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Food Around the World

A Journey With Food

Curry??

It turns out moving and starting a new job turns a persons life around and makes it completely hard to keep up with things! We will be back to regularly scheduled meals from around the world next month! For now you will have to endure my ramblings on curry.

I have never really enjoyed the strong smell of curry. I once lived in an apartment complex where I went into the hallway, locked my door, and would walk out of the building smelling like curry. Thankfully the strong smells never got into my apartment. I am not sure why the smell turns me off but it does. Because of that I have made a proclamation that I would never eat it.

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered for an organization that I often volunteer with. This awesome cafe (Pondicheri)allowed us to set up shop in their restaurant to sell our items. As I was walking towards the cafe I could smell the curry from 5 stores down. I knew it was the place I was heading because I had done some research and knew it was an Indian Restaurant. I was a little concerned that I was not going to be able to volunteer for my 2 hour shift.

Recently I have come to learn that not all curry is as strong as the smells I have smelled. Curry can almost be anything. It is mostly just referring to spices. Upon hearing this my mind started opening up a little.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was listening to Jen Hatmakers brand new podcast where she interviewed Shauna Niequist. They were talking about how important the table is to building relationships. It was a really great podcast. Please check it out!

One of the things that Shauna mentioned in the interview as her go to meal. She uses this meal for almost every gathering. It’s a mango chicken curry that is perfect for almost everyone because it has flavor but it is not spicy. I was sold! I knew this would be one of my weekly meals!

I made it tonight and it was so, so good. I also finally used the Wok that I gotSo, years ago I said I would never eat curry but my mind has been changed completely! The recipe is on the side of Jen Hatmakers’ podcast page that is linked above.

 

 

 

Banana Cookies

This is not around the world cooking at all but I found the easiest cookie recipe ever! It was delicious and simple and healthy!

I had 2 bananas that were getting a little too ripe and needed to do something with them before they went bad. So, I went to handy dandy Pinterest and found a cookie recipe to use the bananas up.

Mash the bananas, a cup of quick oats, and some raisins. I also added a little cinnamon. Bake on 350 for 15 minutes.

IMG_3112 I would totally recommend these!

Randomness from Albania Experience

So, I am not sure if I would make the full effort of Albania again. I enjoyed the veggies and I enjoyed the cornbread but I think that the only one I would really make again is the veggies.

I learned from my last experience on buy groceries. I got everything from Phoenicia’s. The total cost was around $50. We were able to get several days of meals out of it too!

I did spend some time trying to find lamb. I first thought I would try the farmer’s market. So, I went one Saturday morning and found 3 different farms that offer lamb! They didn’t have the lamb with them so I would have to order it ahead of time, which would have been fine since I started looking for it month in advance.

The thing that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for was the price. I knew it wouldn’t be cheap but I wasn’t really willing to spend $30 for 3 pounds of lamb. I really wanted to get the lamb locally but I decided to go for cost efficient this time. Hopefully the next time I need lamb I will get the courage to go back to the farmer’s market!

I ended up lowering the amount of lamb I purchased..I went with a little less then 2 pounds over the 3 pounds that the recipe called for. I also purchased it from Phoenicia’s. So, overall I paid around $10 – $15 for the lamb.

Next month is Algeria!

Albanian Cornbread

So, halfway through making all the other foods I realized that I didn’t have enough pans to make the cornbread. I told JL to run to the store and grab a pan so that we could finish dinner.

I knew that he would be going to the dollar store and I didn’t want him to come back with a small pan that I have seen them sell. So, I told him to get the BIGGEST one they head…well…..I didn’t realize they sold roasting pans…..so….our cornbread was made in a pan that was a little larger than necessary.. haha.

The corn bread was super easy and it was pretty enjoyable.

It consisted of cottage cheese, cornmeal, eggs, scallions, paprika, them, and feta cheese. It reminded me sooooo much of hushpuppies! I love hushpuppies!! So, I enjoyed this dish.

It may not look pretty…but it tasted good 🙂

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Turli Perimesh

Truly Perimesh is probably the easiest dish I made so far! This was also probably my favorite thing from Albania!

This dish was literally onions, zucchini, yellow squash, potato,tomato, and parsley. After chopping everything and simmering it in a pot it was done!

I don’t know why I haven’t thought of doing this before. It was literally so easy and so good!

This is mostly what I ate….especially when it came to leftovers.

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Tava Elbasani (My computer keeps autocorrecting it to Tara Elbasani)

The first dish I made for Albania was our main dish of lamb and yogurt. This dish took the longest to cook but was probably the easiest to make.

Overall it took 2 hours to cook.

I had never had lamb before so the dish stretched me a little. I found Lamb to be a gamer beef. It was very heavy in flavor.

I didn’t really enjoy Tara Elbasani too much. The texture of the cooked yogurt and the heaviness of the lamb didn’t sit well with me. The yogurt cooked came out like jello.

But JL enjoyed this dish (I don’t think there is much that he doesn’t like). He said that it reminded him of a dish that is made in Colombia.

 

 

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A for Albania

It’s been a while since I wrote! Oops! I started a new job and I am finding it hard to mange everyday life and my new job. Hopefully I will get into a stride here soon!

Last weekend we ventured our journey into Albania. I chose 3 dishes from Global Table Adventure – Turli Perimesh, Tara Elbasani, Albania Cornbread.

In order to keep the posts short I am going to write a post for each dish. Stay tuned!

I did a little better this time with following the timing and starting with the correct dishes this time. But it still took me 3 hours to make! I really hope that my timing decreases.

Saffron

This little jar of saffron created a lot of work for us!

One of the reasons we originally went to the Halal Meat Market was to find saffron. We looked and looked all of the tiny little store for it and never found it. I finally asked one of the workers and he pulled it out from behind the counter behind glass!

I really had no idea what saffron was.

Lesson 6: research items that I don’t know before I go to the store. 

The guy behind the counter told me that the small amount of saffron in the fancy little container was $15!! I had no idea!

At that point we had decided that we weren’t finding the other things we needed to and that we would go to another store.

When we got to Phoenicia’s we looked and looked and looked for it again! This time is in an even bigger store! We finally had to ask again and DUH…it was again behind lock and key!

We decided to get this little $5 bottle of saffron. They took it to the check out area for us because of the cost we could not have it until we paid for it. We got to the check out paid for everything, loaded the car, and realized that we forgot to purchase the saffron.

So, we had to go back in to buy that silly little bottle of spices!

Who knew a spice could cause so havoc and cost so much money!!

 

 

An Apron?!?!

A couple of weeks ago I told JL that I needed an apron. He insisted that I would not need an apron….

I’ll let you be the judge….

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P.S. I had already bought an apron even though “I didn’t need one” 🙂

P.P.S. The mirror is also super dirty and gross..oops

It Happened: Afghanistan!

We unexpectedly decided to make our first meal yesterday. I got off of work around 2:00 p.m. and we decided that it would be the best day to do it because January was already slipping away from us; JL will be starting classes next week and I am getting a lot of hours at IKEA the next 3 weeks.

We decided that we would try the Halal store that is near his house first for some of the ingredients. It turned out to be a meat market and just carried very limited things. So, we headed to the speciality grocery store, Phoenicia. There we were able to gather all of the items that we needed to make our meal.

Sasha Martin had SIX items on her blog that she made for her first adventure. She had all the basis covered! But I decided for my first time I was just going to chose 2 options to make. I made Kabeli Palau which consists of basmati rice and chicken with carrots and raisins. I also made noni bread.

A few weeks ago I had grocery list all planned and my choice of foods all planned. But I forgot to plan the timing and order of making the food. I completely ignored the times that she had for prep time and cook time. So, I started with the kabeli palau and then realized I should have started with the noni bread. So bread was our dessert, oops 🙂

Lesson 1: I will know for the next meal to spend a little more time studying timing! 

The Kabeli Palau turned out awesome. The steps were easy and I knew how to do everything! It was time consuming for sure though. Also, something that I wasn’t expecting when making it was I would have to touch a whole chicken..the little wings were flapping everywhere as I THREW it into the pot (I may have screamed a little as I did it)….I really hate touching uncooked meat.

Lesson 2: Get over having to touch nasty meat and wobbly winged chickens. 

img_2747The amount of ingredients for the two items didn’t seem to excessive for me either!

We decided that we would be food connoisseur and examen are food. This is our attempt to be food journalists:

  • The main ingredients are also the basic ingredients of Colombia (and many other countries) – rice, chicken BUT the spices that are in the Afghani food made it something completely different….duh…we are so smart!
  • We found the food to be sweet but salty! Great flavors blending together.
  • Lastly, We at first thought the crunch came because the rice wasn’t cooked all the way..and then we remembered that it was probably the almonds on top!

Lesson 3: We need to learn how to describe the food a little better!!

When it was all said and done I was very please with this dish! It is a dish that we feel like we would for sure make again. A change we would make is to not purchase jumbo raisins (it’s the only thing the store had).

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Noni Bread: 

As I said previously, I should have started the bread before the rice dish in order to let it rise. We ended up eating it MUCH later than our main meal! I have never really made bread before so I knew that this would be a challenge.

The whole time I was making it I kept thinking that it would not turn out for many reasons.

  • The dough was too sticky – I was suppose to use a mixer with a dough handle for 10 minutes, but I don’t even have a hand mixer. So, it was not kneaded for as long as it should have been.
  • We initially forgot to get the yeast at the store, so JL had to run to the store to pick some up while I continued to cook.
  • Because of the stickiness and because I did not have a rolling pin the dough was too thick and it was hard to roll out. I used an old glass bottle as my rolling pin but it stuck to the jar pretty well, I had to keep using flour and water to try to get them flattened.
  • Because they were made too thick I was worried that they wouldn’t get cooked all the way through but they turned out MUCH less doughy then I thought they would!

We really liked the bread and I would for sure make it again with my new found knowledge!

Lesson 4: Learn from the many mistakes. Get a rolling pin!!

The Basics

  • I started making dinner at 5:30 p.m., we did not sit down to start eating until 8:00 p.m. So, it took some time. (Hopefully the times will shrink as we go!)
  • We estimated that the meal cost about $40 to make but we will be able to eat it for several days because it made a lot! (Bonus! Leftovers!!)
  • Fun Fact: Dancing to Afghani music will cooking makes the time more enjoyable. Make sure you add this ingredient.

Lesson 5: I can do this!!

Next up: Albania

Failed Colombian Experience

My parents and sister were here over New Years and we had planned to take them to a Colombian restaurant on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, they closed early that day and we were not able to make it. It was very sad. We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant which worked out nicely. After that we celebrated the New Year of the 25th floor of the Marriott Medical Center playing games, watching tv, and enjoying each other’s company. We were also able to see the fireworks in the distance from inside the building. It was a super nice, low key way to spend it!

I had my mind set on eating Colombian food but the new year has begun..which means..no eating out…so, we couldn’t jump in the car and head to the restaurant. So, we found a way to make our own ajiaco! Fiesta sells frozen packages of all the ingredients needed to make the soup, all you have to do is add the chicken. It was super easy and I feel accomplished in “making” my first Colombian meal.

I did fail at the chicken – I kept the chicken whole and I should have shredded it. Ajiaco is also usually served with rice and a cream but we did not have either of these. So, I have a few things to improve for next time but it was easy and convenient and tasted pretty good!

 

Ethiopian Food!

We went to an Ethiopian restaurant this past Sunday. It was a very interesting experience. It was a very ethnic restaurant and we very clearly stood out! Our waiter was awesome and willing to answer questions for us. He knew his food and could tell us if it was spicy or not and had great recommendations.

We all tried something different – lamb, beef, beef and collared greens, and chicken. I chose the chicken dish because chicken is usually my first choice at restaurants. The dish that I chose, Dor0 Wot,stated that it was the most popular option.  It was very flavorful with a lot of spices. I really enjoyed it! But it was a little hot – spicy. I would for sure get it again.

The unusual part of the experience though was eating with our fingers. The food was coated in a lot of sauce which made it a messy meal to eat. It was served with a long flat thing piece of bread that you use as your silverware. The bread was airy and light and cold – almost like a very, very thing pancake.

I think my favorite part was the coffee ceremony. The roast the beans, and then make the coffee on the spot. It as a very bold and smooth cup of coffee. They also serve the coffee with popcorn!

Overall it was a great experience with great food! Although, a little pricey.

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