#163: Palau

It’s a cold one, Mr Grinch!

Well, I’ll be damned if this year isn’t closing out on some pretty amazing surprises! We got a white Christmas unexpectedly in the Mile High City; and I’m looking forward to spending NYE the way they do in Holiday Inn… “Kissing the old year out, kissing the new year in”.ย  Typically, my inner Type A personality isn’t a fan of surprises– but the pleasant ones can always find welcoming arms from this Colorado girl. I better not say too much on the topic as my “optimist” is showing through again. I thought 2017 had taught her a lesson, and yet, here she is— bright eyed and bushy tailed.

As I find myself looking forward more than I tended to do in 2017, reflection on the year is inevitable… lots of firsts, lots of lasts, lots of heartache and so much fun. It was exactly how I like my life: Rollercoaster perfect. So if nothing else, we are right on track. All aboard.

THE DINNER: Nestled in the south Pac, we have hit Micronesia as well as the Philippines which are neighbors of our country this week, Palau. It contains approximately 340 islands. This little country went through Spanish and American occupations before becoming independent.ย Palau ONLY employs 18 marine police officers to patrol the nation’s 230,000 square mile territory… just take a hot minute to soak that in… EIGHTEEN. That’s IT. So, you gotta believe these hard working people are gonna seek some serious sustenance.

We tackled what can only be described as “fritters” stateside. To be exact, they were akin to shrimp and veggie fritters. So savory, but corn and shrimp do have an innate sweetness to them already. The recipe did not need to be translated and all in all, we made this for lunch on Christmas eve (nestled between dinner at my grandma’s with Tom’s famous soup and all the cowboy’s football…)

Palau Shrimp Patties Recipe: https://chamoritamommaskitchen.com/2013/07/27/chamorro-shrimp-patties/amp/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this meal!
Alright, folks. It wasn’t hard to make the “dough” but it was tricky deep frying things… this star count is to draw attention to the severity of operating a fryer. So take heed! Lest ye be ringing in 2018 without eyebrows ๐Ÿ˜‰ beyond that, of course, no strange ingredients to hunt for and no translations or conversions. It was a walk in a winter wonderland park.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
I barely got past what I am calling “nose feel” before giving this a five star review. IT WAS THAT YUMMY. My nose was just in love with it from the get go. Then the taste! WOWZERS. It was crispy and gooey in all the right ways– thanks for the gooey condensed milk! We were in love with the texture. Doughy, but not dough. It was light and fluffy but heartier than tempura. It was lovely. We ate ourselves a little silly with this one… we also halved the recipe in hopes of preserving our tummies for Christmas Eve feasting at The Foster House… and yet, we couldn’t stop. The salt and seasonings were excellent. I didn’t even really want to put any hot sauce on these (which is saying SOMETHING… though to be fair, spicy jalapeno ranch would make an excellent dipping companion. As well as an IPA).

Off to Africa to ring in the new year!! We will be celebrating Auld Lang Syne with #164 in the Cape Verde Islands.

The best things happen while you’re dancing!
โ€“ L & K

#162: Jordan

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”

This week was Olde Town Arvada’s 26th Lagniappe. What in the Sam Hill is “Lagniappe” you ask? Well, friends, it’s this darling, quirky Arvada tradition where vendors and businesses give out Lagniappe– or “tiny gift”. This gift is something given gratuitously by way of good measure. And isn’t that the way, guys? Arvada goes all out for their show of gratitude and love: fireman chili cook-off, cider and egg nog competition, choirs and tree lightings. If you were trying to be a Grinch, good luck getting past the 7yr old in a bear hat handing you free hot coco in Olde Town Square. Bah Humbug never took a nose dive in such quick order. Every damn thing in Denver is twinkled with twinkle lights and wrapped in holly and dripping with Christmas music. Sometimes, I know, it all starts to feel heavy and “a bit too much comfort and joy” but remember that it’s only a few weeks a year and then it’s gone. Give in already! Be dorky, cheesy and ridiculous about all the childish wonders that are bombarding you. It’s oh so good to feel that warm fuzzy feeling of Fuzzy’s Tacos and remember that there is a magical thing about this time of year- in fact, you and 1000 of your closest Arvadans were there witnessing it together. So, hell yeah, Virginia, there really must be a Santa Claus and he’s living in all those smiling faces. (Now, for the love of the ghost of Christmas present, cue the snow it’s been way too warm here!)

THE DINNER: We picked Jordanian food for our sojourn this Sunday. I’m gearing up for what will undoubtedly be the busiest week of my year. EVERYTHING is happening in Brovskyland this week. I’ve been dealing with customs in Jordan’s neighboring country Israel and since we’ve already done the other neighbor Lebanon, it fell to Jordan this week to make an appearance.

Turns out, Jordanian food is exactly what you’d geographically expect– but I did learn some notable things about this one in my research. Ahem, please take notes. Mainly, the people of Jordan, eat very succinct meals and for most of them, Foul is present. Foul (pronounced “fool”) is very akin to hummus but made with fava bean instead of chickpeas. It’s a spread, a dip or a condiment to everything including breakfasts. We were celebrating L’s birthday, so a nice light lunch of foul sounded like the perfect foodie adventure.

Jordanian Foul Recipe: https://landlopers.com/2011/06/16/learning-make-foul-jordans-oldest-important-dishes

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Ease of prep and cooking: HALF STARS out of five for this recipe!
Well, hells bells, this one was a great follow up from last week’s equally easy recipe. Now, now, don’t mistake me– just because something is simplistic, doesn’t mean it’s not complex in flavors. I would even argue that simplicity is the best thing food can be. Along those lines, this one was a five ingredient wonder and took under an hour from boiling to taste buds. Not too shabby for a very busy weekend.

Best dish of all time scale: FOURish STARS out of five for this meal!
Ask and ye shall receive! We wanted to be satisfied and we were! In SPADES. Also we asked for the Broncos to knock it off with the losing already. Bonus points for that.

Alright… I’m gonna level with you- it’s hard to evaluate this one (or even ones “like this”) in that it’s so simple- how does one stack this up against #77: France? That was a five star but was off the scales on difficulty. No, to be fair, in comparison, it’s not close to being in the same league, but this was really delicious. It was sort of a game changer for the hummus crowd- it’s silky and smooth and buttery. It’s everything one might want in a dip. On that note, it’s easily five stars, but in context it’s more like four or three. So let’s split the difference and meet in the middle. I’m all about compromise, after all ๐Ÿ˜‰ We decided we could have endless options for tweaks to this one: it bears mentioning that we would throw some hot sauce in there for a spiced up version or throw in onion for a kicked up version … now excuse me while I make a fool of myself with the leftover Foul.

Next weekend marks 8 sleeps till Christmas and while everything is still holiday hustle and bustle, we will venture to #163 for a little Palau foodie fun.

Dreaming of a White Christmas (& a HAPPY HAPPY birthday for L <3),
โ€“ Kris

#161: Micronesia

The cure really is The Cure.
You feel me?

Sometimes you just have to jam out to music when you have to adult and don’t quite feel like it. That being said, I had my headphones glued to my ears all week long. It was that type of adulting this week (which is typical when coming off a holiday weekend). I hit the pop charts at a running start from Monday onward… and The Cure was the answer to all my problems. My mom often laughs at my mild obsession with this English band– but can you blame me? I learned my unquenchable love of British invasionists from her… I have long held this truth: “Lovesong” is one of the most romantic songs out there. Those lyrics are too good. Go ahead, google them and swoon. And while you’re at it, don’t stop there– live a little, the Brits were blowing up the social media with Harry’s engagement. Get down with your bad self and delve into the black hole that is British news right now. Next year will see a royal wedding and another royal baby. I had a friend mention to me this week that I was due for 2018 to be a spectacular year. At this rate, I think if I move to England I’ll already have hedged my bets on that one…

THE DINNER: While responsibilities had me pondering a trip across the pond, we took a culinary field trip to Micronesia for our blog this weekend. The respite was lovely, if I do say so. Something amazing about this time of year: all my weekends are full (read:jam packed) AND IT’S THE BEST! But getting to take a timeout to cook with my mom is probably even more magnified in the busy bustle.

Micronesia kicks off December for us. To be precise, it’s actually called “Federated States of Micronesia” and spans over 2100 islands divided into four states!! As one might suspect, this is a South Pac type of cuisine that bridges everything from French, English and whoever else settled and inhabited the islands in the course of it’s history. At the root,ย  it’s all taro, yam, bread-fruit, banana, and coconuts bringing together seafood, pig and chicken as main proteins. Rice is the staple carb and from there you find all manner of slow cooking methods from pit to spit. We chose to head that route for a Brovskyland favorite: BBQ. Polynesian/Micronesian/Indonesian pork ribs are slow marinated and then flame roasted for their version of BBQ.

Micronesian BBQ Pork Recipe: https://www.internationalcuisine.com/micronesian-bbq/

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Ease of prep and cooking: HALF STARS out of five this recipe!
After several weeks in a row of tough stuff, this was a relative cake walk… minus the cake, obviously, in favor of pork. It was all “throw it in a bowl, forget about it and then grill it up” kind of M.O…. and with that being the case, and no trips to a specialty market for meat or ingredients, this was half a star for difficulty.

Best dish of all time scale: THREE STARS out of five for this meal!
And thennnn it was just lack luster. I’m not sure where the train jumped the tracks, guys. We were poised for some really flavorful meat- what with the marinade looking the way it did. For the shear amount of vinegar and orange juice, the acidity should have done crazy wonderful things to the meat. Now, the acidity did seem to render the meat super tender, but as far as a flavor profile, it didn’t meet the mark. It was good still- just nothing to write home about. After all the insanely good meals we have enjoyed, we couldn’t give this one more than three stars in the blog presence of such food greatness.

Next weekend finds us gearing up for L’s birthday week and gearing up for #162 which will find us in Jordan. We are hoping this one leaves us a little more satisfied and is a lot more mouth watering.

“Whatever words I say… I will always love you”,
โ€“ L & K