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Coconut Curried Corn | Galey iyo Qumbo

When I was a little girl, I’d sit on the back porch and shuck long ears of corn, the silk wrapping around my fingers, clinging to my dress, and falling onto my shoes. Similar scenes can be found throughout southern Somalia, where men, women, and children pull together to harvest their corn. To shuck the corn. And, eventually, to grind it in wide, stone bowls, to make porridge. If the kernels don’t get ground, the whole cobs might be dressed up in curried coconut milk in a dish called Galey iyo Qumbo. It seemed to me, with the edge of winter still upon us, that whole corn, richly coated in spiced coconut milk, would be just the trick to get our family out of our vegetable slump. There’s just not that much that looks good at the market – the brussel sprouts are on their way out and the artichokes don’t quite look right. Not yet. So corn. With coconut milk. From Somalia. In this recipe, ears of corn simmer in a bubbling mixture of salted coconut …

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Romanian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves | Sarmale

Cabbage patch kids always seemed creepy to me when I was little. What kind of baby grows out of a cabbage? Could you still eat the cabbage once you harvested the baby? This doll raised lots of questions. Not to say this stopped me from wanting a cabbage patch doll more than Rainbow Brite leggings, because I did. The urge was major. Now that I am a couple (few) decades older, I know exactly what was going on – mostly because it’s starting to happen with Ava. I wanted those dolls because all the other kids wanted them. They were collected in the 80’s quicker than Michael Jackson gloves. As a rather “thrifty” family living in a “thrifty” part of Boston (I slept in one corner of our apartment’s living room while my brother slept in the other), I wanted nothing more than to play with these dolls that rich kids littered their deluxe playrooms with. It all seemed so fancy and grand. And I thought maybe having a doll would make me popular – like the kids who had them. …

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Moldovan Veggie & Feta Stuffed Zucchini

In honor of Moldova, let’s clear out the weeds. Let’s make room for a garden. A springy, happy sort of place where you can go to daydream in the morning sunlight, with a cup of steaming hot tea at the ready. A place where you can feel your connection to the earth and the soil. Where you can think those thoughts you never have time to think. Where you can finally stop being too busy. While you’re there I’d like you to plant a tiny sprout that will one day grow up into one hundred dream boats. One hundred zucchini boats  that will set your mind to sail and carry your heart to Moldova. You’ll be able to bring anyone you like along for the ride. Are you ready? Let’s go on a Moldovan boat ride. NOTE: Most authentic recipes call for tomato juice mixed with a spoonful or two of vinegar on the bottom of you casserole pan. Instead I opted for a plain tomato sauce to add textural oomph, but the choice is yours. Also, …

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Stuffed and Fried Potato Wedges | Mbatan Batata

The New Year is all about possibility, hope, health, and doing things better. That’s why I’ll be deep frying as the ball drops. But I’m not deep-frying just anything. This isn’t the state fair (where everything from butter to kool-aid makes it into the bubbling oil). I’m in the real world. This is a Libyan dish – one that combines the best of everything – delicate potato wedges, stuffed with wonderfully spiced meat loaded up with fresh parsley, crunchy breadcrumbs and a whole lot of yum. I can count on one hand the number times I’ve deep fried in the last couple of years, so this is a big deal. And, while it isn’t steamed veggies, it’s pretty well rounded as far as fried food goes. Eh. Who am I kidding. This isn’t the healthiest dish in the world. But it is a nod to mixing things up, having little Adventures, getting out of my comfort zone. And that’s what I hope for all of us in 2012. Note: Some Libyans like to serve these swimming in …

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Smoked Ham & Green Bean | Jollof

I’m that girl who orders the same thing over and over again at restaurants. I know – not what you’d expect from someone cooking the world. But I can’t help it. I like knowing what to expect. Plus, there’s nothing worse than wasting hard-earned money on a dish that I could possibly end up hating. After all, it’s not like I can send the food back just because I don’t like it. Now, to be fair, I’m a completely different person at home. Without the burden of outrageous restaurant bills, I’m a free spirit.  I play with food. Experiment. Get all MacGyver on it. If things begin to head south, I’m quick on my feet. A dash of this and a squirt of that will usually bring the meal back into edible form. I rarely make the same thing, the same way, twice. Well, today we’re revisiting Jollof – a dish we made a few months ago with such success that I thought I’d make another popular variation for Liberia, a country that loves Jollof as much as any …

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Beef & Sausage Stuffed Peppers

I love presents. Surprises. Happy faces. So does my daughter. Imagine her ecstatic two-year old delight, then, when her dinner was a lidded present filled with a bounty of rice, sausage and beef? But the real surprise wasn’t her reaction – it was Keith’s. My very own Mr. Picky has been asking for stuffed peppers ever since I made them last week.Who knew this man would fall so hard for a simple stuffed pepper. Who knew he’d be so easy to please. He’s right, though. And, for the record, so is Kosovo – the lovely country that inspired this dish. So pull up a chair. Today we’re feasting on chilly autumnal food. Festival fall food. PS. This recipe is beloved in Kosovo where peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are all stuffed. Feel free to add your favorite herbs. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Makes 8-10 small stuffed peppers, or 6 large Ingredients: 1/2 lb ground sausage (pork or chicken) 1/2 lb ground beef 2 large cloves garlic, crushed 1 onion, chopped 1 cup rice, cooked (about …

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West African Rice with Veggies | Jollof

Serves 6-8 Listen, friends. I thought Jollof sounded weird. Scary. Difficult. It’s not. This is rice with veggies. And spices. Sometimes meat, but not here. Not today. All over West Africa people enjoy Jollof. They make it with whatever they have on hand and more often that not it does not include meat. This recipe is flexible. It’s usually spicy. And it always has some version of tomato sauce/paste in it. The rest is a fun improvisational dance. So, go on – boogie, boogie through that bottom drawer and pull out whatever veggies inspire you. Ingredients: 2 cups frozen green peas vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1 tsp ginger (fresh grated or ground) 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp cayenne 15 oz can tomato sauce or puree 1 small head of cabbage, chopped 2 cups white rice 1 quart water or stock salt and pepper, to taste Method: My boogie, boogie led me to peas, which is a fairly common addition to Jollof. So, first things first, set out the green …

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Spicy Egyptian Tomato Sauce

Makes 2 cups Spicy, garlicky, and tangy, this “doctored” tomato sauce goes great with pasta, rice, or all of the above (a.k.a. kushary … noodle, rice and lentil casserole). Feel free to tone down (or up) the heat, if you like things a little milder. Often extra sauce is placed on the table so diners can heap it on in whatever quantity desired. Ingredients: 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz) 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste) 1 tsp vinegar salt (only needed if your sauce is “no salt added” sauce) pepper Method: Add tomato sauce to a small pot. Stir in the garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in the vinegar. Give the mixture a stir and let simmer for five minutes, or until the garlic is cooked through. Serve over Kushary, or anything else that needs a little kick! Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Spicy, garlicky, and tangy, this “doctored” tomato sauce goes great with pasta, rice, or all of the above (a.k.a. kushary … noodle, …

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Mediterranean Roast Veggies |Briam

Serves 4 This simple layered casserole is vegan, rich, and addictive. The vegetables cook down into a soft casserole, but can be uncovered half way through cooking to reduce the effects of steaming. Ingredients: 1 zucchini 1 small eggplant 1  potato 1/4 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp oregano 1/4 cup olive oil 2/3 cup tomato sauce 1 1/2 quart casserole Method: Preheat the oven to 375F. Meanwhile, slice all the veggies into thin discs. Resist the urge to see if they’ll fly, like frisbees, across your kitchen. Drop some liquid sunshine (olive oil) into a 1 1/2 quart casserole (you can scale this up pretty easily, if you need to feed more people). Layer on some potatoes… Gather the salt, pepper, and oregano together… And sprinkle the blend onto each layer… Add on the eggplant… and more olive oil. Embrace the oil – this is supposed to be a luxuriously rich dish. Next up, zucchini. And half your tomato sauce. Keep piling everything on in layers… with spices and oil each time… Ending …

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