Recipe: Arroz con Pollo

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Pneumonia make cause my heart to race, my nerves to slacken, and my breathing to rasp, but it will never stop me from making my sweetheart his birthday dinner. To celebrate in style, I cobbled together the most unexpectedly glorious arroz con pollo. Unexpected, because I honestly wondered how great could chicken and rice be? Fantastic, turns out. Put your trust in centuries of Latin American and Spanish history; the next time you have a big dinner party, make arroz con pollo. Under a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Plantain Chips with Sea Salt | Tostones

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Fried plantain chips are a slice-it and deep-fry-it situation that you'll find all over Panama (and beyond). They're the kind of yummy you can enjoy whether you're grouchy and glum or over-the-moon happy. Today I made a nice "thick cut" chip - for a little crispy-chewy action, although tostones are often shaved skinny, like potato chip. Either way you'll find it helpful to use a mandolin for nice, even slices. This is nothing like a sweet banana (looks can be deceiving). This is … [Read more...]

Recipe: Midnight Mocha Rum Cake

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Let's talk about world peace for a second. Pretty much everyone I know agrees we need a big dollop of it to make the world a happier place, but not many people know what this world loaded up with peace would actually look like. Except for that one image of children holding hands. While the notion of all our children holding hands is a beautiful image, I can't help but wonder where all the adults are. Why is it always just children? Are we so jaded that we think they're the only ones who … [Read more...]

Menu: Panama (& Giveaway)

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I'm happy. Not only did I get to dig into an amazing rum cake this week, I also get to give one of you beautiful readers a nice treat. (More on that in a moment.) For now, I need to focus on one very special man - my husband. This week's Global Table was Mr. Picky's birthday luncheon. Happy Birthday, my love! The meal was hearty, delicious and, as always, a bit challenging for him. I must apologize for the fact that his birthday plate included such offenders as cilantro, olives, capers, … [Read more...]

About the food of Panama

View of Isla Taboga, with Panama City in the background. Photo by Osopolar.

The skinny squiggle in Central America is Panama. Her spine crackles with mountains, while her shores undulate with soft, green hills. This is the tropics and, even in the winter, skirts and flowers flow freely, rum punch spills willy nilly, and banana leaf tamales make an all-star appearance with the likes of arroz con pollo (spiced rice with chicken and olives) [Recipe]. But it's the butterflies that catch my attention. With more than 1500 species in this tiny country, Panama has the … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua, a.k.a. The Sweet Sea and Cocibolca Lake. Photo by Aaron Escobar.

When I say "toxic," what comes to mind? Is it a food? Is it a person in your life? Is it a lifestyle led by you or someone you know? This week we ate yucca - a tuber known to have toxic bits of cyanide if processed improperly. In the early days of this adventure, I made the mistake of grating up the tough fibers on the inside of the yucca, where these toxins are concentrated. Several hours later this novice error caused me to crash down onto the floor unconscious, only to awake with ringing … [Read more...]

Recipe: Pineapple Horchata

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This summer I've seen almost everything. Laughter in sad moments. Tears in happy moments. Life is a bumble-all-over-the place, as it should be when temperatures screech up into the 100's. What I haven't seen? Purple-feathered dancing ladies. This Pineapple Horchata is certainly the closest I'll get to this sort of carnival fun. And every summer should have a little carnival fun, don't you think? The recipe is a cooked horchata (homemade rice drink), different from the amazing no-cook … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lime & Cabbage Slaw with Yucca | Vigoron

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Today we're taking a bite of Nicaraguan sunshine. This is the kind of sunshiny soul food that satisfies cravings. Bored cravings. Excited cravings. Lonely cravings. I'm ready for winter cravings. I miss my man cravings.  I wish I could sing cravings. It's like the fairy godmother of salads. This sunshine is magic. So what is it? Vigoron. A heaping mound of comfort, nestled on top of deep green banana leaves. This is Nicaraguan street food, designed to make your mouth happy. First … [Read more...]