All posts filed under: Holidays

Maltese November Bone Cookies Recipe

Maltese Bone Cookies with Marzipan Marrow

This month we’re celebrating the most anatomically correct cookie there ever was – one whose astounding details should make it a favorite with medical students everywhere, and one who would be well placed at every white coat graduation buffet. The origins of this beautiful cookie are far humbler than you might think – November Bones hail from the small island nation of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea. Why November Bones? Forget dress up and trick-or-treating; most people in the island nation of Malta skip right over Halloween in favor of All Saints and All Souls Days, two feast days that honor the dead (these more reverent holidays are not about vampires and zombies, but about taking time to honor cherished family members who have passed on). On November 1st and 2nd the graves are cleaned and decorated, but it’s the November Bones (a.k.a. l-għadam tal-mejtin) that stretch the holiday well beyond the two days (they’re sold all month long in many bakeries). Anatomy of a Cookie Usually cookies are just a “shape it and bake it” operation, but November Bones could come straight from a …

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Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

In our house we live by Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  This week we’re going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even the smallest creatures. Not one to mince words, Gandhi wasn’t afraid to puts his beliefs in black and white:  No flocks that range the valley free To slaughter I condemn Taught by the power that pities me I learn to pity them – Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Our daughter Ava has been eating mostly vegetarian for a while now, so she was particularly happy to celebrate World Vegetarian Day with a new-to-us dish. What to eat for World Vegetarian Day? While we have hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes from around the world, I thought it’d be fun to try a dish Gandhi might have enjoyed …

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40 DRINKS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Celebrate Labor Day with 40 Cold Drinks from around the world

  Hi friends! When someone asks how you are doing, do you reply “Oh, SO busy”? I recently read that being ‘busy’ is the new norm. Turns out that’s how many people are measuring their self worth and even asserting their status as an “important” person. Ugg. This makes labor day an even more important holiday in my book.  A time to slow down, enjoy the bounty the world has to offer, and just… be… with your family and friends. I’ve compiled 40 cold drinks from your global neighbors for you to enjoy this weekend (perhaps not all at once, eh?). Bonus challenge? Vow not to say you’re busy for the entire month of September. Even if you are. #letsbanbusy xxoo Sasha NOTE: These recipes are enjoyed in their particular countries, but not necessarily exclusive to the countries.   The African drinks we’ve tried on our cooking adventure include a lot of fresh, tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and papaya. There’s also a good deal of ginger (think ginger beer and ginger tea), hibiscus, and earthy spices like cinnamon. …

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Celebrate Name Yourself Day with Nigerian Fried Rice

This Shall Not Die In Yoruba culture, in southwestern Nigeria and Southern Benin, the naming of babies is of the utmost importance – one that the Yoruba people believe will help determine their child’s future – their fate. That’s how a baby might come to be named Kokumo, or “This Shall Not Die.” I’ll be honest, the first time I imagined a baby with the word “die” in their name, I got the chills. But Kokuma is an optimistic, prayerful name. A wish for their child’s well-being – not some morbid statement. Today, in honor of international Name Yourself Day (April 8) I’d like to explore if we can find such power in our names – whether or not where we end up in life can be manifest through clear and purposeful intention repeated like mantra, with something as basic as our very own names. If it is true, then the meaning and sentiment of our names can have a big influence on who we are and what we do with our lives. So we should choose them …

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Julia Lipnitskaia, Russian figure skater. Photo by David W. Carmichael. Gold medal winner Stefan Groothuis during his race. Photo by M. Smelter.

7 Russian Dishes Worth Celebrating

Frankly, I’m embarrassed by the press’ coverage of the Olympics – it feels like the popular kids ganging up on the ‘outsiders’. While I don’t expect everything in the press to be all to be sunshine and rainbows, mean-spirited articles and blog posts whose primary goal has been to “poke fun” of the culture and people is a failure – a total disregard for the true purpose of the Olympics. We deserve more. They deserve better. The Olympics are a time to step up and celebrate each other – our athletes, our talents, that thing called dreams realized.  I recently read a fairly negative article about the food in Sochi, with interviewees calling their food experiences “bland” and “different” (citing the pervasiveness of cow tongue on the restaurant menus as a negative), with “McDonald’s as a best friend”. To be fair, the author did come around by the end of the article and cite a few decent meal reviews. Still, the time has come: someone needs to focus on the good. Let’s be real: it is all too …

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5 Secrets to Springtime in January, thanks to the Hindu Harvest Festival

You know that old saying, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”? Well the same can be said of springtime. Even while ice and and snow pummel the northern hemisphere and hot days sizzle in the southern, there are plenty of people celebrating springtime in India and other South Asian countries… Yes, in January. After the wild hair seventy degree day we had a couple of days ago, Ava and I were ready to say goodbye to winter, too. So how do we get there? This January 14 marks Makar Sankranti, the Hindu Harvest Festival. While Makar Sankranti is intended to celebrate the winter solstice and last year’s good harvest,  it also celebrates the arrival of spring. This is one of those “looking forward” to warmth, while looking back with appreciation. To Hindus, the Sun stands for knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. Makara Sankranti signifies that we should turn away from the darkness of delusion in which we live, and begin to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter and brighter. We should gradually begin to …

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Easter

Fun Easter Recipes from Around the World

I always know when it’s Easter. My daughter is surrounded by a sea of plastic eggs. Jelly beans and skittles show up in the oddest places. But sometimes I want something a little less commercial. A little more homemade. And a whole lot delicious. Here are my three favorite Easter recipes from our Global Table Adventure… they are perfect for a fun afternoon of baking with your family, or go fancy and make them for brunch. 1. Easter Cookies, a.k.a. Figolla from Malta [Recipe] These lemon zest infused sugar cookies are stuffed with a marzipan filling, then iced. I love these so much, I even made them for a friend’s wedding. They are such a conversation starter, and it’s nifty they come from a tiny island in the Mediterranean (can we all just shut our eyes for a moment and just… go? 2. Romanian Easter Bread, a.k.a. Pasca [Recipe] Take everything you love about brioche and combine it with cheesecake. In spirit, anyway. This Romanian bread is gorgeous and would make excellent Easter Brunch (just …

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Gifts for the Stovetop Traveler

Hi, friends. Here’s a lip-smacking collection of gifts with the stovetop traveler in mind. You’ll find everything from kids chopsticks to a boozy liquor cabinet of global proportions. All of it will help you eat the world better than ever. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! xo 1. Cookie cutter shaped like the world (I hope you’re hungry) 2. Tapas Fondue Set (Retro fun. Love the star cutouts on the candle base) 3. Tunisian Hand Painted Tagine (I own & love a version of this!) 4. Buddy Trainer Chopsticks (Set of 2 in orange and blue.. I’m getting these for Ava.) 5. Bamboo Steamer (10-inch) 6. Blue Koi Fish Teapot (Pretty, pretty) 7. Turkish Ibrik Coffee Maker (Coffee? Yes. Plus, who needs a microwave, when you can heat everything up in an Ibrik). 8. “Snow Globe” Spice Shaker Set (seriously!) 9. Ebelskiver Pan & Mix Set (something I’ve always wanted to try) 10. Fish Chopstick Rests (Set of 4) 11. Let’s Make a Date Line Bulletin Board (keep track of your global menus) 12. Ceramic Potlluck Roaster (want!) 13. Global Placecard Holders (ditto!) 14. La Chamba Comal (simply beautiful way to char …

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Russian “Egg, Egg & Caviar”

The scrambled eggs in Russia are so moist and creamy, you’d swear there’s cheese folded up inside. To achieve this texture, the eggs are never whisked or salted at this stage, but broken directly into a pot (not a pan), then cooked over gentle heat in a “on again, off again” game that makes Ross and Rachel’s relationship on Friends look stable. Finally, a generous swoosh of heavy cream and a sprinkle of seasoning finishes the eggs off right. Then, while they’re still steaming hot, you slide them inside a hollowed out egg shell. Even with all this glamour, it’s the glimmering, shimmering egg topper that really steals the show: the caviar (a.k.a. more eggs). Caviar is Russia’s love. To give you an idea of how precious these fish eggs are, imagine spending $8,000 on a pound of anything. Well-to-do Russians are happy to spend that much per pound on caviar. Thankfully for the wallet, one only eats an ounce or two in one sitting. I got the idea for today’s recipe from Andrew Zimmern. Here’s how they …

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Mauritian Banana Tart

Don’t let the startling geometry fool you. Today’s Banana Tart is for those who like mellow desserts. Big bites of health. An entire banana tree in the belly, topped off with delicate lattice goodness. I know. It’s craziness. You can thank the dreamy island of Mauritius, way out in the Indian Ocean, for teaching me this ingenious way to use up ripe bananas. The ingredient list is so simple and pure, I almost can’t believe it. Bananas, barely a smattering of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a vanilla bean. That’s it. Let’s just say I’d be proud to serve this tart to the tiniest tot. Now, if you’ll kindly excuse me, I’ll be in the corner, daydreaming about going back in time so I can bring this tart to Ava’s first birthday party. The dense mashed banana would have made a fantastic, healthy first birthday “cake” (you could probably even leave the sugar out without harming the taste – just use very ripe bananas). P.S. If you’d rather, you can always fly to Mauritius, …

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Marzipan Easter Cookies from Malta | Figolla

Each week, when I sit down to pick recipes, I am surrounded by a mountain of cookbooks, web sites, and emails (this week I’d like to thank Maltese reader, Jym B. for all his help).  I scan through dozens, if not hundreds of ideas before settling on my selections. Not today. Not with this recipe. I ran across Figolla almost immediately and knew, without a doubt, this sweet treat was a keeper. Reader, Jym, simply confirmed my selection, stating it is a “wonderful” cookie from his Maltese heritage. So what is it? Figolla is Malta’s popular Easter cookie – two lemon infused sugar cookies surrounding a soft, almond paste center. The cookie is decorated for Easter with frosting and a chocolate egg (which is sometimes left in the foil wrapper – a sparkling nugget of goodness). Pretty much amazing, if you ask me. Especially considering daydreamy stovetop travel will take you here to eat it… Makes just over 2 lbs of dough. Quantity of cookies depends on how big your cookie cutters are! This recipe …

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Happy-New-Year

Globally inspired New Year’s Drinks for your every mood

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, I’m moody. Some years I want to stay up all night, partying with all the time zones, the whole world over. Some years I am so tired I can’t even stay up to watch the ball drop on TV.  More often than not, I’m snoring by 10 p.m. The nice thing about cooking the world is learning that there is most definitely a drink for every mood, no matter what time you drink it – no matter if you’re in a crowd or totally (and happily) alone. So, come along, no matter how you feel, or how you celebrate – let’s get moody this New Year’s … with a global drink from the far corners of the world, just right for where you are right now. Mood #1: The Homebody Feeling sick? Tired? Needing to curl up in a comforter and watch the ball drop from your living room? Try Hot Honey Lemon Vodka from Kyrgyzstan. You’ll be cozy as a clam and happy to boot. Plus the warm drink will …

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