Tag Archives: naan

India… {Potluck!}

Saturday, April 6 –

There was SO MUCH FOOD. Oh my gosh. We had lamb korma, two types of chicken tikka, matar paneer, raita, gluten-free naan, gluten-free onion fritters, mango lassi, rice, gulab jamun, chutney, samosas, and a potato dish photo(8)that I missed the name of. There was a ton of people and we all ate so well there was much groaning and belly patting. I can’t even tell you how much fun it was to have so many cooks participate. Thank you, again, to everyone that cooked, ate, drank, and participated in the India potluck. Thank you to RubsWithLove and SirVJ for hosting this dinner!

Let me admit that this dinner was hard for me because I was having an allergy attack so bad that I couldn’t smell or taste anything. Ugh. I don’t recommend it. Four allergy pills and an air purifier later, I finally enjoyed the dinner.

I made the matar paneer recipe as it was written (however, I did not really measure the spices very well at all) but when I was all done it just didn’t look like the matar paneer that I was used to at restaurants. So I added coconut milk to it. But that watered down the flavor so much that it didn’t taste like anything other than coconut milk and a spicy-heat punch to the tongue. Not so good. So I kept adding the spices that the recipe called for trying to fix it. That worked… a little bit. I ended up dumping in curry powder and it fixed it just fine. I know I probably shouldn’t have messed with it, but it did not look like the photo – not one bit! In the end it turned out ok. Not my favorite, but ok.

The raita was easy to make and pretty much vanished because of how many spicy dishes we had. I am super glad that I made a double batch. Everything else was so good that I wanted to eat seconds (I didn’t, but I wanted to!). I definitely recommend Indian food as a great potluck idea for parties! Just make sure to have mints on hand after everyone is done eating.

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at:  www.sailusfood.com and www.epicurious.com)

Matar Paneer Recipe

  • 1/4 kg paneer – cube and saute in a tsp of ghee till lightly browned
  • small cup fresh green peas
  • 1 large onion, finely chop
  • ginger-green chilli paste (1″ ginger piece+3 green chillis)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli pwd
  • pinch of turmeric pwd
  • 1 1/4 tsps coriander pwd
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • pinch of garam masala pwd
  • 1 tsp Kitchen King masala pwd
  • 1 tsp malai, top of milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

1 Heat oil in a cooking vessel, add the onions and sauté, approx 4-5 mts. Add ginger-green chilli paste, coriander pwd, turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd and combine. Add few tbsps water and saute for a mt.
2 Add tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mts. Turn off heat and cool. Make a coarse paste.
3 Return this paste to the vessel, add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame, add the green peas and cook for 6 mts. Add the paneer and malai and simmer for 7-8 mts. Add salt. Simmer for a few more mts.
4 Stir in malai, garam masala pwd, Kitchen King masala and kasuri methi and combine, cook for a mt. Turn off flame.
5 Let it sit for a while before serving. The gravy thickens, so at the time of serving, add a little milk and combine. Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Traditional Indian Raita

  •     1/2 cup plain yogurt
  •     1/2 cup chopped seeded English hothouse cucumber
  •     2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  •     2 teaspoons chopped green onions
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preparation: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.



Thursday, September 27 –

This dinner was equal efforts on the part of Bestie Extraordinaire (spicy mixed vegetable stew and wine), ChinUp with assistance by MyBuddy (chicken stewed in red pepper paste and wine), BestestFianceEver (dishes and cleanup), and me (spicy lentil stew, naan, rice, and plain yogurt). Three cheers for everyone making this dinner so delicious!

The spicy lentil stew was incredibly easy to make. I took the dried lentils and cooked them just like it said to on the back of the package (1 cup of lentils to 4 cups of water for about 35 minutes). I cooked the onion and garlic in plain butter instead of the spiced butter (I should really make some soon, I do love these spices…) until they were translucent. Then I added rounded tablespoons of all of the spices. Yes, I know that little t’s in recipes are usually supposed to be teaspoons, but I like things strongly spiced, remember? So tablespoons it was! In next went the tomatoes and the paste, some of the salt and pepper, and then the broth. I let it all simmer together until all of the other food was ready.

Everything was a brilliant shade of red – the veggie stew was brown with a hint of red, the lentil stew was red with a hint of brown, and the chicken was a brilliant shade of red with white little eggs floating on top. And the smell – mmmhmm. That’s what food dreams are made of. The dinner was supposed to be served with injera, but because of my terrible crohn’s experience with it the only other time I’d had it, I decided to go with naan and rice instead. With a dollop of yogurt on top, dinner was served.

I started off with the different dishes next to each other, but not mixed. In the end it was all scooped together and each of them blended together deliciously with the others. I was so excited for left-overs, let me tell you what. If you have a love for stews with a touch of spice, these are definitely recipes that you should think about making. Especially with the cold weather coming and the need for warm soup starting to settle in, save these to your computer!

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

Yetakelt W’et (spicy mixed vegetable stew)

  • 1 c Onions; finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 T Berbere
  • 1 T Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • ¼ c Niter Kebbeh
  • 1 c Green beans; cut into thirds
  • 1 c Carrots; chopped
  • 1 c Potatoes; cubed
  • 1 c Tomatoes; chopped
  • ¼ c Tomato paste
  • 2 c Vegetable stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ c Parsley; fresh, chopped
  • 2 Batches Injera
  • Plain yogurt or cottage cheese

Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix in the parsley. Serve with injera and yogurt or cottage cheese following the same serving and eating procedure as for Yemiser W’et. Servings: 6. Note: Try making this dish and Yemiser W’et for the same meal. In Ethiopia, it is customary to offer several stews at one time, and people eat some of each kind.

Yemiser W’et (spicy lentil soup)

  • 1 c Dried brown lentils
  • 1 c Onion; finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic; minced
  • ¼ c Niter Kebbeh
  • 1 t Berbere
  • 1 t Cumin seeds; ground
  • 1 t Paprika; sweet Hungarian
  • 2 c Tomato; finely chopped
  • ½ c Tomato paste
  • 1 c Vegetable stock or water
  • 1 c Green peas; fresh or frozen
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper; fresh, to taste
  • 3 Batches Injera bread
  • Plain yogurt or cottage cheese

Rinse and cook the lentils. Meanwhile sauté the onions and garlic in the niter kebbeh, until the onions are just translucent. Add the berbere, cumin, and paprika and sauté for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock or water and continue simmering. When the lentils are cooked, drain them and mix them into the sauté. Add the green peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste. To serve Yemiser W’et, spread layers of injera on individual plates. Place some yogurt or cottage cheese alongside a serving of w’et on the injera and pass more injera at the table. To eat, tear off pieces of injera, fold it around bits of stew, and, yes, eat it with your fingers. Servings: 8

Doro Wat (Ethiopian chicken stewed in red pepper paste)

  • 2 lbs Chicken, leg and thighs, skinless
  • 1 Lemon juice only
  • 2 t Salt
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 T Gingerroot, peeled, chopped
  • ¼ c Oil, butter or niter kibbeh
  • 2 T Paprika
  • ¼ to ½ c Bebere paste
  • ¼ c Red Wine
  • ¾ c Water or Stock
  • ¾ c Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ½ to 2 t Cayenne Pepper
  • Option 4 Eggs hard-boiled

Mix together the chicken pieces, lemon juice and salt and in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, puree the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender. Add a little water if necessary. Heat the oil, butter or niter kibbeh in a large pot over medium flame. Add the paprika and stir in to color the oil and cook the spice through, about 1 minute. Do not burn. Stir in the berbere paste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion-garlic-ginger puree and saute until most of the moisture evaporates and the onion cooks down and loses its raw aroma, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to burn. Pour in the water or stock and wine and stir in the chicken pieces, cayenne to taste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add water as necessary to maintain a sauce-like consistency. Add the whole hard boiled eggs and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with injera bread or rice. Servings: 4-6


Thursday, September 13 –

Sometimes dinner needs to be quiet, spicy, and just two people that need to reconnect. That was dinner last night for BestieExtraordinaire and me. I pretty much threw this recipe together without doing the math to make sure that measurements for two people matched the same measurements for this recipe. But I did use all of the same ingredients!

My measurements worked out like this: 2/3 onion, 4 teaspoons of berbere, 2 teaspoons of butter, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons chopped garlic, 1 squeezed lemon for juice, 1 small can of tomato paste, some salt, 2 medium on-the-vine tomatoes, 2 chicken breasts, and 2 eggs (even though I forgot them on the counter and we ate the dish without them. oops!). With white rice and garlic naan to serve.

Onions went in first, with no oil/butter. I cooked them until they were translucent but not browned. Then I put in the berbere and let it get hot and aromatic. In next went the butter, and I let the onions sizzle and start to brown a little. Tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and tomato paste went in next. I let that heat up all the way through – probably about 5-8 minutes. Then I put in the chicken chunks with the salt/lemon mixture, stirring it so that it was all incorporated. I put the naan into the oven to warm, cooked the rice, and set the table. BestieExtraordinaire poured us glasses of cider. Once the chicken pieces were done all the way through but still juicy and tender I served all of it up on our plates. And then we sat and talked about everything in life, like good, close friends should.

This project has been about connecting with food and all of the possible ways to cook it, but it has also been about connecting with the people I love and showing them I care by filling their plates full of homemade creations. Thank you, Bestie, for sharing this dinner with me!

(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.eritra.be)

Tsebhi derho (spicy chicken)

  • 3 Medium size onions, chopped
  • 50 cc chili paste (berbere)
  • 50 cc tegelese tesmi (herbed butter)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 spoons lemon juice
  • 2 spoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 kilo chicken
  • 6 hard boiled eggs (peeled)
  • pepper and salt to taste

Cut the chicken into pieces and drain them well. Sprinkle the pieces with a mixture of the lemon juice and the salt and marinate during 30 minutes. Fry the onions lightly on a low fire in the frying-pan. Do not use butter or oil. Add some water if necessary to prevent burning or sticking. When the onions are done, add the berbere and fry shortly. Add the tegelese tesmi and fry this mixture for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes skinned and sliced, garlic and ginger and simmer during 20 minutes on a low fire, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. Add some water and the pieces of chicken and simmer until the chicken is done. Add the eggs to the sauce shortly before serving.


Friday, July 19 –

It isn’t very often that I have no left-overs at all. This dinner is one of the few that I can happily say was devoured – every bite of it. There were five of us for this dinner – Wonderful Boyfriend, Bestie Extraordinaire, ChinUp, and DangerD.

I started with the stew, figuring that it could simmer as I cooked the samosas. I put regular butter into my soup pot (I just didn’t have the time to go hunt down niter kebbeh, so instead I doubled the amount of berbere I put into the stew) along with the spices and one chopped up onion. I let the onion start to soften, and then in went one peeled, chopped russet potato, two medium peeled and chopped carrots, and a cup of green beans that I chopped in half for easier chewing. After ten minutes, in went the tomato, tomato paste, and veggie broth. I let this simmer, stirring occasionally, as I made the samosas.

The samosa recipe I decided to edit a little. I took one onion and one leek, chopped them up and then mixed them together. That looked like too much in the way of veggies compared to how much meat I had, so I scooped away half of it to save for a later dinner. I cooked one pound of ground lamb with the salt, pepper, and lot of cumin. (I didn’t measure the spices, I just sprinkled until it felt right. I coated the meat with the cumin until it was clearly powdery.) Then I threw in the onion and leek and let it finish cooking down. Instead of making my own dough I used pre-made pie crust. I cut the crust into six wedges, stuffed them, folded them up, and then put an egg wash on top. I put them in the oven at 350* for about 20 minutes and then checked every five minutes until they were golden brown on top and bottom.

On the table was also salad (made by the wonderful ChinUp), yogurt to put on the stew or samosas, and toasted naan to scoop it all up with.

The salad was crisp and amazing with fresh heirloom tomatoes. The samosas were so good that I could have blinked and they would all have been gone. With the light, flaky, buttery crust and the cumin and lamb flavor melting in your mouth, I should have made three times as many. The stew was spicy, flavorful, and I managed to cook the veggies just long enough to make them soft but not mushy. The naan was a little crumbly (it was the store-bought kind) but it was still a good idea to serve with the stew.

Not only was this dinner delicious, it was the perfect combination of flavors and textures to serve together. I highly recommend this for any dinner (but maybe a colder, fall day so that you can really enjoy the spicy stew). Cheers!

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://healthy-life.narod.ru/wor_ek57.htm)

Spicy Mixed Vegetable Stew (Yetakelt W’et)

  • 1 c Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tb Berbere (dry)
  • 1 tb Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 c Niter Kebbeh
  • 1 c Green beans, cut in thirds
  • 1 c Carrots, chopped
  • 1 c Potatoes, cubed
  • 1 c Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c Tomato paste
  • 2 c Vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c Chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Instructions:  Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the niter kebbeh for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the parsley (optional). Serve with injera and yogurt or cottage cheese.

Djibouti Samosas (Samboussa)

  • 2 l oil
  • 500 g flour
  • 2 kg minced meat
  • 5 onions, finely diced
  • 3 leeks, finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:  Sift the flour and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Add just enough water so that the mixture comes together as a stiff dough. Shape into a ball and allow to rest. Meanwhile add 4 tbsp oil to a frying pan and fry the meat for a few minutes. Add the onions and leeks season with salt and pepper then fry until the meat is done and the onions have softened. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and cut into triangles. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of the triangle and fold over to form a samosa. Heat the oil in a wok until almost smoking and place the samosas one at a time in this. Cook until golden brown and crisp on all sides, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Allow to cool a little then serve with African hot sauce.


Monday, May 21 –

Of all of the dinners that I have made recently, this one is definitely at the top of my list. I’m pretty sure I could have curled up in the warm, comforting flavors of this dinner and simmered a while myself. It was just my Wonderful Boyfriend and me, so it was a quiet, rainy evening with the smell of curry filling the house.

I got three quarters of a pound of ground lamb to add to this recipe, but it would have been just as good made vegetarian. I also chose to leave out the optional potatoes, but they probably would have been great in this as well.

I browned the ground lamb, then added one diced onion and two diced red medium-heat chilies and let them soften. I sprinkled two teaspoons of curry powder, then some salt, pepper, and cayenne over the top and stirred it all together. In next went chopped ginger (about an inch of root), and one diced, salted, squeezed eggplant. Then I put in two diced on-the-vine tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. On last went just a pinch of sugar and a can of coconut cream. As that simmered for a while I put store-bought naan into the oven to toast.

As I scooped up the curry with the naan and took my first bite, I had to close my eyes to enjoy it. There was spice, sweet, salt, soft eggplant, and browned crispy lamb. Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better dinner.

Congo, “Democratic Republic of the” and “Republic of the”
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://recipes.wikia.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Eggplant Curry

  •     2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  •     2 onions, chopped
  •     1-2 tsp curry powder
  •     2 cloves of garlic, minced
  •     1 tsp grated ginger
  •     1-2 hot chile peppers, cleaned and chopped
  •     2 large Eggplants, chopped, lightly salted, and squeezed to partially remove moisture
  •     3-4 potatoes, chopped (optional)
  •     2-3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  •     1 small can or tomato paste (optional)
  •     salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper (to taste)
  •     ¼ tsp Sugar (optional)
  •     1 cup coconut milk


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute onions for a few minutes, then add curry powder, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Continue frying over high heat for a few more minutes, stirring continuously.
  2. Add Eggplant and potatoes, stir fry until Eggplant begins to brown. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste. Adjust seasoning. Simmer until sauce is thickened and everything is tender.
  4. Stir in coconut milk. Serve with boiled rice.

Cape Verde…

Friday, March 30 –

This dinner was one of the easiest to make so far from this project. Anything that you can make all in one pot is good and easy in my books! There were five of us for dinner: Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, Sassy Country Girl, and WingWoman.

We started with mojitos – supplied by the amazing Sassy Country Girl. We had them a bunch of different ways: raspberries, blackberries, sprite, ginger ale, club soda… they were amazing. It’s was a great change from our normal red wine with these dinners.

While we were enjoying our cocktails, I got started on the dinner. I took thinly sliced chicken breasts and sauteed them in a little olive oil, letting them start to brown on both sides. Then I threw in some sliced onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. After the onions were translucent I added the paprika, chili paste, and a large can of whole, peeled tomatoes. Then I added the water and the rice, covered it and let it simmer.

Roommate Extraordinaire was also very helpful by picking up some naan from the store (two different kinds even!) so that we would have something to scoop up the stew with. Once we were all ready to eat it was a simple dish to scoop and serve.

The flavors were good, not too spicy, not too sweet, not too salty, not too bad! It ended up more as a casserole texture than a stew – not a lot of left over liquid. The naan was a great addition, and it was hard to pick which flavor was better (garlic or herb).

The dessert was a little ridiculous. Coat banana slices in corn meal batter and then fry them? Um, yes. Ok. I can do that! They were so good I had to make everyone wait just a moment to get a photo of them, or else they would have been gone before I had a chance. Our brilliant taste buds decided that they would be much better with peanut butter – so we heated some up and scooped away. I don’t even want to know what kind of calories that might have been, but they were definitely tasty (and gluten free!)!

And… I finally have a map update! Hooray! I spent Sunday morning pinning and connecting threads to catch up to today. I had to trim off the extra white space on the note cards or else I would run out of room before this project is over – so they might look a little less orderly now. I will be filling in the blank spots as I go.

As you can hopefully see in this close-up shot I took, I’m making each letter a different color of thread – A’s are orange, B’s are green, and C’s are pink.

That’s all I have for today – but tonight is Cayman Islands so I’ll have another story for you tomorrow!

Things I have learned: I tend to reach into ovens with no protection on my hands to grab things like toasting naan. It’s not so smart, but I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember. I need to work on remembering hot gloves so I don’t burn my hands (again).

Cape Verde
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.food.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Canja de Gahlinha (Cape Verdean Chicken Stew)

  • 1 whole chicken (about 2 kg)
  • 300g rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, blanched and peeled
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • sage leaves, to garnish
  • chili paste, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Method: Clean and wash the chicken then cut into serving pieces. Add to a pot along with the salt, garlic, onion, oil and bay leaf. Mix together, cover and allow to marinate overnight. The following day place the pot on the heat and cook until the meat has browned. Add about 600ml water and bring to a boil then add the tomatoes paprika and chili paste along with the rice. Stir to mix thoroughly then return to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 25 minutes. By this time the rice should have cooked and absorbed all the water. Spoon the stew onto serving platters and place in the center of the table. Decorate with fresh sage leaves and add more chili paste, if desired.

Fried Bananas

  •     olive oil (for frying)
  •     1 cup cornflour
  •     1/4 cup sugar
  •     1 tablespoon butter
  •     1 egg
  •     1/4 tablespoon salt
  •     2 tablespoons white rum
  •     2 tablespoons milk
  •     4 ripe bananas
  •     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •     2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1    Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer to 375°F.
2    Mix the corn flour and sugar together in a bowl.
3    Add the butter, egg, salt, rum and milk, stirring constantly until you have a thick batter.
4    Peel the bananas, cut them into quarters, and sprinkle them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
5    Roll the banana quarters in the batter and dip them into the hot oil a few at a time.
6    Fry them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning once until they are golden brown.
7    Drain on absorbent paper and dust with the cinnamon sugar.
8    Serve warm.


Tuesday, July 26 –

I have to say that all in all, this was a very good dinner. I will warn you ahead of time that somehow my phone didn’t save the photos of the food, so I don’t have any to share. Super lame because the chicken legs were beautiful (as things like chicken legs go, anyway). But the food – it was very good. My wonderful boyfriend said that it was “finger licking good, in spite of the olives.” I, on the other hand, love and adore most olives, so I could have kept eating until I popped.

I did modify the recipes just a little bit. I started with the chicken dish, which I cooked all the way through and then added the olives right before they went into the oven. I did this to try to save the entire dish from grossing my wonderful boyfriend out. It ended up working out ok because  the skin on the chicken saved it from soaking in any of the brine. I only made 3 leg quarters instead of 3 legs and 3 thighs. I’m really glad I did this because I don’t think there would have been enough marinade to soak everything in. The rest of that recipe I left as called for. The chicken turned out so soft and moist that the meat almost pulled right off the bone. With each bitefull of chicken meat, olive carefully placed at the tip of the fork, the mouthfulls were juicy, salty, briny, and delicious.

The carrots I added 4 garlic cloves instead of 2, because you really can’t ever have enough garlic in my humble opinion. I also only had caraway seeds (with no pestle and mortar) so they had a bit more of a bite than I think the recipe would be if they were ground. They were still delicious and I’m glad I made them. Making them while the chicken cooked was definitely the right plan because  it gave the garlic and lemon time to soak into the carrots. Served at room temperature like the recipe called for I could have nibbled on them like a snack. I could easily make these again to serve with dips instead of the raw carrots that I usually fall back on. Maybe this deserves some of the yummy yogurt sauce that I made with the Afghanistan recipes? Probably, yes.

With the kale I only changed the amount of kale I cooked. I started pulling the leaves off the ribs and quickly ended up with a bowl full of leaves and I was only half way through the bunch of them. So I went with my instinct to only make half of the bundle of kale, and they turned out yummy. I have had kale that I liked and some that I didn’t, so I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of this recipe. Together with the sauce from the chicken and the crunchiness of the carrots, this was the perfect green to add to the plate.

I served dinner with naan that I ordered from an Indian restaurant up the street, because let’s face it, store bought naan just isn’t the same. I thought the flavors would go better than something like french bread or sourdough. Both my wonderful boyfriend and I love Indian food, so I figured this was a good way to tempt him to eat it, even though it had olives. The flavors and the texture worked out just fine, and I would recommend the combination for anyone making dishes like these. The naan soaked up the juices from the chicken and the kale, and the flavor didn’t overpower the spices in the broth.

Things I have learned: Saffron apparently costs over $600 a pound (so said the lady at the grocery store) and is one of the most expensive things you can buy. I already knew it was expensive but I hadn’t ever given in to buying it. So now I’m a proud owner of some amazing strands of deliciousness.  I will probably own almost every spice known to cooks by the time this project is through – and that excites me.  I like shopping at Safeway because their prices are good, but I LOVE shopping at Central Market and could probably get lost for days in there dreaming up things to cook/make/blend/bake.  I need to always read the recipes and get started the day before, because most of them want me to marinate the meat overnight.

Thoughts for the potluck: Super excited! I’m pretty sure I’ll be making pulled pork, mango salsa, and a big batch of rice. I’m also considering roasting some onions to go on the side and maybe, just maybe some coleslaw. I will wait to see what everyone else is making before I decide to make too much food.

Thoughts for next week: American Samoa recipes were a little bit harder. I finally decided on a fish dish (Poisson Cru) and a dish that looks like banana doughnuts (Panikeke). I will keep looking though to see if I can find a good side dish to go with the fish.

Thoughts for my friends: I try to post the recipes that I’ve picked before I actually make them. If there’s a night that you would really enjoy or really want to try because it interests you, please let me know and I would be happy to make extra.

Thoughts about wine: As another passion that I’m trying to develop, I am looking forward to cooking a country that has their own wine. If any of my readers have recommendations of wine to go with the meals I will be cooking, I’d love to hear about it (even if it’s not specifically from the country that I’m making that week). I figure like garlic, the more wine the better!

Thoughts about the map: I finally got the map that I ordered, but I had to have my wonderful boyfriend make me a cork board that was big enough to fit the names of the things I have cooked around the outside. I hope to have it up and start pinning it this. Geography lesson and cooking lesson all in one!

I wish I could end this with photos, but I’ll just have to go without. I will definitely keep these recipes on hand to make again. More to write after the potluck on Sunday!

(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://thym-thym.blogspot.com)

Chicken with Olives Tagine (Djej bil Zitoon)

  • 3 chicken legs and 3 chicken thighs, with skin still attached
  • 1 cup ripe or midway olives (Greek Kalamatas, Italian Gaetas are the favorites, but you can even use Spanish Manzanilla olives)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, quartered and sliced
  • 2 tbsp S’men, butter or vegetable oil
  • 4 small sprigs each of cilantro and parsley, tied together with a string
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup water

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
  • A pinch of saffron
  • A pinch of freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 sweet onion, roughly diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

The day before, put all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste. Pour it over the chicken and marinate overnight. Refrigerate, covered. If you forget to do this step the day before, a minimum of one hour would work too, though the longer the marinating time the better the flavor of your chicken will be.

The next day, place the chicken thighs and legs, along with its marinade, the S’men, butter or oil, and the sliced onion in a tagine or a casserole. Add the water and the bouquet of herbs nestled in a corner. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on a medium-low heat 35 minutes, turning the chicken often in the sauce.

If using the kalamatas or Gaetas olives, just rinse them to get rid of the excess brine and set aside. If using Manzanilla olives, which come often stuffed with pimento, remove the pimento with a toothpick and blanch the olives three times, adding a teaspoon of sugar to the third blanching. Set aside. Serves 4

After thirty five minutes of cooking, add the olives to the chicken. Add water, if necessary. Continue cooking 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven at 375F (180C).

Discard the herb bouquet and transfer the chicken pieces, along with the sauce and the olives, to an ovenproof dish, if necessary. Continue cooking the chicken until nicely browned on the surface, about 10 minutes, depending on your oven.

Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and spoon the olives and sauce around them. Drizzle a few drop of 1/2 a lemon on the sauce, depending on your taste. Scatter some chopped parsley on top and serve at once with plenty of bread.

Caraway Spiced Carrot Salad

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly ground caraway seeds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut diagonally

Steam the carrots until tender but still retain their shape.  When the carrots are cooked, carefully remove the steaming basket and set aside. Meanwhile,  heat 1 tbsp of olive oil  in a small sauté pan. Add the garlic, ground caraway and parsley. Cook for one minutes stirring constantly until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the hot carrots to the herb mixture and toss. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and lemon juice and toss again. Transfer to a plate and leave to infuse for at least an hour. Enjoy the salad at room temperature.

Sautéed Kale with Cumin and Smoked Paprika

  • 1 bunch Kale (about 1 pound/500g)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup/250ml parsley sprigs, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup/ 125ml fresh coriander, tightly packed
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp plain yogurt
  • Salt, black pepper
  • lemon wedges
  • Oil cured black olives

Strip the kale leaves off their stems and cut away the tough midribs of any large leaves. Chop finely and wash in plenty of water. Drain well. Chop and pound the parsley, coriander, garlic and 1/4 tsp salt to a paste in a mortar or a food processor. Heat a large sauté pan and add olive oil and the chopped onion. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the herb paste. Cook 2 minutes stirring and without burning, then add the kale, cumin and smoked paprika, stir to combine, and cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the greens are tender. When they are tender, remove the lid and allow any excess water to evaporate. Turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve with bread, cured black olives, or any of your favorite olives, and wedges of lemon to squeeze to taste.