#59: Cambodia

What’s Kickin?!

Soccer. Soccer’s been kickin all weekend and, good gracious, it’s been a hot one in Denver. That was both good and bad. Good because we had our annual soccer tourney, so we were happy that inclement weather didn’t cancel any games… bad because we were baking. But que cera cera. It’s one way or the other, so we were pleased with the overall outcome. After a week of vacations and concerts, it’s good to be back in the big C-O. We took first place in our soccer tourney, so shout out to the ladies of Just Kickin It!! You played awesome and we had an unreasonable amount of fun with you this weekend.  (Que: We Are The Champions by Queen)

THE DINNER: As we travel to Cambodia which was the winner of our poll results from last week all I saw as I pulled recipes was: RICE. RICE. RICE, people. AND THEN… more rice. That’s the name of the Cambodian food game, evidently. They eat rice morning, noon and night– deep fried with herbs as street food and snacks, for breakfast in porridge and obviously at dinner as an accompaniment for their main course. Just plain white rice makes a huge impact on the food profile of this nation, as with so many other surrounding Asian countries. There are hundreds of varieties of indigenous Khmer rice and sticky rice (which is my kryptonite…) is typically seen on the dessert menu. Water has made the biggest impression on the Khmer cuisine– it provides the country’s two staples: RICE and FISH. Apart from those two things, we often see poultry grace their meals. I was most intrigued by the influence of French food on the Khmer people… It was poetic, at least to a foodie, that we were half way across the world last week making South American food in French Guiana and here we are in the midst of Asia and we see the same influence. It’s incredibly humbling and makes the world seem smaller when we can link similarities across the globe. No need to sing Kumbayah, but it’s sort of lovely to know we’re not alone.

We made some Loc Lac which is Cambodian stir fried beef with lime dipping sauce. This is typically served over Jasmine rice, but we couldn’t help but make Bánh hỏi which is a take on Vietnamese fried rice noodles… imagine for me, if you would, the love child of Chinese fried rice and Vietnamese Rice noodle salad. And now you can picture Nirvana. Welcome to foodie paradise, guys.

Loc Lac Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/elephant-walks-loc-lac-cambodian-beef-with-lime-dipping-sauce-278043
Bánh hỏi Recipe: http://cambodianfoodrecipes.com/fried-rice-noodles

 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR STARS out of five this Dinner!
Alright. Alright. Alright. To be fair, this one might only be a three star difficulty… but we tackled this one after playing a double header and for that it turned into an “all hands on deck” scenario. Good thing that Brovskyland kitchen runs like a well oiled machine in times of stress. All things considered, it was not that hard, but it was a lot of prep and babysitting and stir fry in general is a little dangerous so it naturally requires a fair amount of respect and attention; lest ye wish to miss your eyebrows, young grasshopper. Compound this week’s culinary adventure with not one but two separate stir fried dishes and you had yourself a rodeo. We didn’t have any ingredients that were off the charts or any recipes that needed translating or measurements that needed converting. It was just a ton of irons in the fire after a day of playing soccer in the fire.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner!!
The four star difficulty lends itself as a deterrent for many, but this one was worth all the extra attention. We baby sat those stir fried noodles and beef and came out with one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. While the beef was delicious and highlighted with that fantastic lime dipping sauce, it was really these rice noodles that came to be the star of the meal. We were super impressed with those puppies. They were satisfying and also lacked nothing in department of taste. We couldn’t comment on a single thing that would improve them. They were that good and before we were even doing dishes we were discussing how best to work them into a weekly rotation during the everyday meal grind. They were really easy too when it came down to brass tacks and wouldn’t be hard to accomplish when only cooked by themselves and without the addition of the Loc Lac.

Well we’ve made it to week #60 and it’s going to be a trip to Yemen!
As a lover of the culinary profiles surrounding this Middle Eastern Country, I’m looking forward to this one. Yemen came in second on our food poll last week and Cameroon was close behind in third place. Thanks to everyone who voted!

One more big congrats to our soccer team- Just Kickin It!
We love you ladies!
– L & K

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#58: French Guiana

Greetings from Colorful Colorado!

This week has been packed with all manner of fun outings and vacations. With the parents off fishing in Wyoming and us kiddos hanging out at the lake, it’s been a wonderful weekend in Colorado. We are gearing up for weddings in October and locking down internships for the fall. Soccer tourney is on the horizon for this coming weekend, so we’re hoping it’s not a super hot one in the Mile High City.

THE DINNER:
Apologies for the late post, I’ve been knee deep in living and it’s been organized chaos this week. But we were really excited to try out some French Guyanese food this past week. Whenever we encounter food that is from a country that has been occupied and ruled by many different nations, it’s always been exciting to see how this effects their cuisine, let alone their culture. The inhabitants of the F.G. are diverse. There are Cayenne, Creole, Asian and European ancestries to be found. Because of this, the food is a melting pot.

We picked Bouillon d’aoura which is their national specialty. It’s basically the South American equivalent of the New England clam chowder, but with some lovely plot twists that make this our new favorite take on the classic dish. It’s got fish in addition to the clams and muscles in addition to the creamy sauce. Where one would typically find celery, leaks take their place and with the potatoes the addition of sweet corn is paired. I was in heaven. This one was classic but also an adventure.

Bouillon d’aoura Recipe: http://www.speedrecette.com/recette-133987/Petit+bouillon+et+chowder+maritime+ou+comment+des+fois+le+bonheur+peut+%EAtre+au+fond+d%27un+bouillon%3F.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR STARS out of five this Dinner!
There’s so very much I take for granted about being able to pick up The Joy of Cooking– paramount of which is being able to read it without plugging it into Google Translate and then sounding like Tarzan because it’s not exactly translatable… well, friends, that’s not the case with this recipe. It’s in French; which given the country, was not at all surprising. It does up the difficulty considerably though when you translate it and it’s pretty much gibberish. Blah. Also, the meal beyond that was not super tough to prepare, but my mom is the queen of chowder. So that’s a point in her favor, the rest of you commoners, might have issues with the multifaceted fish and shell fish adventures and making sure things are scalding the milk and cream. For this reason I’m giving it 4 stars for difficulty.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE out of five for Dinner!!
Begrudgingly, my dad is always the five star hold out. He is super picky about what he gives five stars to. He progressively changed his tune though and upped it to 4.5 stars when the dinner concluded from 4 stars. When my dad was still talking about and mooning over the Bouillon d’aoura on Friday, we put it in as five stars. It’s rare that we have my dad still chatting about a meal a hour later, let alone a week. It was all the things a chowder should be: creamy, packed full of big hunks of ingredients and lots of seafood. What we weren’t anticipating was the spectrum of texture we encountered. The corn was crispy and the leaks were flavorful. The halibut was the best part of the surprise because it flaked apart and added depth to the sauce. The dimensional tastes were spot on, and we will definitely be making that one again. Hopefully soon.

We bounce into week #59, it has been a while since we polled you guys to see what country to do! So here you are, choose wisely! I’ll close polling on Thursday so I have time to pull recipes. Can’t wait to see what we are eating!


Toodles Poodles!!
– L & K

#57: Botswana

Good Morning, America!

What an excellently, Patriotic weekend that just passed! We had Independence Day and the US Women’s National Team won the World Cup for the first time in 16 years! It was the perfect long weekend, and thanks to Bank Holidays, we were able to extend the fun to three days instead of two. IT was the best possible outcome and I have to say, I felt like a total kid again. Thank goodness for pancakes and brunch dates, fireworks and sparklers, cold drinks and soccer matches. Shout out to Carli Llyod, who we all think should run for office.

THE DINNER: I’m gonna level with you here…  I had a moment (for the first time on this journey, actually) where I freaked out and panicked about what we might end up eating this weekend. BUGS. Bugs, guys, lots of bugs. Sure, we’ve all heard that they’re excellent protein. So many nations eat them as part of their traditional, everyday diet without flinching. I, as an American, am not that person. I flinch. Big time. So when I was pulling recipes for the week and saw that bugs and larva and worms kept making an appearance I wasn’t surprised… and then that’s the only recipes I could find. That’s when the flinching and panicking started. I’ve seen The Lion King and in my heart of hearts as a foodie, my gypsysoul wants to be that person that can throw back a slug. Thank goodness my resolve wasn’t tested.

Turns out, they are big into minced meats in Botswana. So we went this route. We made a traditional “pot roast” dish with spicy cabbage called Seswaa. This is is a traditional meat dish made of beef, goat, chicken or lamb meat. The meat is generally boiled until tender in any pot, with “just enough salt, then pounded and shredded. It is often served with pap (maize meal) or sorghum or vegetables.

Seswaa Recipe: http://foodivakitchen.blogspot.com/2010/09/seswaa-taste-of-botswana-in-my-kitchen.html?m=1

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
This one was tricky. It’s sort of a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of gig at first glance. You put the roast in. It boils. You pound and shred it and then serve it with this hot cabbage thing… and then it hits you. Gravy needs to be rendered and so much slicing and dicing needs to be done that it creeps up to a two star from half a star real quick. Sneaky, Botswana. I’m watching you. Apart from that little deception, it was simple ingredient wise and did not require a special meat market hunt– we chose beef as traditional.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner!!
As a whole, this one just fell flat for me. I can’t say that I was expecting wonders, after all, Botswana is not a culinary capital of the world by any stretch of the imagination… so I’m not sure what I wanted to get out of this. It was fair. It was good. It was all the things it should have been. It just wasn’t exciting, is the best way I can sum it up. It was, at the crux, forgettable. The seasonings were lacking on the meat portion of the Seswaa and I just always wanted something more though I was never able to say what. I did, however, clean my plate. The cabbage was spicy, which I certainly dig and seemed to be the winner of the meal. We agreed that Thyme was a very odd spice to find in the Southern Tip of Africa, but, hell, it worked well with the ginger.

Marching into week #58, it ended up being my turn to pick the country… so I went back to South American and we will be cooking the cuisine of  French Guiana! I’m always excited about “fusion” countries that have a rich history of being occupied by other nations and how that effects their culinary palate. So this shouldn’t disappoint!

Congrats to the USWNT!
– L & K