#97: Central African Republic

Hey Colorado!

This weekend was so much fun— windy, but fun. There was no shortage of falling back in love with my state just like I tend to do every time I drive through the mountains. Took a little getaway to the Western Slope and hit up Palisade and Grand Junction for some adventuring. Friends, running, wine, beer and laughter were on the menu. It was so very hard to come back from that to reality.
THE DINNER: While I was running all around Colorado, L decided it would be a great weekend for some soccer and visiting Africa for some international cuisine. She settled on CAR (Central African Republic) for the meal this weekend and she went all out, as usual, on this one. The tricky part about this week was finding banana leaves for steaming the fish dish that was chosen… now finding banana leaves in Colorado was an adventure of it’s own! Maboké de Capitaine is the name of this dish— it’s a staple of the CAR and is typically served with plantains and/or rice.

Maboké de Capitaine Recipe: http://www.internationalcuisine.com/central-african-republic-steamed-fish/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five this meal!
After last week’s Baklava chaos, it was nice to have a one star on our hands. The trickiest part being the location and acquisition of the banana leaves, as mentioned above. Let’s have another three cheers for the POM market for that one, guys. Well done. L mentioned that while she was assembling the wraps, she wondered if the Professor and Maryann were going to join her in the primitive task. (She may also have had a Castaway moment, it’s unclear since I wasn’t there). She did say that it offered a really cool escape from reality- which if she couldn’t be in Colorado Wine Country with me, that was maybe the next great stay-cation.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
Seems like it was pretty no frills. I mean, steamed fish in leaves!? No complicated by any means. The banana leaves leached the smallest hint of banana into the meat of the fish, but in a subtitle way.  All things considered, it was nice to add some spice with fresh peppers. Even though I missed out on cooking this one with my mom, I do pull the recipes for the weeks that I’m not in town. So for that, it was really nice to hear that she felt like this recipe was such a cool departure from “normal” western cooking. Primitive and basic. She said it was one of the most traditional recipe picks so far, and for that I felt like I was able to join in the fun too.

WOW. We finally have arrived at #98… that means we are literally 50% complete now with our food journey. What a crazy though that we have almost completed triple digits worth of international food. That’s two years for those keeping up. BrovskyAdventures always seem to go-big-or-go-home, in this case, we’re not going home just yet. We’re going to Mauritania for week 98!! 

 See You All There!!!
– L & K

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#96: Bosnia

Well, we still have major snow storms in late April!

Hopefully all you foodie readers in the mountain states weren’t snowed in this weekend from the winter storm. I feel like even as a native, I never quite get used to shoveling snow in late April. Particularly because the weather this past week was absolutely gorgeous and in the 80s. It was nice to get some down time in this weekend though and spend the time with people indoors. I feel like it’s the last big one of the season, so I think we can handle it.

THE DINNER: Every time I think of Bosnia, I immediately conjure up visions of Sarajevo and snow. So perhaps it was serendipitous that it was just that kind of weather this weekend as we tackled making some baklava in Brovskland! Now typically, as you know, we make a meal, but dessert sounded too good to pass up this time.

Traditionally, in the eastern European and Balkan nations, baklava is a common dessert served in the winter. It’s not served hot though, but room temp, so it’s not like you couldn’t make it in the summer. It’s thrown in the oven and roasted low and slow– it smells like heaven. Best way to describe this one is like filo dough, nut lasagna. And as expected with savory lasagna, the whole degree of difficulty comes in the assembly (this one was no different).

Bosnian Baklava Recipe: http://foodfolksandfun.net/2011/10/baklava/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: FIVE STARS out of five this meal!
Yikes. This one was HARD. Not sure we’ve actually had a five star for difficulty yet… but this one was no joke. The assembly too about two hours from start to finish you’re looking at like four hours (then it has to sit for 8 hours at room temp to finish). The ingredients were not a hug deal though. Lots of butter. Lots of patience.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
It was all worth all the work! Holy flaky crust, batman! It was so good! I’m not sure if there’s a way to describe it. It’s crispy and flaky and then there’s these layers of nuts that remind me of almond roca. It’s not filling, but really satisfies the sweet tooth. Really good with coffee on a cold Denver afternoon. Everyone (even my dad, the typical hold out) gave this one full marks. So, please don’t be scared by the work 😉

#97  takes us to Central African Republic!! It’s going to be a lovely warm up here in the Mile High City, so AW195S should be bright and sunny just like this African Nation!

 Salud!
– L & K

#95: Rwanda

Hey Foodies!

The 5280 has been a buzz with Spring time! The Blake Street Bombers are back in swinging mode; birds are chirping away and my goldfish is pretty sure that sunbathing is in his future (wear some SPF, goldfish Ron Swanson!). It also seems to be birthday season in Brovskyland with My brother in law and three close friends all celebrating another candle on their cupcakes this week! Cheers to that!

THE DINNER: This week, while I was watching Story and the Boys at Coors, mom and dad cooked some Rwandan food for country #95! As with so many of the African nations, Rwandans like to keep it simple in the kitchen. Lots of meals have starches like beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and sorghum. Dairy products are also widely consumed, particularly a traditional drink of curdled milk… which makes me cringe if we’re being honest.

Sour Sweet Fish was the dish this week– and evidently when Kris is away, they break out the really cool Discada my dad made to fry this week’s fish up. A discada is basically the Mexican version of a wok, but it allows for the deep frying/pan frying of meat with very high, direct heat and very little actual oil.

Sour Sweet Fish Recipe: http://www.therwandancook.com/sour-sweet-fish-recipe/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO and a HALF STARS out of five this meal!
From what I heard in my recap from the ‘Rents, they didn’t have much hardship preparing this one… that being said, they sort of live for grilling things and to be fair, when they say it was “two” for difficulty it’s probably more like a three because for some of us grilling is hard. For seafood, it turns color so it’s a little easier. Apart from the cooking aspect, the ingredient list is nothing exotic.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
They reported back that the fish was good…but odd. When I say “odd”, I suppose it’s more like “unexpected” because while most sour/sweet dishes are citrus based, this one was tomato based. Acidity aside as the common denominator, tomato based white fish recipes are different. They said it was good though and they were stoked about getting to have a little down home fish fry.

Heading into #96 (Bosnia!) we are thrilled to nearly be in the triple digits for this awesome food project and culinary journey we’ve embarked on!

 Happy Bday to Dan, Kiki, Chris and Brandon!
– L & K

#94: St. Kitts and Nevis

HAPPY Opening Weekend, Baseball Fans!
With March Madness completed with buzzer beating fanfare, we can now all settle into baseball season. Can I get an “Amen”?! As a Colorado native, I will always cheer for the Rockies… even though they continually break my heart. Our first game under our belts, we came out swinging (pun intended) with Story picking up the slack that Tulo left. I am one lucky girl, because on top of the most spectacular week, I get to catch opening weekend on Sunday. Turns out a pretty wonderful guy had an extra ticket with my name on it.

THE DINNER:We got to visit the islands this weekend for our country. Grandma and Tom always talk about how much they loved the food when they were spending time in St Kitts for Tom’s work. Every Christmas Eve, Tom has made it a tradition to make clam chowder, but island style. As a kiddo, you’re not always a fan of things like that, but in my adulthood, it’s a tradition that I actually find really delicious. Good thing for all of us, pallets expand.

We picked a dessert for the meal this week, because, let’s face it… we needed to redeem ourselves from our last dessert issue in Gabon a few weeks ago. This was a far cry from the flour-less chocolate torte that gave us problems then. Coconut is a huge centerpiece in most every dish in K&N (that’s how the cool kids abbreviate Kitts and Nevis. You’re welcome.) From coconut milk to shaved coconut to pulp to coconut oil, you name it and just about every recipe has it. Additionally, rum. Every recipe seems to have that too… I could seriously get used to this county’s way of cooking 😉 real quick. The dessert for this reason was Rum Coconut Bread Pudding.

Rum Glazed Coconut Bread Pudding Recipe: http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/recipe-rum-glazed-coconut-bread-pudding/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE and a HALF STARS out of five this meal!
As far as baking goes, bread pudding is up there with making s’mores. It’s not exactly tricky. So for that it’s basically one star. You get the ingredients and you assemble it and it bakes. We upped the ante and took a trip to the market in search of the perfect Caribbean rum for this one— and holy mother, we found it! First off, who knew there were so many choices?! Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud of our selection: Cruzan Black Strap Rum!! Smooth. Rich. Lovely. Everything else, like the coconut and bread were easy trips to Kings. Done and Done.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
Okay, while bread pudding is typically not something to write home about, it was delicious. I love how warm and comforting this type of dessert is. I actually had wished for a couple things, to make it a five star, first of which would be the rum content… more rum. I realize how that makes us sound, but trust me, there was sooooo not near enough of that hot sum sauce to go around. Grab a straw, ladies and gents. Second off, we all mutually agreed that more coconut would have been the best addition. Overall though, can’t complain. It blew our previous dessert out of the water.

For the big number #95 we will be moving back to Africa and hitting up the culinary showcase that is Rwanda!! In my research this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have a whole lot of variety to offer in their meals; so it’s already shaping up to be another Brovsky Adventure.

 Cheers!
– L & K