Monday Meal Review: Latvia

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THE SCENE: Birth day. Ava's nephew. Keith's grandson. Kaiden Ray. He is here and he is beautiful. The night he was born Ava held this oh-so-new life on her tiny lap, so amazed. Spellbound. Once a few minutes went by, she honed in on her most serious concern for this tiny being. She wanted to know if Kaiden would have toys to play with. "Kaiden have toys?" she asked Alexis, his mother. "He doesn't need toys right now," she smiled, still radiant the way a new mother … [Read more...]

Recipe: Latvia’s Apple Pancakes

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This recipe is so familiar. Each bite feels like a  nibble straight out of my childhood. The funny thing is I've never, ever had this recipe. But, with cinnamon, cardamom, apples and pancakes-so-thin-they're-basically-crêpes all rolled together with heaps of honey and yogurt, I can practically see my mom buzzing around the kitchen table. I smell the butter melting, crackling, sizzling, and I go right back to those days when I was too short to see into the mixing bowl. Thanks to this new-to-me … [Read more...]

Recipe: Baltic Cranberry Sauce (w/ poll)

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Cranberries. Right now. It's their time to shine. Latvians know what's up when it comes to the cranberry. They eat it whipped in clouds of pudding, layered with breads, and beyond. Today, however, is about a mountain of sugar. A squiggle of orange zest. A few minutes on the stove and you're done. It's really that simple. Here's what I did: 4 cups cranberries 1 cup water 1 cup sugar, extra to taste 2 tsp strips of orange zest. Quickly look through your cranberries as you put … [Read more...]

Recipe: Latvian Birthday Cake (Kringel)

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  Birthdays are fun but birth days are even more so. Family and friends hugging, smiling, crying - everyone in wide eyed at the wonder of a new child's most innocent gaze. Since Keith's grandson was born last week, I thought it appropriate to make a birthday cake in his honor. I sought out such a thing in Latvia,only to find something very unexpected. Latvians have a tradition of baking pretzel-shaped sweet bread - not exactly cake - and topping it with candles. The Kringel, as its called, … [Read more...]

Menu: Latvia

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The leaves are falling, orange, red and gold, making the trees look like scratchy skeletons. The days are short; night falls before dinner is over. We all have head colds. Something drastic has to be done in times like these; I had to improve the situation. So, I did what any normal person would do. I served up an entire menu of sweets for our Latvian Global Table. Sweets always make everything better. Yes, a happy collection of apples, cranberries, and sweet bread is just the ticket. What … [Read more...]

About the food of Latvia

Beehive transport in Latvia. Photo by Tiago Fioreze.

Maybe it's this time of year - when the days are wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations and living so far away from my Bostonian roots feels so excruciatingly wrong - but five minutes into cracking the book on Latvia and I felt like I was in New England. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But, with Latvian's weighing in with favorite foods like apples, cranberries, meat, potatoes, and gingerbread - it's hard not to draw the comparison. Apples make their way into … [Read more...]