Kiribati…

Friday, August 9 –

Tell you what, changing the blog from every week to every other week probably saved the entire project. I’m back to looking forward to it and hope that you are too!photo(26)

For this dinner we had Mr. Hero, WingWoman, BestestFianceEver, and yours truly. Eventually CoinSlot and MoneyShot showed up too.

I made the three lobster tails exactly as it is written below (thawed, cut, cracked, pulled from the shell, placed on top, then baked). I also made the sauce as written, but probably with a little bit more curry powder. On the side I caramelized some onions and cooked some white rice. WingWoman brought some rockfish and we salted and peppered them, putting them into the oven at the same time as the lobster. Everything turned out pretty good. People were generally fans of changing the typical melted butter for the lobster to the sauce. It had a little bit of a kick but not too much for the not-too-spicy people. Overall, the dinner was a win.

Now that I’m working on making the blog better I have a new rule that I’m going to try to stick with, which is no more than six people to any dinner. It will keep the timing of the meals easier and the overall cost down. So if you’re interested in one of the meals, speak up before your chance is gone! And if you want to host a dinner at your house, it’s up to you to set how many people are invited.

Looking forward to Korea! Cheers!

Kiribati
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://globaltableadventure.com)

Roasted Lobster Tails with Coconut Curry Dipping Sauce

  • 4 Australian lobster tails (frozen)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp homemade curry powder
  • salt

Method:  How to make a fancy lobster tail at home: Thaw tails overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375F. (1) Then, using kitchen shears, cut each one down the back, stopping at the last segment before the tail piece. (2) Take hands and bend back the tail until you hear a loud crack. Run fingers between the meat and the bottom membrane, freeing tail meat from the shell. (3) Pull meat up and over the shell, pressing the shell shut beneath it. (4) The tail meat can thus piggyback on top of the shell. Give it the lobster meat a generous coating of oil. Bake for 1 1/2 minutes per ounce of weight. TIP: Have the fishmonger tell you what each tail weighs (or wrap them up separately so the tag will tell you). My tails weren’t all the same size, so I just took the smaller ones out first so as not to overcook them. Meanwhile, whisk together curry powder in a small saucepan with the coconut milk and salt. I used light coconut milk, but you can go as rich as you’d like. Cook until hot. To finish off this meal, serve the curry mixture on the side, instead of butter. Serve with rice.


Kenya…

Friday, July 19 –

I don’t think a dinner can get much easier than this one. MyBuddy and ChinUp made the simmered greens recipe, I made the rice recipe, BestestFianceEver helped to make the grilled beef, and WingWoman brought her sweet company. photo 3(1)

For the rice I put the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, and sauteed onion into my rice cooker with the rice and water. Press the button and let it work its magic. For the beef I bought thin strips of steak (carne asada cut), sprinkled them fresh ground salt and pepper, and gave it to BestestFianceEver to grill. Done! Served up with the simmered greens and dinner was ready. Couldn’t have been easier.

The greens were tender and juicy, but didn’t have much flavor. But they went perfectly with the rice which did have a lot of flavor. And the meat was sometimes juicy and sometimes a little crispy, but still good all around. We ate until we were stuffed and it was a lovely night.

I forgot to mention that we made it passed the two year mark. WooHoo!

And I’m changing the timing of the dinners a little to be once every two weeks instead of every week. Life is just too hectic right now and it was too hard to maintain. Hopefully this will give me a little more wiggle room and I will start to enjoy them again. Thank you to all of my followers and potluckers, I wouldn’t have the heart to keep going without you.

Kenya
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com)

Nyama Choma (Kenyan grilled meat)

  • Goat or beef meat, cut into bite-sized chunks — 2 pounds
  • Oil — 3 tablespoons
  • Warm water — 2 cups
  • Kosher or sea salt — 2 tablespoons

Method

Prepare your grill and have it hot. Toss the meat with the oil, then thread it on skewers. Stir the salt into the warm water until it is fully dissolved.

Grill the skewered meat, basting it occasionally with the salt water, until it is cooked to your desired doneness.

Remove the meat from the skewers and serve with kachumbari salad and ugali.

Nyama Choma Variations

Meat: Goat is the meat of choice in Kenya, but beef will work just as well. Chunks of meat on skewers are easiest to grill, but whole legs or shoulders are often roasted until fork-tender. The cooked meat is then pulled off the bone with the fingers. Using short ribs, spare ribs and offal for nyama choma is common as well.

Seasonings: The only seasoning used for authentic nyama choma is salt and pepper, but if you prefer, you can first marinate your meat in a mixture of minced onions, minced garlic, ground ginger, hot pepper flakes and a little lemon juice.

Pulao (Indian aromatic rice pilaf)

  • Basmati rice — 1 1/2 cups
  • Oil or ghee — 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon stick — 1
  • Cardamom pods — 4-5
  • Peppercorns — 4-6
  • Whole cloves — 3-4
  • Onion thinly sliced — 1
  • Water or stock — 3 cups
  • Salt and pepper — to taste

Method

Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse in 3-4 changes of water until the water runs fairly clear. Fill the bowl with water to cover the rice by 1 inch and let soak for 20-60 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the oil or ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the whole spices and stir until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds. Do not burn. Stir in the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the drained rice and stir until heated through and all the grains are coated with the oil or butter.

Stir in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, another 5-10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Variations

There are hundreds of variations of this basic dish. As long as you follow the basic method and proportion of about 2 measures of water to 1 measure rice, feel free to experiment. For larger batches, a proportion of 1 3/4 measures water to 1 measure of rice works better.

Common long-grain rice may be substituted if basmati is not available. The soaking step can then be eliminated.

None of the spices is by itself essential, so use what you have. You can also add a cuminseed, mustard seeds or a pinch of saffron.

Add 1 cup of chopped assorted vegetables with the stock or water if you like: peas, cauliflower, carrots, green beans.

Add a couple tablespoons of toasted almonds or cashews and some raisins with the stock or water for a Kashmiri-style pulao.

Sukuma Wiki (Kenyan greens simmered with tomatoes)

  • Oil or fat — 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, chopped or minced — 1
  • Kale or collard greens, destemmed and finely chopped — 2 pounds
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 2 cups
  • Water or stock — 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper — to taste

Method

Heat the oil or fat over medium-high flame in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the greens in batches, sautéing each addition until wilted.

Add the tomatoes, water or stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until tender, from 20 to 30 minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve with a little bit of the broth.

Variations

Add a chopped chili pepper or two with the onions if you like.

Some recipes call for thickening the dish with a flour-lemon juice mixture. Here’s how: mix 2 tablespoons of flour well with the juice of 1 lemon and a little water. Stir into the greens after they have been simmering for about 10 minutes. Continue simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes until the dish is slightly thickened.

If you like, add some leftover meat for more flavor. Kenyans would most likely use goat or beef.


Kazakhstan…

Thursday, July 18 –

This dinner was just BestestFianceEver and I again, so I had to modify the recipe. I put a chopped up quarter of an onion into a hot pan with a drizzle of oil. I let that cook until it was starting to soften. Then I added some chopped garlic and photo 1(1)ginger, then sprinkled on some paprika, saffron, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. I let that warm up with the onion and fill the house with yummy smells. Then I put two chicken breasts in the middle of the pan and let them brown on both sides. Once they were browned I poured in some chicken broth, covered the pan, and let it simmer for about ten minutes (flipping the breasts once). When they were almost done I took the lid off, added the lemon rind, and let the broth simmer down.

We were really late for dinner to I just chopped up some prunes and dried apricots and added those to packaged steamable rice. When it was done in the microwave I added slivered almonds, stirred the whole thing, and added it to the plates. I know this cut out some of the ingredients, but that was just the hurried decision I made. With salad on the side, dinner was ready.

The chicken was nice and juicy but a little bland. I probably didn’t get enough of the seasoning onto the onion mixture. The rice was a good way to soak up the broth and the veggies. And the salad was a perfect way to start the meal. All in all, it gets a thumbs up.

Kazakhstan
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.cookadvice.com)

Kazakh Lemon Chicken

  • 1 T olive oilphoto 2(1)
  • 2 Whole chickens (3-lbs ea)
  • 2 t Ground ginger
  • 1 t Paprika
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Large onions, chopped
  • 1⁄4 t saffron
  • 1⁄2 t Nutmeg
  • 2 t Salt
  • 2 T Black pepper Fresh grnd.
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1 c Green olives chopped without pimientos
  • 4 T Lemon rinds minced

Cooking Kazakh Lemon Chicken

1. Heat olive oil in a roasting pan and place chickens, breast down in the pan. Combine ginger, paprika, garlic, onion, nutmeg, saffron, salt pepper in a bowl.

2. Rub this mixture onto the chickens and season to taste with Add enough water to cover chickens halfway.

3. Cook on High heat until boiling.

4. Remove pan from heat and place in 400 degree F. oven. Bake, uncovered, for 30 mins.

5. Turn chickens continue baking until tender golden brown, approx.

6. 25 mins.

7. Move chickens to serving platter.

8. Place pan on stove top bring the chicken juices to a boil.

9. Add olives and lemon rind.

10. Reduce heat to Low simmer 5 minutes.

11. Spoon sauce over chickens serve.

Kazakh rice

  • 1 1⁄2 c Rice
  • 1⁄3 c Slivered almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Med. onion chopped
  • 1⁄2 c Chopped dates pitted
  • 1⁄3 c Chopped prunes pitted
  • 3 Dried apricots; chopped
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 c Lamb finely ground – cooked
  • 1 T Vegetable oil

Cooking Kazakh rice

1. Mix the lamb, almonds, fruits, onion, salt, and garlic in a large bowl.

2. Cook the rice until almost done.

3. Be sure to add the oil to the rice as it cooks.

4. Do not drain! Add the lamb mixture and finish cooking the rice.

5. Serve as a side dish or as main course.

6. This is an easy dish that is a palate pleaser.


Jordan…

Monday, July 15 –

I’m late on this post. I know it. SUPER late, really. To tell you the truth, I lost my mojo for this project somewhere along the last few weeks. I’m trying to get it back, but it’s a struggle. So here’s this one, and I will try my best to get back on photo(25)board with it…

This dinner was just BestestFianceEver and me, but we were hoping to have yummy leftovers for lunch. So we took a pound of ground lamb, one onion finely chopped, some garlic, some spices, an egg, and a grated carrot and mixed it altogether. It ended up being super, extra oniony – but that’s ok because we love onion. I made them into round-ish patties instead of balls because they tend to cook faster and more evenly on the stove. Then I threw them onto a hot pan that had a little coating of oil.

While those were cooking I started on the sauce. And I have to ask – how do you boil two teaspoons of water for several minutes? I have no idea. So I put two teaspoons of water into a coffee mug, put the saffron threads in with it, covered it with plastic wrap and microwaved it for three minutes. That was about as close as I knew how to pull that off. I took the wrap off and put the rest of the ingredients in and ended up doubling the lemon (so one whole lemon, juiced) and extra parsley.

BestestFianceEver made rice and a salad (yes, a salad – it was hot outside and it sounded good). Once the meat was done cooking we were good to go for dinner. The meatballs ended up super crumbly because of the meat-to-onion ratio, but the flavor was good. The sauce was still a little tasteless but it went pretty well with the caraway seeds in the meat. All in all this dinner gets a thumbs up.

Jordan
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://khanapakana.com)

Jordanian Meat Balls

  • Lean Minced Lamb or Mutton 350 gm
  • Small Onion finely chopped 1
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Fresh Thyme 1 tsp
  • Caraway Seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika 1/2 tsp
  • Egg 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • All Spice Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Carrot Grated 1/2
  • Oil as required for grilling

For the sauce:

  • Saffron Threads a few
  • Boiling Water 2 tsp
  • Fresh Parsley 2 tbsp
  • Lemon 1/2
  • Yogurt Unsweetened 1 cup
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions:      In a bowl mix the lamb mince, onion, garlic, thyme, caraway seeds, all spice powder, grated carrot, paprika, salt and black pepper along with the egg.    Mix well to combine.    Shape the mixture into approximately 16 balls and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.    Soak the skewers in cold water.    Carefully thread the meatballs onto the skewers and grill on a well greased grill either charcoal or a grill pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes until meat is cooked through making sure to rotate the skewers whilst cooking.    For the sauce soak the saffron threads in the boiling water for about 10 minutes with a pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally.    Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley and the rind of 1/2 lemon along with the yogurt to the saffron and soaking water.    Transfer it all into a small bowl for serving.    Serve the ready meatballs with the sauce, lemon wedges and sprinkle with some more caraway seeds and fresh parsley.


Jersey…

Friday, June 28 –

I was looking forward to this dinner pretty much since I started looking online for recipes. There are just so many amazing options to choose from. photo(24)

This dinner we had: BestieExtraordinaire and Mistress Whiskey (herb pancakes stuffed with chargrilled peppers and goat cheese), ChinUp and MyBuddy (fresh pea and tarragon tartlets), WingWoman (seasonal fruits with cream), TroubleWalking and ImpishSmile (wine), and BestestFianceEver and yours truly (white fish with orange glaze, barbecued sweet corn with a chili and honey butter, and wine).

Instead of tuna we decided to use cod to save a little bit of money. I put the slab of fish onto foil, poured the orange glaze sauce over the top, wrapped it up, and stuck it on the grill. Then we put the corn on the grill, shucked them, and then drizzled the chili honey butter on top. The stuffed pancakes were gluten free, but still pretty good. And the tart was a wonderful flavorful dish, bright with the peas and tarragon. For the dessert, WingWoman and I put strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries on a plate, then topped them with freshly whipped cream. Perfect for a hot summer night.

This was definitely one of the better dinners lately, and I’m glad that so many people could join us! Thank you!

Jersey
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.ci-cooperative.com)

Albacore Tuna
This tuna is line caught by a Cornish boat off the coast of Spain. Apparently we have a quota there which is currently being fished. It is also known as longfin due to its long pectoral fins and it is tagged. It is a pinky grey colour with a flakier texture than yellow fin tuna. Cook as for yellow fin tuna, i.e. quickly in a hot pan. Do not poach.

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • salt and black pepper
  • fresh orange rind to garnish (optional)

In a large frying pan or shallow pan mix all the sauce ingredients. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and add the fish. Cook for 6-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish) turning once. Serve with noodles or rice.

Barbecued Sweet Corn with a Chili and Honey Butter

  • 4 sweetcorn, preferably still in the husk
  • Sunflower oil

For the flavored butter:

  • 100g (4oz) butter
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated root ginger
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 teaspoon honey
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Leave the sweetcorn whole and soak in water for one hour before use. Place all the ingredients for the flavored butter in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Then either spoon the butter onto a sheet of cling film and roll it up into a sausage shape and chill for two hours or simply pile into a bowl and chill. When you are ready to cook and have the barbecue ready, pat the sweetcorn dry and brush the husks with a little oil. Cook over a moderate heat turning until patched brown on all sides. Sweetcorn without husks can be cooked wrapped in buttered kitchen foil. It will take about 20 minutes. When cooked, remove the foil or peel back the husk and serve with thin slices of the chilled flavored butter on top of the hot corn.


Japan…

Monday, June 17 –

Have you had sushi before? Yes? Ok, whew. Then you probably know that the fish is best when it might still wiggle. Other than that all you need is a little sushi rice, some seaweed, soy sauce, wasabi, and hunger.

This dinner was just BestestFianceEver, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ, and yours truly. Sir VJ and rubs with love brought several different kinds of fish, eel, sushi rice, pickled ginger, and some sushi-making skills. BestestFianceEver and I brought a huge slab of ahi tuna, edamame, avocado, gyoza and sauce, cucumber, and wasabi. Sir VJ actually did most of the work with the fish, slicing, rolling, and putting it altogether on platters. The rest of us helped when we could and got out of the way when we couldn’t.

There was SO MUCH FOOD. And it was so good, I can’t even begin to tell you. Thanks, you two, for making Japan so wonderful and memorable!

photo 3photo 4photo 2photo 1photo 5


Jamaica…

Saturday, June 15 –

Looks like I fell behind on posting again. Sorry guys! I will try to catch back up again. The summer has just stolen my attention away from sitting and writing at a computer.

I took the slow cooked jerk chicken recipe and instead of the taco recipe, hoping that the chicken would be tender and juicy. I slow cooked the chicken, using the exact amounts listed below, and let it cook in the crock pot for about 6 hours. Then I took it out, shredded it, and put it in a serving bowl. I put the reserved sauce in a bowl on the side so that people could control how spicy their tacos were. Then I used the mango salsa recipe as it is below and set that out along with the taco shells.

We had a bunch of people over for this dinner, but because I waited so long to write it, I forget who all brought what. MyBuddy and ChinUp brought an orange rum cake and a hibiscus punch. Mr. Hero brought booze. And I believe that LightsOn brought coleslaw and a bunch of meat that we grilled. I think we also had BabyBear, GrandpaBear, Missing Man, Texan Boy, and CannonBall. If I missed anyone, I sincerely apologize!

Jamaica
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.jamaicans.com and www.bakersroyale.com)

Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 4  tablespoons Jerk Seasoning/Sauce/Paste (We recommend Jamaican brands Jerk Seasoning, Sauces/paste – Walkerwood, Jamaica Country Style etc)
  • 3 shredded cups cheddar cheese,
  • 12 taco shells
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 small red bell peppers (diced)
  • 1 small red onion diced red onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (de-seeded and  minced)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

METHOD:    Rub each breast half with jerk sauce/paste, and place in a shallow dish.    Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.    Cook chicken on a low fire on the barbeque grill.    Mango Salsa Sauce: Combine mango, red bell peppers, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro leaves and lime juice. Put in the refrigerator and chill.    Warm up the shells.    Once the chicken is cooked dice them into thin slices.     Layer the 12 tacos in this order: cheese, Jerk chicken (Optional: Add more Jerk Sauce), Mango Salsa.    Optional: Garnish with shredded lettuce. Serving size 6-8

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

  •     8 scallions, chopped coarse
  •     1/4 cup vegetable oil
  •     2 habanero chilies, stemmed and seeded
  •     1 (1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  •     2 tablespoons molasses
  •     3 garlic cloves, peeled
  •     1 tablespoon thyme
  •     2 teaspoons allspice
  •     1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  •     1 teaspoon coarse salt
  •     4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (split breasts, thighs)
  •     lime wedges for serving

Directions:
Place scallion, oil, habaneros, ginger, molasses, garlic, thyme, all spice, cardamom, and salt in a food processor or blender and puree. Transfer 1/2 cup mixture to slow cooker; reserve remaining mixture.
Add chicken to slow cooker and coat evenly with scallion mixture. cover and cook until chick is tender, about 4- 6 hours on low.
Position oven rack 10 inches from broiler element and start broiler. Place a wire rack in a foil lined bake sheet and coat with vegetable spray. Transfer chicken, skin side down onto rack. Brush chicken with half of reserved scallion mixture and broil until lightly charge and and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Flip chicken over, brush with remaining scallion mixture and continue to broil until lightly charred and crisp on second side, about 5-10 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.