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Nova Scotian Hodge Podge with Tuna

Nova Scotia’s Hodge Podge, with Tuna

Nova Scotia’s Hodge Podge is a homey one-pot supper of fresh potatoes, carrots, peas and green beans. What takes it over the top? The addition of heavy cream and butter, along with a few pearl onions for mild sweetness. A gardener’s delight While there are different ways to go about making Hodge Podge, one thing is for certain: it’s best made straight from the garden, when vegetables are fresh and abundant, just as in the eastern Canadian province that lends its name to this dish. Fresh is fresh. In my research I discovered locals prepare Hodge Podge with baby potatoes just 50-60 days in the ground and the gangling carrots pulled to thin the garden bed. This is a foreign concept to someone who doesn’t grow their own vegetables, but it makes sense in verdant Nova Scotia. When a garden does well, it can produce so much food, it has to be used up throughout the growing season, not just in a final harvest. Farm life is common in the province, as are farmer’s markets – …

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Maori Fish Salad | New Zealand

Māori Fish Salad & the legend of New Zealand | Ika Mata

One of the largest fish ever caught is the stuff of Māori legend. Today, this fish is known as New Zealand’s north island. The fisherman able to haul in such a prize?  Māui, the mythological hero. As the story goes, Māui paddled his canoe far out into the ocean in search of a big catch. He used his ancestor’s jawbone as a fish hook, coating it with blood from his nose. Down, down, down went the hook, into the depths of the deep blue waters.  After some time, the slack line tightened. It took all Māui’s strength to reel in the heavy fish. Stumbling under the effort,  Māui had to brace himself on the edge of his canoe as he pulled the line up, up, up. When the fish finally rose out of the water, Māui gasped. It was the largest sea creature he’d ever seen, big enough to blot out the horizon, with shiny green scales. Māui decided to leave this precious prize with his brothers while he set out in search of a priest to bless …

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Salad Niçoise

There’s nothing like a mid-winter picnic, especially if Salad Niçoise is part of the equation. The other day my daughter asked if we could eat dinner outside. It was sunny, the temperature in the mid-sixties. My answer? Most definitely. We bundled up – each in a cozy sweater – and set up our colorful spread on the scraggly winter landscape. For the Salad Niçoise, I took my inspiration from Julia Child and piled on delicately steamed French beans, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and everything deliciously funky: Tuna, olives, capers and a few anchovies (for salty chew). A handful of crackers with cheese completed dinner (though a hunk of crusty bread would be nice, too). My husband flashed us all back to his “Mr Picky” days as he struggled to down one solitary anchovy. He did the work but remains unconvinced of their merits. My daughter escaped the challenge since she’s a self-proclaimed vegetarian, focusing her efforts instead on the vegetables and cheese (for protein). As for myself, I ate everything. While we enjoyed our meal, the sun sunk behind our neighbors’ rooftop (taking the warmth with …

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Zambia’s Spiced Tilapia Stew

  “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.  Even just one in the pot promises a mellow tingle in every spoonful.   This is another kind of DIY soup, because of the garnishes. Children will especially enjoy squeezing lime juice on their soup and sprinkling their bowl with parsley.  Adults will enjoy seeing how many Thai Bird chili peppers they can handle. My husband added an entire sliced chili to his bowl; though he was sniffling and coughing from the heat, he then proceeded to add more. A note on the Tilapia: traditional Zambian stews often use dried tilapia. We’ve used fresh because …

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Tuvalu Tuna

If you ever make it to Tuvalu, you might as well snatch the Tuna straight out of the water, fillet it in the boat, and enjoy the mild fish right then and there. No cooking required. That’s the local way. But for those who are looking for something a little more tame, Tuna Curry is an authentic, delicious option. The recipe is very typical of the Pacific: it includes locally caught fish and coconut milk from harvested from the in the back yard, plus a bunch of imported ingredients. Imports are necessary because very little can grow in Tuvalu. The curry powder exudes Indian influence, which runs rampant in Oceania, as well as soy sauce, a definite nod to Tuvalu’s Asian neighbors. Even things like ginger and garlic are imported. Shipments of goods arrive once a month, weather permitting. This means, if you’re pantry runs dry, and the store runs out, then you’ll just have to wait until the giant vessel anchors offshore. And when it does? All hands on deck… Recipe adapted from Andy Explores. …

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Tunisian Grilled Salad with Tuna | Salata Mishwiyya

Usually, the food we grill stays whole. We put it on a bun, or we eat it with our hands. But today’s Tunisian Grilled Salad takes a different approach. The charred vegetables – peppers, onion, tomatoes – are pulsed together into a chunky mixture, then served with flaked tuna, and hard boiled egg. This salad has body. Much of the intensity comes off the grill,  from the raw garlic, hot chili peppers, and the caraway seeds, all of which can be tempered to taste. Please, please, please… let this salad meld for at least an hour before eating. This will give the bite time to mellow.   Because you wouldn’t want to serve your guests a grouchy salad. Mellow is much nicer. UPDATED 2015: Caraway cut down from 1 Tbsp to 1 teaspoon. Adapted from Clifford A. Wright’s A Mediterranean Feast. Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 3 green bell peppers 3 red chili peppers (like red fresno) 2 tomatoes (or 3 small) 1 onion, peeled and quartered (leave stem on to help hold it together) 3 cloves garlic 1 tsp caraway …

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Green Papaya Salad | Som Tam

Whomp. Womp. Womp. Everything worth doing takes a little bit of work. And so it is with Som Tam. The mortar and pestle crushes the garlic, mashes a Thai bird chili peppers,  and wooshes the fish sauce and lime juice into the green beans and papaya. I put the bowl on the table, dotted red with tomatoes. Ava thinks the papaya is spaghetti. The pale green shreds curl around her fork. “It’s something like that…” I say, hoping she believes me. She takes a bite, then another. Soon the forks on plates are the only noise. While I adore Thai food, I’d never had green papaya salad before this week. When several readers suggested I try it on our Facebook Page, I listened. First, I tried to order it at a local restaurant called My Thai Kitchen, just to see what all the fuss was about, but it wasn’t on the menu. So, instead, I went to our local  Asian market, Nam Hai, and picked up what I needed, including some palm sugar, a green …

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Paella

Making Paella is quite the trick. Making authentic paella is even harder. My mission this week was to make a simple, yet flavorful paella for our Spanish Global Table. Something easy enough for a Monday, but special enough for a Friday. One that would be rather… well… business in front, party in the back. Or maybe not. Friends, I did my research. In fact, I spent a lot of time reading mediocre online reviews of what should have been amazing paella recipes. These recipes were crafted by chefs and superstars yet, without fail, half of the commenters complained of the paellas being bland, while the other half loved the bold flavors. I was mystified, until I happened upon this comment: “If you’re going to use saffron, then use it.” The recipe had, like so many, called for a “pinch” of saffron. After speaking with friends, we agreed that a “pinch” of saffron might lead someone to add three meager strands of saffron.. whereas another might grab a hefty pinch more equitable to a teaspoon (think of Emeril Lagasse’s “BAM” style). …

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Coconut Fish Curry | Cari de Poisson

When the sun dips low and spreads her rouge all over the sky, I enjoy knowing that this glorious watercolor of light travels around the world like a comet, leaving behind a glowing trail for all to see. No matter where they are from, or where they are going. The sun has universal beauty. It makes me smile to know that, somewhere in the Seychelles – half a world away – they, too, see her rose and curried colors curl through the clouds, right before bedtime. And I imagine that maybe, just maybe, they watch the darkening sky at the edge of their sandy shores, while spooning Coconut Fish Curry among friends. Considering fish curry is one of the most popular recipes  in this African island nation, this is a gamble I’m willing to take. Everyone on the islands, from weather-worn fishermen to stern grandmothers, serve up the day’s catch like this, with a little bit of India, China, and France, in the form of homemade curry powder (called massalé), fresh ginger, garlic, and thyme. …

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Weeknight Cod Fish Feijoada

One of our readers, Annabelle, suggested we try today’s Cod Fish Feijoada. This filling, yet healthy Portuguese stew made it’s way to the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe during colonization. Things have evolved quite a bit since then. While most Feijoada’s involve black beans (even as far away as the one we made for Brazil), the islanders favor this white bean version and make it with readily available fish (and sometimes pork). The entire principal is a slow-cooked, tender meal full of flavor from raw beans. In the old country, a variety of herbs and spices might be added, but things are simplified on the islands. Some recipes don’t even include the carrots as I have (and they might as often be substituted with cabbage). The really distinct part of São Tomé and Príncipe’s recipe is the red palm oil – a signature ingredient in West African cooking. I found mine at Whole Foods, but you can get it a lot cheaper at local African markets (such as Ebute Tropical Market in Tulsa). Since the fish …

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Tuna & Chickpea Salad | Atum com Grão

Paulo from Portugal told me Atum com Grão is the salad he served at his wedding. The wedding was in France, but they wanted to imbue the reception with a taste of his homeland. Being a very visual person, I immediately imagined his elegant, windswept bride in flowing white gown, chowing down on tuna and chickpeas tossed with onion, lemon juice, and parsley. To be honest, I relish the thought of a bride with tuna and onion breath. How brave. How confident! How awesome these people honor their traditions above and beyond all else. I love it. So here’s to crossing a bridge to new beginnings with the security of tuna and chickpeas on your side. If they can do it, so can we. (P.S. We can also replace the tuna with cod, he says and the lemon juice with vinegar. Lots of yummy options from Portugal.) Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 2, 15 oz cans of chickpeas (rinsed & drained) 1 12 oz can tuna, drained (I used solid white albacore tuna in spring water) 1 cup minced …

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Ginger & Rocoto Ceviche

Last week I spoke with “Kelly,” a short, black-haired Peruvian restaurateur whose father had a thing for Western names (he also named one of her brother’s Kennedy – and, as she admitted with downcast eyes, another brother “Hitler”). If that wasn’t enough to blow my mind, she added in her thick, rolling accent that halibut ceviche is the “Dunkin’ Donuts” of Peru. I asked her twice to repeat herself. Each time her smile grew bigger and her words clearer. Ceviche is the Dunkin Donuts of Peru. Ceviche- Peru’s pride and joy – is light, fresh, and healthy, so I found the comparison strange. Unlike the doughnut, which takes a dip in a bubbling cauldron of oil, the seafood “cooks” in the acid of lime or lemon juice. Nothing could be cleaner. Each bite is bright, flavorful, and often spicy with the addition of the rocoto pepper (although any hot pepper can be used to taste) and a hit of fresh ginger. When I tried Kelly’s ceviche, I was happy to find an assortment of goodies accompanying it. There were the oversize corn kernels …

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