Liberia…

Monday, November 25 –

One more for today, because I’m trying to get caught up before more holiday craziness hits.photo 2 (2)

This one was just Husband and me. And I didn’t quite stay true to the recipe, but it turned out delicious.

We cooked 3 slices of bacon, cut into little pieces. Then I cooked the onion and green bell pepper in the bacon fat. Then I pushed the veggies over and cooked the cut up chicken breasts in the bacon fat and veggie juices. Once the chicken was almost done, I added the spices, asking Husband “Can I burn your face off tonight? Just a little bit?” And because he’s the best Husband ever, he said yes. So half tsp of ginger, whole tsp of salt, half tsp of pepper and thyme, and about 2 tsps of crushed red pepper. Once that was mixed in I dumped in a can of whole tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste. I put the lid on a let it simmer for a few minutes. Then we served it dumped over rice.

Tomato-y, filling, yummy food that was perfect for leftovers the next day too.

Liberia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://liberianforum.com)

Jollof Rice

Directions:

In a 10-inch skillet:

Saute: 2 Ibs. COOKED MEATS (such as chicken, bacon, shrimp, smoked pork) cut in 1-inch chunks in 1/2 cup VEGETABLE OIL until slightly brown.

In a 4-quart kettle:

Saute:
1/2 cup YELLOW ONIONS, finely chopped
1/2 cup GREEN PEPPERS, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. GROUND GINGER (optional), in
1/4 cup VEGETABLE OIL until onions are soft.
Add 1 16-oz. can WHOLE TOMATOES (2 cups).

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add:
2 6-oz. cans TOMATO PASTE
2 quarts WATER
1 Tbs. SALT
1/2 tsp. BLACK PEPPER
1/2 tsp. THYME
1 tsp. CRUSHED RED PEPPER.
Add the cooked meat and simmer 20 minutes longer.

In a 2 quart saucepan:

Cook: 2 cups WHITE RICE in 5 cups CHICKEN STOCK or WATER until tender.

Correct the Seasonings with salt, pepper, etc. Combine the sauce of the meat with the rice. Pour the Jollof Rice in a deep bowl, arranging the meat in the center.

Note: Jollof Rice is served with variations in many countries of West Africa. In Liberia pigs’ feet are used with salt pork and bacon as well as with chicken. This dish may be made from scratch with fresh chicken pieces, alone or in combination, but it is also an excellent dish for leftover chicken, veal, turkey, tongue, ham, bacon, etc.


Lebanon…

Sunday, November 24 –

Finally! A dinner and a post on time. Whew!photo 1 (2)

So this one time the President of the United States rolled through our neighborhood on his way to a fundraising dinner. It totally snarled traffic in every direction. It just so happened that WingWoman and LightsOn got caught in it, super near our house. So we stole them for dinner, and this is what we fed them.

I sprayed a glass baking dish with olive oil, then took 5 chicken leg quarters and put them in. Husband got the spices together and we sprinkled some (more than a pinch) on top of the chicken. Then I put the potato rounds on top and stuck it in the oven for 50 minutes. Right before it came out, I put a bunch of garlic in a food processer with salt and lemon juice (I used the pre-cut kind that already had oil on it). Scoops and scoops of it. We like our garlic STRONG.

I took the potatoes off and put them into a bowl, took the potatoes out and put them into a different bowl. Dumped the extra liquid out of the dish. Then put the potatoes back in, with the chicken on top, and dumped the garlic mixture over the whole thing. Then I stuck it back into the oven for about 10 minutes.

It was garlicky, warm, filling, and satisfying on a cold, crazy traffic night. Three cheers for stuck friends over for dinner!

Lebanon
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com)

Baked Garlic Chicken

  • 4 lbs of chicken legs/quarters/breasts
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 20 cloves of garlic (or 1.5 heads)
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 table spoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • A pinch of Lebanese 7-spices (Equal proportions of: Allspice, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Cinnamon, Ground Cloves, Ground Nutmeg, and Coriander.)
  • Vinegar (optional)

Preparation Method:

1. Soak chicken in vinegar for 2 minutes (to help remove the “chickeny” smell), rinse them well with cold water then dry them with paper towels.
2. Make cuts in chicken in order to allow for garlic sauce to seep deep inside.
3. Rub chicken with a table spoon or two of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of Lebanese 7-spices.
4. Peel potatoes then cut them in disks of about 1/2 inch, salt lightly.
5. Place chicken on bottom of baking tray (preferably metal), place potatoes on top, and bake at 400F (medium heat) for about 40-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
6. Meanwhile place the garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2-3 table spoons of olive oil in a blender/food processor and spin for 4-5 minutes, add the lemon juice and spin for another 4-5 minutes until you have a nice lemony-garlicky sauce.
7. Once the chicken has baked, take the tray out of the oven and very carefully drain any excess liquids/fat/water that you see on the bottom.
8. Pour the garlic sauce all over it while mixing it well with the potatoes, put back in the oven and broil for another 5-10 minutes until the potatoes turn reddish.
9. Serve warm.
10. Note: You may need to consume an unusually large quantity of toothpaste afterwards. (4 servings)


Latvia…

Sunday, November 10 –

This dinner was good. Really good. I would make it again and my diet would hate me. If you want a rich, filling, delicious meal that most people would like, this is a good option for you. It was just BestestHusbandEver and latviame and I really wish more people could have experienced the plate-licking goodness.

I started by putting the potatoes on to boil. Then I started the cream sauce. We didn’t end up picking up mushrooms for it (which totally broke BestestHusbandEver’s heart *ahem*) so it was an onion cream sauce instead. Once that was done I coated the pork, fried it hot and fast in oil, and set them aside. BestestHusbandEver drained the potatoes and put the rest of the ingredients in the pan so that everything would get coated evenly.

Dinner was served. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and the sour cream and dill on the outside was a wonderful way of preparing them. The pork was juicy and tender and the cream sauce was so good!

Latvia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.saveur.com)

Karbonāde (Pork Cutlets With Canterelle Cream Sauce) 

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 10 3–4-oz. pork cutlets, pounded to 1/4″-thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cups roughly chopped chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Place flour in a medium bowl, and whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup water in another medium bowl; set both aside. Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge 3 cutlets in flour. Dip in egg mixture until evenly coated, then place in skillet; cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and repeat with remaining cutlets, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Add butter to skillet, then onion; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until they release their liquid and begin to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. To serve, pour sauce over cutlets, and sprinkle with parsley.

Kartupeli ar Dillem (Boiled Potatoes With Dill)

  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 lb. small Yukon Gold or new potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 6 tbsp. minced fresh dill
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring an 8-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot with sour cream, dill, butter, salt, and pepper. Cover pan with lid and shake until potatoes are well coated. Transfer to large serving bowl, and season with additional salt and pepper.

Laos…

Friday, October 18 –

Guys… I did it again. I swear we had this dinner… I just never posted it. *sigh*photo (1)

We had WingWoman and LightsOn over for this. LightsOn and I both made chicken dishes. They were delicious and we stuffed ourselves silly.

Proof is in the photo!

My next dinner is Latvia and I plan on cooking it on Sunday. I will try my best to post asap after so that I can tell you all the great stories…

Laos
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://queenofwishfulshrinking.com)

Chicken Laap

  • 450gms/1lb of minced chicken
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, finely chopped
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 60ml/4tbsp lime juice
  • 30ml/2tbsp fish sauce
  • 15ml/1tbsp roasted ground rice
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 30ml/2tbsp coriander leaves
  • mixed salad leaves, to serve
  • cucumber and tomato slices, and a few sprigs of mint, to garnish

1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add the minced chicken and a little water to moisten while cooking.

2. Stir constantly until cooked; this will take about 7-10minutes.

3. Transfer the chooked chicken to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

4. Serve on a bed of mixed salad leaves and garnish with cucumber, tomato slices and a few sprigs of mint.


Kyrgystan…

Friday, September 20 –

Here’s another one that happened about a month ago. But I know that Hot Momma, Baby Bear, and Wingwoman were around to help us devour this dinner.photo 2 (1)

And a photo. Hooray!

Hopefully the chaos will simmer down now and I can get back on track with these dinners. Laos is going to happen tomorrow. Yay!

Kyrgystan
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.kyrgyzchildrensfuture.org)

Kuurdak (Chyz-Byz) – (Stewed Brown Meat)

  • 2 lbs meat (beef, lamb or mutton — traditionally was organ meat) cut into small chunks
  • 4 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or mutton fat)
  • 3 green bell peppers, seeded and julienned
  • 1 cup cabbage, julienned
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups water (approximately)
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste

In large pan, fry the meat in vegetable oil or fat until browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add sliced onion, green peppers cut in circles, cabbage, ground red pepper, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, water, and tomato paste. Simmer in partially covered pan until water absorbed and ingredients are soft, about 30-45 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot.


Kuwait…

Thursday, September 5 – 

So… I got a new job. Hooray! And I got married. Extra, super hooray! But that means that I fell behind on writing my posts… again. Woops!

Kuwait (1)

 

Other than that, here are the photos. That’s all I’ve got for now. You know, since it was over a month ago. So enjoy the photos!I promise this happened. Yes, over a month ago. But it did! Mistress Whiskey and BestieExtraordinarie hosted the dinner. Their housemates helped cook, clean, and host everyone. We even had a birthday party thrown in on top.

Kuwait
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.nestle-family.com)

  • 25 baby zucchini or 2 kg
  • ½ cup basmati rice or 100 g
  • 250 g minced beef
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, melted
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley or 25 g, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coriander leaves or 25 g, choppedKuwait (2)
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill or 25 g, chopped
  • 1 small onion or 100 g, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 medium tomato or 150 g, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon white ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 kg chicken wings
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cubes MAGGI® Chicken BouillonKuwait (4)
  • 12 cups water or 3 liters

Preparation:
Hollow zucchini and wash well. Soak rice in water for half an hour then strain. Mix rice, meat, ghee, salt, parsley, raisins, coriander, dill, chopped onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and spices in a mixing bowl. Stuff zucchini with the rice mixture and keep 1cm empty from the top. Heat oil in pot and fry chicken wings for 3 minutes or until they become golden in color. Add tomato paste and MAGGI® Chicken Bouillon cubes then. Remove from heat. Place stuffed zucchini carefully in a pot, side by side. Secure zucchini with a plate on top. Add water and bring to boil then simmer on low heat for 1 hour 30 minutes or until zucchini are well cooked.KuwaitKuwait (5)


Korea…

Friday, August 23 – photo 1

Sooooooooooooooo much good food. This, I’m pretty sure, was one of the best blog dinners ever. My mouth still waters thinking about it, and it happened two weeks ago!

I made Bibim Bap, using the marinade recipe below instead of bottled sauce. I also purchased cabbage kimchi, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger to go on the side. Sir VJ and RubsWithLove made short ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, stuff for lettuce wraps, and a bean sprout salad. They also purchased cucumber kimchi. Sir VJ had a table-top grill that he set up outside on the picnic table and grilled the ribs, pork belly, and mushrooms right in front of us. It was amazing times a million.

I made the marinade and put it into a ziplock bag (I don’t have a juicer, so for the pear I just put it into a food processor and then strained the juice). Then I cut the beef (which was actually a sirloin cut) into thin strips and put them into the marinade. I put that in the fridge while I prepped the veggies and the hot sauce. I cut and sliced and prepped all of the veggies into their own bowls and set them aside. Then I made the hot sauce into a bowl and set that aside. I made the executive decision to use just one pot of boiling water to cook all of the veggies, even though it says not to. How bad could it be? Turns out, it wasn’t bad at all – it worked just fine. I started with the carrots, then the zucchini, then the mushrooms, then the sprouts, and last was the spinach. Once all of the veggies were done, I put the beef and marinade into a hot pan and cooked until *just* done enough. While I was doing that, WingWoman cooked us some fried eggs, leaving the yolk as runny as possible. photo 2

Into the bowl went rice, then some of each of the cooked veggies, then little bits of ripped up seaweed sheets, then sesame seeds, then the meat, then the egg, and then I dumped the cooked sauce over the top of all of the bowls.

We dug into the Bibim Bap (read: devoured) and there was much “mmmmmmmmmmm”ing going on. With the short ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, garlic, and sides, there was so much food I didn’t want to get up from the table. Absolutely epic dinner. Thank you to all of my Korea dinner friends, it was a night I’m going to remember and drool over for a very long time!

Korea
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://recipes.wikia.com and http://koreanfood.about.com)

Bibim Bap

Beef

  • 4 slice bulgogi beef – (⅛ lb)
  • 2 tbsp bottled bulgogi marinade
  • 1 tsp oil

Vegetables

  • 4 x fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp bottled bulgogi marinade
  • 2 x carrots
  • 4 cup spinach
  • 1½ cup soybean sprouts
  • 1 large zucchini

Rice

  • 2 cups short-grain rice

Sauce

  • ¼ cup red pepper paste (kochujang)
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Assembly

  • ½ cup bottled kimchi cut thin strips
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • ½ sht nori seaweed – (8″ square) sliced into fine, thin strips
  • 1 fried egg

Directions:

Beef:    Place the beef in a bowl, add the bulgogi marinade, cover and refrigerate, 1 hour.    Remove the beef from the marinade and cut into ½-inch slices.    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.    Add the beef and stir-fry until cooked through, 1 minute.    Note: cook the beef just before assembling the dish.

Vegetables:    Cook the mushrooms in the oil and the marinade in a skillet over high heat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.    Set aside.    Cut the carrots into very thin, long strips.    The spinach, carrots and soy bean sprouts need to be blanched in separate pots of boiling water.    Blanch the spinach 30 seconds.    Drain and squeeze dry.    Blanch the carrots, 1 minute; the soybean sprouts, 30 seconds.    Cut the zucchini into very thin slices.    Cook the zucchini in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes.

Rice:    Wash the rice several times in cold water until the water is clear, rubbing the rice well.    Drain.    Place the rice in a heavy pot; add 3 cups of cold water.    Cover and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and steam, covered, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Sauce: Combine the red pepper paste, sesame seeds, honey, oil and garlic in a small bowl.    Set aside.

Assembly:     Place the hot cooked rice in a large serving bowl.    The vegetables can be at room temperature.    Arrange them on top of the rice in separate groups, along with the kimchi.    Sprinkle with the sesame oil and sesame seeds.    Arrange the beef on top and a small pile of nori strips at one side. Place the egg in the center.Pass the sauce in a separate bowl. Add this to taste and stir it into the mixture, preferably with a long-handled Korean spoon.

Korean Meat Marinade (Bulgogi sauce)

  •     3 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  •     3 Tbsp soy sauce
  •     2 Tbsp sugar
  •     1 Tbsp honey
  •     2 Tbsp fresh squeezed juice from an Asian pear
  •     1 Tbsp Japanese rice wine (mirin)*
  •     1 Tbsp sesame oil
  •     3 green onions, finely chopped (including white part)
  •     1 tsp pepper

Preparation:    Mix marinade together until sugar and honey are dissolved/distributed.    Can be stored in refrigerator or freezer for use on beef, pork, and chicken.    (Serves 4)   *If you don’t have access to the rice wine, a splash of dry white wine will also work here.