#159: Andorra

“Life’s a dance. You learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow”

That’s about right. It’s a metaphor, obviously. But, this girl literally got her two step on this week. I love love l-o-v-e going out dancing…though admittedly (shamefully) in my adulthood, the times I actually get to go dancing are less and less. It’s at a point where we seem to be lucky if we get out of the single digits over the course of the year. Life gets in the way and many of my old dancing buddies are now married and otherwise occupied. To make up for this, I routinely dance in the car, lab and, yes, of course, the kitchen. This week’s trip to The Rose brought back this thing that my mentor, the incomparable Robert Pruitt, used to tell me all the time when I was working in DC, “It’s not always moving forward motion that makes progress. Sometimes you go one step forward… and two steps back…. and few steps sideways. KBrov, it’s not failure! It’s a marimba! Enjoy the dance.”

So, here we are. Enjoying all the steps and the missteps and all the twisty turns. I’m ready for many more trips around the floor. Dancing shoes are ready. Let’s boogie, baby!

THE DINNER: I had brunch with some of the gang today… it was lovely, utterly classy and all things adult. Pinky’s out. Now, speaking of classy. It doesn’t seem to get much classier than Andorra. Bear with me. This little nation happens to be the 14th OLDEST country in the world and is the first for life expectancy (read: 81 years average). They’re tiny. In fact, they’re so tiny that their militaristic budget is completely based on donation. Could you imagine? But they haven’t seen a war ever, so it’s probably very feasible for them all things considered. Andorra is nestled between France and Spain (we hit those countries in week #77 and #40 respectively). She is snuggled up in the peaks of the Pyrenees; and therefore, like we have here in the 303, there is no shortage of mountain sports like skiing and hiking. They’re also the highest capital city in Europe at 3300ft. It’s adorable, but we’re at 5280 here in Denver, kiddos 😉

One might expect that cuisine from this hidden gem would be both French and Spanish in collaboration and you’re not wrong. Last week we have a “collab” with England and France, so this falls into the theme of November so far in this blog. Look at all these super powers getting along so nicely…at least on a food scale. Armed with Google Translate magic, we picked a Andorran burger that features a country staple called “trinxat”. Think latke but with cabbage and ALLLLL the garlic. The burger is served on a bed of trinxat and topped with bacon, Camembert and tomato salad. If it sounds lovely, you should have smelled it.

Andorran Trinxat Burger Recipe: http://burgershereandthere.com/2011/02/05/andorran-burger-recipe/

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Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR STARS out of five this recipe!
This one was hard. I’m not going to split hairs over it. There were moving parts, conversions and lots of irons in the fire. So, to be fair here, make sure you’re on your toes and you’ve got what you need. I would be willing to bet, you can make the trinxat beforehand or early and it would go smoother all around if you’re looking for a work around. The best laid plans though, tend to work out well. We didn’t have to make any specialty market excursions, so that was a good spot in the process.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR of STARS out of five for this meal!
We aren’t sure what’s not to like here… except some people might not be fans of thyme that’s a small component. There’s creamy, molten cheese; crisp sweet tomatoes; juicy pork; smoky bacon and all served on indulgent mashed potatoes with cabbage. When you really get down to brass tacks, it’s meat and potatoes. It’s rib sticking Sunday family meal. For all the bells and whistles, it really is more farmhouse cooking which would be appropriate given the position geographically of the country. There was a problem with saltiness, but once everything was mixed together, honestly, it reminded me of meatloaf. Which is both great and sort of a letdown because that’s hardly exotic. All that aside, it was delicious and earned all four of those shiny stars. We would make this one again (without any salt).

Heading into American Thanksgiving week, we will take a detour to Venezuela for the even #160. Coming off Veterans Day– to all the service men and women here and overseas. To the police officers and all branches of the military both active and retired: we are so incredibly overwhelmed by your often thankless sacrifice and that of your families/friends. Thank you for making it possible for all of us to rarely give a second thought all day about our safety, freedoms and happiness. You have given everyone the immeasurable gift of “peace of mind” for which no amount of gratitude can repay. May we all be so mindful of this more than one day a year.

Happy Veterans Day and thank you all for your service,
– L & K

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#158: Malta

Squeaky clean, jelly beans!

This week, post recovery from some pretty gnarly food poisoning and Halloween chaos. I found that cleaning was all I wanted to do. So I systematically took after each room in the apartment and deep cleaned. Turns out, when you’re dating and busy with life as I tend to get- clutter of the physical and emotional sense tend to pile up. My Type A personality just can’t handle clutter… so it was time to clean house in more ways than one 😉 which is such a great feeling.

Clean your floors and feel that glorious smoothness beneath your toes. Clean your freezer and find all the space you have for more ice cream. Clean your phone/social media of unwanted people and feel the peace of mind drift over you like warm milk. It’s all about cleaning here this week in Brovskyland– and might I just say, it’s just so damn good for the soul. So keep it clean and play through.

THE DINNER: After having a fun and low key Saturday hanging out at Mockery’s third anniversary party and then hitting Great Divide for their Jameson-Aged silky smooth Dark Lager– we found our way to pizza heaven at Fat Sully’s. Sunday rolled around we had our last soccer match and then made it our mission to eat all the rabbit stew. Alright- allow me to back up now that we’ve caught up.

Our country adventure this weekend was Malta. Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast–and was settled by both the French and the British at different times. This was super evident in their food profile. For one, rabbit stew is very much a British and provincial French peasant dish. The second part was the fact this puppy marinaded in red wine over night… sounds rather French to me. You would conceive that the country of Malta also has a big Mediterranean influence, and you wouldn’t be wrong there. It made for an interesting culinary excavation this weekend for sure.

Maltese Rabbit Stew Recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/rabbit-stew-stuffat-tal-fenek

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Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STAR out of five this recipe!
We were back at converting from metric to standard and Celsius to Fahrenheit. There also was a lack of direction with the directions, if you know what I mean. We had to go to a specialty meat market for the rabbit (shout out to Edward’s Meats in Arvada!). Overall, it was slightly more intensive than previous countries– hence the three stars. However, once the marinade was applied we sort of just “set it and forget it” while we were off at soccer. We came home to a stew and some pretty horrific Bronoco’s football.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR of STARS out of five for this meal!
Rabbit tastes a lot like chicken, go figure. Who knew? But it was more dark meat and therefore juicier. There also was not a whole lot of meat- but that’s to be expected as it’s a small creature. The red wine was just perfect at breaking down the protein and creating a depth of flavor to the potatoes. Overall, it didn’t really need any extra seasoning…but we just wanted something more. More onion? Perhaps. More veggies? Quite possibly. Just More. So, therein lies the four stars and not five. More. At the risk of sounding greedy: Just More.

Running high on sleep post time change, we are off to the tiny country of Andorra for #159. As we head into the winter and Holiday months, we also might be taking occasional byes for family functions and “regular” food. Also as an update– for those that recall our adventure to Ox Tail Stew for #21: England?? Yeah, we are planning to revisit that recipe as the snow is flying and we are craving a little indulgence.

Later Alligators,
– L & K

#157: Tuvalu

Something Wicked This Way Comes…

Not going to lie, but that something wicked? It’s me. I’ve come off of a pretty bad month and it’s now almost comical how spectacularly terrible October has been. Not to mention it’s finishing strong as the hits just keep on coming. So, you know what they say? When the going gets bad; the bad get going. I’m now feeling incredibly sassy, edgy; and, yes, now that Halloween is upon us, even a little wicked. Macbeth is not one of my favorite Shakespeare masterpieces, but I have to admit that it’s timely and the older I get the more removed from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and As You Like It I become–and start to really appreciate Lady MacBeth and her zero tolerance policy for the gooey and mushy bleeding hearts… something to be said there on how tough bitches get shit done, if you pardon the millennial verbiage. (why do I feel the need to cue a few bars of that Hall & Oats song maneater here? Never mind that! ON TO THE FOOOODDDD)

THE DINNER: Tuvalu is a new one for me. I had to google this one. Sigh. I have come to terms with the idea that my geography skills, though exemplary in a bar trivia sense are probably not as good as Jeopardy. This foodie adventure has been humbling in that department. I know nothing, John Snow (Mom, forgive me for the Game of Thrones reference that I know you won’t get).

Tuvalu is north of Fiji (which we covered in week #135) and was formerly known as the Ellice Islands which was settled by the British empire. Not surprisingly, coconut is a staple as is seafood (both of which are featured in this week’s recipe) with bananas and breadfruit rounding out the diet. Pork is consumed on special occasions or holidays. While they participate in offshore fishing, a 1500+ meter aquaculture pond was built in 1996 on the island and offers sustainable fish farming, which is pretty progressive for the 90’s and very cool. Well done, Tuvalu.

Tuvalu Tuna Curry Recipe: http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/tuvalu-tuna/

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Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this recipe!
This wasn’t really a hard day’s night, if you’re following me. There were no specialty market trips and no interpretation needed. The whole ingredient list was about 6 things long… and for a curry, that’s really impressive. I will say, that tuna “doneness” does take a special touch and that might be rather tricky for some. Apart from all that jazz, it was pretty close to a 30 min meal from start to finish.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR of STARS out of five for this meal!
Cucumber… warm cucumber. It was interesting. I think we decided it was actually yummy and while I can’t recall till now if I’ve ever hard a warm cucumber it was very fragrant and the sauce really was infused with it’s flavor. It was just a tad off having it in there though. All that into consideration, it was not a creamy as I was expecting (what with all that coconut milk) but again, we chalked that up to water content in the cucumber. Mind you, none of these observations thus far made it a bad review. In fact we all ate it and liked it just fine. Tuna was lovely and soft. I felt like more onion (the white kind) would have been snappy texture wise what with all the cooked cucumber and fish. The heat from the peppers was nice and didn’t scream for me to want to make it spicier… though I am coming off of food poisoning and not really back to myself yet. It was sort of just there and for that I couldn’t give it more than a four.

Trick or Treat? Well, we will have all the treats for your taste buds next week on our adventure to Malta for #158 so I suppose that means you’re in it for the tricks. Just be sure to stay safe and sound on your ghoulish pursuits this week, friends (not that we aren’t fans of Mischief Managed) 😉

Double Bubble, Toil and Trouble;
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble,

– L & K

#156: Marshall Islands

Sorry for the month long hiatus…

We have been nursing some broken hearts here in Brovskyland the past two weeks and haven’t been up to cooking for the blog. That’s not to say we haven’t been cooking nor that we haven’t been having fun– but it’s just to say there’s a person shaped hole in our hearts and since this blog was one of his favorite things– it’s been hard… as have football Sundays. But we have resumed our regularly scheduled programming and this week we took a little journey to The Marshall Islands, because who couldn’t use a beach vacation in mid October?! I know this girl could. I feel like lately it’s been a weird constellation of weeks… they’re all the same and yet so many things are happening. *cue the twilight zone music* I don’t know about anyone else but I am maxed out on heartache for 2017. I have met my quota. It needs to be all bubbles in champagne and cold puppy noses till next year.

THE DINNER: We are 40 countries out from being finished with our insane culinary undertaking. Which may sound like a lot still, but having tackled 156 weeks already it’s actually the home stretch.

In the Marshall Islands, seafood is king but they also eat a lot of pork and fresh fruit (read: breadfruit) that is available on the island. When dining with locals, accepting food is a sign of appreciation. Also, in case you book a $5200k round trip ticket to the island anytime soon,  not trying the foods offered to you is an insult to your host so please be sure to just put your adventurous pants on and taste everything.  Additionally, if you do eat in a restaurant and are paying the bill, it is important to remember that tipping is not customary and would be an insult to your wait staff.

Marshall Oysters Recipe: https://hogislandoysters.com/news/article/celebrate

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Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this recipe!
The overall prep is pretty labor intensive… but well worth the price of admission so hang with me here, people. Shucking oysters is a little known skill of mine. Thank you all the time I have spent in the East Coast and Charleston. But that’s not usually an easy thing. There are also a lot of moving pieces and prep with cutting etc, so be patient. There was no translating and no converting. So there you are good.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVEEEE of STARS out of five for this meal!
Let’s be real here, if we could have given this one 100 stars we would have. My father, who never gives more than 4.5 was RAVING about how these were a solid 10. For the amount of “work” they tasted like a million bucks and we all can’t wait to have them again (thinking NYE). The leek is a seldom appreciated star of the show as usual, and the bacon just added this decadent fattiness paired with heavy cream. What’s not to like?! Kale with oysters sounds so odd, but trust us, it WORKS.

Now that we have resumed our travels, we will take the next stop in Tuvalu for #157 which is in Polynesia.

Broncos are sad and so are we,
– L & K

#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

#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