#155: Cyprus

Show up anyway.

“Be messy, be complicated, be afraid– and show up anyway” was the theme of the week. As I get farther into this black hole they tell me is “adulthood”, I have come to realize that it’s really less important that you show up put together or that you have all the ducks in a row. It’s not important for you to want to be there because it’s not really about you and what you want or don’t want.  I’m a hot mess most days– light on the hot and triple the mess. So be a train wreck. No one will care about the state you show up in or if you have all the answers when you do; but they will care that you decided they were enough for you to show up in spite of all those things. Sure, physically show up…but I think you’re following my metaphorical ranting on this one too.

THE DINNER: This weekend was the 20th Race for the Cure in Brovskyland… Yes, you read that correct. Two DECADES of the same race- mother/daughter dream team (#squadgoals). With L and I running to save second base again this year, we took our time Sunday getting around to Cyprus, but that was fine because Cyprus is laid back (or at least that’s how I envision it).

We made some kontosouvli which is a souvlaki marinated in oregano and chili pepper. It’s not surprising that the food of this nation bridges both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. It’s the marriage of two very distinct and lovely pallets. Lots of olive oil, oregano, mint and garlic. You’ll see pine nuts and pork and lemon. Think of kontosouvli as the Cyprus version of BBQ. Traditionally smoked on a spit over an open fire. I guess L is happy that BBQ season is still alive and well with this one 😉

Kontosouvli Recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pork_souvlaki_with_58334

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Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five these two recipes!
It’s grilled meat on a stick… so yeah, I’d be remiss if I said this one was tough. Grilling is not my strong suit, but lucky for me it’s my mom’s favorite hobby. It was raining and cold and post Race for the Cure, so it’s pretty much a safe bet that we weren’t in this for more than a two star trial. Good thing Cyprus delivered.

Best dish of all time scale: UN-ESTABLISHED NUMBER of STARS out of five for this meal…
You read that correctly. We aren’t sure where we land on this one. Dad and I felt like it was around a four star while L wrestled with giving it five or four and a half… jury is out. Regardless, it was decided that it was delicious and simple. Maybe too simple? Sure. That’s where Dad and I came in on things. The citrus of the lemon was the best paring with the smoky charred pork. In the scheme of things, I settled the score with this statement: “This is just not the sexiest pork that was made in the Brovsky kitchen this weekend”. That was fair– welcome to green chili heaven, Colorado lovers. Green chili knocked this one out of contention this weekend.

We are already entering the last week of the month. Time flies when you’re having fun 😉 Next stop on this field trip is The Marshall Islands for #156.

Count on us to show up anyway,

– L & K

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#154: Liechtenstein

Trouble…

For those that have known me for any amount of time, it’s not a state secret that I don’t really sleep much. This typically results in those around me reaping the benefits of my favorite insomnia laced activity: BAKING. Yep, when I can’t sleep, it’s not sheep I count. I count teaspoons of vanilla; cups of flour and don’t walk so much as dance on egg shells. So, this week, as the sleepless nights have seemed to have returned– I have found some dim 2am’s running past my mixer as I sing along to the radio. Usually the genre of choice for this nocturnal activity is the George Strait pandora station… but this week it was some serious Ray Lamontagne. Trouble… Trouble….Trouble, my friends. Nothing but trouble 😉

THE DINNER: Confession: this one is hard to spell. I mean, I have to get a running start at it, particularly after lack of zzz’s. But after you get the funny name down, you find yourself in a very tiny, German-speaking country in central Europe nestled between Austria and Switzerland. How adorable. In the theme of insomnia baking, we are tackling a strudel-type dessert called Feine Linzer Plätzchen which roughly translates to “Fine Cranberry Cookies”.

If you guessed that this one features some German food, you’re spot on and a cheater because how easy was THAT lead in for you? It’s all good, I’ll let you have the easy pitches because the last several countries have been tricky and I’m sleep deprived and feeling generous. German food is like the penultimate comfort food… it’s all gravy and pork and potatoes. It’s laced with all the beer you could want. In the event of impending Oktoberfests everywhere, it’s a good thing we turned our attention to Europe this week.

Though to be honest after this week, I feel like I should start drinking more whiskey and wine and give the beer a rest. You know….for my heart.

Feine Linzer Plätzchen Recipe: http://baketotheroots.de/feine-linzer-platzchen/

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Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five these two recipes!
In terms of dough, this one was pretty easy! No proofing, no yeast, no stress. The almonds are important though, so don’t go rouge and think that almond flour is a substitute for the actual ground almonds… it’s a texture thing you will thank me for in spades later. Promise. Also, it’s hard to find cranberries this time of year. I guess Christmas cookies will do that to you.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for this dessert!!
I’m not going to lie, I needed a little sweet treat this Sunday Funday. I think everyone agree that the word to describe this dough was “phenomenal”. Sure the cranberry was lovely, but to be real, we could have filled these babies with anything and that dough would have been the show stopper. It reminded me a whole lot of Russian Tea Cookies (read: Almonds and a metric shit ton of butter); which was fitting because of Dad’s birthday but also because that’s a comfort food for me. Highly recommend eating them right out of the oven. You know, cookies are always better warm 🙂

For those curious readers, we did not give a mouse a cookie and we aren’t clear on what happens if we do. The Race for the Cure is next Sunday. L and I will be hanging up the soccer cleats for our running shoes to commemorate our 20th year running this one together ❤ When we return from the race will be tackling #155 in Cyprus.

Happy Birthday to AJB this weekend! Rollin’ with the double 5’s!
You’re not old, you’re vintage.

– L & K

#153: Dominica

It’s Rocky Mountain Showdown time again, kiddos!

You know what that means! It’s soon to be a smattering of leaves changing, cute boots, football games and pumpkin everything– though I have to confess, I’m not a huge pumpkin fan, I did happen to try a #PSL beer this week that was damn tasty. Color me shocked. I was lucky enough to get to tag along to some club level seats for the Showdown and I have to say, I am now super spoiled and can never go back to sitting with the common people. I won’t underestimate the fact that the company that came along with those seats was unparalleled and had 110% to do with why I had such a lovely time (that and the “w” for the black’n’gold). I learned how to play Texas Hold’em… though sad to report I’m not sure I’ve developed a poker face just yet. Snuggled between the BBQ and the small town parades, it was one of the best weekend on the books in a while.

THE DINNER: To be more accurate, this one was more like brunch in brovskyland. Mainly, it was that we had to go on a mission to procure frog legs and we honestly weren’t sure if it would take all day or not. Turns out, I’m on a little bit of a lucky streak these days (beyond breaking a very cool whiskey glass at my parent’s house… that was the proverbial low point of my weekend. Not too shabby).

We ended up in Edwards Meats and in the seafood section (which is what Frog is classified as…) we found them! We also decided to make a drink to pair with the legs because it was all a little simplistic for our caliber. We utilized the Black Rum we had from when we tackled St Kitts and Nevis which turned the run punch a little dark, but still tasty. The island nation of Dominica was settled by the french and therefore a lot of their cuisine is very much creole in it’s roots. Unlike their Louisianan counterparts a little farther north, the Dominican people shy away from heavy spice. It’s actually pretty simplistic and clean.

Fried Frog Legs Recipe: http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/recipe-fried-frog-legs/
Dominica Rum Punch Recipe: http://food.lohudblogs.com/2013/04/19/latin-twist-dominica-punch/

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Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five these two recipes!
I’m not gonna lie, this one was supposed to be tricky. We anticipated having a bear of a time finding the meat for one and just had no clue what it would look like. I’m glad to report that the legs got one star and the drink got the other. We had an easy go of things this week. Which left us a whole lot more time for other festivities.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!! THREE STARS for the Drink!
My oh my, it was such a cliche! The damn things taste like chicken. I can’t get over how unassuming they were… and even for all my foodie roots, I was a little nervous to try these bad boys. I quickly got over that because they were everything crispy and delicious. I’m not going to mince words here, they only skipped away with four stars and that was because they were maybe too simplistic. Not to disappoint, in true Kris fashion, I hit it with a load of Cholula and then they were like little kermit hot wings…er, legs, I mean. The rum punch on the flip side was incredibly tart and refreshing and earned a three star review. I mean, it was good, but we all came to the conclusion that we probably wouldn’t order it again if in a bar– but with that being said, we definitely finished that pitcher off. It was a HOT one here in the 303 after all 😉  

Rolling along into September and Indian Summer– we plan on cooking up some European cuisine in Liechtenstein for #154 🙂 It’s sort of in honor of Oktoberfest. We haven’t been to Europe in a hot minute, so we are welcoming the change of pace.

Happy Labor Day! 
– L & K

 

#152: Equatorial Guinea

“It’s a glow in the dark compass ring so you won’t get lost”

That kept playing through my head as I was running and running and running some more in the Ragnar this weekend. “Man, I could use a compass ring or a hug from Tom Hanks right about now…” alright, I was a little delirious. But running in the middle of the night in the pitch and the black with a sky full of stars, I didn’t mind that I got a little lost on the trail and added an extra half mile to my route. I spent my weekend running 200ish miles over 31 hours in a van with 5 other people (4 of which I hadn’t met till the day before). I haven’t laughed that much in forever and can’t wait till I get to kill myself in a another Ragnar (read: March 2018 in Tennessee). It was the stupidest and craziest and most challenging thing I’ve done… and I fell back in love with running all over again ❤

THE DINNER: While I was losing my mind between Copper and Snowmass, L was busy cooking away for #152! In Guinea, chicken in the main stay for protein and it’s usually served in a peanut butter cream sauce. This recipe also included prawns. Curries and stews are served over rice or cassava like many other surrounding nations.

Guinea Chicken and Prawns Recipe: https://comida.uncomo.com/receta/como-preparar-un-plato-tipico-de-guinea-ecuatorial-5538.html?amp=1

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Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
L reported that this one required translation and conversion– so added a point of difficulty for that. Apart from the logistics, it was easy and straightforward. Short ingredient list and short preparation time.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
My mom reported that she is still amazed at the complexity of peanut butter with chicken let alone with prawns! The recipe creator noted that bell pepper would have been a great addition and my parents both agreed with that. It needed a little more texture change and some veggies were the answer to that solution. The lemon was surprisingly pretty attentive in the flavor profile which is impressive with peanut butter being so over powering to many other flavors.

Can you believe it’s already labor day weekend?? I can’t even. This summer is FLYING by in all the best ways. After some obligatory BBQing for the holiday, we will be doing Tour De Fat and then eating up Dominica for #153 🙂 this is not to be confused with the Dominican Republic which we hit for #123

Making sure to calibrate my compass ring,
– L & K

#151: Zambia

“Turn around, bright eyes… ”

So, no… it’s not a total eclipse of the heart, but thank you for that annoyingly catchy little ear worm, Bonnie Tyler. It was, however, a total eclipse of the sun yesterday. It was called “The Great American Total Solar Eclipse” and in a band of land about 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina, we were able to see what was truly a once in a lifetime event. Denver fell in the path of partial eclipse, so this weekend found many of venturing to our northern neighbors, Wyoming/Nebraska for the best seats in the house. The next one isn’t till 2024 and that one only hits Texas and Mexico. The magnitude of this occurrence is said to be once every ninety-some-odd-years as the moon is very closely in orbit to the earth right now. Yeah, I was able to learn a few things via a trip to the planetarium last month 😉

THE DINNER: With all eyes on the skies around here and since I was out of town, L turned her attention to cooking up Zambia for the blog this week. We picked a fish dish (won’t ever get tired of that alliteration) called Chambo in Gravy. I will grant you that “fish in gravy” sounds unpalatable as all get out– but the definition of “gravy” stateside is not the same as abroad, so hold your horses. On the fish front, we don’t have access to chambo (which is a fish from a lake in the region of Africa that Zambia occupies)As a matter of fact, that puppy is going extinct. Lucky for us, it’s in the tilapia family of white fish so we were able to improvise. It’s a fried fish with a curried, fruit gravy of sorts on top. Typically it’s served alongside the national dish, “Nsima” which is a cornmeal porridge. This sometimes is the only meal that many Zambian and African families eat due to the food insecurity and poverty in the region. The protein portion of the meal is often a special occasion venture for many families.

Chambo in Gravy Recipe: http://www.internationalcuisine.com/malawian-chambo/

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Ease of prep and cooking: HALF a STAR out of five this meal!
This one was reported as “very very very easy” and couldn’t have taken more than 30 minutes. There were no complicated ingredients or conversions, and with the exception of Chambo fish, we were good to go with our local grocery and tilapia.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE out of five for Meal!!
My dad commented that this was his favorite African meal to date! The fish was light and the meal was very healthy even in the event of pan frying. Spicy and peppery with just a hint of the lemon that was rubbed prior to frying. It turned out to be quite a complex flavor- because when was the last time you had carrots with your fish? Right. I thought as much 😉

After a weekend in the windy city followed by some giant yard jenga and a romantic few rounds of beers Sunday, I’m excited and terrified to be heading to Snowmass for my Ragnar race this week! If I’m not totally zombied out, we will be making the food of Guinea for #152 when I return!

Cheers,
– L & K

#150: Djibouti

“The cure for anything is salt water… Sweat, tears or the sea”

Holy cow, isn’t that completely true. Camping on the pristine white sand beach in Florida with Keeks and company was just what the doctor ordered. I got all those cures involving salt water and now am a believer in that quote. Salt water is the cure to everything. (that and the food in New Orleans! Man alive, that was a foodie paradise all around). It’s funny how you never really think about those three things being therapeutic; but sometimes you just need a good cry, a good run in the humidity and a long swim in the ocean with the cutest kiddo you know to set things back to true north. When I retire to my sailboat, I will be sure to check, check, triple check all those boxes each day.

THE DINNER: While I was in the surf 2500 miles away, L dove into making Djibouti cuisine back in the Mile High City. (See what I did there with the “dove into”?!) This country is tiny and situated in East Africa.They eat a traditional dish called Lahoh for breakfast which is a crepe like pancake. While this cake is sometimes sweetened with honey (or bananas like our recipe this week), it is also eaten like pita or naan and consumed with stews or savory dishes throughout the day.

Djibouti Banana Fritter Recipe: http://www.rainbowgr.com/single-post-crr5/2015/03/08/Djibouti-Banana-Fritters

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Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this meal!
The recipe itself is quick and dirty. Nothing hard about it, except it needed to be supplemented for flour quite a lot to achieve the consistency of batter needed. Going off recipe for myself and L, who are experienced bakers isn’t a huge deal, but some of you might find this harder or stressful so that’s a good point to take into consideration on your foodie journey. Once the adjustment was made to the batter it was smooth sailing (pardon my ocean puns this week, guys, I’m still on a beach evidently).

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and A QUARTER STARS out of five for Meal!!
Nothing remarkable about a banana pancake fritter if we are being honest. Solid creamy banana flavor but it just lacked flair. If we venture to make these bad boys again, it was noted that crushed walnuts to add texture or powdered sugar to kick up the sweetness might make excellent modifications to the base recipe.

Congratulations to Joe Walsh of The Eagles and Colorado native Dan Fogelberg who we watched get inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame last night! Really cool show! Next weekend while I’m in Chicago for work, L will be tackling the food of Zambia for #151!

Looking forward to the Solar eclipse,
– L & K

#149: Eritrea

On the menu this week? Crow. Kris is eating crow.

The most pretentious sentence I have ever uttered came out of my mouth this weekend… “I lost one of my Swarovski earrings at the polo match yesterday” Yeah, that was literally the single most entitled thing I’ve ever said. To be fair, it was a polo match for cancer charity and the earring was ordered from Amazon for a wedding I was in a while back. It wasn’t the irreplaceable ones I got from Austria for graduation. I wasn’t sure but something about that statement coming from my mouth made me re-calibrate my life a little. It was good to have an out of body experience.  Needless to say I was embarrassed.

THE DINNER: The following day we made food from the little African nation of Eritrea and the blows to my ego kept coming as I realized how food insecurity and poverty so greatly and drastically impacts the food landscape of this country and so many around it. They tend to eat a lot of stews in this part of the nation for many reason– mainly to make the food stretch and also to spend less of their valuable time in the kitchen prepping or preparing meals. Italian influence is felt strongly in the palate of the national dishes because of the settling and ruling of the Italian government over the state for decades. The stew we picked is called Tsebhi Sga which is meat in spiced butter… um, yum!

Tsebhi Sga Recipehttp://www.food.com/recipe/eritrean-ethiopian-beef-stew-tsebhi-sga-or-key-wet-106194

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Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Not a “stew” in the traditional western sense of the term, but that’s not a good or bad distinction in my opinion– more like a friendly heads up that you’re probably following the recipe correct even though it doesn’t look like what you’re used to. No crazy ingredients and no need to translate/convert. We did have to hunt for an additional spiced butter recipe, so that added to the score but wasn’t insane.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and A QUARTER STARS out of five for Meal!!
There’s a quarter cup of chili paste in this recipe, guys… which basically makes it a 100% win in L’s book (and mine). The spiced butter added a depth of flavor that was unexpected. It was more than “buttery” it was more like velvety. We served it with Kale salad as is traditional to the area. The problem we ran into was the lack of salt. We got to have some basic cooking steps here, one of which is seasoning the meat properly whether you’re grilling or baking. It’s important otherwise you run into bland flavor profiles which is what kept this from a 5 star rating.

Polo matches and Maserati’s aside, while I head to the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico for some much needed R&R next week, L will be taking on Djibouti for #150!

Peace, love and lost earrings,
– L & K