#93: Turkmenistan

Happy Easter!

One of the best things about this time of year is the unpredictability. The weather wigged out mid week and reminded many of us in the 5280 that it’s spring in Colorado and that still means blizzards. Then it was sunny and 70 by the weekend and melted into the tulips and crocuses popping their little heads up. I also love how some things are super predictable still like my unrelenting desire to eat all the Cadberry chocolate and the joy one gets from dying Easter eggs no matter how old you might be….or how ugly they might turn out…

THE DINNER: We switched our typical Sunday meal to Saturday so that we could partake in the holiday meal tradition of ham on Easter Sunday. All that aside, it was business as usual… and it included mom grilling in snow– which I wish I could report was not something that was commonplace. It totally is. That woman loves to grill.

The meal we chose was ironic in that it was lamb, and that’s a traditional Easter meat in the states and Europe. We don’t typically make lamb in Brovskyland, but as mentioned, ham is our Easter go-to. Lamb is a very standard meat in the middle east and as such, it’s not something special— but this made for some really good eating. It was a kebab which for those not versed is a grilled skewer of meat and veggies. It’s the main way that meat is cooked in many of the Middle Eastern countries…and for valid reasons: it’s freaking delicious that way. Shashlik or shashlyk is how it’s called in the native language.

Shashlik Kebab Recipe: http://www.196flavors.com/2013/08/06/turkmenistan-shashlik/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
So simple. You throw together a marinade and it sits in the fridge and gets all happy and then you grill it and eat it all up. Lamb is something of a Colorado staple so it’s not hard to come by excellent cuts of lamb here. So we had no issues finding any of these ingredients. I’m convinced my mom picked this recipe so that she could have an excuse to grill, so that was easy as pie. Absolutely no problem with the Naan. We purchased ours, but you’re of course, always welcome to make it from scratch should you wish for more of a “challenge”. We like to work smarter, not harder personally.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Okay, to be fair and honest… this was almost well over five stars. Like potentially six star meal here, guys. It was so delicious. Something wonderful happens to meat, particularly lamb, then red wine vinegar and actual red wine hit it and soaks into it and then is grilled… it’s like magic. I’m pretty sure it’s voodoo. Not a soul who consumed this made any allusions to it being less than five stars. We loved it so much. We can’t wait to make it again and again and again. It’s that good. And not to mention simple. There’s no excuse to not enjoy this one time and again.

Next weekend, we take our show on the road to the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis rolling into our #94!!

 Cheers!
– L & K

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#92: Myanmar

Happy Spring!!

First day of Spring means so many things. Ironically, it was also National Happiness Day which makes perfect sense when you think about it. It’s also a month FULL of birthdays in Brovskyland, so the celebrations keep on coming. We were supposed to open our outdoor women’s soccer season, but due to 8 inches of snow we received Friday, it was definitely postponed. Thanks Mother Nature for reminding us who is really run the world.

THE DINNER: We have been doing this jumping thing recently on AW195S where we hit Africa and then travel to Asia and repeat! It’s been sort of fun this way because the flavor plates and spice profiles are so vastly different between the two continents. This week was no different as we headed to Myanmar for #92.

For many of you, like myself, you might have had some pause.. “Myanmar?” yeah, think “Burma!” that’s what the country was till they became independent in 1942. Which makes me nostalgic for watching The King and I if we’re being honest. Burmese cuisine is characterized by extensive use of fish– both in the form of fish sauce and also in the meat itself. Burmese cuisine has been influenced geographically very heavily by Chinese and Thai food.

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
I’m gonna lay this out by how simple it is to make the vermicelli noodles… it literally takes 2-4 minutes. That’s pretty much the tenor of this meal. We didn’t have to make any special market runs (though we enjoy hitting the POM when we have Asian countries and almost used it as an excuse to be honest…). The hang up we did have was the recipe, though it walked us through the ingredients and what to do with them– never told quantities… so we had to “wing it”. Luckily we fly solo quiet well.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
This was delicious. My dad even loved it. To be real with you, I panic when we use fish sauce… it smells like body odor and feet and luckily doesn’t taste like any of those things. We used sambal in place of what the recipe stated was “chili sauce” and it was so yummy. Mom and I kicked up the sambal and made it more spicy because we like the heat, but overall the leek was the best part of the dish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we totally agree that it’s the most underrated veggie and should be used more. All hail to leek, friends!

For Easter weekend we kick off to the Middle East with #93 finding us in Turkmenistan!!

 Hippity Hoppity Easter Bunnies!
– L & K

#91: Angola

Top of the Mornin’ to ya, Denver!

It’s St. Patty’s week! Which means all these wonderful things studded in clover and Kelly green, flavored with whiskey and topped with lucky charms. Alright, so it really hasn’t been a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it’s has however been almost 80 degrees here the past week. I mean, March in Colorado? Yeah, I’m ready for a cool down. So raise your Irish coffee’s and do a jig, maybe we can get some snow this weekend!

THE DINNER: While my dear friend was in town from South Carolina with her son, my mom and dad took a food adventure. This week for our country we picked the African nation of Angola. The dish we chose was Muamba de Galinha which is basically spiced chicken in palm tree  oil (dendém) and  served with pieces of pumpkin/squash and okra. It’s easy to classify this was a typical “African” meal, because like so many of the other surrounding countries we have visited on our culinary trips, it’s sort of a one-pot-wonder-set-it-and-forget-it sort of deal that the region is so famous for. After the stinker we encountered in Bangladesh last week, we were waiting on baited breath to see if we would have the Lucky of the Irish on our sides.

Muamba de Galinha Recipe: http://africanbites.com/muamba-chickenmuamba-de-galinha/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
This one was a little tricky to find ingredients actually, which we haven’t run into in a long while!! Ironically it wasn’t with meat, like we usually encounter– it was with okra. It’s sort of out of season right now and we looked high and low and couldn’t seem to find any, so alas, we used green beans instead which turned out to be a lovely substitute. My mom reported back that much of the “degree of difficulty” was just prep work and timing. Lots of moving parts on this one— saute and chop sort of things but overall not too high a mountain to climb in the Mile High.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and A HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
Thank goodness. We were not let down like last week! The parental units reported that it was indeed spicy (my dad though it might be a little too spicy) but my mom said it was perfect. They mentioned that although it was a little hot, the sweetness of the butternut squash actually cut that and made it really complex. Sweet and spicy chicken version via Angola so to speak. All in all it seems that this one was a thumbs up.

Next weekend we will be heading back to Asia for #92 eating our way through the jungles of Myanmar!!

 Enjoy that extra glass of wine!
– L & K

#90: Bangladesh

Welcome to Spring, Colorado!

It’s been unseasonably warm, and while I’m not one to lick the gift horse in the mouth, I miss the snow already. I’m positive that 70’s will give way to flakes sooner or later as March is traditionally our snowiest month… but now that we’re in our second week and the tulips are poking their heads up from their hibernation, it’s hard to reconcile that that’s the truth. Here’s to hoping we get a few more storms before we get into the heat!
THE DINNER: We hauled our cookies (girl scout cookies that is) to Asia this week in an attempt to find some good global cuisine. The stop for our 90th country (can you even believe it!? NINETY?!) was Bangladesh. This country is situated next to the Indian subcontinent and nestled above Thailand and under China. Cozy. Bangladesh is also a country in which I find incredibly difficult to spell correctly. Let’s hear it for spell check, people!

The region is known for it’s curries, so that was our first stop off on this mission: C0urrytown. This is not like Funkytown, though they are neighbors because there are certain funky things in and around making curry. It’s involved and typically has a laundry list of ingredients and it usually take all day to stew and get “Happy”. We were armed with this knowledge and prepared for our mission. Mushroom Dum Biryani was our dish we selected. It’s a veggie curry, which is typically for the region and features only mushrooms and onions for the vegetables, everything else is spices! “Dum Biryani ” means to mix with rice– so it’s “mushrooms mixed with rice”.

Mushroom Dum Biryani Recipe: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/mushroom-biryani-dum-mushroom-biryani/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this meal!
Like any curry, it’s just a matter of a thousand and one spices. It’s not “difficult” because the recipe is telling us the ratios and amounts and it’s not like we’re a curry master formulating our own curries. But none the less, it’s a time consuming process and it’s not a matter of “set-it-and-forget-it” cooking. Apart from spice palooza, it’s just onions and mushrooms and rice to add to things, so for ease of ingredients it’s pretty much cake.

Best dish of all time scale:  ONE (and maybe a half) STARS out of five for Meal!!
This one was a dud. Not a single Brovsky finished this one… in fact, not a single Brovsky got past bite number 3. In the words of my sister: “It smells like Chai… and tastes like you’re eating perfume”. So, that’s about the best summary I can give. It was sad that the plain steamed Basmati rice was the HIGHLIGHT of the meal. It wasn’t creamy like a curry. It wasn’t complex. It was a dud. That’s all I can muster about it. I would steer clear.

Troup Brovsky will continue on without me for #91 into the depths of Angola!  

 Congrats on your retirement P-Money!!
(that’s Peyton Manning, to you not so cool kids)

– L & K