#105: The Philippines

Food Fest 2016, is what I’m calling this week…

If you’re not aware, this week, like so many in American culture is riddled with food. Why? Why else? We have a national holiday! So a long weekend means more time for food and fun! I’m planning on being super American and participating in drinking, cornhole, grilling and firework watching. Spending time in the most gorgeous state, while also spending time with the most gorgeous people (inside and out) really rounds off a great month. It’s the halfway point for those keeping track, so soak up some more roller coasters, festivals, concerts and popsicles because we’re almost out for the summer.

THE DINNER: For The Philippines we made sure to consult our favorite resident Filipino about what they most love about the food of their origin. The resounding vote was for a dish called pancit, and upon looking at the ingredient list, it’s easy to see why. The pancit is to the Philippines as the spaghetti dinner is to Italian Americans. It’s a family dinner staple comfort food.

Pancit Recipe: http://www.manilaspoon.com/2012/08/pansit-philippine-noodle-dish.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STAR out of five this meal!
Nothing strange on the western front here! All these ingredients, including the maifun noodles were found at Kings… and that’s sort of a miracle for Asian nations as that usually (to our supreme amusement) lands us at P.O.M—but alas, not this week! We used Bokchoy for the cabbage as it didn’t specify, but you can always call an “ohama” on that one and use nappa or whatever you have around. The wok you see being utilized is a fabrication of my father’s and it is freaking awesome! Don’t worry if you don’t have one though, you can still sort of feel like a Benihana iron chef if you use a regular stove top wok 😉 less cool, but whatever, we can’t all be the cool kids.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
Looks like this one was a little bit of a missed shot. I wasn’t around for the soy sauce infused noodle madness, due to my allergy, but the word around the bullpen was that while the pancit was decent, it was disappointing in two avenues: sauce and composition. Both seemed to have been a ratio problem. Not enough sauce to noodles. Not enough meat to veggies. The foremost left the noodles a little on the bland side and the aforementioned left it boring. So at the end of it all, it was yummy, and the fixes were easy enough to make it a five star… just not this go-around. But come on—who doesn’t absolutely love love love rice noodles!!? If you don’t like them, we can’t be friends… sorry, not sorry. Plus it’s a pretty healthy nation to food-vacation too.

(NOTE TO READERS: My mom mentioned that she might even triple the amount of sauce for the next attempt at the pancit. I’ll update you if it’s successful!)

#106 we will journey to Zimbabwe!
Look out for the zebras on our food safari, culinary travelers!

Happy 4th of July, Com-Patriots,
– L & K

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#104: Nigeria

Happy Independence Day Week-ish, Food Friends!

It’s no secret that my favorite season is the fall, followed very closely by winter. In fact, my least favorite “season” is the summer because I’m not sure I’m built for the heat. That being said, it’s one of my most favorite times of the year when I get to enjoy long days where there’s still daylight at 8:30pm. My longer days are filled with laughter at BBQs and badminton games; cold adult drinks and time by the water. I love that feeling like the days are endless—because it sort of makes time stand still. So while, I’m definitely not a fan of melting in the 100 degree temps… I took a page from Frozen’s Olaf and I’m starting to write a little love song for summer in my winter-centric heart.

THE DINNER: This week we hit up a double header to make up for some lost weekend time the last few crazy months. So our first stop was in Africa to make some of Nigeria’s famous lime cake. Nigeria, like so many West African nations, has been settled by the French at some point, which means their food  signature looks similar to a French profile— but they have all the awesome spices available to the Africa trade belt. It’s no surprise, then that some of their most popular snack foods are baked things like wheat dumplings, hand pies and beignets. Along these lines, what could be more refreshing for the Colorado heat, than some lime cake?! Nothing comes to mind…outside of a mojito.  While the cooks of Nigeria and other African nations have the added adversity of working through drought effecting the agricultural pipeline, they are domestically very content with rice, millet and sorghum. Which as a baker, makes my heart skip a beat (and not in a good way). I get nervous when we talk about baking with things other than flour. Luckily, they do have that also and the recipe called for it. We look to be on track here, people!

Niger Lime Cake: http://www.food.com/recipe/west-african-lime-cake-recipe-173349

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this meal!
I’m not saying this one is a complete “one star” for trickiness… I am saying that it’s almost one star. Baking, as I have admitted before, is daunting to many people. So I think psychologically, it’s already a one star. That being said, this one was simple baking. There was no “separating of eggs”; there was no “folding” or “sifting” or “kneading”. This was “add it all in, stir and throw it in the oven” kind of baking. So overall, it’s nothing to get your apron in a bunch over. As with many light battered things, however, doneness can be hard for some people to judge. All the ingredients were found in our local grocers. So it was “a piece of cake” if you’ll indulge me the pun 😉

Best dish of all time scale: THREE STARS out of five for Meal!!
While it was certainly a “piece of cake” that’s where the analogy leaves us, I’m afraid. It was just… cake? I mean, it was certainly edible (unlike a certain flourless mess we will refrain from reliving *cough* cough* #72: Gabon…) but it wasn’t memorable or magical and where does that leave us? A three star pick up: the graveyard for “wouldn’t write home about it” cuisine we have encountered here on AW195S. What would have made it better? More lime! That would have been yummy. It was more of lime-essence for this one. Icing or Frosting! Maybe a little lime juice and powdered sugar glaze? SOMETHING more. It was just begging to be added to. It was lovely building blocks though. Great texture and not dry in the least (which is surprising when you look at the ingredient list and see very little wet ingredients).

#105 is a stop off in the Philippines for some traditional noodle fry up! ❤ some noodles!

You’re an Adult— Eat Cake for Breakfast,
– L & K

#103: Slovenia

Welcome to Summer!
Happy Summer Solstice, homies!

Wow, sorry for the radio silence! Don’t worry, we haven’t gone anywhere… well, we have, in that I was in Charleston for a week soaking up some sun and love from my wonderful friends Kiki and Chris (and their perfect son, Colton; and two loveably pups). In addition to all that, it’s been a week of new jobs and new adventures starting up, which while fantastic, tends to lean towards the adage: “Time flies when you’re having fun”. All things considered, I apologize for the delay in my posting—but I can promise it was totally worth the wait (as all good things are). Also we can promise a double header this weekend to make up for the Father’s Day bye weekend. We celebrated the patriarch of the Brovsky Clan with beer, burgers and a dart tournament… so there was no AW195S to be had.

THE DINNER: We picked Slovenia for #103 last week and it was so much fun—because to be honest, the Eastern Europeans just know how to make comfort food. Seriously. They have this down to a warm and fuzzy science. If you weren’t aware, the country of Slovenia has a food profile heavily influenced by Hungarian and Czech cuisine. That means things like goulash and spiced like paprika find their way to chicken or beef and get all happy and wonderful.

We actually picked a dish that is a type of Slovenian goulash for dinner this week. Haluski was the name of the dish and it featured fried cabbage with pancetta and egg noodles… let me tell you, it was simple and simply delicious. You can substitute the egg noodles for traditional potato dumplings if you wish as an acceptable substitution (which may or may not include gnocchi).

Haluski Recipe: http://www.afamilyfeast.com/haluski-fried-cabbage-noodles/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: HALF STAR out of five this meal!
There was little to no ingredients… and I just panic a little thinking that it may swing towards “flavorless”. But as per usual, I am happy to be wrong. There are a handful of very accessible ingredients and they were all readily available at the local market (including the egg noodles. More on that below). You literally use a metric ton of butter and fry all the ingredients….which strangely enough calls for THREE ONIONS and then you add them to the egg noodles and serve. Just so you know, you’ll spend more time chopping in prep work than it will take to make this whole meal. Time on the clock for this one was literally about 17 minutes from start to plate.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
There wasn’t even a debate on this one. Five stars easily covered this meal—and for the amount of effort expended, we wanted to give it more. The meal itself reminded me of the meal we made for Slovakia (except that one had dumplings and goat cheese). But overall, I think I liked this one more for one simple reason — Egg Noodles. GUYS. Egg noodles, evidentially come in “yolk-less” form… now, this was fascinating to me, because I couldn’t imagine that they would be the same texture wise. And they weren’t, but in the opposite way of what I anticipated. They held up so strong with the cabbage!! They maintained their al’dente bite and I would be willing to bet might even fare well in the freezer. These are my new favorite foodie find. Also they’re less calories for those who care about those things—no yolks after all means “healthier” by the caloric meter.

Next stop on our food train will be #104 and as promised #105 next week we will be hitting the likes of Nigeria for something to satiate our sweet tooth and then The Philippines for something savory!

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!
– L & K

#102: Liberia

On The Coast of Somewhere Beautiful…

Theres two sides to that coin, I suppose! I’m reporting this week’s fantastic food adventure from the Carolina coastline, but also our country was on the coast, so that seems to be our running theme this week. And while I’ve never been to Liberia, I can speak to the fact that Charleston really is like that Kenny Chensey song, “On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful”. But to be fair, this trip was more like Dierks Bentley’s “Somewhere on a Beach”. This was one girl, who absolutely needed to spend some time with her Kiki.

THE DINNER: While I went wheels up on the runway, my mom took a trip to another beach, but this one was for #102 and was farther west than I was. Her stop off was on the West coast of Africa in Libera. They have so many wonderfully colorful dishes in that part of the universe. She was excited to find out what dish I had recommended from afar.

The country of Libera, like many African nations eats mainly a vegetation based diet, with sparse pockets of chicken or goat and occasionally, when it’s a coastal nation, fish or seafood. It’s pretty standard also that there is some spice for these countries…which makes half of Brovskyland very pleased. Needless to say, my mom was outnumbered in the spice cheering section this week because I was away. So when the recipe called for habaneros, it was on like donkey kong.

Liberian Peppery Chicken Recipe: http://missjackiesglobalkitchen.com/tag/liberia/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this meal!
If you ask any chef what is one of their biggest pet peeves, I’d imagine that 90% of them will tell you that it’s when they come across a “recipe” they are really stoked about and then they realize that it doesn’t make a lick of sense or that it’s actually just a list of ingredients. The later was true for this one… so LB had to go off the cuff for this one. Even though it turned into a rouge mission in many ways, it wasn’t in need of translation or conversion from metric, so silver living. Also even with just the ingredient list, there was nothing that required special trips to special markets (though we actually really love those trips… not sure if that’s a plus or minus anymore).

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE (ish…) STARS out of five for Meal!!
So, even though I was absent for this one, it seems there was a bit of disagreement on the star quality of this week’s adventure… so let me lay out the terms of this one for you. It was SPICY. Which as I mentioned, was a pro for my mom and a con for my dad. I’m that girl that keeps sriracha in her desk at work… so you know where I fall on that arguement. But that seems to be the biggest sticking point here. Apart from that, it was the addition of the peanut butter that seemed to be the strange part of the recipe this week. While this isn’t Thai food, and peanuts aren’t an odditity in Africa food, it was the butter part that mom found strange. So all that being said, she mentioned that it made the sauce really super creamy and complex. Which was pretty delicious. All considered, it was four and half to five stars, depending on which Brovsky you ask 😉

As we roll into the #103 country (can you even believe that!?), it seems like we are rolling head first into summer as well! We have a soccer tourney next weekend, so we have decided to hit Slovenia… not to be confused with Slovakia, which we already tackled ages ago!

See you cats in Europe!
– L & K

#101: Uruguay

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope your long weekend found you happy and healthy and spending time with your family and friends. We are super blessed to be able to live in a free nation, and it’s so important that we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can sit around and have a long, wonderful weekend in the sun. I for one soaked up all the weekend. BBQs, family time, friend time, breweries, planting and my very first Bolder Boulder to cap it all off. So many fantastic memories ❤ and to cap it all off, I’m heading to Charleston to reboot my battery. Lose your mind, find your soul.

THE DINNER: We picked Uruguay for #101… or rather my co-worker, ND picked this one. I love when people really get into this project with us. It’s really fun when we get approached by friends and family that are following the blog and they chat with us, tell us they’re cooking along or offer their thoughts on that week’s meal. Uruguay cuisine was not as exciting as other countries. They are very simplistic, and in the thread of having a vegetarian option for all the meat-centric BBQ fest that was the weekend, we selected this baked cheese appetizer to try out for this country.

Evidentially these people love their cheese. You had my dad’s full attention at “cheese” and my mom and I’s full attention at “spicy”. This one is referred to as “Minuta” which is a “fast food” and is seriously a culinary staple for the country. It’s really easy— but really yummy. It’s commonly served on the BBQ but they even have these Aebleskiver sort of plates (think back to when we did Iceland week #8 https://brovskyadventures.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/8-iceland/) that have individual wells for the cheese to melt in. How fabulous for that chef that has everything 😉

Uruguayan Spicy Baked Cheese Recipe: http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/uruguayan-spicy-baked-cheese?elq=857e5fcc9b8644a28b310efb4064ffbd&elqCampaignId=5708

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: HALF A STAR out of five this meal!
If I could give it zero stars I totally would. You literally put this in a pan. Put that pan in the oven. Bake it till it melts. Throw it on some toasted bread or, hell, eat it straight! This one was a piece of cheese-cake!

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Okay. Okay. Okay. I’m gonna level with you foodies here… I was very resistant to this five star rating for one reason— it wasn’t exciting!! This one didn’t scream “exotic” “international” or “complex” and by that standard I declined to give it props. It just seemed too ordinary and too simple… and then I got my snooty nose down from the culinary clouds and realized it’s basically international queso! It’s delicious! It’s exactly what food should be though, simple and accessible. I’m not going to lie here, this one was amazing. I hate myself a little for saying it because we really didn’t DO ANYTHING, but holy wow, I think we will call dream of this cheese. It would be delicious on a shingle, but we ate it on bread. Upon reflection, this would have rocked on veggies too! I’m also thinking that a little more red pepper would have been excellent. I’m sure that’s no surprise, but just sayin…

The leaders of the Brovsky Clan are flying into #102 next weekend for Liberia while I’m in Charleston and Jess is in Oklahoma. From my recipe pull, it looks like it should be pretty interesting! Stay tuned!

Ciao!
– L & K