Recipe: Almond Stuffed Date Balls

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When I made the amazing Pistachio Date Balls for Iraq, I thought I'd seen the easiest recipe in the world.  It only uses two ingredients (third if you feel like getting extra fancy), and there's no cooking. Well, today's date balls are even easier: they don't require a food processor. Boom! Even as simple as they are, the flavor is amazing - as though from a much more complex recipe. There's a sweetness from the dates that transports me straight to Yemen... I mean, forget it. Let's … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spiced Skillet Eggs | Yemeni Shakshouka

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Eggs. In the shell, they seems so... ordinary. But glowing, too, like they're full of potential. Like they're ready to become something more. When it comes to breakfast, Yemen knows how to dress them up - as Shakshouka. Shakshouka is a beloved skillet egg dish popular all over North Africa and the Middle East. We've made shakshouka before - the kind that is rather like a tomato sauce with poached eggs inside (and, by the way, yum!) - but Yemen makes shakshouka … [Read more...]

Recipe: Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce | Nước mắm pha

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Nước mắm pha is the quintessential Vietnamese dipping sauce, used on spring rolls, rice noodles, salads, and more. It's sweet, salty, and heavily spiced. A basic recipe includes freshly squeeze lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and water. The real flavor comes from garlic and fresh red chilies. I learned on Food Safari (a great food/travel show - catch it if you can!) that if the cook can get the garlic and chili pieces to float in the nước mắm pha, they will get … [Read more...]

Recipe: DIY Spring Rolls | Bò nhúng dấm

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  Today, let me show you how Vietnamese food is like a dream. Delicate. Lingering. But, also, let me show you how their food is like a celebration. Bold. Unapologetic. Before I do, call your friends and family because today's recipe is a Vietnamese food party. The star? The DIY Spring Roll. Here's how it works: Every guest gets to pick and choose their fillings, from cucumber and sprouts, to vibrant mint, thai basil, and cilantro. The best part? Everyone gets to … [Read more...]

Recipe: Venezuelan Fruit Punch | Tizana

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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 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas

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"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 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce

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When I ask my mother how I'm related to Cousin Alfred, the answer usually goes: "Well..." and then there's a  contemplative silence. I can see her running through all our different relations, high up on the family tree, doing mental gymnastics to connect one branch to another. Eventually, she comes out with "I think he's my mothers, mother's cousin's"... and then, either she trails off, or my attention span wanes because, really, all that matters is that he is family, one way or … [Read more...]

Recipe: The Pope’s Fettuccine | Fettuccine alla papalina

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Before I knew about Papalina-style noodles, I thought Carbonara was the bees knees. But it turns out that Papalina is the richer version of carbonara. It uses cream, Parmesan, and prosciutto instead of the pancetta or guanciale (pig jowl) from in carbonara. One peppery bite in, and mac and cheese is a bland, happily forgotten memory. Let me be clear. My translation of the Italian is not entirely accurate. Papalina means skullcap, not pope. But I dubbed this recipe the Pope's … [Read more...]