the 9th century that people began grinding the roasted beans and mixing them with ghee, which is a type of clarified butter. This made it easy to carry around the stimulant for quick caffeine-fixes.

Over time Ethiopians continued to add ghee to their brewed coffee, sometimes with spices or salt. Celebrity chefs like Marcus Samuelson and Andrew Zimmern have covered Ethiopia’s extensive coffee ceremony traditions in their recipes and on television. I had the opportunity to try Ethiopian-style coffee during the four years I spent cooking a meal from every country in the world.

After one taste I can attest: this centuries-old tradition is not going anywhere soon.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Around the world lunch: South America

Ava’s South American Lunch

Around the world lunch: South America

This week Ava’s Around the World Lunch is inspired by the food of South America. I wanted something healthy and my daughter loves fun finger foods – so I put together an easy and nutritious Bolivian Avocado Salad, a sweet and salty Martin Fierro from Uruguay (made with quince paste and queso fresco cheese – both scored at the local Hispanic market), and homemade Apple Empanadas.

The apple empanadas were a direct inspiration from this week’s Around the World with Apples challenge, where I’ve invited you to try something new with apples! And I’ve been making some variation of the avocado salad for her lunches as far back as I can remember… so good.

A Few Tips and Tricks:

  • For little ones try cutting the avocado into cubes and serving the salad loose. Real talk: After taking this picture that’s exactly what I did for Ava – she’s in kindergarten after all!
  • In a hurry? Make the empanadas quick by using pre-made pie crust with our filling recipe! 
  • If you can’t find quince paste you can try guava paste. And if you can’t find either of those where you live I’m sure someone could also make an extra strong jello situation work… but then we’d be veering off into the land of “creative interpretation.”  

Ava's Around the World LunchesWhy show you Ava’s lunch?

The idea came about a few weeks ago when I shared a photo of Ava’s French lunch on Instagram; those of you who follow me there and on Facebook immediately requested more details! Now – I’m not going to say that Ava eats a global lunch every day of the week (even I have my limits) but about once a week we make an Around the World Lunch happen.

 

Around the world in apples

Around the world with Apples ~ Celebrating the first day of Autumn

Around the world in apples

When the air bites. When my cheeks turn pink.

These moments sing autumn.

But now that I live in Oklahoma the first day of fall – September 23 – is almost always balmy.

Sometimes it’s actually hot.

Which means Ava can do this:

Enjoying Fall

The only surefire way I know it’s autumn is to watch the apples. There’s nothing like the crisp taste of a freshly plucked apple enjoyed while still standing in the orchard. The fruit is almost chalky on the tongue, the skin tight, the flesh sweet. When apples spring to life like this… well, that’s how I know it is autumn.

As you fill your fruit basket with the season’s bounty, I invite you to play around with these apple recipes. They’re plucked from three continents and will make a great addition to your next around the world party or international night!

In fact, I’ll be making one or two of them this week myself! Join me on Instagram so we can share our adventures!

APPLE RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

1. Fig and Honey Apple Polenta Cake | Bustrengo (San Marino)

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> San Marino Fig and Honey Apple Polenta cake.

Bustrengo is a really special cake from a tiny country inside Italy (yes, you read that right – San Marino is located within the borders of Italy!). I promise your guests will have never tasted anything quite like it – from the polenta to the sweet figs and honey this dense cake has old world flavor. Best warm from the oven, one slice is sure to take the chill out of the air.  Best served with hot tea and a flurry of powdered sugar. Try the recipe.

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn.

2. Apple Pancakes (Latvia)

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Latvian Apple Pancakes

Apple ‘pancakes’ are common throughout Europe. These ones are really more of a crepe and are best made with grated or very thinly sliced apples – the finer texture makes the thin treat moist and sweet. Fantastic with a dribble of syrup or honey and a smile! Try the recipe.

3. Apple Cake | Äppelkuch (Luxembourg)

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Luxembourg's Apple Cake

Luxembourg may be a tiny country in Europe, but this tender cake is grand. Perhaps most surprising is the metamorphosis it undergoes while baking – the dense batter and cream base combine for perfect for a teatime pick-me-up. Try the recipe.

4. Apple Empanadas (South America | Argentina)

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Empanadas

I like to think of these as South America’s answer to apple pie… but better in at least one way: I can eat at five. No way I could eat full-sized 5 apple pies! Included are careful instructions for repulging – don’t worry, that’s just the term for how they’re rolled! Try the recipe.

5. Polish Apple Pie | Szarlotka

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Polish apple pie

This stacked dessert from eastern Europe would elevate any dinner party. The tender sour cream crust holds together well to make very neat slices once the “pie” cools. I like these room temperature with whipped cream and tea. Try the recipe.

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Polish Apple Pie

6. All-American Apple Pie 

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> All-American Apple Pie

A childhood favorite from my own mother’s kitchen! While most apple pies in North America are made with Granny Smiths, I prefer sweeter specimens. Delish when balanced out with a good squeeze of lemon juice. What more can I say…this recipe is in constant rotation. Try the recipe.

7. Brandy Poached Apples (Firikia Glyko) – Cyprus

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Apples poached in honey and spices.

A sweet mix of cinnamon, cloves and brandy infused into tender fruit … in Eastern European style! Perfect served hot, with large scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Be sure to drizzle the warm sauce over the ice cream).

And… psst… here’s a handy infographic for how to make it!

Around the World with Apples >>  Brandy Poached Apples from Cyprus

8. Wassail – Europe

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Wassail

A traditional drink in the United Kingdom made with roasted apples, cider, oranges, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You can use hard cider to add a festive spirit! Try the recipe.

9. Danish Apple Cake | Æblekage

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Danish Apple Cake

This Danish recipe comes from a reader’s mother – complete with nuts, apples, and warming spices. A breakfasty sort of treat. Try the recipe.

10. Wooden Spoon Applesauce – Liechtenstein

Around the world with apples: 10 recipes to welcome autumn >> Apple Sauce from Liechtenstein

And when all else fails? Make homemade applesauce like they do in Liechtenstein. Ripe apples will turn soft in no time- though firmer apples like Granny Smiths may take a bit more coaxing. Cinnamon is a must! Try the recipe.

11. Bonus! 

Rosh Hashanah Greetings

September 24th is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year… guess one way the holiday is celebrated? That’s right – with apples! The sweetened fruit signifies the intention for a sweet year. Awesome!

 

World Peace Day Recipe Challenge #EatInPeace #WorldPeaceDay #GlobalTableAdventure

Official World Peace Day Recipe

ava and the world GTE

Look up recipes for world peace and you’ll find one of two things – a moral diatribe or Dori Greenspan’s chocolate chip cookies. While the former is on point, and the latter is undeniably incredible, I’m looking for something a little more… grounded… in the holiday.

So I went back to the source for inspiration. Turns out the United Nations came up with “International Day of Peace” in 1981 and the first celebration occurred in 1982. Lots of people – myself included – simply call the September 21st holiday “World Peace Day.”

What’s World Peace Day all about?

World Peace Day is about having one day.

One day without weapons.

One day without killing.

One day of treating each other with compassion, kindness and humanity.

I get turkey fatigue on Thanksgiving and go chocolate bezerk on Valentine’s Day, but World Peace Day is one holiday I wish could last forever.

6,000 members of the Ithaca community form the world's largest human peace sign. Photo by Rebecca Eschler.

6,000 members of the Ithaca community form the world’s largest human peace sign. Photo by Rebecca Eschler.

OFFICIAL WORLD PEACE DAY RECIPE

Serves 7.25 Billion

Ingredients:

1 large heart
1 recipe from a country in conflict
7.25 billion friends

Method:

STEP 1

Imagine how mealtime would change in a world without war.

So much of war is outside of the average person’s control. Most people just want to wake up happy, healthy and able to feed their families. If they could concentrate on feeding their families without fear of air strikes or raids, there could be time for the simple joys of sitting and visiting together well after the last morsel is consumed.

They could #EatInPeace.

ava eats the world

STEP 2 

Make it age appropriate.

For some, sharing the basic culture of country without going into current events is the only age-appropriate way to teach young children about a country. Keep in mind, even if you aren’t talking politics with your youngest children, you are still laying the groundwork for peace and understanding simply by giving the country a place at your table!

“With Ukraine in the news so much, it is a perfect time to explore the country… It is also a perfect time for lessons with older children about current events and such. Since we do not let Hazel know about current events or watch the news, we looked at tradition, food and crafts…

I have always loved learning about different cultures and feel it is important for everyone to know a bit about other people in order for us to be able to get along… To introduce the countries I usually type the country name in the library search engine for children’s books and see what comes up.

Carrie, excerpts from Around the World in 12 Dishes.

syria.food.recipe.img_0263

Ava enjoys food from Syria

STEP 3

Cook a meal from a country in conflict.

By cooking countries in conflict, we can bring ourselves closer to their culture and see our global neighbors as real people, not just some news story. We can understand the peace they want and all people deserve.

“I like to think, actually I pray that my children will know a person is a person no matter where in the world they are. That bad things happen not because of a dot on a map, or a religion – but simply because bad things happen because of people who have bad ideas.”

Amanda from MarocMama

Think of it as any international night you might host for your family, but with a cause. To get started, take a look at the countries I’ve cooked map and select one whose struggles speak to you. There are over 650 recipes representing every country in the world for you to choose from!

Ava eats Afghanistan

Ava enjoys food from Afghanistan at 7 months old.

STEP 4

Take time during dinner to acknowledge or discuss whatever conflict you chose.

You will learn so much about the country over dinner – and perhaps more about your family. I was particularly touched by Farrah’s story – how her Uncle never would eat daal:

The first time I offered daal to him, he refused, saying he had eaten it every day of his 4 year imprisonment as a prisoner of war. That’s all he says. Despite my prodding, I haven’t gotten any more details from him. Here’s what I do know, though. During the Indo-Pak War of 1971, Bangladesh waged its own liberation war…

But there’s a happy ending: the family finally does sit down to share the daal. As they eat this simple dish they’d once avoided, the conversation flows – and the simple meal heals their painful memories:

My mom recounts tales of digging trenches and lying in them when they heard the sirens. She remembers that all the girls in the family learned to handle guns, and practiced emergency drills in case of invasion. All these stories come gushing forth over a bowl of daal, if you can believe that.

Farrah, Global Advocate Jr.

Tip: If you’d like to start with something more tame because of young children, discuss challenges like extreme weather with your little ones. 

ukranian-menu

Beautiful food from Ukraine.

STEP 5

While eating talk about how to bring the world closer to peace.

It is not just enough to enjoy the food of anther culture – but also to talk with our hearts towards peace. Respect and kindness should rule the conversation, even if the tone is serious.

My husband remembers civil unrest when he lived in South Africa that would eventually lead to his family having to return to Germany. Our friends were raised by parents that survived the horrors of Nazi occupied Germany.

Talking about conflict can easily turn the mood somber, we all fell quiet for a moment as we took in everything we had just heard. But we decided to turn it around and toasted to “May the world one day figure out that life needs us all.”

Adriana, Changing Plate.

south-sudanese-menu

A traditional South Sudanese meal.

For all the families that tried it, this challenge was a wonderful, eye-opening experience.

So, you might be asking… now what?

Well…

World Peace Day Recipe Challenge #EatInPeace #WorldPeaceDay #GlobalTableAdventure

Now it’s YOUR turn… take the challenge!

You’ll be in great company – this summer I started a challenge on GOOD for people to cook food from a country in conflict. It quickly landed on the front page of the web site and got a lot of people talking.

I’d like to extend the challenge to you today.

Cook a meal from a country in conflict and share your experience.

Will you laugh? Will you cry? Who knows. But you WILL eat well.

#EatInPeace
#GlobalTableAdventure

#WorldPeaceDay

xxoo

Sasha & family

 

doro-wat

Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat

How to make Doro Wat for the Ethiopian New Year

There’s been a movement to make Enkutatash – a.k.a. Ethiopian New Year – as popular as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo.  But instead of wearing green or dancing to a mariachi band you’re invited for a much simpler, down to earth sort of celebration.

Wear white.

Pick yellow daisies.

And enjoy traditional Ethiopian food.

Waaaay back when

“Enkutatash” literally stands for “gift of jewels.”

As the story goes, several thousand years ago the Queen of Sheba delivered more than 4.5 tons of gold and as many spices to King Solomon. King Solomon was quite the host as he, too, showered her with gifts:

The Queen of Sheba from medieval manuscript «Bellifortis» by Conrad Kyeser (c. 1405), Prague school.

The Queen of Sheba from medieval manuscript «Bellifortis» by Conrad Kyeser (c. 1405).

…in return, King Solomon had assembled an array of gifts for her arrival. Great caskets of sticky Nubian millet beer awaited her party.

The gifts were staked on mules outside Solomon’s palace, ready for her people to take to their camp and enjoy. Silks and linens from Gaza, Assyria, and Lebanon. Tapestry from Ma-Wara-Mnar. Dresses, sweet fruit from Iraq, Mongolistan winter melons. And basins of water from the spring at Siloe.

Following the queen’s arrival, Solomon gave her a luxurious apartment in a palace next to his, and provided her with fruits, rose trees, silks, linens, tapestries, and 11 bewitching garments for each day of her visit. Daily, he sent her (and her 350 servants) 45 sacks of flour, 10 oxen, 5 bulls, 50 sheep (in addition to goats, deer, cows, gazelles, and chicken), wine, honey, fried locusts, rich sweets, and 25 singing men and women. (Source)

 

 

That’s quite the haul!

(I particularly love the 25 singing men and women – imagine how great life would be if we had our own personal chorus?)

Upon the Queen of Sheba’s celebrated return to Ethiopia, her people showered her with even more jewels (to replace the ones she’d given away, of course).

When jewels and flowers collide

Today – in the spirit of the Queen – Ethiopians wear their best clothes on the New Year – typically a white dress or tunic with vivid embroidered trimmings. Gold bangles and necklaces rustle and jingle throughout the day.

Look at these stunners!

Ethiopian New Year Style. Photos by @pinkgypsy_ old_n_indaway and rachelmichellewarner

Ethiopian New Year Style. Photos by @pinkgypsy_, @old_n_indaway and @rachelmichellewarner

Clothes for Ethiopian New Year; Photo by @Magitareke on Instagram

Clothes for Ethiopian New Year; Photo by @Magitareke on Instagram

When to celebrate

The festival falls right after the rainy season ends – between September 11th and 12th (this year it falls on the 11th), making it a natural time to collect yellow daisies and long grasses. Children often carry these door to door. Families will spread the grasses on their floors, especially in remote areas, to help bring in the New Year.

Modern Traditions

In the simplest of celebrations people exchange flowers or, in more recent times, cards. But it is the food that cannot be missed. Animals are slaughtered (usually sheep or chicken), injera is cooked (and blessed), and then everyone enjoys lunch with the freshly prepared food.

Families and friends practice Gursha, or the act of feeding each other by hand. While it might feel extrememly personal to put your hand to someone’s mouth, Ethiopians would wonder if you hesitate…. Even among strangers, Gursha is a sign of trust no different than a handshake or hug.

Finally, at the end of the meal a traditional coffee ceremony is performed. Green coffee beans are roasted in front of the guests and everyone enjoys no less than the traditional three cups. Learn how to host your own coffee ceremony today!

And now… let’s eat!

Wot is the main course for the Ethopian New Year, usually made with lamb or chicken.

Today I offer Doro Wat (“doro” means chicken, “wat or “wot” means stew).

PRONOUNCE IT: Doro (rhymes with Zorro) and wet, like the rain.

The recipe is inspired by Marcus Samuelsson’s appearance on Martha Stewart and is a hybrid of several traditional recipes.

Ingredients for Doro Wat.

A real wat  uses about a 1/2 cup of berberé, the traditional East African spice blend of chili powder, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon, and more. The blend is incredibly flavorful and HOT. The dish is nicely balanced, thanks to the brightness of fresh lemon juice and/or yogurt.

Feel free to modify the recipe as you’d like – but if you can handle some heat, I’d recommend leaving the recipe as-is!

Enjoy with our Homemade Injera recipe (whose sour flavor is fantastic with doro wat)… or serve with rice for an easy, non-traditional option.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 red onions
3 large cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup clarified butter or ghee
1/2 cup homemade berberé
1-2 cups water (as needed)
2 – 2.25 lbs chicken pieces (legs and thighs, skin removed)
salt, to taste (about 1 tablespoon)

Finishing:

4-6 hardboiled eggs
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 lemon
plain yogurt, as desired

Method:

Onions are the real star of this dish! You need 4 – which is a lot!

The perfect time to pull out your food processor, if you have one.

How to make Doro Wat

Peel and cut the onions in 1-inch hunks. Toss into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape once or twice if needed. Alternatively cut them by hand.

How to finely chop onions for Doro Wat

Cook onions in a dry pot over high heat until they start to stick to the pan. This stage should take 20-30 minutes.

How to make Doro Wat

Add the garlic and ginger and cook another 10-15 min until brown. Gradually reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Here’s what the onions looked like when I added the ghee along with the homemade berberé.

recipe.ethiopian.chicken.img_6374

Cook 5 minutes, until the spices bloom in the ghee. It will look like dark chocolate:

recipe.ethiopian.chicken.img_6379

Finally, add the water and chicken.  Cover tightly and simmer gently until tender (a good 45 minutes). Thin with a little water if necessary and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. I used about 1 1/2 cups water total.

While the Wat cooks, hardboil the eggs. Cut decorative wedges in the egg if desired.

How to decorate hard boiled eggs for doro wat.

Finish the wat off with a sprinkle of cardamom and half the lemon, juiced. Cut the remaining lemon in wedges and serve on the side. A few spoonfuls of plain yogurt makes for a nice, cooling accompaniment to the spicy stew.

This is one of those messy foods that tastes as good as it doesn’t look. There’s spice, yes, but there’s also complexity from the sweet onion, and richness from the ghee.

Enjoy with your hands, and practice gursha if you’d like!

Doro Wat recipe

Enjoy and Happy Enkutatash!

P.S. For your little ones who are brave enough to try this dish: try the technique I learned from Bhutan: give them the food, but wipe off the hot stuff first. (In Bhutan mothers will do this for their babies with their mouths!)

recipe.ethiopian.chicken.img_6417

In this case I added the hard-boiled eggs to the sauce, then wiped off most of the onion mixture. The flavor and some heat will still be there (below you can see it stained the egg), but the kiddos can handle this more tame rendition. If the heat is still too much, make sure there’s some plain yogurt and milk nearby!

recipe.ethiopian.chicken.img_6420

Happy Ethiopian New Year Greetings

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Wot is the main course for the Ethopian New Year, usually made with lamb or chicken. Today I offer Doro Wat (“doro” means chicken, “wat or “wot” means stew). PRONOUNCE IT: Doro (rhymes with Zorro) and wet, like the rain. Enjoy with our Homemade Injera recipe (whose sour flavor is fantastic with doro wat)… or serve with rice for an easy, non-traditional option.Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat
Servings Prep Time
4-6people 15minutes
Cook Time
1 1/2hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6people 15minutes
Cook Time
1 1/2hours
Ingredients
Finishing:
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut the onions in 1-inch hunks. Toss into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape once or twice if needed. Alternatively cut them by hand.
  2. Cook onions in a dry pot over high heat until they start to stick to the pan. This stage should take 20-30 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook another 10-15 min until brown. Gradually reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
  4. Cook 5 minutes, until the spices bloom in the ghee. It will look like dark chocolate.
  5. Finally, add the water and chicken. Cover tightly and simmer gently until tender (a good 45 minutes). Thin with a little water if necessary and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. I used about 1 1/2 cups water total.
  6. While the Wat cooks, hardboil the eggs. Cut decorative wedges in the egg if desired.
  7. Finish the wat off with a sprinkle of cardamom and half the lemon, juiced. Cut the remaining lemon in wedges and serve on the side. A few spoonfuls of plain yogurt makes for a nice, cooling accompaniment to the spicy stew. This is one of those messy foods that tastes as good as it doesn’t look. There’s spice, yes, but there’s also complexity from the sweet onion, and richness from the ghee. Enjoy with your hands!
Recipe Notes

A real wat  uses about a 1/2 cup of berberé, the traditional East African spice blend of chili powder, fenugreek, ginger, cinnamon, and more. The blend is incredibly flavorful and HOT. The dish is nicely balanced, thanks to the brightness of fresh lemon juice and/or yogurt. Feel free to modify the recipe as you’d like – but if you can handle some heat, I’d recommend leaving the recipe as-is!

Source:

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.