#78: Western Sahara

Welcome to Holiday Season!

Well, to Hanukkah and Christmas and Kwanzaa season anyway! But the point being, it’s winter wonderful here in the Metro D. There’s snow flakes, big Bronco’s W’s, hot coco and hot coffee, cold puppy kisses and warm hearts. We have friends and family– which makes it all so much sweeter. I’m definitely that person that sings Christmas carols and watches Christmas movies in droves. I love it. I’m not happy till I’m knee deep in Christmas lights and elbow deep in sugar cookie dough. It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year. If you’re not in the spirit yet, embrace it, it’s magical.

THE DINNER: Coming off the turkey coma this week, we chose a vegetarian recipe this week for Western Sahara. We didn’t have a hard time locating a veggie recipe actually, as it’s community tends shy away from meat on the regular. It’s much like it’s Northern African counterpart, Morocco, in that way. There was also something about not spending hours and hours over a hot stove. After last week’s French expedition coupled with Turkey day, we wanted something simple, happy and lovely.

African Chickpea and Eggplant Salad: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/moroccan-vegetables-and-chickpeas-2/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: HALF STAR out of five this meal!
You heard me right, half star of difficulty. It’s that simple. You literally chop, throw in the oven and toss. It’s done. It’s five ingredients. It’s might literally be the easiest meal we’ve made on AW195S! Which was welcome for the aforementioned reasons.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
Well, it was simple, but that doesn’t mean it was sorry. It was really refreshing actually. Something lovely happens with garbanzos… For me, it’s a texture that they offer in salads when raw. They’re just one of those legumes that is under celebrated. This was the highlight of this meal, that and the cumin. It could have been spicier, it could have had something with more of a “snap” to it like pine nuts or bell pepper which is why I think we gave it a four stars. It was good, but not outstanding. For how easy it was, however, it was a home run. It took 10 min in prep, 40 min in the oven unattended. Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am brought to you by W.Sahara!

I have long been craving some Asian food, so we settled on Laos for #79!!

Baby, it’s cold outside!
– L & K

 

#76: Poland

Snow!

Glorious snow! It’s official, the Metro D has ushered in the first measurable snow of the season. So it’s all red starbucks cups and sweaters from here on out… at least till we’re back in the 70’s this week. While I was sipping my java on a snowy Wednesday, looking at what recipes we could do that weekend for Poland and reading the news on my ticker, there came up a story about Poland! Kismet! Turns out we are looking for a Nazi gold train the tunnel system beneath Poland, sort of a la Monuments Men (stupendous film, btw. see it.).

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/nazi-gold-train-investigators-start-excavating-site-in-poland/ar-CC6h1t?ocid=ansmsnnews11

Anyway, it’s pretty interesting and I hope they find it. I love that National Treasure kind of stuff. I also would love to hope that a midst all the trauma and turmoil that Poland endured in the Nazi persecution, that they would have a payoff like a train full of treasure.

THE DINNER: We had a tough week in Brovskyland and we were due for some serious comfort food. What better than Polish food?! I mean, it’s got it all going on. Traditionally, it’s all up in the sour cream, kielbasa and dumplings. It’s piping hot cabbage stew and rib sticking meat and potatoes in the form of pierogi. What’s not to love?? Marry me.

As such, we had such a hard time picking a darn recipe this week! In the words of Parks & Rec’s resident silver fox, Rob Lowe’s character, Chris Traeger, “Everything literally looked amazing. Literally.” We finally settled on, zupa grzybowa ze świeżych grzybów which is “Mushroom Soup with Fresh Mushrooms”. And it’s completely veggie, which is awesome for those of us that are not eating meat. In addition, it could probably become vegan very easily.

zupa grzybowa ze świeżych grzybów Recipe: http://www.kwestiasmaku.com/kuchnia_polska/zupy/grzybowa_tradycyjna/przepis.html 

 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
This one was a cake walk. It had to be translated from Polish and converted from metric, so that’s really where that one star comes from. Apart from that, it was so simple. It took no time at all and we were able to visit one grocery store for the ingredients; though to be fair, many of us have these ingredients on hand and you might not need to run to the market at all. Handy if you’re gonna get snowed in 😉

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Well, was it everything we hoped for in our quest for comfort food? It was indeed. It was warm and full flavored….which is a puzzle because it had NO spices in it. Like many of the Eastern European countries we’ve handled on AW195S, it calls for only “salt and pepper” to taste even and not as a hard and fast rule. But it was totally flavorful! We chose leeks for our “onion” because it didn’t specify and we adore leeks in our soups. Beyond that paired with the two types of mushrooms we took the liberty of picking (portabello and porchini, btw. Which was a stroke of genius). It was altogether 5 ingredients and served over noodles (we chose mini bow ties, because… I mean, always pick the cutest pasta you can find). Simplicity and brilliance. We all gave this one a five.

Next week on AW195S we will travel to France for #77!! For those of you keeping tabs, this is the last AW195S that we will be having before Thanksgiving! As foodies, we are big fans of this holiday, but for me particularly, it’s one of my all time favorites. Food, football, family and sweatpants. This is the good life, indeed. We picked France because we all have that country on our minds and in our hearts as of late, and this is our Foodie Tribute Salute to our brothers abroad.

Je suis Paris ❤️,
– L & K

#77: France

Je suis Paris

In times like these, following world events like the bombing in Paris (and Lebanon…and really, all over the world nowadays), the words that hang in my heart are “we do not mature with age, but with events”. We are the events that we endure. It’s an age old practice that “when the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.” And for that, I believe we are all more beautiful for the traumas we endure.

THE DINNER: We picked France for the recent events, but we also were saving France away for a special occasion…because we are LOVERS of French food in Brovskyland. I mean, you name it, we love it. Bread to bouillabaisse, we are in amour with it all. I recently got the opportunity at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival to try escargot and it was delicious… surprisingly. When we think about America meets Paris, we can take two avenues: Gene Kelly (An American in Paris) or Julia Child. Obviously only one of those has anything to do with food, so we will pick Mrs Child to field our AW195S meal this week!

Naturally, we picked Boeuf Bourguignon (which is Burgundy Beef to those Yankees). Basically, Julia takes bacon and beef and boils it into submission in herbs and onions and wine… it’s like a dream. We obviously pulled this recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 because we are professionals and this is a Bible for the French cook. So, we will post a recipe that is online, though we did not use that one, but rather the book version. It’s all together a very complex dish, but having had this one before, there is NOTHING more comforting and decedent than this meal. You will not be sorry for the effort and time expended on this dish. It’s lovely.

Boeuf Bourguignon Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/boeuf-bourguignon-a-la-julia-child-148007

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: SIX STARS out of five this meal!
Alright, so that’s not really a scale. But it’s true none the less. This one is hard. It takes all day long and for good reason. This is Julia Child. This is French cooking. Good things take time and patience. The ingredients are not challenging. The execution is not challenging, so much as the time and considerations are challenging. It’s a labor of love. The elements are all prepared individually, which while annoying on the surface, to those lovers of food, know that this allows for depth of flavor. Each ingredient gets to be pampered and treated like a star and have one-on-one time with the chef. This is what makes the Boeuf Bourguignon undeniably perfect and rich and decedent. But, yeah, this one is not for the faint of heart or short of time. We’ve made this about three times now, and it gets “easier” with each round– so take heart, dear ones. You’ll be out of the woods as practice makes perfect.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
It’s a perfect Sunday meal. It’s something that sits and stews and smells up the house while it melts the flavors for hours and hours. The perfume from the Boeuf Bourguignon should be bottled and sold because it’s intoxicating… and I’m not just referring to the wine. Though that certainly was the lovely part— when you boil meat in alcohol for hours on end, something magical just happens. It’s melt in your mouth tender. The flavors are complex and that’s due to the time it all gets to spend together. There’s only three spices in this recipe, but it’s incredibly flavor PACKED. You can traditionally serve this with mashed potatoes or over noodles, but we are purists and love to have this one over nothing but instead with a nice French baguette for sopping up all that stewed wine and beefy goodness. This one is a home run. People dream of this Boeuf Bourguignon in Brovskyland.

Next week on AW195S we will jet set to Western Sahara for #78!!

Gobble, Gobble!!
– L & K

#75: Benin

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  -Charles M. Schulz

I seriously believe this statement is ingrained someplace on my soul. It’s important this time of year to be gentle with oneself because all the best things in life have butter and sugar. It’s also the time of year where you gather around the table to be with your family and friends and enjoy all manner of food and fun. I love this time of year. It’s like a hug from the inside when you get to grab a handful of your mom’s homemade cookies and snuggle up with your dog while it’s snowing. All you need is love.

THE DINNER: We picked Benin because we were a little bit sad that we had ended Africa on such a sour note with #72 (Gabon) and that horrific egg torte thing. It has made us a little gun shy of jumping into another African nation for fear of similar sad food outcomes. But we press on!! Benin is on the Gold Coast of the continent and it’s got some pretty good foodie neighbors. We enjoyed Cameroon and Togo thus far as well as the Ivory Coast. So with neighbors like that, we think we are in for a home-run.

We chose a stew to make this weekend, because it’s that time of year and we got some snow this week so it was definitely appropriate. Coconut Fried Rice is a shellfish and veggie fried rice dish, with a guest appearance of our long African favorite spicy piri piri!! HOORAY! The Benin people make this savory dish on special occasions — like the holidays or homecomings or birthdays. Sometimes it has peanut sauce added and sometimes it has chicken, but generally this is the most used recipe. Coconut milk is a staple in rice making in this part of the world, which is a good thing because it’s not only VERY HEALTHY for you, but is a wonderful antioxidant (hollar back, hangover coconut water drinkers!!)

Coconut Fried Rice Recipe: http://www.9jafoodie.com/coconut-fried-rice/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
We had some fun with this recipe. It’s really just three steps: make rice in coconut milk, fry shellfish, fry rice and shellfish together… so that part was simple. None of the called for recipe components required strange trips to random markets, and no point required me to convert anything from metric for translate that nonsense from an unknown language.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF out of five for Meal!!
It was wonderful. I mean, truly. For normal everyday meals, it was really delicious. The coconut milk was spectacularly brilliant– it made the rice so ultra creamy and decadent without heavy cream… so that was a win, win. The spice could have been higher, but we garnished with lime and that was honestly one of my personal favorite parts. We also garnished with some fresh coconut and fried plantains. Everyone really enjoyed the fried plantains.The creamy and tangy collided in this dish. Then there was the veggies– I mean, let’s call a spade a spade and get down to brass tacks here, who doesn’t love fried rice?!? 🙂

Next week on AW195S we will travel to Poland for #76!! If you haven’t already, feel free to check out the Pinterest board of our recipes to stay up to date on our long list of adventures: https://www.pinterest.com/llbrovsky/around-the-world-in-195-sundays/

TTFN!!
– L & K

#74: Colombia

Brrrrr!

It’s chilly around here nowadays! Fall is now giving way to winter and that’s alright with me. I love the winter. Snow and cold means cute sweaters and boots. Now that I have returned from my magical Disney vacation, it’s time to start thinking about thanksgiving, friendsgiving and Christmas. It’s the best time of the year because you get to see your family and friends and though I’m not at Disney any longer, there is no shortage of magic this time of year…for those who seek to find it.

THE DINNER: We stopped off in Wales last week for some breakfast, but now we head down to South American rain forests for some dinner fare in Colombia. Whenever I think of Colombia my brain immediately thinks about Washington DC. I realize that’s not true for everyone, but “District of Columbia” naturally creeps in after so much time I have spent there. In reality, Colombia should inspire thoughts of coffee beans and family style dining. They are very big into the family aspect of mealtimes down there, as we are in Brovskyland.

We picked Albondigas Colombianas which are Colombian style meatballs. It’s tricky to discuss Colombian cuisine because of the vastly varied landscape that provides the nation with so much variety of food: Caribbean shoreline, Pacific coast, mountains, jungle, and ranchlands. They have it all at their fingertips, so it’s complex and complicated in the best way. The meatballs in question call for beef and pork, which are vary popular as far as meats go in the nation. There’s also a lot of pork eaten in Colombia… so that’s pretty fantastic.

Albondigas Colombianas Recipe: http://www.mycolombianrecipes.com/colombian-style-meatballs-albondigas-colombianas

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this meal!
Whenever you make meatballs, there is a degree of difficulty associated with this process. It’s labor intensive and time consuming, but the pay off is spectacular. Homemade meatballs are a thing of beauty. These ones were made easy due to the ingredients/recipe being in English and not needing any metric conversion.  Apart from the time consuming frying and hand molding the little balls-o-joy, there was not that much to it. Some garlic, cumin, bell pepper, scallion and onion with some cornmeal and beef/pork. all fried together and then put into a sauce that was equally as simple. Well played, Colombia. You gave us more time to watch football and not slaving over a hot stove.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE out of five for Meal!!
It was delicious. I’m so happy to eat meatballs. Balls of meat over rice are just that basic life pleasure that you’re bound to have a love affair with. This was no exception. L and I really loved the addition of the cilantro, though my dad did not. We garnished with avocados and that was fresh and palate cleansing between bites of meat. It was good to add some Cholula too, though it certainly did not need that addition to make it to the five start spot on the podium. It won all by itself, L and I just like the spice of life that hot sauce brings. Really yummy, and totally good on a cold Colorado Sunday.

Jet setting off to Benin for country #75!! As we trek on into the twilight of 2015, we are excited to see how this chapter wraps up. It’s hard to believe that we are more than 40% complete with our journey!

Time flies when you’re having fun!
– L & K