#116: Uganda

And the Broncos are off!
This weekend in Brovskyland we were able to cheer on our Boys of Fall to a resoundingly exciting victory over the Panthers in the Thursday night football official season opener. It was a tight one point “W” for the Mile High Heros– but rest assured, with a little baby QB and the loss of a huge leader in PFM, it was not expected and we were actually the underdogs (even though we beat Carolina for the Super Bowl only months ago). So proud of my state in so many ways: Colorado sunsets are unparalleled, Fresh mountain air, friendliest people you’ll meet in a big city, great food, innovative ecology and world class sports. Having spent my weekend on my annual Girls Trip to Palisade with the loves of my life drinking wine and laughing way too much, Mom and Dad took off to have some Ugandan food for our 116th meal on this journey.

THE DINNER: I’m dubbing this recipe Sseko Ugandan Beans and Rice because of the owner of the recipe and their story about eating this particular meal 2-3 times daily while working at Sseko Workshop in the country… so I feel like this should bare that name in honor of that. This is basically what it sounds like though– it’s an open book recipe: Bean. and. Rice. Apart from what you’d expect, protein in the form of legumes is pretty big in many nations outside the Colonies and speaking as a partial (but very naughty) pseudo vegetarian, ALL hail the beans and rice. It’s filling and satisfying and economical. What’s not to love? What makes this one different though, you may ask. Well, I think it’s the Marsala and eggplant. Not a typical combo but wholly enjoyable from a creativity and textural eating viewpoint.

Sseko Ugandan Beans & Rice Recipe: http://blog.ssekodesigns.com/sseko-recipe-spotlight-ugandan-beans-and-rice/

 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
It was one of those set it and forget it, as far as I heard from the troops on the ground. I watched in amazement as I dropped off a bottle of wine for my parents upon my return from Girls Weekend and saw my mom’s new pressure cooker making short work of the beans. Damn, I love technology. All the ingredients are local market available and there were no conversions or translations needed to hit this one home.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
The report from ground control on this one was that it actually had a little kick back to it! I guess the masala was a great little helper with the flavor profile– which absolutely isn’t surprising at all. At the end of the day, four stars for “just beans and rice” seems incredibly generous to a foodie like me, so this really must have been lovely. Additionally, coming from my dad who is all over a meat-and-potatoes sort of dude this seems extremely promising. Let’s hear it for Uganda!

As we venture off into the first week of Autumn (officially) and PSL drifts through the air, we can also venture off to #117 which will be Sudan. Not sure what Sudanese food is like, but I’m intrigued by what I am finding in my weekly research.

Salud!
– L & K

#115: Panama

Model citizen zero discipline…

Don’t you know she’s coming home with me? / You’ll lose her in the turn / I’ll get her! / Panama, Panama / Panama, Panama… I hope you’re life revolves around music the way Brovskyland does!! This week found us dreaming of Panama and working for the weekend. I could go on with these references, but its really been a hard day’s night😉 okay, that was the last one, I swear!! But man, I love the line in this Van Halen song that sparked this week’s country pick: “model citizen, zero discipline”– because ain’t that just the way?!

THE DINNER: Rock on, son. We took our sojourn to #114‘s neighbor, Panama for some more Central American food lovin’. We hadn’t done a drink since we hit up Ireland for some whiskey, so we picked the national sweet corn drink of choice for the Panamanians “Chicheme”.  It’s a drink that’s also a meal… think of it like a Panamanian version of the meal replacement shake😉 but better. Traditionally, it’s made from milk, sweet corn or cornmeal, cinnamon, and vanilla, and often also water. It’s served cold and beloved by many– much like it’s Mexican cousin horchata.We got super distracted though by the yucca at the super market and like the great PFM called an audible “OMAHA!” and picked the Mojo Yucca breakfast option. This is like home fries– but it’s cactus instead of potato! It’s traditionally served with chorizo and avocado but sometimes with rice or maize bread.

Yucca Mojo Recipe: http://www.cocinerita.com/yuca-mojo/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
It was basically just a fry up (and maybe I’ve been watching too much BBC these days to call it that). We got all the ingredients from our local down the street and even scored some Colorado Proud chorizo to boot! The whole thing was really easy.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
So, to be fair, the real score given was “ten” but that messes up my scale. So needless to write more, but this was awesome. Something strange and unexpected happens to cilantro when fried– it actually tastes like parsley. Additionally some hot sauce was added because after all, we are who we are. Brilliant introduction to yucca, by the way. That baby is a bitch to peel but boy did it come through in the end! He who wrestles the yucca, wins all.

So…  #116!! That puts us in Uganda for the weekend of Labor Day! Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. I can already tell you there are no pop or Van Halen songs that are about Uganda. So that’s already sort of sad😉

To keep with the Van Halen vibe:
Living at a pace that kills / Runnin’ with the devil!
– L & K

#114: Nicaragua

How was that taste of fall, Colorado?

I’m not sure if you guys were around this weekend in the Centennial state, or if this blog catches you in another time zone, hemisphere or place– but the big CO got a taste of the fall weather Friday and Saturday… I mean, snow in the high country?! IT’S AUGUST. Rest easy though, the 80’s and 90’s are back and it was only a little snip it of autumn to wet our appetite for pumpkin spice everything and football. I’m sure we can all wait a little longer for that to happen officially, but it was a nice reminder to soak it in while we can. To paraphrase Game of Thrones: Autumn is coming.

THE DINNER: We hung out in Central America this weekend to enjoy what Nicaragua had to offer us– which was fish tacos, if you’re late to the party. Nicaraguan-style Repochetas  which are Quesadilla-Tacos. YES. HEAVEN is a place on earth. A quesadilla-taco hybrid? With this bitchin’ cabbage slaw from white wine vinegar? With grilled prawns?! Mouth watering yet? Yeah… It was just as good as you’d imagine. This is typical street food fare in the country, and you can see why immediately. It’s a grab an go meal that is the hybrid love child of two dearly adored comfort foods.

Now this particular recipe below does not have protein in it. We actually too a liberty there. Forgive us, but you’ll thank me for that one. The country has so many good fish and shrimp taco recipes that we meshed them into this dish. For the shrimp, we simply threw a small amount of fajita seasoning on them and grilled those bad boys up. It wasn’t a huge leap culinary wise, but made for a more sustainable and filling meal in the long run.

Repochetas Recipe: http://www.bitchincamero.com/2010/09/nicaraguan-style-repochetas-quesadilla-tacos/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
It was actually sort of hard to rate this week on a scale for difficulty. I mean, maybe I’ve been watching too much Olympics, but the elements of toughness were so varied. I mean, there was grilling of corn tortillas… which for anyone who has done this is deceptively tricky. Too short and they’re sort of gummy and too long and BOOM you’re having tostadas. So. To add to that, it was not JUST the tortillas but they were quesadillas. So the cheese dripping element came into play. The remainder of the meal was cake. Just making some slaw and assembly when you pass the shrimp grilling.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Well, shoot, guys. This was just about the easiest five star we have come across in a while. We barely began eating when then “five” started getting thrown down with emphasis. So, all the elements came together and were just good. You start with good things and when you throw them together in a quesadilla shell of melted cheese, you can’t NOT love  the end product. So, the crema was really lovely. The slaw was bitter from the vinegar, but the sweetness of the seafood and the sour cream style creama cut it. We threw some hot sauce on them, and they would have been super amazing with avocado in place of the shrimp for a veggie version… or with the shrimp, because who are we kidding, we live only once.

So… in the words of my mother, “we should head to Panama next week so we can sing Van Halen’s Panama?!” ❤ so with that, I think two things– my mom is probably WAY COOLER than yours and we will be in Panama for #115!!

Oh, and Happy Anniversary, B + B Tileston!
– L & K

#113: Lithuania

USA-USA-USA!

Well, here we are– Olympics underway! America is kicking ass and taking names (unless you’re the USWNT… then you’re down and out). I think it’s the best to see how everyone gets into the spirit of the games, even people who aren’t innately competitive find themselves screaming and jumping when Phelps takes ANOTHER gold or watching in awe as Bolt lives up to his name and makes it look so easy to shatter records. It makes me wish that we didn’t have to wait every four years to feel this kind of national pride. I guess we will have to settle for the winter games next😉

THE DINNER: To the matter at hand, we picked Lithuania to tackle this week on AW195S! Whenever we hit up an Eastern European country, it’s any wonder that my whole family doesn’t just do cartwheels and jump for joy. It’s in our heritage and blood, but also… sour cream!? WHO CAN’T get on board with that!? and also cabbage and pork. Those are ALL givens whenever we are in that part of the world. So, with all that on the docket, I set out on my weekly sojourn to find a recipe that reflected the nation at hand… and came across this gem: http://matadornetwork.com/life/9-things-lithanians-explain-foreigners/?single=1 which is “9 things Lithuanians have to explain to foreigners”.

Entertaining read to say the least! This is one foreigner that actually learned quite a few things in reading that, particularly the last names bit. Had no clue, but also it makes for a little confusion I would imagine. As a foodie, I also was fascinated with the 12 meals at Christmas dinner! And as much as they love potatoes- we had those last week in Mali so we took a break and went for the cabbage rolls. Balandeliai as the natives call them are literally meat-rice-onion-bellpepper stuffed cabbage leaves that are then egg-rolled (yes, I made that word up) into a tomato sauce that then gets sour creamed. Lord, have mercy.

Lithuanian Cabbage Rolls (Balandeliai) Recipe:  http://www.10thkitchen.com/2012/03/lithuanian-cabbage-rolls-balandeliai/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Okay. To be real with you guys, which we always are, we have been dancing around making these for a while now. We were scared. We were nervous. We were intimidated. THEY WERE EASY! The hardest part was the rolling, but even then, it was just so ridiculously simple that we almost feel silly for being such culinary chickens (See what I did there?? Chicken? haha, no it was pork. But you dig that I’m kicking). Regardless, the ingredients were handy and there were no translations or conversions. SCORE.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Uh-Mazing. Simple ingredients– in fact, there were only two spices in addition to the obligatory salt and pepper: Garlic and bay leaves. That was all she wrote! And yet, it was so flavorful. I loved the cabbage/tomato/sour cream sauce… I might have eaten that with a spoon by itself and called it bisque. But honestly, it was simple and good and hearty. All the wonderful components of comfort food and Sunday cooking were there. We unanimously gave this one five stars– even from our tough Russian judge (my dad) who devoured four of these.

Where in the big wide world will #114 take us for our next country?? Central America for some time in Nicaragua!!

Keep on, Keeping on!
– L & K

#112: Senegal

Welcome to part two!

After a Saturday of mud volleyball and Colorado sunshine, it was time for some R & R at the brovskyland castle. Contrary to appearances, I am such a fangirl for lazy weekend days; particularly Sundays. Something about rolling out of bed, throwing on sweats that might as well be pajamas still, taking all day to sip my coffee, hanging out with my mom and dad, cuddles with the dog, maybe a run (maybe not. lol) and then the food! I think it’s only improved upon when there’s football involved, so let’s call it nearly perfect by that mark. Ahhhh, Monday’s are not so bad when you’ve recharged your battery this way. I’m beyond blessed. I don’t care if that sounds cliche.

THE DINNER: Continuing with our African adventure this weekend, we hung out in Somali today. It was actually a great day to sit about and cook! This one was pretty involved as far as ingredients. It was not a hard list to tackle, but it was long. For Senegal, we picked a rice and fish dish that was what my mother was calling “a one pot wonder” in a dutch oven. This super hearty dish is actually the national dish of Senegal, this boldly flavored combination of fish, rice, and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce. It’s stuffed fish and rice with veggies– what’s not to love. It’s called Thiéboudienne.

Thiéboudienne Recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Senegal-Fish-Rice

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: FIVE STARS out of five this meal!
Don’t be scared! It’s difficult. I’m not going to sugar coat that– but it was not horrific. You have to chop a whole lot of veggies. You have to stuff and tie fish fillets. You have to make the stuffing for those fillets. You have to make sure the rice doesn’t boil dry (might be altitude specific problem #5280issues) but in all honesty, it was just time consuming and not hard. It was a meal we worked for though. No strange issues– save the problem with the yucca substitute and we had to sub the tamarind.

Best dish of all time scale: THREE and 3/4 STARS out of five for Meal!!
It was good!  At the time, we couldn’t really place why it wasn’t amazing… but upon a few days reflection it was decided that it was just a little blah. It was maybe bland? But it was not as flavorful as we wanted or expected. It was a hard followup to the super flavor-packed meal in Mali yesterday. That’s for sure. I loved the eggplant though and the fish was lovely. All in all incredibly hearty as promised (and also this recipe feeds a small village army, so be aware of left overs on this one. We might have quartered this recipe should we attempt again).

See you for lucky #113 on AW195S next weekend as we welcome back football Sundays with NFL preseason openers!!

GO BRONCOS!
– L & K

#111: Mali

Mud Volleyball anyone?

Yeah, my cornhole team (you read that correct, trust me, it’s a thing) was short a player due to injury for a mud volleyball tourney this Saturday… and guess who was their Huckleberry?! This girl! DUH. For those that know me, I am unrelentlessly always game for a new experience and always if it includes some good old fashioned athletic sweat and competitive sporting. After all, it was for March of Dimes– so getting dirty and having some good clean fun saving babies sounds like it’s 110% the best use of time. So this was one for the books, and boy was it was dirty one for the books as well. Goodbye to my shoes and my socks, my the rest in peace, for they will never be the same. Oh, it’s lovely to subscribe to the adage from Shanti:

“At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.”

Check. Check. Double check❤

THE DINNER: Well, hells bells, what’s a gal to do when she has spent all day playing ball? EAT. That’s what a girl is to do. And so, we traveled to a country this Saturday (and will tomorrow too, for a double header weekend). We picked Kofta for Mali this weekend, which is like curry soup with latkas in it… and paneer. You had me at paneer, guys. Cheese, cheese, cheese. You make the potato dumplings separate so they wont’ break apart.

Kofta Recipe: http://foodandspice.blogspot.com/2015/08/mali-kofta-potato-and-paneer-kofta-in.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR STARS out of five this meal!
Honestly, this one was just sort of a handful. It was tricky because it was a whole lot of moving parts for one soup. So, you make the Kofta (Mali potato and cheese balls) and then you make the curry/soup that it goes into. I actually think it might have been super easy with leftover mash potatoes from a meal, that way you eliminate some of the prep work. But it wasn’t hard to follow the recipe. There were a ton of spices and that was a little daunting. There was some prep work on the veggie cutting. Nothing overly exotic but the gargam masala can often be tricky to find. Be ye warned.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
Delicious. This was just really surprising. I was expecting a curry and it was a soup. I was expecting fragrant spices or spicy spices and it was mild and flavorful. It was not what I was expecting– in the best way. We loved the Kofta but they are really bland by their lonesome. The Paneer was substituted for cheese curds, but the taste was lovely. We were all a fan of this one. Not a leftover in sight and we all had seconds.

See you for #112 Senegal as we continue our double header AW195S weekend!!

Cheers!
– L & K

#109/#110: Borneo (Malaysia and Indonesia)

Good food feeds the soul as much as the body,

In brovskyland it’s not uncommon for us to cook a family dinner at the very LEAST once a week. We love spending time in the kitchen– but more importantly sharing a meal with each other. It wouldn’t matter to me if my mom was a good cook or not, I mean, turns out she’s amazing at cooking. It wouldn’t matter to me if we had take out food, I just want to spend time with the people who make my heart happy. That’s what good food means to me. It has very little to do with actual food.

THE DINNER: After an adventure at the shooting range this weekend, we ventured into the Pacific and took on Borneo. I actually learned a whole lot about Borneo this week in pulling recipes and doing my typical AW195S research. The country is actually part of Malaysia and Indonesia. So it’s two nations, one island. So that’s why we have #109 AND #110 for this week. I found this part pretty fascinating. Alternatively, the other different thing is that this week’s “recipe” is via youtube. Guys, looks at the times we live in!!😉

Laksa Soup Recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1eHoriT_aI

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Really doesn’t get much easier than rice noodles. I mean, those babies are so quick and dirty it should mean they don’t taste as good as they do. I’m not sure if anyone else will have the same issue we ran into with the bean sprouts, but they seem to either be out of season in the states or out of stock. If there’s a run on the sprouts, just substitute those bad boys and move along. We suggest snow or snap peas. We used both the snap peas and the radish sprouts. It was a great alternative. I gave it a added star for the youtube mayhem. Rewind, play, rewind, pause, play, etc… what a mess. And we had to do all that and convert from metric.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
SO YUMMY. To be fair, we were a house divided on this one. My mom and I were in the house of the “more spice! Pass the sambal and Sriracha!!” and then there were the house of dad and Jess who were preaching “it’s spicy as it is! Leave it and pass the acid reducer!” I think a happy medium in this game of thrones situation is best practice. IT was not TOO overly spiced. The radish sprouts we substituted added a little bite, but it was not outrageous. It was easily adjusted to the needs of everyone and no a soul passed up seconds. So that should speak volumes. It was “baby, you hurt so good” scenario. 

Hot damn, we’re on a roll up in here! That means we are going to announce #111 to be Mali and #112 will be Senegal for a double header next weekend!!

Later Gator!
– L & K