Recipe: Green Papaya Salad

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  What do you do when you're running low on inspiration? Do you sip a cup of tea, take a walk, paint, write a poem, cook something? Or do you freeze up, unable to create? Writing a book for the last several months has had an interesting effect on my brain-space. The book is incredibly daunting and takes all my creative juices. I find myself sopping through my house like a wrung out rag. I once read that we are only capable of making a certain number of decisions each day. After … [Read more...]

Recipe: Honey & Pistachio Stuffed Quince

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Say "Quince" to an Uzbek lady, and you just might see her flush with delight. Though they aren't eaten raw, baked quince are soft and tender, like a pear.  The taste is mild, something like an apple, but with traces of pear, too. Uzbekistan is the third greatest producer of quince, after Turkey and China. They include the fruit in plov, stir it into preserves, and they bake it up with honey, and sometimes even stuff it nuts... as we're doing today. How to choose a quince: - look … [Read more...]

Recipe: Martin Fierro

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Recipes usually evolve over a long period of time, but today we explore a recipe that one man changed forever. In the late 19th century, José Hernández wrote stories about gauchos, freedom, and love from his home, in Argentina. Gauchos are like the equivalent of the American cowboy: men who's spirits are forever roaming. His most famous character was Martin Fierro (so famous, in fact, that when the author, Hernández, died, the people announced that Martin Fierro had died, … [Read more...]

Recipe: All-American Apple Pie

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Mom made apple pie all the time when I was little. It was my brother Damien's choice for "birthday cake" several years in a row. He was born in October: it just made sense. Mom taught us how to cut the butter into the flour, to make a flaky pie crust, and she taught us how to add cinnamon and nutmeg to flavor it. (In her honor, I've labeled my cinnamon jar "sin," just as she did then) Then I moved to Oklahoma, as far from New England's familiar orchards as I could get. Every year … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cream & Current Scones

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The first time I had a scone - a real British scone - I almost lost my mind. The small disc had a tender crumb and tasted of lightly sweetened cream. A speckling of currants brightened the flavor, giving it just a hint of color, too. The giving texture of the scone is worth further mention. I think much of the lightness stems from the fact that  real scones are made with good quality European butter. European butter is richer (averaging 85% fat instead of just 81%), so there's less water, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Orange Blossom Juice

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Orange juice is a hardworking breakfast drink. When everyone else in the house is still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, orange juice is waaaay perky. It contains enough joy to put coffee out of business. But what if you had something a little more fancy to offer your family (or guests) in the morning? Orange juice with a splash of orange blossom water is a direct inspiration from the United Arab Emirates (and all over the Gulf), where hosts offer guests orange blossom water & … [Read more...]

Recipe: Ukrainian Beet Salad | Salat Vinagret

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  Well, hello. Today we're biting into a very pink salad. There's not a lot of pink food I can think of besides strawberry ice cream. There's certainly not a lot of savory pink food. Unless you live in Ukraine, where beets reign supreme. Beets are one of Ukraine's most beloved root vegetables, and for good reason. They're packed with fiber, vitamins A, B & C, magnesium, and iron. When they're not mixed up in borsch, beets make their way into salad vinagret.  This salad is … [Read more...]

Recipe: Peanut Brittle with Coconut & Cardamom | Kashata

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On the simmering streets of Uganda, you can walk up to a street vendor and satisfy your sweet tooth with a big bite of Kashata. Loosely speaking, Kashata is East African brittle.  It's most popular in Uganda and Tanzania. It's hard, sweet, and all kinds of delicious. I've seen Kashata shaped as cubes, balls, and diamonds. Some are flat, some are thick. Just like people, the shape doesn't matter; it's all about what's on the inside. The most glorious Kashata are a blend of peanuts, … [Read more...]