#125: Uzbekistan

Happy Holidays!

I have some serious Christmas season love. It’s everything from the twinkle of lights, music that makes you warm and fuzzy, and cooking that also makes you warm and fuzzy (but hey, that’s what sweaters are made to disguise). I have to resist the urge to answer the phone like Buddy the Elf, pretty much all season long. I won’t lie, my holiday decorations will stay up till after Stock Show, which for those that aren’t aware, is a Colorado tradition. The way the tradition goes is this: The great and spectacular City and County of Denver leaves all of it’s lights and decorations up on the court house till after closing ceremonies of the Stock Show. As this is a 111 year running paradigm for Colorado, and the National Western Stock Show closes January 22nd, I get to enjoy another month of glitter and magic. I would like to think that my great grandpa, Noble, would be so proud.

THE DINNER: For those unaware, Ellen DeGeneres is perhaps one of my favorite humans. The woman is not only witty and wise, but compassionate and altruistic to the max. So, basically, whatever she (and Barbara Streisand) lay down as “law”, I blindly accept.  Along those lines, Ellen laid out this nugget last week “I have a new rule. If the temperature is lower than my age, I am not getting out of bed.” I have come to love this sentiment a lot in the last few icy Rocky Mountain weeks. COLD. COLD. COLDER. So, what is there to do when you’re not a ca-jillionaire, like Mrs. DeGeneres? Yes, get out of bed and hussle like the lady boss I am. Additionally, make all the soup– which is where Uzbekistan came into play this week.

Uzbek cuisine is sort of fascinating from an anthropological standing to me. I for one lump Uzbekistan into the middle eastern countries pretty handily– but was so utterly amused that the food profile of this nation was so much more Russian/Eastern European in it’s make up. To be fair, geographically it falls in that Balkan region, so this shouldn’t have astounded me. With the weather the way it’s been, we were thrilled that one of the national foods in Uzbekistan is Chorba (Persian for “brackish soup” which is a fancy way of saying “salty/Meaty”). This was another opportunity to make dumplings from scratch– which we haven’t done in a few months and is always a crap shoot as far as difficulty.

Uzbek Chorba Recipe: http://fanblogs.jp/uzbekistancooking/archive/54/0

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STAR out of five this meal!
So this was “fun” development…. the recipe needed to be translated. No surprise there– but it was surprising that it was in Japanese instead of Uzbek or Russian or some Middle Eastern language. Then it needed to be converted from metric to standard. Apart from all that, the ingredient list was not challenging. Additionally, the dumplings turned out to be fairly pain free (as far as dumplings tend to go). It earned three stars though because, as with anything worth it’s taste, it took time and patience.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
Alright. I don’t want to be accused of “grade inflation” here, but this really couldn’t have had less than five stars. It was really flavorful… which is innately shocking as there salt and pepper are the only “non optional” spices (we did add the paprika as suggested). But for three spices, this was really a solid broth based soup. I know it’s no secret if you follow this blog for any amount of time, you have come to know that I am not a fan of dumplings (potato, bread or otherwise). It’s a texture thing for me. So, it should be noted quite strongly that I L-O-V-E-D these little dudes. They held up more like noodles or gnocci than actual “dumplings” and perhaps that’s what I loved so much about them. Also, the basil was our favorite thing about this soup. Clever little herb, that basil.

Up-up-and-away in to the New Year! We will bring in 2017 with a little stop off in Croatia for #126!

Good Tidings (and cookies) to You and Yours,
– L & K

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