Recipe: Coconut Curried Corn | Galey iyo Qumbo

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When I was a little girl, I'd sit on the back porch and shuck long ears of corn, the silk wrapping around my fingers, clinging to my dress, and falling onto my shoes. Similar scenes can be found throughout southern Somalia, where men, women, and children pull together to harvest their corn. To shuck the corn. And, eventually, to grind it in wide, stone bowls, to make porridge. If the kernels don't get ground, the whole cobs might be dressed up in curried coconut milk in a dish called … [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: Saudi Lamb “Pizza” | Aysh abu Laham

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In Saudi Arabia, there's an old saying "A friend is known when needed." In other words, when you need help, true friends show up. They might ask "Can I do anything?", but more than likely they'll simply roll up their sleeves and get to work. Because the answer is clear, yes, you need them. A true friend quietly brings over a covered casserole after you've given birth to your first child. They take your child to the park so you can sleep off a fever. They silence their phone and hold your … [Read more...]

Recipe: Stuffed Grape Leaves | Warak Enab

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Time and time again I've failed to entice Ava with stuffed grape leaves. I tried back when we cooked Armenia, when the grape leaves were laced with an intoxicating blend of cinnamon, allspice and currants and she was an innocent, unquestioning 8-month old. Let's just say she wasn't ready - neither for the somewhat chewy outer "skin," nor the mystery of what was inside. Little kids like to know what mom is feeding them. Not one to give up easily, I spent the last 3 years casually pushing them … [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...]

Recipe: Dulce de Leche Stuffed Cookies | Alfajores

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Sometimes we need a do over. A chance to get it right. And a little forgiveness. Because in every mishap is a silver lining. Especially when it comes to sweet, crumbly dulce de leche filled alfajores - the popular South American cookie. One bite instantly dissolves on the tongue into a cloud of tender lemon zest deliciousness. Divine. But back to forgiveness. Specifically, I need to forgive my sweet, bumbling husband for being so thoughtful as to fill up the cooler with ice for our 3 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spicy Coconut Shrimp

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Fact: Shrimp are like relationships. They should be warm and inviting. Not cold and clammy. I've never been a fan of cold shrimp at cocktail parties. I eat them begrudgingly (if only because I'm an eternal grazer). All the while, I daydream of a crackling, crusty, and "fried-until-golden-brown" shrimp. I'm not sure why I settle on cold and clammy at cocktail parties, but I do it every single time. Thankfully, I didn't make the same mistake when choosing my husband. And, after this week's … [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...]