All posts filed under: South America

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Peruvian Quinoa Salad | A gift from the stars

Step out under the sky tonight and scan the heavens. Seek out a star, winking in the darkness, livelier than all the rest. This, my friends, is the proud, playful star-sister who brought quinoa to South America. Legend has it that, long before hip, suburban health food stores stocked this comma-shaped seed, the Aymara people* of the Andes were given the gift of quinoa. It was the Aymara’s first harvest, near Lake Titicaca. While toiling in the fields, the farmers noticed that someone had dug up and stolen some of their potatoes.  Determined to catch the thief red handed, one young man decided to stay up all night and keep watch over the fields. The young man hid behind some bushes and waited. The hours slipped slowly by, leaves rustling in the moonlight, tempting him with sleep. He eyes began to droop, his back began to hunch. Suddenly, the sound of laughter rang out. He bolted up and peered through the brush.  On the far side of the field he saw several young maidens – the star-sisters – come …

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How to make Argentine Pumpkin Soup

Argentine Beef Stew in a Pumpkin | Carbonada en Zapallo

In 2011 a young Argentine man went viral in a 6-second video when he laughed about the cost of a burger at a soccer stadium. His exact words were: Con quince peso me hago alto guiso.pum For 15 pesos I could make quite the stew. To put this young man’s remarks in perspective, 15 Argentine pesos is just under $2 USD. It seems as though, relatively speaking, overpriced stadium food is a shared phenomenon – as common as rainy days and sunny dispositions. What is remarkable – and what made the young man’s comment go viral – is the assumption that good, homemade stew can be made for the cost of an overpriced burger. I looked into his logic: here in the USA an overpriced stadium burger in Silicon Valley goes for $12. Surely, I could make a soup for less than $12, even shopping at costly American grocery stores. Testing the theory… Curious (and inspired), I began looking into Argentine stews – sending me down a delicious rabbit hole of beef and root veggie based bowls. I finally emerged …

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Recipe for Colombian Steak & Eggs | Bistec a Caballo

Colombian Steak & Eggs | Bistec a caballo

Bistec a caballo is the kind of hearty, Colombian chow that will feed a child with a full grown appetite – and grow the appetite of an aged person. The seasoned steak and eggs are as easily gobbled up by children on the back porch (barefoot from playing in the creek, their minds already on the next adventure), as they are sliced up during a late summer dinner party (complete with twinkling candles, and bottles of Cerveza Ancla – a popular Colombian brew). Feeding children’s imagination Though I had an overactive imagination as a child, I was never much good at certain types of pretend. I specifically remember trying to make myself have an imaginary friend because all the other kids had one. I drug a rope around as a leash for two pitiful minutes before I gave up. Even though I couldn’t conjure up characters, going on adventures in character was one of my favorite pastimes. My brother Michael and I ran the neighborhood as any number of characters. Often he was the Lone Ranger and I was Tonto …

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Grilled lunch with a taste of Argentina

When I flip open my grill it’s rarely to flip burgers; My vegetarian 5-year old inspires me to think beyond hamburgers and hot dogs in the summer. Argentina is known for her amazing meats, but beyond that she’s earned a special place in my heart for this acorn squash salad. The charred gourd stuffed with peppery arugula and aged goat cheese first entered my awareness through the campfire cooking of Francis Mallmann. His recipe entails roasting an entire pumpkin buried under the embers of a campfire. My recipe is simplified for the home chef – an acorn squash is easier to manage and cooks twice as fast. Ever since we first made it on this blog, some version of the salad has been in our regular rotation. We even made it on our recent camping trip to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest. Tips Don’t restrict yourself to making a meal that’s 100% foreign to you and your family – too much work can dampen motivation for international eating. Also: some people are more likely to try …

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Cold soup recipes from around the world.

Chill out with 7 cold soups from around the world

A few things have changed since the early days of this blog (namely the photography), but one thing is certain: I love a good, chilled soup in the summer. Here are seven awesome cold soup recipes from around the world that aren’t gazpacho – because, my goodness, there are other cold soups besides gazpacho! So, without further ado, summer’s almost over – let’s skip the heat and chill out. 1. Mul Naengmyeon | Korea [Recipe] This Korean recipe is the most recent addition to our collection – a soup so cold, it is actually served with ice. It’s claim to fame? The balance of flavor between earthy buckwheat noodles spicy cucumber, sweet Asian pear, and tart vinegar. The best part? This soup is DIY, so everyone can add exactly what they like (and leave out the rest) – perfect for picky eaters who want to stovetop travel to Korea! 2. Rye Bread Soup with Homemade Rhubarb Raisins | Iceland [Recipe]   A soup made with bread? Yup. It’s thick, heavy on the rye, and just odd enough to get …

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The world in 12 burgers.

If your part of the world was a burger, this would be it. (AMERICAS EDITION)

Photos of children by Tabea Huth, Rod Waddington , Christopher Michel.   In honor of father’s day, and in consideration of the fact that I hardly ever make burgers despite my husband’s passion for them… I give you the world in a dozen burgers – a three part series to be presented throughout the month of June. First up? Europe and the Americas.   Next week stay tuned for PART 2 several African burgers (I’m SO excited about these ones). Finally, we’ll complete our world tour with PART 3… burgers inspired by parts of Asia and Oceania… yum and yum.   1. The Caribbean | Jerk Chicken Burger Good Caribbean cooking goes hand in hand with scotch bonnet peppers (a.k.a. Habeneros… a.k.a. a little heat mon). For this burger I took inspiration from the Jerk Seasoning we enjoyed when we cooked Jamaica. This muddy green blend contains enough habenero to make a firefighter sweat, tempered with mild bell pepper, green onion, garlic, ginger, a garden of herbs  (think thyme, basil, and parsley), plus a host of spices (say ‘yow‘ to allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black …

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Easter-Eggs2

Go Global with 8 Edible Hiding Spots for your Easter Eggs

An Easter Tradition Easter Eggs are a thing in our house. We dye them. We decorate them. We gobble them up in two’s (it’s funny how a purple or green shell can make an ordinary egg taste eggstraordinary). When I was little Mom hid these boiled treats in the yard and, after we found them we ate them, still-warm from the sun. Today plastic eggs have taken over – probably because of one too many tummy aches after an overly hot Easter. But the kids don’t seem to notice; they scramble to collect these plastic shells, cracking them open to reveal stickers, coins, and candy. Each year the plastic eggs become more elaborate. Now they aren’t simply eggs, they’re monkeys or giraffes, baseballs or footballs. It’s fun, yes, but also starting to feel a bit… gimmicky. In the spirit of getting back to basics – to those real Easter Eggs of my childhood, I considered safe ways I could “hide” eggs for my daughter to find. Since it was 84F last week I knew the back yard …

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family

Monday Meal Review: Venezuela

Lately, I have this crazy energy. I thought it was because I’m almost done with this four-year challenge. Or because we just ate the world in one day, between our event in Tulsa and all of you who cooked along on October 12th! Or because I just saw my family. They always energize me! Then, I thought, perhaps it is because I am exactly two weeks away from my major book deadline. After this date, some changes can be made, but the book baby is largely out of my hands. Or maybe it’s simpler than all this. Maybe I’ve been drinking too many shots of espresso. Am I the only one who does that in busy times? Surely not. The thing about crazy energy, it wakes me up too early. All the things I have to do rush through my brain space, an unwelcome stampede. But even as I squeeze my eyes shut, I can’t make it stop. Generally, it’s about the book. My mind races with all the things I need to fix, edit, add. …

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Venezuelan Fruit Punch | Tizana

Crack open just about any Venezuelan fridge and you just might find a pitcher of tizana. Tizana is as much a drink as it is a fruit salad. The fruity concoction keeps for nearly a week, which makes it perfect for impromptu scooping. Though perhaps not traditional, I’m guilty of digging into the pitcher at breakfast time, dessert time, and, of course, at midnight. I can see how having tizana in the fridge would be a great way to get my daily allotment of fruit, especially when in a hurry.   So how is it made? For starters, you’ll need about… an entire orchard. Chopped. The kinds of fruit varies, but most recipes seemed to include one or more kinds of melon, pineapple, grapes, bananas, and apples. More exotic fruit like papaya, passion fruit, persimmons, guava, and mango appear once in a while, too. The whole mixture is thinned with good ol’ fashioned OJ and a splash of grenadine. Some people like to add club soda or regular soda to the mix, too.   Seriously. If this doesn’t …

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Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas

“There’s nothing hidden between heaven and earth.” Venezuelan Proverb Nothing hidden indeed… except, perhaps the cheese inside a steaming, hot Cachapas. Brittle autumn days require an extra slathering of comfort. Ooey gooey cheese-filled corncakes, a.k.a. cachapas fit the bill nicely. Think of them as the South American version of pancakes. The cakes are made with just two ingredients: corn and masa harina, plus the requisite sprinkling of salt and pepper. There’s a simplicity to the recipe that means a batch can be made as easily at midnight as in the afternoon. Which means you can stovetop travel to the beaches of Venezuela any time you like. While you can make cachapas with fresh corn in the fall, you can also use frozen corn any time of year. Corn gives the cachapas sweet overtones. Masa harina – a flour made from hominy, the big-kerneled cousin to corn – binds the mixture together so the corncake holds its shape (all the better for topping with ooey gooey cheese!). Speaking of cheese, the key to the cachapas is to sprinkle them …

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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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