#108: Algeria

By the way, the Windy City says, “Hello”

Fresh off a trip to the metropolis of the Midwest, I have nothing planned. WHAT?! *gasp*Shock! Awe! It’s like a unicorn these days when I have a weekend where this is the docket. And by that, I mean that L & K literally kicked off their weekend with a massage and a little more REM sleep later… after that it got back to the normal pace of seeing friends, having dates, brunching like a champ with my besties. But it was a whole lot more chill than my Chicago adventure last weekend. I’m not going to lie, I feel like a new woman! Ready to hit the ground running. Which is good because a snapshot of the week to come looks a little hairy: meetings, Rockies games, cornhole leagues, blood drives, and and house-warmings.

THE DINNER: Venturing back to Africa, as we still have quite a few nations on that continent to knock out, we sojourned to Algeria for some soup. Yes. Soup. Now, before you get all “dude, it’s summer” on me, soup is wonderful. Soup should be eaten year around and I resent the fact that you seasonal elitists place it in the category of winter/fall fare and lest ye forget that in some areas of the world it is in fact winter/fall there. So with all that being said in our defense… we are huge fans of soup. Obviously.

We picked Chorba Bayda which is Algerian White Chicken Soup. This soup is most popular during Ramadan (so score another point for having soup in the summer!). It’s got chickpeas, like you would anticipate any North African meal to contain in one form or another, as well as eggs, which is a very strange addition to any soup or meal in Africa for that matter. I’m not going to lie to you good people, the addition of butter in this recipe made me souppppper happy (bad pun intended, because I love you and puns).

Chorba Bayda Recipe: http://www.halalhomecooking.com/chorba-bayda-algerian-white-chicken-soup/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE and A HALF STARS out of five this meal!
This was so fast and simple. It was quick and dirty. I loved that we had something that we could set and forget. Africa has been pretty accommodating to that type of cooking as a general rule. We had no special trips to any special markets for ingredients. I have it a half star more for converting from metric to standard… also… “Halal Chicken”? Not clear on what that is.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
Long and short of this one, kiddos, we wanted to grade inflate here. We really love chicken noodle soup in the Brovsky Clan. It’s clinical. We should be studied. But this was not chicken noodle. IT WAS chicken soup. And while it was lovely, it was not anything exciting. I was reminded how out-of-this-world our last venture into chicken soup on AW195S was (guys, Nepal… it was magical. and spicy). On the heels of that unforgettable love affair with chicken noodle soup, I couldn’t give this one top marks. Apart from that, it was tasty. I was not a fan of the cinnamon. It was a little strange. I did have a thing for all the parsley… and that egg yolk… good lord, more egg yolk, folks. Be still my beating heart.

We are proud to be rounding the bend on #109 by way of Borneo (which is actually Malaysia and Indonesia) next weekend!! I feel like the month of July is flying by, but that must mean that we are having fun 😉 So I can’t possibly complain. It’s two countries in one nation next week… wrap your brains around that.

Toodles Poodles!
– L & K

 

 

#107: Oman

“Can we hold class outside…?!”

Remember when you were in class and it was so beautiful out that you wanted to beg and plead with all your classes to hold that day’s lesson outside. Sometimes it worked! Your teacher would take their session out of door and allow you to be a little less distracted. (now as an adult, I realize it’s not that shocking. They probably want to have class outside more than any kids and are happy as a clam to oblige the request. But still. It seemed magical when you talked them into it). You probably wonder where she’s going with this one— as an adult with a window at my desk, it’s hard when I can’t just “hold class” outside. Chalk another thing up to sucky adulthood, guys 😉 I guess I’ll have to settle for paid time off as the trade.

THE DINNER: This week our food journey took us to the Arabian Peninsula to visit Oman. Now, I don’t know about you all, but I’m a geography ace. I mean, Carmen Sandiego couldn’t hide from this girl… but damned if I knew where the hell this one was without googling it. So, there you have it– Oman. A land where “very high income” is more prevalent, it’s more akin to Dubai, if we are being honest.

Omani cuisine is completely diverse and has been influenced by many cultures due to it’s situation on the Persian Gulf and it’s hub as a trade route throughout history of the modern world. Omani people, like many nations that have extreme and let’s face it absolutely crippling heat indexes usually eat their main daily meal at midday, while the evening meal is lighter (particularly during Ramadan and in the remaining summer months). So, when we made “dinner” for this one, it was more like a light lunch fare. Baba ghanoush ( or بابا غنوج in Arabic) was the name of the game this time. For those unaware, Baba ghanoush is like hummus… but instead of chickpeas it’s eggplant. And the people did rejoice.

Baba ghanoush Recipe: http://livewellnetwork.com/My-Family-Recipe-Rocks/recipes/Baba-Ghanoush/9121092

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: HALF STAR out of five this meal!
Guys!! We made our very own tahini. Go ahead and marvel. Okayyyyy…. to be honest, it was so easy. But still, we felt sort of excellent about this. It’s literally sesame seeds and oil in a food processor– and that’s all she wrote. Apart from that, you roast those eggplants and throw all the ingredients in the blender and it’s a dream. Half star is as good as it gets.

Best dish of all time scale: SIX STARS out of five for Meal!!
Alright. Six is a BIT dramatic. You can’t blame me though, if you were there and you tasted it, we were star struck. Five is the scale so that’s what it gets, but it could have gotten higher. The lemon and the eggplant played too well together. They should get married and have all the baba ghanoush babies in the history of forever. I think they owe it to the world’s taste buds to do this for us. For those of you that love hummus, this kicks hummus’ scrawny booty all the way across the playground. I’m not sure if we can go back to the second rate spread after this one… 😉

#108 puts us in the African nation of Algeria! I’m not sure what you have planned… but I’m holding the next week of lab work and meetings outside. In the sun. With a margarita ❤

Love and dog kisses,
– L & K

#106: Zimbabwe

What’s Shaken, Bacon? (yes, prepare yourselves for all the pig puns…

It’s been such a crazy week! I always feel like a kid when we have a long weekend for the 4th of July. BBQs, Pool Parties, Fireworks and Yard games: all just scream good, clean adolescent fun! I challenge you to not feel the same way- like you’re on summer vacation– holding a hot dog and a sparkler. I don’t care how old you are, it’s like this weekend is a time machine. We hit up the usual BBQs and got to participate in a new tradition: Beer Olympics. Let’s be clear here, guys… I am the jenga master. Who knew?!

THE DINNER: We took a reprieve from the typical Americana laced beer and burger run to have some African food by way of Zimbabwe for #106! That makes 90 countries to go, for those not blessed with mathematical brains 😉 Happy to help you out. We picked this warthog with apples dish. Now it said that we could use warthog, but it also said we could substitute pork steaks. In the words of my mother on the topic:

“Pig is pig is pig, Kristine.”

So that’s what we did. (**we would eventually like to try this with actual warthog though, just to see if it does taste like pork. After all, we are culinary scientists. So for the sake of “research” we will keep you updated)

Warthog Steaks with Caramelized Apples Recipe: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/warthog-steak-with-caramelized-apples.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STAR out of five this meal!
Now, while we would have loved to cook us up a warthog… those are not something we have at our beck-and-call here in the states. So like we talked about above, went with the recipe alternative to pinch hit for us: pork steaks. Apart from that, it was simple and to the point. A touch more involved ingredient wise than the other more basic African recipes we’ve done, but it was not bad in the grand scheme.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
This one was more like four stars and change for the Brovsky Clan, but in the interest of continuity, I have rounded. The flavors here were so different from other African countries that we have explored over the past 106 nations: Sage and Soy Sauce were the highlights of this one. First of all, sage and pork are like a match made in foodie heaven. Soy sauce is a great way to sweeten things without being over powering, while also lending great caramelization. The apples both with the pork and on their own were so satisfying… I mean, who doesn’t love a good stewed apple?! Brown sugar, maple syrup– check and check. I’ve said it once and I will say it again: All hail the pork.

Looks like we have arrived– at #107 that is 😉 Middle East is the name of the game for next week: welcome to the cuisine of Oman!

A pig by any other name is still a pig,
– L & K