#166: Burundi

Alright, I’ve finally seen the Star Wars.

Yes, all of this time I hadn’t seen any of them, which drove my SW loving friends bonkers. I now am totally hooked. They’re amazing. I would like to take this opportunity to eat some crow to that effect. All this time, I was missing out. Glad to be part of the party. HUGE thank you to my amazing boyfriend for making time to check this off my to-do list. He’s fantastic and I’m just the luckiest girl. (sorry, had to gush just a tad).

Next order of business, I have gotten to write for an amazing local beer review (The Denver Hopper)! As many of you already know, I’m super enthusiastic about drinking local craft brews– so this was such an awesome opportunity for me to contribute to the brewery scene I so often find myself immersed in. I wrote up Barrels and Bottles in Golden, so feel free to check that out (Barrels and Bottles- a Hoppily Ever After Beer Review)

If you would have told me a year ago- hell, six months ago even, that I would have TWO blogs I love in my life (read: food and beer) I would have thought you were in need of medical attention. AND YET here we are! I am so excited to be part of the hoppy family over at The Hopper. Fun things are certainly streaming in for 2018… and sometimes, I have to find myself asking, “Is this my real life?? Damnit, I’m happy.”

THE DINNER: Burundi is a landlocked nation in the middle of Africa… and for that, we can relate since the big C-O is landlocked as well. The main method of cooking in Brovskyland is probably grilling, but for Burundi it’s either boiled or stewed. Like many of it’s African neighbors, their main staples include plantains, legumes and maize. Stewed beans the most popular and common side dish and can be eaten as much as with every meal including breakfast…wow. Protein packed you ask? Sure thing– but it’s a rarity. They are mostly a vegetarian nation. If they do eat the meats, chances are it’ll be chicken or goat. Remember when we tackled goat meat for Kenya like 66 counties ago?! It was in fact a food adventure for our tummies on that one.

We picked a fish stew! Now, I gotcha, I did say it was landlocked, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t streams, rivers and fish available. Colorado is known for it’s amazing trout, despite being landlocked as well. This adventure included pairing this river fish with tomatoes and onions– which aren’t typically something I put in with my white fish. So hang tight, we are off to see how this one pans out! Out if the frying pan and into the fryer, so to speak anyway… this one is actually poached.

Burundian Mukéké Stew Recipe: http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/fish-in-tomato-sauce/

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Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five this meal!
This was miles easier to traverse than our last several weeks adventures. There were no strange ingredients, except substituting the Mukéké (larger mackerel type fish) for a similar white fish like cod or mackerel or halibut.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and A HALF STARS out of five for Meal!!
Typically this is a lunch dish in Burundi, so we obliged that tradition here. It was warm and surprisingly hearty for a lighter fish dish that didn’t have cream. We were astonished as how insanely spicy it was… though in full disclosure, it was of our own design and we took a small liberty with the recipe to get there. Instead of allowing the habenero to “poach” with the fish and take it out like a bay leaf, we decided, let’s just “go big or go home” and cut that bad boy up. We don’t shy away from spice here in Brovskyland… and boy was it all that and a bag of spicy chips. Lemme tell you! Dad didn’t even fisnish his portion- mom and I had seconds. It was a brow sweating and sinus clearing kind of meal. We loved every minute of it. Initially, we gave it a four and as we continued to burn off our faces, that number we up. The tomatoes and onions worked so well with the fish, not overpowering but accompanying. The fish was firm but flaky and light. The whole meal was a delightful dish. We might need to catch the rains down in Africa with Toto though to quench our singed tongues.

Off to #167 in the middle eastern nation of Qatar!

Cheers!
– L & K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#165: Republic of Mauritius

Compassion will always hurt if you’re doing it right.

It should rattle your gilded cage a little and make you remember even in the midst of your self pity that you have it oh so good. I get it– and it’s not a guilt trip. Maybe it’s just this time of year when everyone is concentrated on “me” that sticks in my craw… “my new years resolution/ the new me / the improved me / the better me” and it’s all well and good, but what is this new and improved you 2.0 doing for humanity this year? Now, before you get bristly about it, yes, I too have lost track of the good I wish to do for the world. But, let’s make sure we stick it to the man this year. I don’t care which man we stick it to, but please make sure you’re invested in making the world better while you’re making you better in 2018. We can all use a little help from our fellow humans. Let’s face it, it’s not fun to face the mess we make of one another; but in the end I believe that love is the best cure for that which ails us.Throw kindness around like confetti. It costs nothing to make people smile

So, I suppose I’ll take a reality check (up) with my gym membership this year, please and thank you. Rant over. Happy belated MLK Day and thank you to those that attended The Women’s Marches all over the nation this weekend 😉

THE DINNER: This little gem is a) hard to pronounce and b) not located where my brain initially thought it would be. Let me address item “a” first. It’s pronounced “Maw-ree-shuhs” (for those French ex pats: République de Maurice was the OG name for the island). Now for item “b”… over Tuesday pho, the boyfriend mentioned taking a vacation to a white sandy beach someplace. LORD HELP ME, my mind has been pretty fixated on that idea. As irony would have it, this country is in the Indian Ocean right off the eastern coast of Madagascar (recall those Peri Peri Prawns back in week #38? We do too, guys. We do too). Mauritius is known for their pristine oceans and mountainous hiking. It’s basically paradise. Let’s hope the food is just that too.

Doing my typical recipe hunt this week, we stumbled across a lot of Asian and French inspired food as well as Indian influence. Not surprising at all given the location. The recipe we settled on is a kin to Chinese Lo Mein — shrimp/chicken and stir fried goodness awaits! Can’t say no to a good noodle dish around here, now can we?

Mine Frite Au Poulet Recipe: http://confessionsofafoodaholic017.blogspot.com/2013/05/mauritian-fried-noddles-mine-frite-au.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: THREE STARS out of five this meal!
There was translation involved here, and there was a lot of “mise en place” (which I learned on Kid’s Baking Challenge). Was there as much as Morocco in week #2? Not even remotely. But it did add time and patience to the meter. We also had a special trip to H Mart to procure noodles, etc, so it was not a cake walk– but worth it. See below.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
The snow had us jonesing for something warm and inviting… typically since it’s football day, that means chili on days like this– but wow, did this one hit the mark like a well placed dart. The noodles held up phenomenally against the stir frying and the protein packed dance (shrimp and chicken!? holla at your boy, friends). Then there was the cabbage and veggies that added lovely texture. I have to admit, as did mom and dad, that the egg was the best part. What a great spongy little addition to the mix! With all things considered, we wanted for some chili sauce for a little spice (but that was in the recipe, so we weren’t stretching our culinary legs much).

For the next fun sized portion of foodie madness we will dive into #166 with a visit to Burundi. Can’t wait to see what there will be in terms of food for this one. I feel like classic African food is most certainly in our future though.

May the Force Be With You!
– L & K

#164: Cape Verde Islands

May 2017 find you at war with your vices and at peace with your virtues.

I’ve got to confess, so far this year is off to the exact right start. Now, now, now! I hear you in the back row. Yes, I am aware we are x amount of days, hours, minutes into this thing– but talking from a place of “the last two years were totally awful”, I can already feel a marked change in the tenor of this one. I’ll be damned if it isn’t already vastly better. Heading into the belly of National Western Stock Show season and on the brink of spring soccer, it’s all starting to align. I usually dread this time of year to be honest. You’re sort of coming off the proverbial holiday hangover. The lights aren’t twinkling and the magic feeling has left with the chime of NYE midnight just like Cinderella warned you it would… and yet, from where I’m standing- it’s still champagne and rose colored glasses. Which, knock me over with a feather, is pretty unnerving in all the best ways. So, yeah, best year ever so far, amiright?

THE DINNER: Rolling right along, we picked up an African country for a little island culinary love. Kicking this new year off on the correct, right, true north as best we could– we wondered how this last year of cooking was going to treat us. We have a mere 31 countries to tick off the meter. That’s a staggering 86% completion of our three year cooking project!!! WOWZERS, kiddos. That’s a lifetime in puppy years.

#164 took us to the Cape Verde Islands for a little Portuguese number involving peppers, chicken and saffron ❤ oh, how we love our little saffron star of the show around here. It’s not unusual as we have found to have Portuguese inspiration for territories and islands inhabited by the motherland… here we find nothing different.

Chicken and Peppers with Saffron Recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/4535-chicken-breasts-with-peppers-tomatoes-and-saffron

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
High brow recipe pull from The New York (freaking) Times affords that we didn’t have to lift a neuron to translate, convert or compile anything for this one, ladies and gentlemen! Three cheers for some laziness for once as this is a gravity not seen here on this blog often. There was a grand total of “60 min” allotted to the recipe and that seemed about correct when all was said and done, though the recipe says “30 min”. Overall, we decided two stars was probably on par for the elements encountered here.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR STARS out of five for Meal!!
This was really yummy, so don’t let the four stars buck you off the bull (sorry, rodeo on the brain from this weekend’s adventures). It was flavorful, though we wanted more spice. It was saucy, though we wanted it to be thicker. While it wasn’t exactly on the mark for several components, it was satisfying and hearty. The peppers held up to the chicken nicely- and I’ll be a monkey’s aunt if we don’t love some saffron up in Brovskyland as well as our favorite little secret weapon shallot <3. It’s hard to complain about a nice meal, so I will leave you with that. I mean, it wasn’t a home-run, but it probably rounded third base.

With the National Western Stock Show in full swing, we will make sure to have our boots polished and our hats on for a little trip to #165 for the Republic of Mauritius.

Cheers!
– L & K