#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

#173: Armenia

Ever feel like you need a weekend from your weekend?

Like your vacation was more reaction than relaxin’? That’s how I feel today. I’m not saying it wasn’t a great weekend. It was all that and a bag of chips dot com. But, I am actually digging the fact that hitting the ground running on a Monday morning still was more relaxing than the past three days. Three dozen cookies, five layer cake (times two because I messed it up once and had to remake it), soccer games complete with epic bruises, a beer fest and a baby shower. It was jam packed fun in the Colorado sun… and speaking of which, big shout out to the 85 degree weather we all soaked up. Couldn’t have done it without you 😉

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THE DINNER: If you were guessing that I didn’t make it around to a visit with my folks this weekend, you’d be batting 1000 (and not playing for the Rockies). L flew to Armenia solo this Sunday and did some baking of her own in the form of a orange marmalade cake. I had to laugh because Ned and I just finished watching both the Paddington bear movies. For those still struggling to make a connection here, let me help you out. Monday’s are hard. Paddington bear eats nothing but orange marmalade. So this was serendipity at it’s finest.

The basis of the cuisine in this nation is, as one might guess, geographically rooted in middle eastern flavors and lamb/kabob/gyro sort of feasting. This cake contains two whole oranges…yes WHOLE. Rinds and all. There’s also a revisiting to ground up almonds that we are big fans of in this past year (having made several baked goods for this blog project that featured this as a flour substitute). You gotta love a gluten free cake…. but after our last endeavor with the flour-less chocolate scrambled egg mess we endured for Gabon in week #72, you’d see why we were gun shy. But 101 countries later, we are back on the horse. Hold on, guys.

Armenian Orange Cake Recipe: https://aroundtheworldin80bakes.com/2013/07/27/52-armenian-orange-and-almond-cake-incidentally-also-gluten-free-and-a-giveaway/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 2 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
These oranges biol for two hours then you have to pulverize the living daylights out of them. So this one is sort of time intensive. Additionally the timing of the baking is hard without flour. So texture is where it’s at here. Weathered and watchful eyes. A bit of conversion was needed, but the ingredient list was short and sweet.

Best dish of all time scale: 4 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
Redemption story here, ladies and gents! It was finally a successful flour-less cake and boy, that’s good news because scrambled egg cake isn’t a sweet treat to have. The almonds offered a little nut profile, and the orange made this cake so very moist and dense. While L+A aren’t massive fans of flour-less cakes, they just felt like maybe it needed to be a tad sweeter. Perhaps the addition of a dark chocolate drizzle would have kicked it up a few points. Regardless, it was a success. This one was edible and it was another country on the books. That puts us 21 countries from completion.

We are off into Cinco De Mayo (or rather Cinco De Maggie) as well as Derby Day! Brush off those floppy hats, dresses and margaritas. We are mixing and matching our holidays around the 5280! Our #174 country will be Kazakhstan. 

Happy anniversary to Dan + Jess ❤

May the 4th be with you this Friday! 
– L & K

#172: Mongolia

“And above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places…and those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” –Roald Dahl

As spring has sprung and the days are getting longer, the temps are getting higher and my patience for wearing shoes is wearing thin- I am reminded this week of this quote. If you don’t have at least one moment in a day where you stop and think “wow, this is magical and madness.” You’re not doing it right. I am constantly in awe of the world around me. It’s great and terrible beauty. The way the human body adapts and innovates both socially and physically. The way that no matter how much I dream of having a green thumb, pigeons always nest in my planters. The way that the sun also rises (it’s a metaphor and a reality here, guys). Regardless, I just wanted to take a second and remind you to take a second. Concentrate on finding the glitter and the magic. It’s not as far as it feels.

THE DINNER: Rolling in hot off the birthday weekend for Dan, we came in to make some food from our Asian heartthrob, Mongolia. Now the Americanized version of “Mongolian” food is the only yard stick with which to measure this love affair we have with the nation… but we figure this is a launching pad if any to pilot their culturally true cuisine in Brovskyland. For this we were thankful and excited.

Mongolian soup was the menu item we picked—and it was called Guriltai Shul. This dish is a basic “pho” style broth soup with beef and the veggies you would expect from the Asian countries. The kicker here is that the veggies and meat is fried—they call those shul. This gives the soup an amazing and distinct texture. Now, before you get too hung up in arms (like my sister will be) that we are serving soup and it’s been so warm, we still are in the last few weeks of our snowiest months and the ski areas are still open for business, folks. So hold your horses and slurp that soup.

Mongolian Guriltai Shul Recipe: https://www.agfg.com.au/guide/recipes/recipe/mongolian-noodle-soup-guriltai-

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 1 STAR out of 5 STARS for this meal!
There were no rice noodles to be found at kings, but luck would have it that we stock pile that stuff at casa de my folks. No harm, no foul. We were easily able to come by the four root veggies called for (onion, carrot, turnip and potato) without any fuss and the meat was simply sourced as well. Without conversion or translation, this one was easy peezey.

Best dish of all time scale: 4 STARS out of 5 for this meal!!
This wasn’t very flavor packed and comparatively to other soups that we have tackled from other countries, this was just not that exciting. All that being correct and true, the damn meat in this recipe was out of this world and we all agreed that if it were just about that component that this would have easily scored a 5 flat. Since it was not, the other components didn’t exactly detract, only to say that it was sort of bland. The addition of sriracha and green onion to garish did improve that a bit. Overall, hearty and simple. I should not that if you follow the recipe, we cut it in half and it still made enough for 8 people EASILY…

That’s all we have, as we dancing our ways into the end of April (ALREADY) and that means that April showers should be bringing us May flowers and hopefully some excellent grub from our #173 country, Armenia.

Wait for the Magic, Guys ❤ 
– L & K

#171: Barbados

Happy Belated to all those birthday babes out there!

Ahhh, these past weeks found a few of us a year older and for me, none the wiser but all the happier. We are knee deep in 16 candle type wishes and Rockies opening weekends. From where I’m standing it’s all baseball and cherry blossoms and soccer tans around here. I snuck away from the snow with the best guy I know to sunny California for meeting family and witnessing wedding bells. I couldn’t have imaged a better time to be had with better humans. It was beyond hard to board that return flight.

THE DINNER: L was flying solo while I was soaking up the surf and sun! It was lovely for her to have a little island in her snowy Colorado weekend– so she hit Barbados to bake up some coconut hand cakes. They are basically coconut turnovers…popovers? For those that haven’t had a popover, allow me to enlighten- NAY, change your life. Popovers came into my life when Kiki moved to Charleston, SC. They are these pillows of dough that taste like pie crust but texture wise are more like biscuits. When you bite into these suckers, you immediately have airy fluff of warm gooey middle… and it’s hard to describe, but if you come across one on any menu in the future, my hope for you is that you don’t hesitate and order the hell out of them. You can thank me later, gator.

Barbados Coconut Turnover Recipe: https://www.allaboutcuisines.com/recipe/barbados-coconut-turnovers

OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 3 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
So, my mom is a seasoned baker… so for her to give this one a three stars made me stand up and pay massive amounts of attention. It was attributed to quartering and proofing and handling dough in general. Then there was the filling. It’s a whole shebang– but without any specialty ingredients. This was 110% labor intensive… Labor of love.

Best dish of all time scale: 4.5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!!
Everything a taste of Barbados should be: “tropical” and “coconut forward”. The dough was soft and pillowy. Sweet and simple like a dense, humid island breeze. It wasn’t rich and over the top. It was satisfying. A birthday treat. And yeah, they might not be the prettiest thing on the menu, but this is that lesson that you got taught in grade school come home to roost– don’t judge a book by it’s cover, guys. It’s a beautiful thing when you’re taste-buds overrule your eyeballs.

We will hang out for Dan’s birthday this Sunday with a special appearance from Mongolia for #172!! We have 23 countries to go ladies and gentleman!

Hold on Easy,
– L & K