Food Around the World

A Journey With Food


January 2017


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.┬á

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….




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

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 ­čÖé

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).


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 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!


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