Technique Thursday: Recipe & 5 Tips for a Great Fruit Salad

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The crimes of fruit salad are many: not ripe, over ripe, tart, bitter, warm, rotten ... Because of these transgressions fruit salad has become the "Fruit Cake" of summer barbecues - a popular dish that only the brave eat. This week I made a Himalayan inspired Fruit Salad (just mango, red banana, and papaya) for our Bhutanese Global Table. In my interpretation, I decided to avoid the many pitfalls of regular fruit salad and serve it as elegant finger food. In this format each piece of fruit … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Peeling Beans

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I spent the better part of a day peeling beans for our Benin Global Table. This is partially because it takes an eternity to peel beans and partially because my husband became incapacitated by kidney stones. All day we ran around to the doctor, the lab, and the prescription house. I didn't take my beans with me which, of course, set me back several hours - but prevented me from looking like a crazy woman. Here's how to peel beans: First things first. Soak 2 cups of beans overnight. 2 cups … [Read more...]

Recipe: Pommes Frites (French Fries)

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Serves 2 Umm, let me explain the small amount of fries in the first photo. We couldn't keep our fingers off of them long enough to get a picture! I don't need to tell you - French fries are tasty with just about anything. Try these homemade French fries for the fun and satisfaction of making them yourself! :) NOTE: Please read my Technique Thursday post all about French Fries. Ingredients: 2 extra large baking potatoes (about 2.5 pounds total) quart of vegetable … [Read more...]

Recipe: Stoofvlees (Belgian Beef Stew)

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Serves 2-4 (on a bed of French fries) Stoofvlees is a typical stew in that there are as many variations as there are people making it. Depending where you live in Belgium, Stoofvlees might have more or less vinegar, slightly different spices, and a textural range from soupy to thick and sludgy. My thick, hearty version sits well on fries, but if you want it more "soupy," feel free to add more beef stock. Ingredients: For the marinade 1 pound stew beef, cubed 1 onion, chopped 3 … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: How to make awesome French Fries

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The fries in Belgium, plucked fresh from noisy street vendors, are something special. Each bite begins with the satisfying crunch of a crackling, golden "skin", followed immediately by soft, steamy insides that melt, almost immediately, on the tongue. With just enough oil to help it all slide down, the fries - amazingly - are never greasy. You'll be happy to know that you can experience Belgian-quality fries in you own home. The key is twice-frying the potatoes. Basic Recipe (full … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Whole Spices

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The people of Bangladesh typically store their spices whole. This is because husks, shells, and pods keep spices' sizzling potential sealed in better than any Tupperware or glass jar. To season food they simply dry roast a small batch of whole spices and then grind them into powder. Preparing spices as needed ensures food with the most vibrant, intense flavor. After all, spices dramatically lose their pungency after only 6 months (sooner if exposed to heat and sunlight). The flavor … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Fruit Leather

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Let's just get something out in the open. Fruit Roll-ups are no good. They've got corn syrup and hydrogenated oil in them. Take it from me, life is much better if you make the nummy sweet snacks yourself! And I have good news - it's easy. But you have to promise not to call them Fruit Roll-ups. The proper term for the homemade goodness is fruit leather. Sounds so much more John Wayne, don't you think? The Basics: 1) Puree Fruit with seasonings and water. (Make the texture like … [Read more...]

Technique Thursday: Conch

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I wasn't exactly thrilled to be eating the flesh of a giant slug this week (here's a crazy photo). But that's probably the yuckiest way to look at the whole thing. In reality, this large creature lives in a beautiful shell (prized by the Victorians I might add) and is happily eaten throughout the Caribbean. Although I had my fears, I quickly learned that proper cooking makes conch (pronounced "konk") tasty and even worthwhile. (Photo by Pratheep PS) If you aren't in the Bahamas you're … [Read more...]