#138: South Sudan

What’s happenin’, hot stuff?

I hope you read that line exactly as it happens in 16 Candles. That movie is a birthday staple, even though I prefer Pretty in Pink. This week finds two of the Brovsky women another year older… and hopefully a little wiser. With birthday week upon us, it’s pretty much my favorite time of the year because that means TWO birthday dinners within 6 days of each other. There is nothing better than a home cooked meal of your mom’s comfort food to take the sting out of getting older. I took this weekend and escaped with my gal pal to Santa Fe for some spa, yoga, hot springs, sight seeing and foodie fun. We also got to take in Kasha-Katwue Reservation for some of the most spectacular hiking I’ve ever seen… and as a Colorado Native, that’s saying something, people.

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THE DINNER: While I was away in the desert, L took to the kitchen in search of local Sudanese cuisine. Part and parcel to so many African nations, this country typically boasts a  variety of stewed meats and breads. In this Southern nation, it’s not uncommon to find fish dishes as well. The cuisine of Southern Sudan tends to reflect more of the Middle eastern flavors too, so many spice profiles are similar to Yemen or the UAE (both of which we have already done on our AW195S journey).

We picked a chicken dish that is served over mashed potatoes or some times with porridge or millet. I had to smirk a little when I realized that even thousands of miles away, a typical Sunday meal of chicken and potatoes was commonplace. The world is a small and wonderful place indeed. This one is called Agashe, which just means “grilled or charred meat”.

Just a little reminder, you can follow your food recipes on Pinterest too!!

Agashe– “Spicy Sudanese Chicken” Recipe: http://www.babanusa.com.au/blog/recipes/spicey-chicken-potato-recipe/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Easy peezy for the solo cook this week. Thankfully!

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
As far as “spicy” goes, this one really didn’t even hit the map. I guess this one was a whole lotta talk and a little less action in that department than we would have liked. Both judges agreed that it could have used more white and cayenne pepper to back up that claim, but that the chicken itself was moist and crispy. All around it was rib sticking and perfectly paired with mashed potatoes. All the juices from the chicken with the mash just made everything happy. Smoked paprika made this dish a hit.

Off to Monaco for #139!! And I just can’t help but play Rear Window in anticipation. I hope you get that reference…if not, mull it over for a week and I’ll clarify in my next post 😉

Birthday Wishes and Blowing out Candles!
– L & K

#137: El Salvador

Top of the mornin’ to ya!

It was St. Patty’s this weekend, and with that comes green beer, parades and way too much corned beef and take my word for it, no one is complaining. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. I love this sort of not-holiday-holiday. I’m Irish, catholic and my favorite color is emerald green; so this is my comfort zone. Two years ago, Thelma brought me back a Connemara Irish Wishing Stone from her trip. You’re supposed to rub it and make a wish. This stone now sits on a shelf in my house and from time to time, I seek a little extra luck of the Irish and indulge my silliness to make a “wish”. I’m not saying my March Madness state of mayhem had me picking up the stone…but I won’t deny it. Either way, Nova blew my bracket out so maybe the stone is out of luck. That’s the way the Girl Scout cookie crumbles. 

THE DINNER: We already too a trip to the Green Isle during our first year on this project (Week 64) and made Fisherman’s Pie, so this year we mixed it up and picked a Central American nation to party with. We decided to make Panes con Pavo which is like an El Salvadorian version of a Vietnamese Bah Mi sandwich. Stick with me, people. It’s also been compared to the American “Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwich”, but all things aside, it’s a roast turkey masterpiece.

In my food research this week, I learned that the Turkey was domesticated by the Aztecs. So in reality, the turkey sandwich is actually Latin American. Did I just blow your culinary minds? If you claim I didn’t, you’re lying; just let it sink in and you’ll see my side of things. This is game changing.

Panes con Pavo Recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Salvadoran-Turkey-Sandwich

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
This one was a wash– I mean, it’s assembling a sandwich. Any drunk moron can manage that feat…even on St. Patty’s day weekend bender. Roasting turkey is a sort of set it and forget it deal, but I upped the points for not buying pre roasted meat here. The recipe, luckily, was not in need of translation nor was it in need of conversion. We had a pretty easy go of things. We couldn’t come by watercress so we subbed arugula.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
Let me break it down for you. This is a turkey sandwich. It’s not exciting. It’s not sexy Friday night foodie adventure… it’s sort of a quiet Tuesday night in the burbs. Not to say it was disgusting or terrible. It was satisfying and fulfilling. I just mean to say, it wasn’t heart racing or show stopping. It was brazed in beer, so that alone put it above the average keel. We gave a hollar out to those raw onions for garnish and our spicy arugula substitution. It was lovely. We felt like it was just short of something special but couldn’t get there. Maybe it should have been spicier instead of peppery. Maybe it should have had something creamy like cheese or aoili. We couldn’t pin it down, but it was a solid player. The pepita seeds were such a neat surprise really. I never would have paired those with turkey!

AW195S is venturing into 71% completion!! Can you imagine that we are nearly at our two year anniversary for the project? Did I further mention, you can get AW195S t-shirts?! Because both of those are accurate. Please message me or comment below for details!

Off to South Sudan for #138!!

Spiraling in to March Madness!
– L & K

#136: Macedonia

Beware the Ides of March!

I love the idea of visiting the Ancient World with a trip to Macedonia on the week the Ides of March hit!! The continuity there is delicious– just like our meal (more on that below). The Ides refers to a portion of the month around the 15th that coincides with lunar movements. So you can have Ides of May or Ides of November….yet you never hear about those Ides. Why? Because thanks to Shakespeare, the March Ides are the day that Julius Caesar was stabbed in the back by 20 of his closest pals at the end of his famous play by the same name. That’s why one must beware these particular Ides. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… 😉 Sadly, I don’t think politics has really changed all that much.

THE DINNER: What do they eat in Macedonia? Well, to be completely honest, I never have given it much though because I think of Macedonia as being part of a time gone by. Now that I’m thinking about it, however, it occurs to me that it should be cross between Middle Eastern Food and Balkan Foods. It was just that. They gained Independence from Yugoslavia in 1993, so to be fair, it’s a young country but also an old country. The wonderfully mild climate means they get to harvest copious amounts of vegetables, herbs and fruits. Thus, Macedonian cuisine is particularly diverse and flavorful. We picked a dish called Pastrmajlija is a Macedonian Pizza topped with eggs and pork. Incidentally, this is such a thing in Macedonia that you can order it at Pizza Huts there!!

Pastrmajlija Recipe: http://diethood.com/macedonian-pizza/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE and a HALF STARS out of five this meal!
So homemade pizza dough? Turns out it’s not that hard to make!! I’m a little ashamed at how easy it actually is… apart from that, this one was really a dream. It was straight forward and simple.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
We’re on a roll! That’s two five stars in a row, which is nice after our little slump. We loved this one, but be ye warned, it was fiery! Lots of cayenne and the pepper was too much for my dad, but my mom and I loved it. I actually think this would make a great brunch treat because of the eggs, but it was nice for lunch. We added some green onions as garnish, but honestly, it really didn’t need a thing added. For those scared of the spice, a little ranch drizzle would clear that up nicely. The pork was really yummy though and instead of lard, we used butter as a substitute.

Next weekend we will be headed to El Salvador for a yummy #137!!

Et tu, Brute?
– L & K

#135: Fiji

Soccer is back, Jack!

I know it’s supposed to be March in Denver– which is traditionally our snowiest month. This March finds us without so much as a flurry, 15 days in. That’s pretty spectacular and sort of bitter sweet for us natives. Regardless, it was a good omen for our opening weekend of soccer. Typically, our first few games are called for weather, but this one, even though it was not a “w” was oodles of fun. Our teammates really know how to brighten a weekend.

THE DINNER:
Sticking with the warm weather theme, we bounced off to the tropics for some kokoda for our meal in sunny Fiji. In the South Pac (that’s what the cool kids call the Southern Pacific, btw…) there are many variations and versions of this meal. It’s basically ceviche, but with fish instead of shrimp. It’s a meal staple to the Fijian people, and it’s always served bathed in coconut milk. Additionally, unlike the Peruvian kind we hit up in week 51 this did not have garlic nor red onion. Replace those two things with tomato and spring onions for this island take.

Kokoda Recipe: https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/16530/kokoda

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
It was every bit as easy as typical Peruvian ceviche in many ways. It’s sort of a “set it and forget it” type of meal… we ran into some problems with the coconut milk, but that was sort of user error. We used lite coconut milk and the milk solids had to be broken up. Easy fix. We were able to find Red Fish in the CO, which was a surprise and a huge help! Be careful to wash your hands and wear protection when dealing with the lime and lemon juice. We had burns from Peru last year.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE out of five for Meal!!
Finally! A five star meal! It was not without some work, but the work was minimal. The strangest thing about this one was the coriander– but with all the lime/citrus profile and the peppers, that’s something that really did not seem to come through for us. It was spicy, so for those that are not fans of peppers please reduce that and you’ll be just fine! I felt like tomatoes might be strange in ceviche… so happy to be proven wrong.

Next stop!? We will be hitting Macedonia for #136!! Now, when I told B that was our next country meal, she laughed and said nearly identically to me when mom told me what the stop was, “That’s still a nation…?! REALLY!” So you’re in good company if that was your thought. 

Guess we’re off to the Ancient World
See you in Macedonia!
– L & K