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Maltese Bone Cookies with Marzipan Marrow

This month we’re celebrating the most anatomically correct cookie there ever was – one whose astounding details should make it a favorite with medical students everywhere, and one who would be well placed at every white coat graduation buffet. The origins of this beautiful cookie are far humbler than you might think – November Bones hail from the small island nation of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea. Why November Bones? Forget dress up and trick-or-treating; most people in the island nation of Malta skip right over Halloween in favor of All Saints and All Souls Days, two feast days that honor the dead (these more reverent holidays are not about vampires and zombies, but about taking time to honor cherished family members who have passed on). On November 1st and 2nd the graves are cleaned and decorated, but it’s the November Bones (a.k.a. l-għadam tal-mejtin) that stretch the holiday well beyond the two days (they’re sold all month long in many bakeries). Anatomy of a Cookie Usually cookies are just a “shape it and bake it” operation, but November Bones could come straight from a …

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Spiced Skillet Eggs | Yemeni Shakshouka

Eggs. In the shell, they seems so… ordinary. But glowing, too, like they’re full of potential. Like they’re ready to become something more. When it comes to breakfast, Yemen knows how to dress them up – as Shakshouka. Shakshouka is a beloved skillet egg dish popular all over North Africa and the Middle East. We’ve made shakshouka before – the kind that is rather like a tomato sauce with poached eggs inside (and, by the way, yum!) – but Yemen makes shakshouka differently. For starters, they include spices like cumin, turmeric, cardamom, and clove. They also add hot green chili peppers for kick. Anything from an anaheim to a jalepeno would work well for this recipe. I’m a half hot pepper kind of gal. Keith’s more of a whole hot pepper. If you’re a no pepper person, that works too – though a touch of heat does add a layer of authenticity to the dish. But the biggest difference of all  with Yemeni shakshouka is that, in Yemen, the eggs are scrambled, not poached. The result is …

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Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce

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 another. Alfred lived until he was 104 years old. I think much of his long life was due to making homemade ravioli and meat sauce. He taught me when I was about Ava’s age, or maybe a little younger. We made his spinach & pork ravioli for Italy and, today, we continue to keep Alfred’s memory alive with this sauce. Mom made sure to write down his recipe for meat sauce. But the title “meat sauce” doesn’t do it justice. This is meat sauce, yes, but it’s also filled with a half dozen …

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Samoan Steamed Spice Cake | 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 as I have done in the oven. We ate this treat one early morning, as part of a Samoan Saturday breakfast which included our Koko Rice (a.k.a. chocolate and coconut rice pudding). I was so bleary-eyed from my too-early wake up (thanks to my ever-eager Miss Ava) that I completely forgot to serve it with the traditional accompaniment – vanilla custard – and instead passed around some softened butter. It was only days later that I remembered what I’d read, cut myself a new slice, …

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Dutch Spice Cake on a Rope | Ontbijtkoek

This spice cake creates so much joy, it should come with trumpets and streamers. Cake on a rope. So simple, and yet so brilliant. Every child will tell you: this is the stuff dreams are made of. All over the Netherlands, the Dutch nibble on swaying ropes of cake in honor of the Queen’s birthday. No hands allowed. This wildly popular event is called a koekhappen. Weather permitting, many lucky children enjoy a koekhappen on their birthday as well. One of our readers, Sylvia, told me a bit more about the Koekhappen: Koekhappen is a great game for kids. A birthday game, but an old-fashioned game as well that is done everywhere in Holland on Queen’s Day. The Royal family usually visits a specific few towns/villages in a certain region on Queen’s Day alternating them every year and celebrate the Queen’s Birthday. It’s still a day of many traditional games, singing and showing (local) talents. Certainly do this ‘koekhappen’ with Ava. Go for it and enjoy! Here’s Ava, desperately trying not to eat the cake before I …

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Bread of the Wild | Veldt Bread

Today we’re traveling to the sandy, dusty plateaus of of Southern Africa where you’ll find the Veldt – large expanses of wilderness, often filled with scrubby bushes and the occasional scraggly tree. Here, too, you’ll find prowling lions, circling scavenger birds, and hearty veldt bread – which pretty much means bread of the wild. According to the World Cookbook for Students, this quickbread was created by European settlers as a way to nourish themselves with familiar ingredients in an unfamiliar land. Since it’s leavened with baking powder, there’s no long rise time – just pop in the oven (or over a campfire) and chow down. No muss, no fuss. Spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves give this rugged, dense “wheaty” bread a lovely lift. Much like Irish soda bread, Veldt bread tastes best when steaming hot, slathered with butter. So go ahead, set up camp by a Namibian sunset and enjoy a slice. Makes 1 loaf Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 3 Tbsp brown sugar 1/2 …

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Plantain Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake

  I’m not really a dessert person, so it’s all the more surprising when I come across a recipe which makes me want to lock the doors, draw the curtains, and eat until every last crumb is gone. I mean, seriously. Plaintain Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake??! If this isn’t the perfect holiday recipe, I don’t know what is. And of all the places for it to come from… Denmark is known for gingerbread. Germany. Even the United States. But I was genuinely surprised to find gingerbread cake in the bustling big cities of Liberia. Now, I’m not talking the same-old gingerbread you’ve had before. This is an African spin. Yes, it’s a standard upside-down cake, but instead of pineapple, it boasts a dizzying spiral of ripe, tropical plantains – a perfect match for the molasses-based cake.  The butter and brown sugar bubble and brown, making the edges of the cake just a little bit crisp – which is the best part. For those of you wondering, the love of gingerbread comes from Liberia’s historical ties with …

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Cardamom Sweet Bread | Pulla

Makes 1 giant loaf (or as many smaller shapes as you’d like) Pulla is the ultimate Finnish bread dough. Feeling sad? Shape it into a teardrop. Feeling confused? Twist the heck out of it. Feeling like Pippi Longstocking? Braid it! Feeling creative? Shape it into men, women and children. Feeling pregnant? Just make little buns, baby! There’s also plenty of choice in regard to flavorings. Pulla always tastes of glorious cardamom. After that? You can leave it plain or fill it. Sweeten life up with a bit of brown sugar, butter, and spices (that’s what we opted for in this recipe), or get things movin’ with some prune filling. You can even fill it after baking with a bit of jam and whipped cream. Usually this is assembled “hamburger style” with a bun sliced in half and whipped cream gilding the outer edges of a jam-burger. What to expect: No matter how you handle it, pulla should not be anywhere as sweet as a cinnamon roll. The soft, rich dough is quite a bit more …

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Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 48 3″ cookies Any time, any place. There are no rules when it comes to cookies. In fact, when I was little my mom made gingerbread cookies so often that I didn’t realize that most people only ate them in December. We ate homemade gingerbread/vanilla ice cream sandwiches in the summer – one of my all-time favorite, cry-until-you-get-another-one, crave-it-for-the-rest-of-your-life snacks. Although gingerbread can be found all over north america and Europe, today we made them for our Estonian Global Table. Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder Spices: 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cardamom 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp ground cloves 1/8 tsp black pepper a pinch salt 8 Tbsp softened butter (1 stick) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 large egg 1/2 cup molasses 1 tsp vanilla extract Method: Get your baking shoes on. Whisk together the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and the spices. Gosh that’s pretty. Let’s all move to gorgeous Spice Land. Whaddya think? …

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Potato Curry | Aloor Dom/Aloo Dum

Serves 4 The curry sauce is fire-hot (I was sweating while eating), however the potatoes do not absorb the heat so you can easily control how much chili you get in a bite. To make this dish more mild, adjust the amount of chili powder (or remove this spice completely). NOTE: This recipe makes a LOT of curry sauce, so you could freeze half of it and save for another dish if you wanted to – unless you think you’ll sop it all up. Ingredients: 20 baby red potatoes For the curry: 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup chopped tomatoes 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp cumin powder 1/8 tsp ground clove 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp red chili powder (Lanka guro) (this is VERY hot, adjust according to your tolerance) 1/2 tsp Garam Masala 1 tsp salt Aromatics: 2 Tbsp mustard oil 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 2 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 4 cardamom pods 2 cups water Method: 1.  Boil potatoes in salted water until almost cooked. Drain. …

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Bahraini Shrimp Balls | Chebeh Rubyan

Serves 4 Shrimp balls blend the flavors of the Middle East with India. Though these are traditionally stuffed with minced onion, I prefer the simplicity of unfilled balls. If you like spicy food, add a sprinkle of cayenne. The way the recipe stands, however, this dish is mild, but wonderfully flavorful. TIP: Use the cheapest shrimp because you are just going to puree it anyway. Ingredients: 1 lb cleaned shrimp 1 Tbsp cilantro 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/2 – 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup brown rice flour 1/3 cup ghee or butter 1 onion, minced baharat powder: 1 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp coriander 1/4 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp cloves 1/8 tsp cardamom the rind of 1/2 a lemon, grated 1 tsp tamarind paste 1 cups warm water 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes 1/2 tsp chili powder 2 Tbsp sugar Method: For the shrimp balls: 1. In a food processor blend into a paste shrimp, cilantro, turmeric, salt, and rice flour. Chill until needed. For …

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Algerian Green Beans

Serves 4 Algerian green beans, called Loubia, are a nice side dish to almost any meal. Make them ahead and reheat in the oven at the last minute. Ingredients: 1 lb fresh green beans 3 Tbsp peanut oil 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp paprika a hefty pinch ground cloves 3 Tbsp slivered almonds Method: 1. Steam green beans until tender, about 15 minutes (or if you like them firmer, that’s okay too). 2. In a small skillet over medium heat, combine oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cloves. Saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add slivered almonds and cook for 1 minute more. 3. In a large serving bowl toss green beans with seasoned oil. Serve hot. Votes: 3 Rating: 4.33 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Algerian green beans, called Loubia, are a nice side dish to almost any meal. Make them ahead and reheat in the oven at the last minute.Algerian Green Beans CourseSides & Salads LifestyleGluten-Free, Potluck Friendly, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian Food TypeVegetables Servings Prep Time 4people 10minutes Cook …

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