#45: Mongolia

Happy Spring!!

I hope that the advent of spring has brought flowers, chirping birds and fresh air into your life…or at least the impending promise of these upcoming wonders. I’m certain that with the kick off of outdoor soccer season and a Brovskyland wedding soon approaching that this spring will definitely bring some change and some new experiences.

THE DINNER: We were looking for something simple this weekend. As of late, our weekends have been packed to the brim with all manner of exciting things, so we wanted to devote as small a sliver of time to cooking this weekend possible. I’m stoked that we found a really simple and quick Mongolian recipe for a country staple- Mongolian Beef (also referred to in the states as “Mongolian BBQ”). Mongolian Beef Recipe: http://www.kissrecipe.com/2013/09/mongolian-beef.html IMG_0326 IMG_0327 IMG_0330 IMG_0331 IMG_0332 IMG_0333 IMG_0335 IMG_0334 IMG_0328 IMG_0336 IMG_0337 IMG_0338 IMG_0329 IMG_0339 IMG_0341 IMG_0342 IMG_0343 IMG_0344

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this Dinner! The country of Mongolia was kind to us. This was such an easy recipe… made easier in part by a little trick mom picked up when we visited Korea. She remembered that the beef tenderloin was 110% easier to cut into thin slivers when it has camped out in the freezer for an hour before hand. It a was brilliant move and paid off in spades. This was a piece of cake. Be warned this has quite a few ingredients in the sauce portion and so you might need to take a trip to the market if you don’t have the amounts specified already in the pantry. The stick rice is always a little tricky, but turned out lovely. We still don’t have a rice cooker… we are holding out that the good old fashioned way is king. Still batting 1000 on that one.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and A HALF STARS out of five for Dinner! Scrumptious! It was definitely lovely. The recipe does not say to serve with lettuce for lettuce wraps, but we have discovered that this is our new favorite way to enjoy Asian food. LOVE THE LETTUCE WRAPS! We all gave it a big four stars and a little change but not quite five stars… for mom and I, we layered on some sriracha later on in the meal because we love it hot and spicy, but my dad commented that it was just right the way it was. It was definitely kiddo friendly and there was nothing “bizarre” in the recipe for those food travelers that aren’t as adventurous as the rest of you, cats.

Week #46 is going to take place on Easter Sunday, so we want to make sure to celebrate that heritage with taking a culinary trip to Israel!  I’m looking forward to a very delicious meal from a people that “know all about how to eat right”! Jewish culture and food is something that is legendary and it’s going to a central part of the first ever Brovskyland Passover!

Food for thought is best served with dessert! – L & K

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#44: Western Sahara

Happy St. Patrick’s Day week!!

I know this week is all about the green beer, corned beef and potatoes– but rest assured that those hangovers all you party animals are nursing this week will be best eliminated by some good fresh spring air. It’s been absolutely gorgeous in the Mile High City.  Sunny and mid seventies are not unusual for spring here, but this is traditionally our snowiest month… and thus far, it’s been a party for the ides of March.

THE DINNER: We wanted to travel back to Africa this week as we know that’s where a bulk of our nations reside on this journey around the world. We picked west Africa: Western Sahara. This was actually a pretty surprising meal for me this week. The recipe that L pulled was vegetarian and contained a metric ton of veggies. I was just a little taken aback. Trying not to generalize, we often immediately think of tangined meats and stews and fish dishes paired with poultry or goat and possibly a guest appearance by ancient grains when we think of Northern African cuisine. This one stopped me dead in my tracks– a whole lot of Western Saharan meals are completely veggie and vegan, for that matter.

The one that we selected was Tbikha le chou frisé aux haricot blancs et poivron rouge (Tbikha Kale with Pinto beans and Roasted Red peppers). Tbikha refers to a dish made with a combination of fresh and dry vegetables. It’s typically spicy but that heat range varies more on taste buds and household than region. The sheer amount of kale in this recipe made me jump for joy!! It was lovely…and green, so very appropriate for St. Patty’s.

Tbikha le chou frisé aux haricot blancs et poivron rouge (Tbikha Kale with Pinto beans and Roasted Red peppers) Recipe: http://thym-thym.blogspot.com/2009/04/colors-of-spring-les-couleurs-du.html?m=1

 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this Dinner!
This one was in French, so there was a little effort in plugging away the recipe into Google. Looks like the person who originally posted this recipe already did the dirty work for us, that was a  piece of cake. Apart from that, it was seriously simple. It cannot get easier than this, people. It was basically 20 min from start to finish and the hardest thing will be chopping veggies. It was super easy. Really.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Dinner!
This one was really fresh and clean. It was light and palatable. I loved the heat from the jalapeno… we added the whole thing as the recipe said it was dealers choice on that one. We love spicy food here, and it was definitely lovely. I greatly enjoy the cilantro and the kale was just wonderful. All in all it was the perfect Sunday-after-brunch-meal for us to tackle this week. I can’t imagine a better pairing except that on a bed of couscous or with some flat bread this would have been a five. It was solid and the leftovers are amazing! You often think that things like kale or lettuce or any greens get stale or squishy when heated and then served as leftovers, but the kale stands up and delivers!

Well world travelers— looks like Week #45 will have us visiting Mongolia
for a little BBQ… hope you pack an appetite!

B’ssahatkoum (“To your health!” as they say in the Sahara)
– L & K

#43: Cuba

Word to all you foodies out there!

Hope that your week found you warm and toasty… I know mine did as part of it was spent in sunny South Carolina visiting a very dear friend. I know for those of you that stayed here in Colorful Colorado, it was a little more of a warm up, so for that I am happy. Mom and dad flew on a solo mission to the Gulf of Mexico this week to soak up some Cuban culture and more importantly eat some Cuban food. For this I am jealous.

THE DINNER: We always wanted to have a really lovely Cuban sandwich. We have watched as many over the years have recreated and mastered this classic– open-faced, deconstructed, put in a wrap, made into a soup– it’s made it’s culinary rounds. So you can imagine our excitement to get back to th3e basics and tackle a true godfather of world cuisine. We searched for the most basic and most traditional and were happy to find it. Everything from the pressed nature of this sandwich makes it most like a Cuban take on an Italian panini style sandwich. The tangy mustard and pickle combo paired with pork is something of legend. It’s truly a brilliant undertaking. We were treading on holy ground, my friends.

Cuban Sandwich Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/cubano-recipe.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
All in all, this is what it is. It’s a sandwich. It’s pretty standard. The difficulty comes in with it’s components. We made our own pickles for this one– so that ups the difficulty nicely to a solid two stars. Beyond that, you can simply choose pickles pre-made and that will decrease the level to making/roasting your pork and assembling the sandwiches. Pressing them into lovely gooey packets of melted meat and cheese and then devouring them should leave you at one star. All the instructions for this one were in English and not in metric so that helps out significantly.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Dinner!
Like previously stated- this one is pretty simple. Though nothing to “write home about” it was a solid and satisfying journey to the Gulf of Mexico for the weekend food travelers we have become. It was delicious– and why shouldn’t it be? smoked pork? Good. Pickles and cheese? Good. Pressed sandwich bread and melty center? Good! It’s all good!! So in that thread it wasn’t something earth shattering, it was what it was. And what it was is delightful. Well played, Cuba. I will caution those venturing into this recipe, please be warned that bread will tear up the roof of your mouth. You’ll be hurting, but it’ll be well worth it 😉

Where should we travel to next?? Week #44 puts us in Western Sahara which is one of the least populace countries in the world. Should be exciting to see what this Spanish controlled country brings to the table!

Happy and Safe St. Patrick’s Day Weekend to you!
– L & K

 

#42: Greenland

Greetings friends!

Hopefully you’re staying warm! Snow totals have been the talk of the 5280 this week. I think we are in for some very white days this March. It was compltetly poetic that International Polar Bear Day fell this week. Along with all the snow, we have been gearing up for weddings near and far this week too. With so many of my family and friends tying the knot, it’s sort of exciting that spring is here and bringing with it new beginnings for these people I love so much.

THE DINNER: We thought it was a good plan to hit up a Nordic country this week on our blog…what with our current climate, it was our tongue-in-cheek way of making light of the deep freeze. We already stopped off in Norway (Week #34), Denmark (week #29) and Iceland (week #8)– so Nordic cuisine is something we are now well versed in. We don’t, however, have any whale meat still. This is Colorado after all. Along with whale, they eat a whole lotta porpoise up there. Having no availability to that meat either, it became a question of seafood or poultry.

We settled on a salad dish. 1) because we have yet to pull a salad recipe for our trip around the world and 2) because after a winter of cold, there’s only so much soup you can eat. In an attempt to change it up a bit, it was nice to have some fresh greens. The salad we picked was a traditional Kalaallit (Greenlandic Inuit peoples) dish and was basically prawn risotto on a bed of rocket greens (that’s arugula, btws, guys. Had to use the old Google tool on that one). Greenland cuisine pulls from Canadian and Nordic regions, but we noticed that some mainland European tendencies crept into much of this– I’m unsure if the Vikings would have liked this, but we certainly did. I found it deliciously unexpected to see fennel in my risotto salad on a trip to Greenland. The name of the recipe is actually: Kutter-Rejer på speltrisotto med grillede grøntsager… but i assume you all don’t speak fluent Greenlandic Inuit…

Kalaallit Risotto Prawn Salad Recipe: http://royalgreenland.dk/Default.aspx?ID=897&ProductID=PROD458

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
This one was a little deceptive. I mean– you think, “Salad. This is pretty basic. What a piece of cake!” and then… it’s totally in some random Inuit dialect and when you finally do translate it to English (God, bless you, Google Translate…) it’s like you’re speaking to Tarzan and the directions are basically useless. This was the worst translation issue we have run into. But we were determined, none the less. Tarzan instructions in hand, we set out to try and make this salad. Apart from the translation and metric conversion issues, the ingredient list was tangible. There was a problem finding smelt, but we improvised with kippers!

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Dinner!
Well, this one was lovely. I for one really enjoy a good salad. It was not a home run per se, but it was solid and surprisingly hearty. Maybe not all that surprising, actually, after all these are sturdy, outdoorsy people we are talking about. They have to eat sustainably! I loved the idea that we had fennel in with prawns. That’s totally out of left field in the best way. We in Brovskyland are huge fans of fennel. It’s an herb we feel is completely underutilized, but also not typically seen with seafood, but it paired nicely with the onions. The dressing was… interesting. It was like it wanted to be crème fraîche when it grew up, but definitely missed the mark. All around, everything played well together and it was really delicious.

Week #43, Mom and Dad are flying solo to the Gulf of Mexico while I’m out on the East Coast! Prepare to have a little rum and some lovely food in Cuba! This is one that I’m sad to miss, but can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Stay warm and avoid icicles!
– L & K