#119: Taiwan

It was 80 degrees at the Pumpkin Patch this weekend!?

I know, right? That’s ridiculous, if we are being honest. I often wonder what people who don’t believe in Global Warming think when it’s this unseasonably toasty a week away from November… I can tell you for certain though, it was a beautiful, sunny outing with the gal pals and the littles to the patch. As an adult, I can’t recall the last time I was at a pumpkin patch, though I have to confess, it’s been more than a decade. It was really refreshing to feel like a kid for a few hours though. I couldn’t help but feel that maybe we all left that adventure believing that The Great Pumpkin would actually visit Denver this week. Good grief, Charlie Brown, I hope the Great Pumpkin brings some cooler temps with him too 😉

THE DINNER: Continuing on our spicy pathway and our unseasonably hot weather, the heat wave on AW195S continued! We chose Taiwan as our locale for Sunday’s meal and pulled another sassy recipe for Spicy Beef Noodle Soup. While the weather didn’t really nurture our soup venture, the spicy was right on our agenda for this month. We hit up a five alarm fire last week in Haiti and I think my dad was secretly praying that not all the engines showed up for the burn down this week. My mom and I, however, had the smoke alarms at the ready.

Spicy food in many cultures is just food to the Hoklo peoples (Those are the Taiwanese natives, btws). Regionally, spicy food is more concentrated in Taipei, but in a general sense, the whole of Asia celebrates the spicy. This type of soup is commonly referred to as a “hot pot” which is exactly what it feels like it should mean: everyone in the tub, guys, and oh, yeah, here’s some noodles. The ingredients are basically whatever is on hand and it simmers in clear broth (no cream) and then noodles are added. Voilà! Soup’s on!

Taiwanese Spicy Beef Hot Pot Soup Recipe: http://thewoksoflife.com/2016/02/spicy-beef-noodle-soup/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this meal!
This one was a little deceiving. It would seem “hot pot” renders visions of easy cooking, right? I mean, throw it all in, let it get happy and then eat away to your hearts desires! WRONG. While it was very far removed from rocket science or brain surgery, it was involved. Lots of cutting and prep and lots of measuring. But, all that aside, all ingredients were a piece of cake to come by and it did take less than an hour to prepare. All things considered it wasn’t as bad all that, just not as simple as we have been getting lucky with.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
For those keeping tabs, it was not as spicy as Haitian food. It was not, however, mild. It was spicy. A lovely hit of cilantro and anise later, it was also aromatic and fragrant, but in all the right ways. This meal was satisfying and tummy warming. If we are all being honest, who isn’t in love with thin sliced beef and rice noodle combos? That’s right, all of us with taste buds did utter, “Amen”.

This is the time for ghouls and goblins, but they aren’t going to scare us away from #120 with a detour to the Czech Republic!!

It’s just a little Hocus Pocus, darling!!
Happy Halloween 🙂

– L & K

#118: Haiti

Sa fe lon temps nou pa we!

That’s Haitian Creole for “Long time, no see!” — and we couldn’t mean it more sincerely here in Brovskyland 🙂 We have genuinely missed you all. As the fall gears up, we have had some pretty busy weekends around these parts. Happy to report that it’s starting to settle in and we are off to the races for the holiday season. I’m not going to lie, for some reason, this week started to feel like the first real week of autumn and boy, did that get my feels right in the feels, if you know what I mean! ((Additionally, happy anniversaries are in order for the Sewczak’s, Allen’s and Meyer’s ❤ all of whom celebrated their marriages in the the last week! If fall wasn’t in the air, it might be easy to say that love certainly is))

THE DINNER: Haitian Shrimp in Creole Sauce (Kribich An Sos) is a common dish for this stop on AW195S’s island nation. The ingredients in the dish vary from village to village, but luckily there is continuity in the base and it’s pairing is consistent with rice, plantains or corn meal (a lot like fufu from our African nations). I have also seen it paired with grits, but that might be an American South corruption so don’t take me at that one. Guys, this one is NINE ingredients– which on the heels of our curry adventure last week in Sudan it’s a welcome sight. Not to mention, one of those nine is a scotch bonnet. I’m one happy spice girl on that front.

Kribich an sos (Haitian Creole Shrimp) Recipe: http://haitiancooking.com/recipe/haitian-shrimp-kribich-nan-sos/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this meal!
So easy! Like I mentioned above, there were nine ingredients and only one spice. It was a piece of cake to put this one together after soccer this Sunday. The timing of the meal worked out perfectly, which we commented was a very infrequent sight for AW195S. All in all, the hardest thing you got on this one was the chopping. Along those lines, it should be mentioned that we could not come by the scotch bonnets– but we substituted habeneros (which for those unaware, are the same tier on the scoville scale).

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
This girl is on fireeeeee! Alright, Alicia Keys, we get it. But real talk; this one was a five star, five alarm fire! It was so yummy, so please don’t panic. I’m a huge fan of the spice– this one got MY nose running! I mentioned that this was the first dish in a long long long while where I didn’t pour on the hot sauce following my initial tastings. All that being said, it was spicy but in a peppery way. It was not overwhelmingly spicy, but it was not for everyone. Even my dad, who can’t handle the heat gave this one a four– so the taste was there. The chili powder and the prawns. THE PRAWNS ❤ those babies were tiger prawns and their sweet meat really played nicely with the tomato sauce. It was a win, win this week for Haiti.

Easy like a Sunday morning — or in this case afternoon — we can pick up #119 with Taiwan!! Rumor has it from the recipe pull I conducted that it will be another spicy one in the Mile High City 😉 Prepare yourselves accordingly.

Cheers, Dears!!
– L & K

#117: Sudan

Cheers to GABF week!

When we were coming back from our attack on the Western Slope, the gal pals and I were remarking how the leaves were already changing. Now a few weeks removed from our Indian Summer annual girl’s weekend, it’s so much more brisk. There’s snap in the air and ginger in my snaps… COOKIES! Not to mention, the fact that we are ankle deep in October already. It’s totally astonishing. Time really does fly when you are having fun 😉 Since we last saw you guys on AW195S, it’s been organized chaos in Brovskyland (color you surprised, I know) what with family reunions, friends moving into their first homes and soccer in full swing. This past week was the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) here in the Mile High City… and man, if that isn’t a week of Christmas in October, I don’t know what is! Like I said– Organized chaos!!

THE DINNER: We headed back to Africa this week to hit up Sudan. Now, logistically, I know very little about Sudanese culture and obviously food. From looking at a map of the continent, I can extrapolate that there is probably very little seafood, as they are land locked. Additionally it’s a large country, so I can also extrapolate that they have many regional transitions to their common meals.

We picked Karedok for our recipe originally- for those unfamiliar, to which I belong in part, this is a staple light meal fare in Sudan and several surrounding nations. It’s a raw veggie salad of sorts with a peanut dressing. It’s got other names when it’s cooked/boiled –> Gado-Gado is what it goes by when that’s the case. Karedok is widely served as DAILY food in the Sundanese family, usually eaten with hot rice, tofu, tempeh (which is still tofu, let’s be honest here…) and krupuk (The Google gods report that these are like shrimp crackers). This is literally the potato salad or side salad equivalent of the Sudanese people. So After doing this research, we were disenchanted with the whole idea of making a “potato” salad, and thus we switched gears. OMAHA!  Zighny is the Sudanese version of Ethiopian curry. It’s aromatic and deeply red. This was to be our new adventure. Zighny!

Zighny Recipe: http://mongoliankitchen.com/zighny-ethiopian-curry/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
This one was just a lot of spices. Shocking, I know. Kris– Curry? Spices? What madness are you talking about!? Okay, Captain Sarcasm, I get it. But honestly, it was a lot of measuring and adding at the correct times. It’s not a “set it and forget it” sort of meal. So, for that, we give it a two. It’s this incremental nature of curry that makes it tricky. Additionally, coming in on curry paste at your local grocers, you’re gonna wanna look near the Thai food items. Trust us on this one.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
Lovely tomato-y (not a word, but you’ll agree it should be) and onion based notes on this curry. Typically curry makes whatever meat that is stewing in it, so very moist and tender– which was exactly the case here. Chicken shined on the center of the dish. The most pleasant surprise was the eggs. Now, as you know, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Eggs are seriously a wonderful addition to any and all dishes, it was just unexpected in a curry but non the less delightful. The coriander was a little overpowering, but certainly upped the complexity. Not too shabby, Sudan!

That will bring us to #118!! To which end we have engaged the culinary services of the island nation of Haiti! 

Enjoy those PSLs like it’s your job 😉
– L & K