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Sweet & Spicy Korean Braised Turkey

You’ve had roast turkey and deep-fried turkey… but what about turkey with real international flavor? This Thanksgiving let’s honor our melting pot culture with a recipe worth talking about. This Korean stuffed turkey breast is perfect for a smaller gathering of curious epicureans, happily feeding 4-6. I can’t decide if the best part is the sweet and spicy glaze (made with soy sauce, mirin, ginger and garlic)… … or the butternut squash stuffing (complete with chestnuts, glutinous rice, and jujube dates)… Or maybe it’s the fact that it can be made on the stovetop… saving the oven for more important things like pie. Lots of pie. The recipe is inspired by a Korean stuffed chicken breast recipe in The Flavors of Asia by Mai Pham. There’s only a couple of watch spots with the recipe. On soaking the rice: depending on the age it can be quite hard and if it isn’t soaked enough it stays that way. Thankfully there’s a guideline on most bags for how long. My recommendation is to double soaking times since the turkey provides a …

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Celebrating the shining star of Palestinian cuisine: Musakhan

Within Palestine’s hotly contested territories there is one thing everyone can agree on: Musakhan. This simple dish doesn’t shout. It’s flavors don’t battle for dominance. No, Musakhan is a quiet meal – a layered preparation of chicken, onion softened with sumac, and doughy pieces of taboon bread. And yet this unassuming dish earned a Guinness World Record in 2010 in the city of Ramallah. Why a Guinness World Record Matters The clout of earning a Guinness World Record often remains limited to the feat itself – at most a symbol of egregious excess (consider the world’s largest pancake, for example – nearly 50 feet across with no other purpose than to … eat). But for Palestinians, the world’s largest Musakhan was a show of pride and honor far beyond simple bragging rights. Making the Musakhan was a critical show of cultural pride during a time of great crisis. More than 40 Palestinian chefs united efforts to cook and assemble the 4 meter loaf. The finished dish weighed nearly 3,000 pounds, including 1,100+ pounds of onion, 550+ pounds of flour, 370 …

Happy Ethiopian New Year Greetings

Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat

There’s been a movement to make Enkutatash – a.k.a. Ethiopian New Year – as popular as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo.  But instead of wearing green or dancing to a mariachi band you’re invited for a much simpler, down to earth sort of celebration. Wear white. Pick yellow daisies. And enjoy traditional Ethiopian food. Waaaay back when “Enkutatash” literally stands for “gift of jewels.” As the story goes, several thousand years ago the Queen of Sheba delivered more than 4.5 tons of gold and as many spices to King Solomon. King Solomon was quite the host as he, too, showered her with gifts: …in return, King Solomon had assembled an array of gifts for her arrival. Great caskets of sticky Nubian millet beer awaited her party. The gifts were staked on mules outside Solomon’s palace, ready for her people to take to their camp and enjoy. Silks and linens from Gaza, Assyria, and Lebanon. Tapestry from Ma-Wara-Mnar. Dresses, sweet fruit from Iraq, Mongolistan winter melons. And basins of water from the spring at Siloe. Following …

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Coronation Chicken Finger Sandwiches

Let’s be real. Any chance I get to play dress up with my daughter, I take. Like last week, when we wore fancy hats and had a British tea party, complete with coronation chicken and coronation egg salad sandwiches.  Coronation chicken was invented in 1952, for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. She was twenty-five years old. Her coronation was the first one to ever be televised, and she dressed for the occasion. Her amazing gown was embroidered with symbols of the commonwealth, including food, flowers, and more. Elizabeth’s coronation gown was commissioned from Norman Hartnell and embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of the Commonwealth countries: English Tudor rose; Scots thistle; Welsh leek; Irish shamrock; Australian wattle; Canadian maple leaf; New Zealand silver fern; South African protea; lotus flowers for India and Ceylon; and Pakistan’s wheat, cotton, and jute. (Wikipedia) Fact: no tea party is complete, if the queen isn’t in attendance. If not in person, then at least in spirit. The royal wave adds just the right flair. Even when served as dainty “finger” sandwiches, coronation chicken salad is big, bold, and curried. You’ll find it worthy of any …

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Trini Stew Chicken

Many a good thing requires we throw our all into it. Swimming, for example. If we don’t swim with our all, well… we sink. Fast. When it comes to food from Trinidad and Tobago, adding a ton of flavor goes a long way to making unctuous and irresistible stew chicken. And when I say a “ton of flavor”, I mean, we’re going to throw our all into it.  Just about everything your market (and your herb planter) has to offer goes into stew chicken. The basis of Stew Chicken is Green Seasoning. We made green seasoning back when we cooked Guyana. There are hundreds (thousands!) of recipes for green seasoning, so I thought it’d be fun to make up a second batch with this recipe. I used a different mix of herbs and aromatics, like ginger, garlic, tomato, green onion, and thyme. These flavors speak to Trinidad and Tobago’s preferences… and go wonderfully with this chicken. For this recipe, I used four whole chicken legs, which weighed about 2 lbs total. This sauce is enough to serve with 4 lbs …

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Grilled Togo Chicken

  What brings a smile to your face? The sunshine? The taste of the ocean? What about security… that lovely feeling, when you know you can feed your family, without depending on someone else. Mrs. Essowedeou, from Togo, agrees. “I never knew how chickens could bring a smile to our faces,” she says. Mrs. Essowedeou raises chickens as part of the “Plan Togo” program.   These chickens are her smile because they are her (and her family’s) ticket to security. Independence. Food. She sells the chickens and the eggs to raise money for her family. This week, let’s smile with Togo in our hearts. And, in Kpetou’s honor, let’s do it with chicken. Because, sometimes, it’s that simple. Chicken recipes are plentiful in Togo, but Grilled Togo Chicken is probably the simplest, most straight forward way to enjoy the meat. All you need to do is marinate your favorite cut of chicken with ginger, garlic, and onion. Use a dash of cayenne if you’re feeling spicy, and be sure to rub on a hit of …

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Singapore’s Beloved “Chicken Rice”

The minute Anthony Bourdain said he got boo’d in Singapore over Chicken Rice, I knew the recipe had edged out all other contenders for a place on our Singaporean Global Table. It’s true – when the world-renowned food star admitted that, after 7 visits, not only did he not have a favorite Chicken Rice joint, but that he’d never even taken a bite of this national favorite, the apparent transgression was enough to send the crowd in an uproar. I can’t even imagine. Talk about food love. Unexpected and pure.   Food for Thought: All this hoopla made me wonder what about my culture’s food is this way – what dish must a visitor try to have truly experienced American culture? Pizza? Chowder? I have to say, I was stumped. I’d love to hear your thoughts, if anything comes to mind. For, now, back to business… let’s talk Chicken Rice. This is a deceptively simple dish – one that could be summed up as room temperature chicken over rice. But that summary would do the dish a great disservice. There’s …

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Chicken Yassa

In Senegal’s villages, which dot lazily between scrubby fields, life is slower. People gather barefoot on stoops, pounding millet or boiling rice. Talk and dance reverberate in rhythm with hide-covered drums, around outdoor fires, as though there were nothing more to do with the day than to live. There’s a popular proverb: Yarude seesa haɗtaa yettaade* or Going slowly does not prevent you from arriving. The words make me wince a little. Even with this Adventure I’m often in a hurry, rushing out the door, arms too full to hold Ava’s hands, or trying to slap a meager dinner on the table conjured up halfheartedly bagged, frozen helpers, all the while mind racing with checklists. Slowing down, I’ve realized, is a privilege and luxury that I often don’t indulge in. I could take a lesson from slow, easy Senegal. Chicken Yassa, a favorite stewed chicken dish in Senegal, simmers with onion and lemon juice quite leisurely until the flavors unite to create a tender, falling-off-the-bone, mouthwatering delight. Yassa can be found all over West Africa and there are …

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Arroz con Pollo

Pneumonia make cause my heart to race, my nerves to slacken, and my breathing to rasp, but it will never stop me from making my sweetheart his birthday dinner. To celebrate in style, I cobbled together the most unexpectedly glorious arroz con pollo. Unexpected, because I honestly wondered how great could chicken and rice be? Fantastic, turns out. Put your trust in centuries of Latin American and Spanish history; the next time you have a big dinner party, make arroz con pollo. Under a gracious layer of 100% love, you’ll find a one-pot chicken and rice dish which delights in bright bursts of briny olives and capers, blushing rice (thanks to a sprinkling of ruddy ground annato and a whole lot of chopped tomatoes), and a flurry of vivid green cilantro. Arroz con Pollo is traditionally made in a giant pan – something like a paella pan which can go gracefully from oven to table – although a Dutch oven would work nicely in a pinch. I used that $20 pan I got at the Indian …

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Tandoori marinade for fish or chicken

“It smells good in here.” That’s what Keith said as he wandered by. I was leaning in, photographing spoonfuls of spices that I’d later mix with yogurt for beautiful tandoori marinade. There was sweet, grassy coriander and bright lemon juice. Tangy yogurt and earthy garam masala. The ingredients slid together into intoxicating deliciousness – not without a bit of sass thanks to the fresh ginger and spicy garlic. Tandoori is enjoyed from Pakistan to India … even, as we learned this week, as far as the tiny island country of Palau, way out in the Pacific. To eat proper tandoori, you need a tandoori oven. These cylinders of shimmering heat create addicting char-grilled flavor while retaining perfect moisture. At home you can approximate the flavor of good tandoori in your regular oven or on the grill. Try this marinade next time you bake or grill fish (and even chicken). Your house will smell like an exotic market. Amazing Town. Ingredients: 3-4 lbs fish like cod, salmon … or even chicken Tandoori Marinade 1 cup yogurt 1/4 cup …

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West African Peanut Kebabs | Suya

My pantry’s name is Patty.* She’s actually just a shelf in the laundry room, above the vacuum cleaner and mop, but I love her all the same. Right now she could use a diet – she is packed with boxes upon boxes of noodles, rice, 8 kinds of oils, soup, 4 bags of coffee from around the world, 4 kinds of dried chili peppers, and fishy bouillon cubes I bought 2 years ago for one of our Global Table meals and promptly forgot to use (I’m going to go ahead and presume they aren’t good any more). Just the other day I unearthed three bulk bags of peanuts in the back corner of the shelf. This is what happens when Patty is in disorder. When I don’t clear through her clutter. I’ve never been happier to have too many peanuts in my pantry. It means I get to make Suya, west African Peanut Kabobs. These kabobs, ever-so-popular in Nigeria, crackle with the most addictive crust – ground peanuts seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, paprika, onion powder, and …

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Burmese Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup | ohn-no-khao-swe

Oh, yes. Even on the hottest day in steamy, tropical Myanmar, you’ll find gaping bowls heaped with noodles, chicken, and silky coconut curry. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick. It doesn’t matter if your skin is tacky with salty sweat.  “Ohn no khao swe” is what’s for dinner. . You can call it Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup, if you’d like. To a local, this curry topped with egg and a garden of garnishes is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s as easy to find in rambling shacks as it is in roadside stalls. I can’t get over how easy it is to make. Chop a few things, toss them in a pot and simmer. After a happy mingle serve with noodles and enough garnishes to bring out even the Grinch’s smile, not to mention little Miss Ava (have I told you lately how much kids like to help build their own meals?). . The secret to making a great ohn-no-khao-swe is in the toppings. More specifically, in assembling your own bowl, just as you like it. If you do …