#16: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Hey cool kids!

We missed you this week- it was certainly a busy one! We took a second to say congratulations and make some toasts to a lovely couple very close to our Brovsky hearts (Shout out to the new Mr & Mrs Tileston ❤ by the way!) and then we cooked this week’s country, The Congo!

THE DINNER: This country was a little daunting. We weren’t sure what to expect from a country so riddled with civil uprising and cultural unrest. We definitely weren’t expecting anything dazzling. In short, people of the Congo have better things to do than spend half their day in the kitchen preparing meals. They are hard working and industrious. That being said, their food wasn’t bland and wasn’t lackluster. It was scrumptious and simple.

We certainly had no problem finding simple recipes this week. We initially decided on a goat stew. We knew this was coming, guys. G-O-A-T. Yes, we tried vigilantly to find a goat for this week’s recipe and it was baaaaa-d. Okay, lame goat pun out of the way now. But honestly, we tried.
We googled.
We called.
We came up empty.

So we saddled up a backup plan- that ended up being delightful. We cooked Lamb Rogan Josh with Basmanti Rice.  Lamb is explanatory, obviously, but “Rogan” means red or rouge and this refers to the fabulous curry color of the stew. “Josh” refers to an aromatic meat. This one filled the entire house with the most pleasant curry smell. It was intoxicating. We were impressed with the easy of prep and the flavor. We underestimated The Congo and came up big.

BY THE WAY, this was my personal very first time eating lamb. That’s correct. After 25 years on this planet, and the foodie I am, this as an actual first time thing for me…and I am happy to report, it really tasted just like beef!

Lamb Rogan Josh Recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/myroganjosh_90030
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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five for Dinner.
As previously stated, this country has no time for big productions when it comes to eating. It was simple and to the point, but it didn’t suffer the meal to be bland or boring. We were impressed at the ease of this one. No strange ingredients (apart from the initial goat escapade for the first recipe we picked). We were able to generate a Peyton Manning audible on this one and the Rogan Josh recipe was excellent and clutch.

Best dish of all time scale: THREE STARS out of five for the Dinner.
 
We were impressed with the curry and like i said, it smelled like heaven. For those that dig the smell of turmeric and curry powder, this is the one for you! It wasn’t the most amazing recipe we’ve tried so that’s  why we gave it a three stars. On week 16 it’s getting crowed for a spot in the top bracket, so you really have to dazzle to earn five stars now. That being said, it as scrumptious.

What’s up next?! Well, we have decided that we wish to further our stay in the African nations for at least a week longer. We have selected Libya for this weekend’s adventure!

Catch you on the flip side,
– L & K

PS: Don’t despair- as we anticipate more goat laden countries in our future, we have located goat meat for the remaining food adventures… so stay tuned!

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#15: Saudi Arabia

Can you believe it’s been 15 weeks since we started?!

We can’t either! It’s been exciting and at times challenging to fit this weekly adventure into our already packed lives, but we are so grateful for the amazing new worlds we get to explore every week. This week and month and summer has been filled with incredible celebrations. Between all the weddings and parties we managed to take a journey to the middle east in cuisine this weekend!

NEW THIS WEEK: You can follow our recipes each week on pinterest (isn’t that exciting)! http://www.pinterest.com/llbrovsky/around-the-world-in-195-sundays/

THE DINNER: When we realized we hadn’t covered a middle eastern country yet with our quest, we immediately set out to remedy this. Saudi Arabia had it’s pick of really interesting meals. We decided on an ancient traditional meat pie that is now served as common street food in the country. Matubaq is a meat pie made with any meat available. It’s traditionally lamb or beef and is put into a dough that is pulled thin to almost see-through and then fried in hot oil till golden brown… it’s basically a Saudi version of the Hot Pocket but infinitely more tasty and just as portable. The filling we went with was beef and it’s sauteed with leeks, onions and combined with an egg mixture. Heavenly.

The second thing we made was Saudi Champagne. Now, I know what you’re thinking- Yes. Champagne is from France. No we haven’t covered France yet. Let me elaborate. When looking for recipes this week, this drink constantly surfaced. It’s unbelievably simplistic and my dad couldn’t drink enough of it. It’s refreshing. there’s no actual champagne or alcohol though we were commenting that it would pair nicely with rum or champagne for a spiked version. I can see why it’s the go-to beverage on hot days in Riyadh (speaking of the heat… here’s a comparison. YIKES!)  . 01e48c4dc30e916f4f78c7d632d9b7dffbd70ba705

Matubaq Recipe: http://www.shebayemenifood.com/content/martabak-mutabak-%D9%85%D8%B7%D8%A8%D9%82-0
Saudi Champagne Recipe: http://www.yasalamcooking.com/saudi-champagne/#.U9d062PP_Dg

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five for the Dinner.
The recipes were simple but the execution on this one was tricky with the dough, as it has seemed to be with dumplings, empanadas and such from other countries- the dough made for some patient maneuvering. There is a video on the recipe site, but this, like those other listed foods is a true art. The stretching of the dough is amazing. That being said, the ingredients were easily found and there wasn’t much to either the drink or the matubaq!

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE BIG, BIG STARS out of five for the Dinner.
 
This one was incredible. The matubaq are amazing! The egg mixture sort of turns into this creamy almost cheese like queso thing in the crusty, crunchy pocket of dough. The leeks were unexpected and completely brilliant. I believe this to be a sincerely underutilized vegetable and would like to start a campaign to remedy that. My platform for that campaign would easily be this meal.  It’s insanely delicious. And as previously mentioned, the Saudi chamgane is refreshing and you can’t help but drink all of it. We ran out of both things cooked this week, ladies and gentleman… no leftovers in sight! (But hopefully more matubaq and S.Champagne are in sight soon!). Make this one now, guys. It’s so simple.

Next week we will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for some Congolese cuisine! I think it’s safe to say that none of the Brovsky’s have had anything close to that- so it will definitely be new and uncharted territory. Our favorite!

Bon Appetite, Friends!
– L & K

#14: China

Greetings, friends!

The Chinese New Year isn’t for another several months, but this week it the Year of the Brovsky rang in. We wanted to make a journey to Asia for our food this week.

THE DINNER: It was tricky to make sure we didn’t fall into Americanized cuisine for this country. We knew we wanted to do some kind of spicy dish from China in light of all their famous Szechuan region food. We decided on 香辣炸雞 (Xiāng là zhá jī)which is spicy fried sriracha hoisin chicken. This dish was really simplistic and is currently one of the biggest dishes in everyday Chinese homes. This dish was not only simple, it was very tasty and not outrageously spicy (for those keeping track it was definitely under the spice quotient for our Korean week #4).

The side dish we picked was a standard in Asian food, chow mein. This one was a little bit of a trick, but only because of my soy allergy. We made it a vegetarian version of this side dish also for that same reason. The Chinese call this dish: 蔬菜炒麵 (Shūcài chǎomiàn). We modified this recipe from the one I am going to post below. We wanted to add more veggies and the recipe encourages such departures itself so we took license to add away! We put in bean sprouts and water chestnuts, but after talking it over, if we had it to do over, we would gladly double the Bok Choy and carrots along with adding some sesame oil for extra flavor. The recipe for the soy-free soy sauce is found below also in case any of you have a similar allergy to account for.

We definitely also wanted to add that we made some steamed white rice to accompany the spicy chicken to soak up some of the sauce and cut the spice of that main dish in a way that we didn’t think would pair well with the chow mein.

There was much dancing and singing in the kitchen this Sunday when mom decided to turn on the music. The sous chefs for the weekend were the handsome men of country music: Kenny, Keith, Luke and Hunter were all in attendance 😉

Spicy fried sriracha hoisin chicken recipe: http://www.happyjackeats.com/2012/03/slow-burn-with-spicy-sriracha-chicken.html

Vegetable Chow Mein Recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/chow-mein-chinese-noodles-recipe/
Soy-Free Soy Sauce Substitute recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/soy-sauce-substitute/

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Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five for the Dinner.
The spicy hoisin chicken wasn’t very difficult, and as mentioned above, the ingredient list was cake. It was quick and really had no outrageous demands on time or prep. It didn’t need to be babysat or coddled to boot. So for the chicken we give a ONE out of five. The remaining THREE stars of difficulty go to the chow mein for the main reason it had more ingredients and with the noodles you definitely can’t turn a blind eye and hope they turn out okay. Those bad boys will become gummy, icky mush if you let them escape your attention. Also the chow mein required the addition of our homemade soy-lee sauce so that added into the chaos a bit. For those that aren’t soy-less, this might be a little easier for you. Lots more cutting of veggies and such for the chow mein contributed to the score.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for the Dinner.
 
Chicken and Chow Mein… what is more poetic as far as Asian cuisine is concerned? Be  advised that you can up the aunty for the spice should your little srirachia loving hearts desire it to be so. We were tangy and content with the recipe regulated spice (though I have been well known to pile on the peppers, so I wouldn’t put it past us on a revist to this meal.) Mom commented that the chicken might be better handled with chopsticks and crisp up better on pan frying if cubed and not stripped. The chow mein needed a little something… we decided definitively that this was MOREEEEEE veggies and possibly some sesame sauce to the pan fried portion of those noodles to make the flavor stand out more. Overall, though it was incredibly satisfying trip to China.

What’s up next, you ask? Well, we realized in paroozing our map that we have yet to visit our friends in the middle eastern countries. We apologize for the over-site and set out to remedy this with the cuisine of Saudi Arabia next week!! Perhaps we will have to watch Anne of A Thousand Days or Lawrence of Arabia while we cook next week?? Maybe we will just have to watch Aladin in memory of Robin Williams too.

Enjoy Every Bite of Life!
– L & K

#13: Brazil

Greetings from South America!

This week found the Brovsky’s working like dogs and playing like puppies! It may be the Dog Days but the summer seems to be in full swing in colorful Colorado. We decided to cover Brazil for our country this weekend. We hadn’t hit a South American nation for a few go-arounds, and figured it was high time to pay some tribute.

THE DINNER: We kicked this weekend’s country off with  Buraco Quente which translates from Portuguese to “Hot Hole”. The best way to describe this one, is the Brazilian equivalent of the Philly Cheesesteak. It’s sort of street food and a fan favorite just like it’s American counterpart. Like the sandwich from the City of Brotherly Love, the Buraco Quente is beef sauteed in onions (plus other awesome things) and packaged in a hollowed out roll. It’s amazing what the meat drippings and goodness do to the roll by the way.  Unlike it’s counterpart however, the Brazilians use Filet Mignon…   I took a picture of the meat while my mom was cutting it just to make sure it got some lime light (And the angels did sing, my friends!). Stay Classy like that, Sao Paulo!

The side dish we tried for Brazil was Feijao Tropeiro or “Troopers Beans”. These were a whole lot of work—and to be honest- all of us already cannot wait to make them again. They have sausage and bacon and kidney beans and garlic and bell pepper…and it all stews together for a few hours until it basically marries together into bliss. We could have eaten just this easily. And for the work, it made a ton.

COUNTRY BONUS TIMES TWO! We also had to do dessert this week when we found out that the Brazilians have a national dessert called Brigadeiro. These are pretty much like the Brazilian version of a french truffle plus they are incredibly easy! We also picked a wine (from Argentina a neighboring producer of some of the greatest wines around) to accompany our cuisine this week.

Kodiak pitched in as Sous Chef this week too (maybe it was due to all the meat? I like to think she’s just incredibly helpful like that).01053520fdfb7412e354bec71008df86a769949e28

Buraco Quente (Hot Hole) Recipe: http://gastrolandia.uol.com.br/receitas/buraco-quente/
Feijao Tropeiro (Troopers Beans) Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/troopers-beans-feijao-tropeiro-recipe.html
Brigadeiro Recipe: http://whatsgabycooking.com/brigadeiro/?utm_source=What%27s+Gaby+Cooking+Subscribers&utm_campaign=5f2552f1d8-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_73605f05d9-5f2552f1d8-22972321&ct=t%28RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN%29#.U-GJ3GPbGup

THE BEANS:

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THE SANDWICHES:

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THE DESSERT and WINE: 01d5d6dcfec2e6f721707ef79af8830cf51b3c07c101f92b3f8abb1b8bf3d41655be93eaf690f3e2f11f01f68f32ef1d274d09e8d4031fce8190e8a9358a40018de8fb9f31ca49f8a2da9c32587b1c4f4779adad

THE MEAL:

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five for the Dinner. ONE out of five for Dessert.
The first word of caution I am obliged to give you, is that the Hot Hole Sandwich recipe required Google Translate and a whole host of metric conversions. We have gotten a little lucky and spoiled the last few weeks and haven’t had to really rely on this much, but yes, the entire thing is in Portuguese– so unless you’re fluent, be patient. Allow extra time for this. The Troopers Beans is actually a recipe from Emeril Lagasse (who is Portuguese for those that didn’t know) and like i mentioned above require a commitment; but happily was easy in prep and the recipe was in English. The Truffles were easy, easy, easy! Only a handful of ingredients and basically assemble themselves.  This would be a really fun time for kids to get involved. Just be sure the mix has adequately cooled to not burn little fingers.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for the Dinner. FOUR out of five for Dessert.
AMAZING beans. The Feijao Tropeiro were just incredible. I meantioned we could eat them for the main course and be completely happy. The sausage was falling apart like pate and the stewing made all the flavors come together.  The Buraco Quente sandwiches melted in your mouth.  The Brigadeiro were smooth and would be the nice end to any sweet tooth’s meal.

For our next country, we have picked China!
It’ll be exciting to see what true Chinese cuisine looks like as i feel like much of what we have come to call “Chinese Food” has become incredibly Americanized. It should be an adventure– which is our favorite type of undertaking! Hopefully like the Great Wall, it’ll be a masterful thing of beauty!

Happy Eating!
– L & K