#180: Antigua and Barbuda

France won!!

I think this is where we talk about redemption and all that after that piss poor showing in the 1999 cup, but really all I want to talk about is that instant replay situation that cost Croatia a PK and subsequently made world soccer history. The fact that a hand ball was called using technology was BONKERS. Apart from that, it didn’t dictate the outcome of the match, but it did effect the momentum and morale. If not for an owned goal and that PK, it would have been a tied match. The use of instant replay to change on field calls is something that shouldn’t be allowed to infiltrate soccer…. I wouldn’t hate reviewing goals, but not plays or handballs like they did this Sunday in Russia. No complaints here, I thought it was interesting soccer and good viewing. Just something a little strange that added to an otherwise high scoring match. I gotta say, those goals were all stunning. Little heart shaped eye emoji to my guy Ned for making breakfast and watching me yell for 90 minutes.

THE DINNER: We went to Antigua and Barbuda for some island cooking this weekend. It was a rainy Sunday, so soup was on the menu! This one is called “Pepperpot Soup” and it’s peppery and veggie packed. The islands are known for soups like this that are similar to South Pacific hotpot. The ingredients are typically local and this one features some sweet potatoes!

Pepperpot Soup Recipe: https://littlelostcook.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/8-antigua-en-barbuda-pepperpot-soup-and-ducuna/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 1 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
The nature of soup is it’s simplicity. You throw all the ingredients in a pot and let them get happy. That’s really all we did here. No translations. All around no conversions or metrics! (we did have to use green beans in place of okra due to time of year)

Best dish of all time scale: 4.5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
For someone who hated sweet potatoes all her life, my mom loved this soup! While it was spicy and peppery the potatoes cut that with their sweetness and starch. Magical it was said Yoda. The beef sirloin was tender and hearty- while also managing to not be stringy or sinewy. We used green beans as a substitute for okra and that was awesome. Fresh green beans add such a great texture and honestly, I’m spoiled now and can’t even think about canned ones.  It was just what the doctor ordered!

Back firing on all cylinders we will be hitting up #181 for Kyrgyzstan! This means we are 14 countries away from being done and that’s incredible! Closing out this project of 4 years will be something miraculous and amazing.

 Great Match France! 
– L & K

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#179: Iraq

Music City was where I found myself last week. In the midst of humidity warnings and harmonious live acts, the Grand Ole Opry and the Patsy Cline Museum were obligatory stops on my long weekend in Nashville. Did you know though, that Nashville is the bachelorette capital of the East? They actually call this place “Nash-Vegas” and you will literally see hoards of gals running around town in matching t-shirts and getting into mischief. It’s a spectacle for sure. I never really understood the Bachelorette thing, but those ladies sure looked like they were having a good time. OHHHH, and lest I get ahead of myself and am remiss in mentioning the BBQ, that was out of this world. Spicy chicken might never be the same to me now.

THE DINNER: While I was away, L tackled Iraq by making some kebabs and chicken of her own. Not the Nashville Hot Chicken I was tucking into, but a Middle Eastern version of the grilled meat. This is called “Shish Tawook” where “shish” is “to skewer” and “tawook” means the cluck cluck meat part (read: Chicken). Common marinades for these babies are yogurt and tomato puree, and we did the later. Veggies range from onion to peppers to other meats and typically it’s whatever is available and seasonal. They’re a huge communal tie for Middle Eastern countries…. you bring everyone together to grab a skewer and you can feed a hungry crowd quickly and deliciously. It’s street food with a family flair.

Iraqi Shish Tawook Recipe: https://fastpaleo.com/recipe/middle-eastern-shish-tawook/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 2 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Not too tricky slight of hand here. The time for marinading will add to your schedule, but it’s not like you have baby sit it. The art of grilling chicken comes into play as well, since I happen to find that a hard undertaking personally. In order to cook it all the way but not dry it out, you need a little skill that lucky for me, my mom possesses. The last bit is obviously the assembly which is labor intensive. All around no conversions or metrics!

Best dish of all time scale: 4 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
If we are really being honest, there’s nothing particularly exciting about kebabs. That’s not to say they aren’t yummy, satisfying and hearty- it’s just that they’re not memorable. That’s there we landed with this dish. Marinade was simple and added some tomato acidity to the chicken. Fresh parsley stole the show. It was light and summery and overall nailed down a 4/5 stars. No one was disappointed here.

Let’s make sure to drink lot of water and be thankful for the rain we got this last weekend as we venture into the week of our annual Women’s Blast Cup! Excited for some new faces and old faces and all the soccer!! #180 is going to take us to the island of Antigua and Barbuda!

 Cheers! 
– L & K

#178: Serbia

Having BBQs on patios now comes with the added bonus of getting to snuggle up on newborn infants as I recently learned. My friend’s have used their chromosomes to make some pretty darling darlings and it’s hard to not want to nestle the little babies in your purse and walk out like nothing happened. Can you even imagine how tiny baby fingernails are?! TINY. And little toenails are also tiny. What amazing things that they grow into full size fingernails and toenails. I wonder if anyone realizes this stuff but me sometimes… regardless, shout out to our guest cooks this Sunday! Zach grilled up anything and everything which included some kick ass salmon and in the rain none the less! I might be in a food coma till next summer.

THE DINNER: I baked a triple berry pie and cuddled on patios, but L made some Serbian Pljeskavica which are burgers. It was All American without being anywhere close to All American. So testing out burgers from another country was really interesting and fun. The Pljeskavica are Serbian pork or beef and served in flat bread instead of on traditional burger buns. The toppings include onions and a red pepper spread called ajvar which is a relish more or less.  It’s grilled eggplant and peppers all processed together to get all happy and lovely.

Serbian Pljeskavica Recipe: http://cookingtheglobe.com/pljeskavica-serbian-burger-recipe/
Serbian Ajvar Recipe: http://cookingtheglobe.com/ajvar-recipe-serbian-red-pepper-relish/

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Ease of prep and cooking: 3 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Lots of moving parts, but nothing outside of what “normal american burgers” would entail. We had to use a cheese substitute for the Kajmal hat was asked for by using Gallego which is a Spanish soft cheese instead. Some Conversion was require in making the ajvar but this was WELL WORTH the effort.

Best dish of all time scale: 4.75 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
Homemade ajvar is where it’s at friends! simply delicious. The grilled eggplant and red pepper tag team was wonderful and blended into what was really a hummus. The flat bread pita that was used to house this power house was really complimentary of the flavors and didn’t compete for the lime light. Creamy cheese, crunchy pinon nuts and zesty onion and pickles really rounded out the textures and flavors. It’s everything you would want. Well played, Serbia!

Watching some World Cup and slide tackling #179 for Iraq!

 BABY NAILSSSS! 
– L & K

#177: Kuwait

It’s been hot and heavy here in the Mile High City. Two large fires both on I-25 raged this weekend and it’s like the whole world is on fire at this point. It’s sad to think how dependent we are on the rainfall and snow pack even when we are such a technological powerhouse of time periods. On the heels of our independence day, it’s hard to not want to grill, smoke s’mores over open fires and blast off sparklers to your heart’s content… but with some caution, celebrate our escape from tyranny carefully this year guys!

DINNER: Ku-waiting for the remaining 18 food countries here in the Mile High City, we picked up our forks and ventured to the desert for some Kuwaiti cuisine. See what I did there? Ku-waiting? Alright, maybe this crazy Colorado heat wave has scrambled some of my brain… moving on. In an effort to not slave over a hot stove, we picked Kuwaiti sweet dumplings called “Luqaimat” which are basically doughnuts topped with honey. Don’t call me honey, darling. ALRIGHT, I swear that’s probably the last pun for this post.

Kuwaiti Luqaimat Recipe: https://www.munatycooking.com/sweet-dumplings-luqaimat

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 3 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Frying and making doughnuts is a little labor intensive. This one was no exception to the rule. The ingredient list was short though and there were no special trips to special markets. No conversion or translations so that helps things move along. Be careful frying!

Best dish of all time scale: 3.5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
Nothing really earth rattling here, but I mean who doesn’t love fried dough when it comes down to it? Right, no one hates what we were putting down here. There was something sort of odd about putting saffron in the batter and the cardamom played nicely with the honey that enveloped the warm dumplings. The texture was doughy as one might expect and while we didn’t hate them and ate them all, we just weren’t impressed enough to level more than 3.5 stars.

Off to the next country #178 for the food of Serbia! This one will hopefully include lamb in some form, but I’m never ceased to be amazed at what strange turns out recipe hunts produce. So perhaps we will be surprised!

 All our happiest moments include food! 
– L & K

#176: Bhutan

“What is music? How do you define it? Music is a calm moonlit night. The rustle of leaves in summer” – Sergi Rachmaninoff

The moonlit summer night in question was Thursday’s Colorado Symphony Orchestra concert that Ned took me to see. They played my favorite composer at my favorite venue with my favorite guy. I just don’t know how it could possibly get better than this. Perfect way to say goodbye to May… and hello June came in the form of celebrating one Miss AK’s 30th birthday with a swanky, bourgeoisie fest in Vail. Three decades of time passes quickly and slowly, with tears and smiles. It’s denoted by triple xxx’s on the roman numeral system and is the smallest sphenic number. It’s the code for international phone calls to Greece. It’s zinc on the periodic table of elements and it also happens to be the minimum age to be a US senator (which is just about as ironic as it gets when you know her). Saying goodbye to your roaring 20’s can be a bittersweet affair, but when you’re with the sweetest gals a lady could ask for, you’re bound to feel like you’re at least coping well with the passing of time. So bring on the 30 something’s– I hear they’re the new 20’s anyway. Happy Birthday, Audrey E. Kline. We love you to pieces in Brovskyland!

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THE DINNER: Returning from the Four Seasons Beaver Creek, my first mission was to figure out Bhutan. Where is Bhutan one might ask? I assure you that you are not alone. It’s in South Asia nestled up in the Himalayan Mountains much like we are nestled up in the Rocky Mountains. They have similar food profiles of other surrounding countries, but particularly southern China and Mongolia. The dish we picked reminded me of Mongolian food more than anyplace else, so it was nice to be back in the saddle as far as cooking with my mom this weekend.

This dish was called Jasha Maroo and it’s basically “spicy chicken chili stew stir fry”… and it’s as lovely as it sounds and just under a four alarm fire according to my dad. The dish features not one but two types of spicy peppers, chicken and onion. That’s pretty basic when you add in some tomato puree, ginger and garlic.

Bhutanese Jasha Maroo Recipe: https://whatanindianrecipe.com/international/bhutanese-chilli-chicken-recipe.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 1 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
EASY. That’s all she wrote, guys. But seriously, it’s not hard apart from having to deal with a little bit of conversion. The ingredients were local and the prep was quick and dirty. Nothing to write home about.

Best dish of all time scale: 5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
Hells Belles, this was delicious. We tripled the recipe and BARELY had leftovers. We all loved it and it was a unanimous 5 stars– which never happens if you’ve been around for this 4 year trek into food abyss. It’s all due to the spice and the breading on the fried chicken. Something magical happens when you take cornmeal and bread then fry meat. It creates this amazing texture that is unlike anything else and then you get “little crispies” as my dad calls then in the sauce adding to the texture. It’s highlighted for me by the spiciness of the peppers (jalapeno + Serrano dream team) but also the ginger cut that bite nicely. Well balanced and succinct. This was a home run (see what I did there, Rockies. Work on it, please).

We are playing some outdoor soccer and gearing up for vacations in Brovskyland this week, but we can always make a little time for  #177 on a trip to Kuwait! Easily it’s going to be hotter in Kuwait than here, so I think we will be good to go 😉

 Love and Good Food, ya’ll! 
– L & K

#175: Samoa

Memorial Day is already gone and chances are high that June is going to follow suit and fly by just as fast. It’s amazing how quickly time passes when you’re having fun- even if that fun is mostly sedentary as you’re still nursing an open wound on your calf. Is that oddly specific? Yeah, I though so. Regardless, we always have time for family and sitting around a table to have a meal together. It’s a bonus if we cook the meal, but the time together is really the most important aspect.

THE DINNER: Catching up from my injury hiatus, I spent Samoa on the IR list as my granddad would have said. I can’t have soy sauce and this one called for a whopping 1/4 cup of the silk salty stuff, so I was out. But if you were in the camp that really was hoping we were making Samoa cookies for this country, you’re not alone. You’re also wrong in thinking that the namesake coconut and chocolate disks from the heavens were from the country we tackled this week. They are a creation of their girl scout overlords and while we are grateful for their presence in our lives, we cannot attribute them to the blog.

We made Huli Huli Chicken- which is the south pac response to the southern bourbon chicken. Not too long ago, my pal Billy O’Donnell stopped by Denver on his way to Oregon. We both miss Bourbon chicken from Bojangles‘. As fate would have it, this was similar but more ethnic and therefore much more exciting. We love a good food adventure.

Huli Huli Chicken Recipe: https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/huli-huli-chicken-bites-recipe/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 2 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Nothing like the previous country meal that’s for damn sure, but still required some prep and effort. It didn’t need to be translated or converted. It was a typical Sunday meal situation.

Best dish of all time scale: 5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
Wowza! It might not have been hard but it sure as hell was tasty! Something magical happens when you mix pineapple juice with garlic and soy sauce. Ginger added a little spice but the overall sticky sweet carmelization of this chicken was out of control. It almost felt decadent when all was said and done. Big fans of pairing great sauces like this one with white rice as it soaks up all the goodness and redistributes it.

Moving along at the speed of time and turtles, we are getting set to hit  #176 in Bhutan!

Stay Cool, Denver! 
– L & K

#174: Kazakhstan

So it’s been a minute since we posted, but that’s not due to any food related vacation we took. Au contraire, we have cooked two countries since my last official posting. For those catching up, this soccer girl post Cinco De Maggie (Maggie’s cinco de mayo birthday celebration) spent some time in the ER for a pretty serious hematoma. All’s well that ends well, but four weeks removed I have had the hematoma turned abscess drained and am almost done with my antibiotics for the ensuing staph infection. It’s getting back to normal around here finally and we took a little time to kick back this memorial day weekend and relax.

THE DINNER: We ventured to Kazakhstan in search of some traditional beef with dumpling noodles. This dish is called Kazakh Beshbarmak which means “five fingers”. Maybe because that’s how many are in a high five? I see what you’re getting at Kazakhstan. This dish of boiled meat is the country’s most popular dish. It’s also traditionally made with mutton or horse meat, so I feel a little deviation coming on 😉

Kazakh Beshbarmak Recipe:  https://www.internationalcuisine.com/kazakh-beshbarmak/http://carpeseason.com/traditional-kazakh-beef-pilaf/ 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 5 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Okayyyy guys. Hold on to your horse meat! This one is going to be tricky, but it’s also going to be well worth the effort– such is the story of life right? This was a conversion from metric, dumpling noodles made from scratch, long time for cooking messy Sunday endevour. All that aside, it’s more labor of love than anything else.

Best dish of all time scale: 5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
It was spectacular! The homemade noodle dumplings were magical and chewy, while the bone in meat made the brother super dense and flavor packed. The little bit of flour from the dumplings made the broth thicken just a little and added to the overall texture of the background. This was amazing. Sorry to disappoint, but no horse meat here. This is Bronco’s country. That shit is illegal here. The best part was the earthy kick from the homegrown chives that garnished. A little tang and crisp from the onions all played really nice with the succulent spare ribs. Well played, Kazakh.

Tipping over the memorial day weekend and into June we will travel to the #175 country of Samoa! Now I know what you’re thinking, but no, we aren’t making cookies next week. Nice try.

Happy Memorial Day! 
– L & K