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: Emirati Date Crêpes | Muhalla

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I've had a lot of breakfast treats over the years, but I've never tasted anything quite like these whole wheat date "crêpes" beloved in the United Arab Emirates. Made with whole wheat flour and a hearty helping of dates, they are a mildly sweet  and wholesome way to start the morning. I call them "crêpes" because of how they look, but, in truth, they're called "Muhalla," and quite different than a French crêpe. For starters, these are leavened with yeast, whose bubbles give the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Turkish tabbouleh | Kisir

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What happens when you eat a lot of international food, but still get in a rut? Is it like when you live by the sea but get tired of looking at the lapping waves (is that even possible?). It's so easy (and delicious), to return to old favorites like stuffed grape leaves, hummus and tabbouleh, but sometimes a little shakedown is in order. We're big tabbouleh eaters in this house, so when I found out there's a Turkish version of this popular bulgur salad, you can bet I jumped on … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tomato Cornmeal Cakes | Djenkoume

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Even grownups need to build sandcastles from time to time. The urge comes from deep within our hearts - some far away love for fantasy, perhaps formed in childhood. Today, we're listening to our inner child; we're making edible sandcastles... from Togo. At least, that's what I'm calling them. If you want to be a serious adult, you can call them cornmeal cakes. In Togo, corn is everything, ever. Sometimes it is served as porridge. And sometimes it's served as Djenkoume, a.k.a. cornmeal … [Read more...]

Recipe: Battered Plantains with Peanut Sauce | Bakabana

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Bakabana is a traditional treat in Suriname. All you do is take very ripe plantains (i.e. blackened), deep fry them, and dust the crispy, fried goodness with powdered sugar. Alternatively, you can serve them with homemade peanut sauce. The result is a crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, finger-licking snack. What could go wrong? (Actually, a lot.  I made this recipe three times, before I finally figured out that I needed cornstarch to make the batter crispy. For reference see … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cassava Pudding

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I secretly love it when a word like "pudding" takes on a whole new meaning than "the sweet chocolate goop  found in the refrigerator cases of American supermarkets" (although I do enjoy that sort of pudding as much as the next sugar crazed mom). I love surprises like this because they teach me not to take so much for granted. They remind me that there are people all over this beautiful world who have different ways of doing things. And, in case you didn't get the memo, different is a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Rwandan “Agatogo” with Collard Greens

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There's an old Rwandan saying "The most extensive land is the human belly."  I like to think there's mountains and streams in there, glorious sunsets and easy, glimmering sunrises. Is that somehow unsavory? I don't know. I do know I want this land to be vast, and include as much variety as possible. I want to fit the whole world in there. And this, my friends, includes the plantain. Plantains have been an issue for my family from the beginning. Ava isn't really keen on them (or bananas). … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lumpia Shanghai

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Are you the sun or the moon? Do you shine hot and bright, or glow cool and blue? Is there a better of the two? There's a Filipino folk tale that says the sun and moon once had an argument. The sun angrily told the moon "you only shine because I shine on you." The moon spat back, "no one likes you because you're too hot - at least at night the women can go out and dance under my cool glow." This made the sun so angry, she threw sand in the moon's face. And that's how they say the moon got … [Read more...]