Yes, I’ll sing to an apple tree

wassail

The question is not whether I'd sing to an apple tree, but rather where I can find an apple tree to sing to. My Oklahoman neighborhood just doesn't deliver the crimson fruit. Regardless, I will tipple this wassail with a cheer (wassail literally means "wes hail", or good cheer)- after all in 2014 I'm learning about celebrations around the world, a suitable follow-up to completing our first adventure: eating one meal for every country in the world. January is all about … [Read more...]

Merry Gingerbread Winners!

2012 christmas eve dinner

Ho, ho, ho! The time has finally come! We're beyond excited to announce the winners of this year's Gingerbread for Peace Competition. Every year I love looking at your beautiful creations. You and your power over icing never cease to amaze me... which is why, if it were up to me, you'd all win. Truly, truly. And that, my friends, is why I enlist the help of an amazing panel of judges. With that said, I'd like to thank our sweet judges, who have the tough (impossible!) job of rating the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Pork braised in Milk & Fresh Herbs | Maiale al Latte

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It's fun to let a recipe go "wrong" on purpose.  Maiale al Latte is one of those dishes: pork braised in milk for hours, until the milk gives way to tender, nutty, herb flavored curds. Some will tell you this "curdled milk" is a mistake. I'm here to tell you what everyone in San Marino and Italy already know - this is homemade cheese ripe for the snacking, an epic byproduct of an already amazingly tender roast, soaked with sage and rosemary, garlic and bay leaves, milk and … [Read more...]

Recipe: Samoan Steamed Spice Cake | Puligi

Puligi

When Samoans want to bite into the holidays, their kitchens fill with the warm scent of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. If you try to peer under the lid to see what's cookin', you'll more than likely get a full steam facial, so watch out. Within that foggy cloud of vapors, you'll find cocoa brown puligi, a steamed bundt cake made dark with the unusual addition of "burnt" sugar. The cake is traditionally steamed in an underground oven known as an imu, although many now steam it on the stovetop, or … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cocoa Tea

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When I told Ava that the fine people of Saint Lucia like to wake up in the morning and drink Cocoa Tea, she squinted her eyes, titled her head, and said "what mama?" "It's like hot cocoa," I smiled, "but richer, and seasoned with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg." Her eyes instantly popped open in recognition and the corners of her lips curled impishly. I showed her my mound of chocolate chips and added that in Saint Lucia they use cocoa sticks and balls to make their Cocoa Tea, but we'd … [Read more...]

Recipe: Frankincense Ice Cream

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I like a little mystery in the midst of routine. A drizzle of scented massage oil makes the evening fly by. A simple puff of incense fills every crevice of my home with glorious serenity. And of all possible aromas, Frankincense reigns supreme. Ever since I was a little girl, poised with wonder under the glittering Christmas tree, Frankincense has captivated me. My little brain could never quite grasp what on earth Frankincense was or why it was so special, but that didn't stop me from … [Read more...]

Recipe: A Cake for 3 Kings (Dreikönigskuchen)

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Epiphany. People use the word to say they had a great idea. Like the proverbial lightbulb going off over one's head. But we're not going to eat lighbulbs today. Nope. Epiphany is the time of year that Liechtenstein, as well as many other countries around the world, celebrate "little Christmas." This national holiday is celebrated on January 6 and is a nod to the late arrival of the 3 kings to the very first Christmas party... afterall, they did hike quite a ways to get to Bethlehem. Calling … [Read more...]

Recipe: Whipped Ghee Shortbread Cookies (Ghraiba)

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Every day should be special. A day to use fancy napkins. A day to nibble cookies with tea. A day to smile more than you did the entire year before. This cookie is for such a day. Say hello to the ghraiba, or Libya's answer to crispy, buttery shortbread. They aren't super sweet, but they have a tender crumb, perfect for teatime. Two things make these cookies unique. First, they are made with ghee, a.k.a. cooked, clarified butter. Second, they are studded with whole cloves, which can be eaten … [Read more...]