All posts filed under: Holidays


Gingerbread Houses from Around the World!

Power tools, fireplaces, and an entire town made of “gingerbread” – today is all about gingerbread. First up, the winning entry to our Global Gingerbread Contest: Here’s the story behind her house: As a recent graduate with a degree in European History and a concentration in Slavonic/East European Studies, I really wanted my “international/foreign” house to reflect that region. While I originally hoped to incorporate some designs common to Psyanki or Wycinanki (aka, ornately dyed easter eggs and polish paper cuttings), I eventually settled on creating a little house inspired by the Slovak village of Čičmany. This tiny village is well known for its beautiful folk architecture that has been carefully maintained and preserved over the years–all the buildings are covered in a variety of white-painted patterns and designs. As a result, the houses  really do look something like life-sized gingerbread houses! While the village is, of course, quite unique, I believe it does reflect many motifs and values that are common through the last few hundred years of Eastern European folk tradition. It also …

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Save Christmas with 3 Dishes From Around the World

Mayday, mayday! I opened and closed the fridge about 10 ten times. Nothing to eat. Nothing to offer guests.  Each time I peered in, I hoped for a different result (there had to be something in there besides baby yogurt and beets… seriously) but … nope… there I was – December 22 – with a full house and no nom noms or drinks. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting three dear friends to drop by all at once (one of which hadn’t had breakfast or lunch due to a busy, busy morning) … but then again… it’s Christmas week… Now that I am fully traumatized (and my friends half starved to death), I’d like to share some wisdom: During the holiday season, always have an impromptu party on standby! You can learn from my mistakes and have the ingredients for this super easy snack and one of these two traditional Christmas drinks ready to go … you know, should someone decide to pop over to bring you a gift. And then you won’t have to serve …

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10 Fabulous Finger Foods from Around the World (a.k.a. Party Food)

I’d rather not eat pancakes if I have to use a knife and fork.  I much prefer tearing them into small, irregular pieces before dipping – just barely – into maple syrup and taking a bite. Licking my fingers completes the happy process. Yes… I love eating with my fingers (don’t you?). And, from what I’ve read, I’m in good company around the world. Here’s ten international, absolutely fabulous ideas to get you through this finger-lickin’ party season. 1. Camarao Grelhado Piri Piri (Grilled Prawns with Peppers) 2. Beef Empanadas 3. Armenian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Yalanchi Sarma) 4. Armenian Spiced Feta (Brinza) 5. Spicy Meatballs with Pomegranate sauce (Fesinjan Kyufta) 6. Himalayan Fruit Salad 7. Brazilian Romeo and Juliet (Romeu e Julieta) 8. Spicy Kielbasa Buns/Klobasneks/Klobasnikis (Klobásové Buchty) 9. Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller) 10. Smoked Salmon Smørrebrød

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5 Christmas Desserts from Around the World

Our pickup truck is overflowing with donations and our bedroom is now gift central (shh, don’t tell Ava). Thus is the cycle of life. Today, mostly because I can’t stop eating the candy meant for our stockings, I’m sharing 5 dessert recipes from around the world which are perfect – in my opinion – for Christmastime. So, put on your aprons! Let’s bring a little piece of the world to our families this holiday season. P.S. Stay tuned … all week I’ll be sharing recipes from around the world that’ll fit right in on your Christmas table… as well as a look at our gingerbread houses (We’ll start back up with cooking Djibouti next week). 1. Bajan Christmas Puddin’ (Pound Cake with Cherries) 2. Llokume (Turkish Delight) 3. Sacher-torte (Austrian Chocolate Tart with Apricot Jam) 4. Chilean Crema de Limon (Chilean Lemon Ice Cream) 5. Baked Milk Custard (Leche Asada)

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Danish Apple Cake | Æblekage

Makes One 6″ Cake Æblekage can be made any number of ways, but this recipe is super special because Anne A., one of our Danish readers, found it in her mother’s recipe box.  We did a little tweaking and, voila… Global Table’s Aeblekage, a little like Anne’s mamma used to make. The texture is on the muffin-side of things; you’ll love it with coffee or tea. Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 1/2 cups flour 1 small apple, halved and sliced thinly 1 small apple, diced Topping: 1/8-1/4 cup brown sugar 1/8-1/4 cup chopped walnuts Dots of butter Use a 6″ cake pan Method: Put a load of laundry in the washer (optional). Preheat the oven to 350F. Meanwhile, cream butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one a time. Next up, vanilla extract – the best perfume in the world (just dabble a little on your wrists). Next, drop in the dry …

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5 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Like a Dane (with poll)

1. On Christmas Eve, drop an almond in a vat of rice pudding – this dish is called Risengrød or ris al’amande. Whoever gets the almond is said to be blessed with good luck. Sometimes the winner is also given a special gift. 2. Drink a steaming glass of Gløgg in sub zero weather while walking around an outdoor crafts fair or listening to carolers. The hot red wine will make your cheeks rosy, and the spices with invigorate you with holiday cheer. 3. Make mountains of cookies, including shortbread and gingerbread. If you add a little cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, and ginger to the shortbread, you’ve got Pebernødder, or traditional Danish yule cookies. 4. Roast a goose or duck. I’m not sure where I could get a goose in my town, but in Denmark roast goose is a typical part of the holiday table and can be found almost anywhere. 5. Make a pile of rødkål, or sweet and sour red cabbage stewed with a little vinegar, diced apples, and some sweetener – perhaps apple …

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Mulled Wine | Gløgg

Makes 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) Bottoms up! The orange peel brightens up this warm holiday drink, while cinnamon gives it familiar festive flavor. NOTE: If you’re making this for a potluck, just keep it warm in a crock pot! Ingredients: 1 cup water 3 slices fresh ginger the peel of one orange 3 cardamom pods 5 cloves 2-4 cinnamon sticks 1 bottle red wine (750 ml) 1/2 bottle port (375 ml) 1/4 cup sugar Garnish, for each glass: Raisins (to taste) Almonds, skinned (to taste) Method: Put on some holiday music or… even better… take a moment to dance around the tree, just like the Danish (wow, they actually use real candles on their tree – so beautiful and … daring!). When you’re sufficiently filled with cheer, coat the bottom of a pot with spices and the orange peel. Mr. Picky says “When in doubt, add more cinnamon.” Splash in the water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes to let the spices release their flavor into the water. Then, let the sugar …

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Sweet Prune Buns | Kolaches / Slivkové Koláče

Makes 2 Dozen This mildly sweet prune filling can easily be modified to suit your tastes – add more spices, thin it out with extra water… the options are endless. Ingredients: 12 oz prunes (or dried apricots) 1/2 cup water 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste) 1 batch Refrigerator Dough for Kolaches & Klobasneks Method: Roll up your sleeves and grab a 12 oz bag of prunes… Hello Mr. & Mrs. Newman! NOTE: If you don’t like the word prune, feel free to say “dried plums” – this always makes Mr Picky feel better. Otherwise he claims I’m trying to serve him “old lady” food. Place your “old lady” prunes, or hip “dried plums” in a small pot with water Cinnamon… And snow white sugar… Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, empty the dishwasher or write a thank you note. The prunes will get soft and start breaking apart. Help them along by pureeing with an immersion blender…  Taste the puree  and decide – more sugar? cinnamon? water? Adjust and then …

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Spicy Kielbasa Buns | Klobasneks / Klobasnikis / Klobásové Buchty

Serves 6 NOTE: Exact portion sizes depend on the dimensions you choose for the sausage. If you like Pigs in a Blanket, you’ll love this authentic snack from the Czech Republic. Be sure to use high quality sausage and you’ll be on cloud 9 in no time. Ingredients: 2 kielbasa sausages (about a pound each) 1 Refrigerator Dough for Czech Desserts & Snacks Method: Gather the Kielbasa – if you are using all the dough, you will probably need two packages like this one… This brand is a tad bit spicy and so goooood. Cut the sausage into desired portion sizes –  I made mine about 2″ long and cut them in half since they were so wide. My goal was to make “finger food” for a party. If you’d rather serve these for a meal, cut them into 5″ portions and don’t slit them in half. Working with half the dough at a time, roll it out thinly. Cut into rectangles large enough to wrap around your sausage.  Mr Picky tells me your life …

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Roast Lamb from Cyprus | Ofto Kleftiko

Serves 2-4 This completely fuss-free roast lamb dish, Ofto Kleftiko, maximizes the rich, succulent flavor of lamb and is so tender it literally falls of the bone. A great dish for holidays, festivals, or even pot luck dinners. Serve one shank per person, unless appetites are small. Ingredients: 2 lamb shanks, about one pound each 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground coriander 4 bay leaves salt pepper olive oil Method: Get the oven nice and toasty – set it to 375F. Meanwhile, drizzle lamb with olive oil… (a.k.a. liquid gold) Sprinkle with heaps of salt and pepper… Then, divide the cinnamon and ground coriander seed equally amongst the lamb shanks. If you’re feeling kind of crazy, you might add a bit more cinnamon. Take off your rings, roll up your sleeves, and rub the spices into the meat. Make sure to also coat the ends and bottom of the lamb. Place both lamb shanks on top of a bay leaf, on their own large square of aluminum foil. Add another bay leaf on top and …

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Thanksgiving Menu Ideas from Around the World #2

Good day, fellow festive-folk. From addictive comfort food to iron-rich and healthy, I’ve got your Thanksgiving hook-up. That’s right… for the second day in a row, I’m sharing menu ideas to fill out your Thanksgiving table. Our regularly scheduled cooking will continue next week with Cyprus. At the risk of sounding like “The Count” on Sesame Street: yesterday our ideas came from countries that begin with the letter A… today they come from countries that begin with the letter “B.” Note: Be sure to read the associated Monday Meal Reviews for tips and tricks. (Bahamas) Island Macaroni & Cheese (Macaroni Pie) [Recipe] This macaroni and cheese is sliced into squares for serving – perfect for parties. (Belarus) Rye Bread [Recipe] Dense and high in fiber, rye bread is a staple in Belarus, preferred over wheat bread. In fact, Belarus is one of the largest producers of rye in the world. (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Balkan Baked Beans (Prebranac) [Recipe] Prebranac is an easy, addictive side dish made with white kidney beans, caramelized onion, garlic, and loads of paprika. (Bulgaria) …

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Thanksgiving Menu Ideas from Around the World #1

In honor of Thanksgiving week here, in the US, I “took a gander” through our old menu’s and picked out a few recipes that I would enjoy on our Thanksgiving table. Here’s my selections from the “A” countries… tomorrow I’ll share some from the “B” countries. Have a great day! 🙂 Note: Be sure to read the associated Monday Meal Reviews for tips and tricks. (Algeria) Hot Algerian Lasagna (Shakhshukha al-Bisakra) [Recipe] This lasagna contains ground lamb meat, diced potatoes, chickpeas, and harisa. Two teaspoons of cayenne make this dish fire-hot. Gruyère cheese cools things down (Andorra) Warm Spinach & Mushroom Salad [recipe] Warm spinach tossed with sauteed wild mushrooms, garlic, raisins, and slivered almonds. (Argentina) Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Arugula and Chevre [Recipe] The cavity of a steaming, roasted pumpkin is filled with goat cheese, arugula and mint vinaigrette. Any pumpkin variety is acceptable, depending on seasonal availability. Pastel de Papa con Elote (Potato and Corn Pie) [Recipe] Mashed potatoes topped with pureed corn and baked. (Armenia) Itch (Bulgur Pilaf Salad) [Recipe] Bulgur with bell pepper, onion, scallions, fresh parsley, and …

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