I’m a little jealous of my Charleston and Washington DC friends this past week. It’s been seasonal and festive with the snow, but holy mother of toast it’s been freezing! I mean, painfully cold. Whereas, the eastern seaboard has decided to not participate in winter leaving me to get all these snapchats of 85degree beaches from them… while I return them with 5degree heat wave snaps. It’s making this bird wanna fly south for the winter for sure!
THE DINNER: We had a wonderful food filled week in Brovskyland. We celebrate Christmas right with our meals here: Christmas eve is spent with warm bowls of Caribbean Clam Chowder at my grandma’s house, Christmas cookies abound all week (Russian tea cookies, homemade peanut brittle, fudge and Italian pizzelle cookies), Christmas day sees homemade cinnamon rolls and juicy slices of prime rib. So to top all that off was going to be a challenge.
We picked someplace warm and exotic: U.A.E seemed to fit that bill. As a tradition for New Years, we eat seafood. So in that vein, we decided to head that direction. Since the UAE is situated on a long coastline of the Arabian Peninsula, they have a large component of seafood that pays homage to all it’s variable surroundings like Middle Eastern, African and Indian seasonings. This was spectacular to see the dichotomy of the ingredients for our Emirati Prawns. Everything from sumac/tamarind to ketchup was covered in this one…
Emirati Grilled Prawns Recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/recipes/rubyan-meshwi-emirati-grilled-prawns
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
This one was a little tricky because we couldn’t find tamarind concentrate! But after googling the substitution for this, Jamie Oliver gallantly came to the rescue! He stated that sumac and lime juice would provide a good replacement for the tamarind, so we were able to accommodate that. I have to say, we were all a little nervous to try the sumac. My parents have 6 or 7 sumac trees in their backyard and they’re just gorgeous. We love their fire red leaves in the fall— but they’re poisonous to eat or so we always thought…and then they tell me to use it as a sub and bam! it’s in the spice aisle at kings. But holy strange ingredients, batman!? Ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, sumac, MALT VINEGAR!? We just kept adding strange ingredient after the next. It wasn’t hard per se, but two stars for grilling prawns in sub zero weather and the pealing of said prawns once done was insanely hard. So I put eating difficulty in here too.
Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
This one is hard to give under 5 stars. It was delectable! Truly one of the best grilled meat marinades I’ve tried ever. Where I had to deduct was for the shells. Now, typically, I’m a big fan of working for the meat. I like bone in chicken wings and steak. I like lamb shanks and pork chops with the bone. I’m all about lobster shells and shrimp tails. But this one really messed up the wonderful element of this recipe: That marinade. It was lost on the shell! Not to mention they became cemented on the meat making it ridiculously hard to remove the shell at all. I will say, the charring that occurred was sublime. I think that strange mix of ingredients was the most brilliant combination– it was like adult cocktail sauce that was so layered with flavors that it was complex but subtle. BIG HIT. Can’t wait to remake that one.
We will be closing out the year and starting 2016 for AW195S with A Surprise Country for #83!! Stay tuned for the New Year and new fun in the kitchen!
Aud Lang Syne, my dear!
– L & K