#184: Afghanistan

With moving palooza underway here in Brovskyland, it seems like everyone is in the midst of moving! L&J moved in July, K&C moved this week, Ned and I are moving next week, B&B and P&Z have upcoming moves in October. It’s been a lot of sad and happy and boxes and tape. They say, home is where your mom is…. so really it’s not home unless you’re moving back with your folks. Luckily for me, I am moving 2 miles from mine, so that more or less covers the bases. Speaking of bases, those Rockies have to win or they’re eliminated. So let’s get on it. #roxtober

THE DINNER: We made a Bolani (sometimes called Perakai or Poraki) this week for the blog. We ventured to Afghanistan where this flat bread is filled with veggies and fried in oil….and sometimes baked. But if we are being honest, which we should always aim to be, fried is life. Our recipe pull called for potatoes, green onion, bell pepper and cilantro to use as the filling to this golden brown pocket of heaven.

Afghan Bolani Recipe:  http://foodtasia.com/afghani-bolani-potato-green-onion-stuffed-flatbread/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 3 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
After a couple weeks of pretty easy preps and recipes, it was bound to come in with a higher level of difficulty. Here we are! The dough was fairly loose and sticky, making it hard to roll and control (rhyme intended. You’re welcome.). No translations and no conversions though, so this sat at the middle of the star pile just taking up time.

Best dish of all time scale: 4.5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
“By Golly, these potato, onion, pepper and cilantro pockets were awesome!” was the letter written home on this week’s culinary journey. My mom mentioned that it was crispy dough and jam packed with flavor which is interesting because there’s not a lot of herbs or seasonings. My dad, A, hates cilantro, and loved these, so for those that find it a deterrent, don’t run. Enjoy this little trip to the Middle East 😉

We are into the last 10 countries on the home stretch here on AW195S. Can you even believe it?! Looking back, it’s been just under 4 years of cooking fun and family time. We have learned so much about geography and cultures as well as cooking styles. It’s been a blast. #185 finds us in St. Lucia.

Happy Belated B-Day to A!! 
– L & K

#183: Papua New Guinea

We are back at GABF and Oktoberfest this weekend here in the Mile High! Once a year, our fair city turns into beer mecca for a whole three days worth of chaos. It’s the largest beer festival around and many call it the Super Bowl of beer. We did the math last year, and if you were able to taste all the samples at the Great American Beer Festival in your 4 hour tour (granted that 1oz pours of each sample) you would SINGLE-HANDEDLY be drinking 2 kegs yourself. In four hours. And them ain’t pony kegs, partner.

So needless to say, while impossible and daunting, to those about to rock, we salute you 😉 God Speed.

THE DINNER: Guys, 85% of the Guinean people are rural! That means that there’s less of an emphasis on “street food” and a stronger (albeit, mostly unintentional) drive for farm to table foods. Lots of root veggies like Taro and lots of fruits like passion fruit color the palate of Guinean cuisine. While geographically, one might think they fall into the Asian influence for their flavors, it’s more akin to Oceanic countries (think back to 8th grade geography here with me, folks. That’s Australian, New Zealand, etc).

Rice being a strong contender for main starch source, we went into a dessert mode and made these banana tapioca dumplings. Usually these puppies are cooked/steamed in a pit or over flames in banana leaves, but we improved in Colorado for this one.

Guinean Tapioca Dumpling Recipe:  http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/tapioca-banana-dumplings-in-coconut-milk-saksak/ 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 1.5 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Ridiculously easy, ladies and gents! No metric conversions or translations and there were no specialty ingredients! Mom opted for foil instead of leaves because the market didn’t have any fresh ones, and we don’t like to use bad ingredients.

Best dish of all time scale: 3 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
Down to brass tacks, it was dumplings. I sat this one out because two foods out of all foods that I don’t like are 1. Tapioca/rice pudding and 2. bananas. So this one was not for me, and that’s alright. Came back as large dumplings and unfortunately seemed a bit rubbery for my mom’s taste — and she’s a connoisseur of tapioca. Textural disappointment aside, it as not as banana forward and one might expect or like. Not a winner, but now, they can’t all be.

Rounding home plate with 11 countries left, we make our way to Afghanistan for #184.

Drink safe this weekend Denver!! 
– L & K

#182: Sao Tome and Principe

“See the pyramids along the Nile. Watch a sunrise from a tropic isle… just remember, darling, all the while… you belong to me….”

It’s been some dog days for sure around here! After some incredible fun in the sun in La Jolla (minus one sting ray injury) with Ned’s amazing family, we find ourselves smack dab at the cusp of my FAVORITE time of year.

4906F3B5-5775-4EE4-8F2D-1E8BB26A0A93I know what people say, and sure it’s partially true, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year **insert eye roll** but i feel like it’s bigger than that. The most wonderful time of the year is the beginning of fall soccer season through New Years Day. I mean, stay with me here guys, allow me to explain the crazy because I realize that’s a little under half of the year. But with the advent of fall soccer season there is football season, changing of the leaves in the high country, apple ciders and pumpkin everything, GABF and Oktoberfest, Halloween, thanksgiving, snow and sweaters and boots and then Christmas! It’s THE BEST THINGS!
So forgive me for not having posted, but evidently things are happening, and GUYS at the risk of sounding like a cliche rock ballad, I just don’t wanna miss a thing!

THE DINNER: While I was in a sea kayak somewhere in the pacific ocean, mom was cooking up an island dish of her own! She took some cooking to the island of Sao Tome and Principe (the second smallest African country/island after the Seychelles). The island nation was originally settled by the Portugese and thus was home to a lucrative plantation economy heavily dependent on slavery from the next door main land. It’s proximity to the equator maens that it’s native rich volcanic soil brings all that good sugar, cocoa and COFFEE. And all the Lord’s people said, AMEN.

As one might guess, since it’s an island, they eat mainly chicken and seafood. Their main source of carb is maize and rice like many African nations of the same. Coffee is used as spice here… so let’s get another amen for that, people. They know how to roll there, I suppose.

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 1.5 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
Simplicity is the name of the game as it’s been for all the African countries we have had so far! Just some chopping and sauteing. Apart from that, no metric conversions or translations and there were no specialty ingredients!

Best dish of all time scale: 4.5 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
L & A loved this hearty and healthy stew (shhh, don’t tell my dad!). We took a little liberty with the fresh herb choice and went with basil from my mom’s garden, because when in doubt, we always choose basil. Tomato and chicken paired together well, as the acidity helps soften the meat. The reviews stated “it was perfect, light and delicious”.

Alrighty folks! We have 12 countries to go! I know, right?! ONLY 12 left!? We are hitting a double header with Papua New Guinea for #183!! 

 Well done sneaking in at the last minute this weekend Broncos!! 
– L & K

#181: Kyrgyzstan

The lyrics to “forever and for always” have been on repeat in my head since the Shania Twain concert on Friday night. The smell of campfire still seems to be in my hair even after 4 washes. It was a wonderful weekend of friends, wilderness and WeldWerks. Back in town, L & A took after painting the ol’ Brovsky homestead and boy, does she look like a beaut, guys. It’s all fun and games till we had to all go back to adulting on Monday morning.

And despite my hives still in full swing and work being insanely busy, I’m still in awe at how it’s already August. Fun things coming up? Well, moving trucks are honking as Ned and I are starting the search for a place. Soccer season is nearly upon us and Kim and I are going to rock some U10 girl’s coaching escapades. There’s some more BBQing, vacations and patio time in store for the remainder of the dog days, so don’t worry, Colorado, we aren’t done yet— but thank you for the cooler temperatures!

THE DINNER: This was more of a dessert– but if i were a betting woman, I’d venture that it might have served as dinner for two hungry and paint weary Brovskys… just taking a stab at it. This week’s country was a solo mission for L as we took a dessert break in the desert for Kyrgyzstan. I have to get a running start at spelling that monster, by the way. The dish was basically apple cake. It’s a semi-nomadic lifestyle these people adhere to, which you know I can totally dig on. They have simple requirements for food, and this one is no exception. It’s thought that this recipe or some variant on the recipe is thousands of years old.

Kyrgyzstan Apple Cake Recipe: https://www.internationalcuisine.com/kyrgyzstan-apple-cake/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 1 STARS out of 5 STARS for this meal!
I warned you in the intro this week that these were simple humans. There were a handful of ingredients. They were easy to find and not a problem to prep. There were no conversions or translations making sure this one clocked in at a 1 star for trickiness. Feel free to do some handstands to spice up the challenge level if you’re so inclined. We don’t want you to get complacent.

Best dish of all time scale: 4 STARS out of 5 for this meal!! 
With the 5 ingredient fix that occurred, one might be tempted to think that there’s no way this one could be yummy/flavorful/amazing and that person would be wrong. I would think that the fluffy, cloud of sweetness that these apples were suspended in was due to the eggs. The cake wasn’t overly saccharine nor was it un-dessert-like. It was satisfying and unlike anything we have had in terms of apple cake before. Well worth the one star effort to make this one, ladies and gents.

We will be off to South African nation of Sao Tome and Principe for #182 next weekend and it’s going to hit all the bases we typically don’t associate with “African” food (read: island food and sea locked countries). We are excited to be heading into football season shortly here in the 5280. FOOTBALL IS COMING (a la Game of Throne. you’re welcome).

 Keeping you, forever and for always! ❤ 
– L & K

 

#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

#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