Recipe: Cheesy Roasted Poblanos (Rajas con Crema)

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Listen. Not everything has to look perfect. We don't always need lipstick and hair straighteners (In fact, I haven't seen either of those since Ava started crawling). Some days I don't even look in a mirror until night time. Until it's too late. Let yourself off the hook once in a while. Let your hair down. Smear your lips with chapstick and call it good. While you're at it, eat messy food. Because, no matter how it looks, if it tastes good, then all is well in your world. Which … [Read more...]

Recipe: Roasted Whole Fish from the Maldives (Fihunu Mas)

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You should have seen my brother's face when I told him we were going to make whole fish for our Maldivian Global Table. His eyes about popped out of his head. In fact, my entire family - both brothers, my sister, mom, niece and nephew - was wary of the idea.  While eating the whole fish is rare in the United States, we knew from experience that our family was in for a treat. We ate this meal in Florida, as part of a celebration of my mom's surprise 70th birthday, so I had a bounty of … [Read more...]

Recipe: Jordanian Inspired Spiced & Grilled Chicken

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Serves 4 There was a time when I wasn't a very good cook, but I sure liked to try. Every night I rifled through my spice collection, eventually sprinkling a little of this and a little of that on top of whatever I was making. And when I say a little I mean a little. A speck. A drop. A dusting. My food never had much flavor because I was scared to overdo it. I've since learned (mostly thanks to my time at the Culinary Institute of America) that you need to be brave - bold - … [Read more...]

Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken

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Serves 4 There's no way around it. Jerk chicken is supposed to be blacker than a starry night - and more sizzlin' than that smokin' hot hotty you wake up to every morning (Hi, Keith!). Typically cooked in a barrel smoker, Jerk gets it's distinctive flavor and color from low, slow cooking over smouldering all spice wood. The long cooking time gets the jerk seasoning extremely caramelized. Now, for those of you who want to go all out, you can easily get your meat much darker than mine … [Read more...]

Recipe: Muhammara (Char-grilled Red Pepper Dip)

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Makes 3 cups If you're wilting and melting and generally crying for a reprieve from the heat, try Muhummara. This Middle Eastern roasted pepper dip takes the heat out of summer in the most fingerlicking way. The walnuts add body, but you don't taste them. The pomegranate syrup gives a slightly tart tang and the cumin gives earthy warmth, but the ingredients are so balanced and subtle you'll be seduced before you know it - and you won't exactly know why. Just like falling in love with the most … [Read more...]

Recipe: Grilled Whole Wheat Pita Bread

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Makes 8 Pita Light, airy, grilled pita bread spells summer. Flip flops and ice water. Sunglasses and big smiles. Making this recipe just might help you get to know your neighbors. After all, the fresh smell of grilled pita bread is nearly impossible to resist. As long as you're willing to share... So, let's take a cue from the fine people of Iraq and enjoy pita, just like they have in this region (not only the Middle East, but the Mediterranean and also the Balkans) for millennia. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Kabab Koobideh

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Serves 4-6 It's been a long week. You're tired. You might even be cranky (I won't tell). I've got good news. Now is the perfect time to put on your superhero cape and make kababs on swords. (Ok. They aren't really swords. They're sword-like skewers. But they might as well be swords because they are that wonderful. You can buy them at your local Middle Eastern market and you'll be forever glad you did.) Iranians - and people all across the Middle East - love to use these mega … [Read more...]

Recipe: Indonesian Beef Satay

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Serves 2-4 Do you get hungry late, late, late - in the dark corners of the night? Does your stomach growl? Your mind race? Do you ever feel like you need a big bite of goodness before you can roll over and snooze? Me, too. Indonesian Beef Satay is just the ticket. Believe me when I say I would turn on my grill at midnight to eat this satay. Here's the truth: I've never simply sat and eaten a half pound of meat in my entire life. I'm just not that into meat. Until … [Read more...]