Entertaining the Italian way with homemade Balsamic Figs + $50 GIVEAWAY

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A daydream worth dreaming Cobblestone alleys flanked by weathered walls. Hilltop churches. Sunlight warm on fig trees and grapevines.  This is the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Deep in the cellars there's Parmesan, balsamic, and prosciutto aging. They slumber in the dim recesses, the nuttiness and salt growing bolder, rounder. Waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Waiting to become the perfect bite. And by perfect I don't mean fancy. I mean perfectly un-fussed. The Art … [Read more...]

If your part of the world was a burger, this would be it. (PART 3)

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Photos: Afghan girl, by Capt. J. Severns; Filipino girl by V. David, Nepalese child by Steve Evans.   What's cooking in Asia? Asian food might have you thinking stir-fry and noodle soups, but I'm in the mood for a little imaginative play ... I'm in the mood to make Asian-inspired Burgers. But first. A warning. Asia is HUGE. Not all the flavors are soy sauce and sesame oil! A road map to flavor We'll start with a burger characteristic of the Middle East - yup - the … [Read more...]

Spicy Vietnamese Slaw + Extreme Compassion

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Extreme Compassion Stopping to move a wandering worm off the sidewalk. Helping a baby bird that fell out of it's nest. Not walking by with indifference. This sort of extreme compassion is a thing that some of us - with our busy, distracted lives - strive for imperfectly. But there are others - startlingly kind souls - who live and breathe extreme compassion. Last week I went to the tailor - a big deal for me since I know how to sew. But I have a dress - a dress with lace, three layers, and … [Read more...]

3 Quick Recipes for Zimbabwean Pumpkin & Squash

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Everywhere I go, I see the rust, orange, and gold of pumpkins and squashes. Some smile from my neighbors' front stoops. Some have been tagged for this year's Thanksgiving pie or pumpkin pancakes (Hello, Russia!). Even Pinterest looks like a digital pumpkin patch of late. All this for good reason. These beautiful gourds are autumn. They represent breathless hikes to pick out the biggest, the gnarliest, the cutest in the bunch. But for all that, I can only look at so many pumpkin recipes … [Read more...]

Recipe: Zambia’s Spiced Tilapia Stew

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  "Leading a race does not mean that you will win it." Zambian Proverb It's a chilly, wintery, blustery sort of day. Even the trees shudder, their leaves falling down in chatterings. Thankfully, Zambia makes quick work of dissipating the cold, with this Spiced Tilapia Stew.  Each bite pops with fresh lime juice, tomatoes, and Napa cabbage. A dusting of cumin, mustard seeds, fresh ginger and garlic give the broth depth. But it's the Thai Bird chilies that'll clear your sinuses. … [Read more...]

Recipe: DIY Spring Rolls | Bò nhúng dấm

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  Today, let me show you how Vietnamese food is like a dream. Delicate. Lingering. But, also, let me show you how their food is like a celebration. Bold. Unapologetic. Before I do, call your friends and family because today's recipe is a Vietnamese food party. The star? The DIY Spring Roll. Here's how it works: Every guest gets to pick and choose their fillings, from cucumber and sprouts, to vibrant mint, thai basil, and cilantro. The best part? Everyone gets to … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fresh Corncakes with Cheese | Cachapas

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"There's nothing hidden between heaven and earth." Venezuelan Proverb Nothing hidden indeed... except, perhaps the cheese inside a steaming, hot Cachapas. Brittle autumn days require an extra slathering of comfort. Ooey gooey cheese-filled corncakes, a.k.a. cachapas fit the bill nicely. Think of them as the South American version of pancakes. The cakes are made with just two ingredients: corn and masa harina, plus the requisite sprinkling of salt and pepper. There's a simplicity to … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce

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When I ask my mother how I'm related to Cousin Alfred, the answer usually goes: "Well..." and then there's a  contemplative silence. I can see her running through all our different relations, high up on the family tree, doing mental gymnastics to connect one branch to another. Eventually, she comes out with "I think he's my mothers, mother's cousin's"... and then, either she trails off, or my attention span wanes because, really, all that matters is that he is family, one way or … [Read more...]