Monday, September 21, 2015

Recipe - Gharsi Khorovats with Lamb

Gharsi Khorovats with Lamb


  • 1 leg of lamb or 6 bone in lamb or pork chops
  • 1 T orgeano
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • Zest and juice of 2 large oranges
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate syurp
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves


  1. Puree the oregano, rosemary, garlic, zest/juice of orange, yogurt and olive oil and put in ziplock bag with lamb.  Let set for 24 hours
  2. Remove the roast and brush with the pomegranate marinade (pomegranate syurp/mulddled with mint leaves).
  3. Using a hot pan, sear the lamb on each side for about 4 or 5 minutes.
  4. Put in oven covered with tin foil.  Roast 30 minutes per pound or until lamb reaches 130F.  Make sure to let the lamb rest about a half hour before cutting.
  5. Slice thinly and serve with lavash bread and eech


Recipe - Lavash

Man cannot live on bread alone.  But, I could come close.  I especially love flat bread!  This made a ton.  I could have halved the recipe.  There are a couple types of Lavash.  This one is more chewy than soft and isn't a wrap.



8 cups flour
1 T salt
1 T baking powder
2 T sugar
2 sticks butter
3 cups warm water


  1. Shift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.
  2. Melt the butter and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Add most of the water.  It was really humid when I made this so I actually only needed 2 cups. Depending on how dry you are, you'll probably need closer to 3.
  4. Mix until the spoon just isn't doing it for you anymore and start to kneed until smooth and elastic.
  5. Divide dough into 6 pieces (or 3 if you halved this)

  6. Repeat the following for all balls:
    1. Roll into something about 16x12 (cookie sheet size)
    2. Fold the dough in thirds one way then thirds the other.

  7. Preheat oven to 425.
  8. Repeat the following for all balls:
    1. Roll packet to fit onto a 16x12 cookie sheet (ungreased), place it on the cookie sheet.  I had two trays going at the same time and I put my cookie sheet on one.  Not required.

    2. Brush with the egg wash.
    3. Bake on lower oven rack for about 10 minutes then move to the top for 5. (the original recipe said 15 bottom, 10 top, but this was the best for me and my oven)
    4. I actually put the next bread in to the bottom when I moved the prior to the top.
    5. Cut each sheet into 12 pieces.  I used a pizza cutter.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Recipe - Mantabour (Yogurt Dumpling Soup)

This is one that I found a ton of different variations for.  Manti is a word for dumpling, but it's not the Armenian word.  It's Turkish.  Tanabour is a yogurt soup.  A very similar soup with different shaped dumplings is Agenchik Soup.  The manti could also be served with a chicken broth instead of this yogurt based one.

As you can see by my army of references, I was trying hard to get something authentic.  I think the agenchik style might be a little more common, espcailly when in the broth, but the whole region has dumplings shaped like this and I liked the shape of the exposed meat on the top.  These little guys are pretty ubiquitous across most of Central Asia, the Middle East and the edge of Eastern Europe.

Apparently, in parts of Turkey, when a girl meets her future mother-in-law she is suppose to prepare manti.  The smaller the manti the better a cook the girl is.  They should be small enough that 40 can fit on a spoon.  My manti are considerably larger.   Maybe I'll try for the tiny ones when I get to Turkey.  You are meant to eat the manti in one bite to keep the juices from the meat intact.

The soup broth could be eaten without the dumplings either hot or cold.  It could even be watered down to a drink, Tahn.  I think the reason that I wanted to go with the yogurt soup is because of how much I liked the Afgani lamb stew that I made which also had a yogurt base.



3 1/2 cup flour
3/4 t salt
2 T sunflower oil
1 T melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk


1 pound ground lamb or beef
1/2 cup water
1 large onion, diced
2 T minced parsley
1 t salt
dash black pepper
dash allspice


24 ounce strained yogurt
1 cup wheat berries (optional, I didn't use it)
2 eggs
1/2 onion
4 cups beef or chicken broth
1/4 cup sunflower oil
8 cloves garlic, minced

Dumpling Dough

Mix the dough ingredients together.  Let the dough rest for 2 hours.  I actually made this the night before and let it sit in the fridge.  I took it out about 30 minutes before I planned to use it.

Dumpling filling

Cook the meat and water on low heat, stirring occasionally.  Once the water has evaporated, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until onions are translucent.  Remove from heat.

Dumpling assembly

Roll the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick and cut into squares of about 1 1/2 inch or smaller.  Mine were 1 1/2 inch, but i could have gone smaller for sure.
Put a marble size of the filling in the center of the square
Pinch the sides up to make a canoe shape.  Keep going until you've used it all up.
Pack your little boats tightly on a cookie sheet.  Pour 2 T melted butter in the cookie sheet around your boats.
Bake the dumplings at 375 for 20 to 30 minutes.


Simmer chicken broth and wheat berries until it is reduced by 1/2.  Set aside to cool.
Beat yogurt and egg.
Saute onion and garlic in the sunflower until the onion turns a light brown (20 minutes).
Whisk the cooled chicken broth into the yogurt egg mixture then heat slowly, stirring constantly.

Put five or six manti in the bottom of a shallow bowl.  (or more if your manti were a lot smaller than mine).  I added some soup around the manti and was careful to not submerge the manti.  But that was more for presentation.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Recipe - Nazook

This reminds me a little bit of ruhgulah, which I guess makes sense given the region.  I think that I like this better, maybe.  I don't know they are both pretty great :)


3 cups (450 g) flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup yogurt


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk


  1. Let's start with the dough. Combine the flour with the active dry yeast and mix with a fork.
  2. Add butter and yogurt. 
  3. Mix for about 10 minutes until you have a soft elastic dough (or cheat with a paddle attachment on your kitchen-aid, but mine was in storage).
  4. Roll the dough into a large ball and let rest in the fridge for a bit.
  5. Next to the filling...mix the flour, sugar and softened butter in a medium bowl 
  6. Add the vanilla extract. Don't worry if your filling reminds you of wet sand.  That's correct. 
  7. Cover two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.  Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 4 pieces. 
  8. Roll the dough into thin, but not transparent rectangles, about 8x12. Top each rectangle a quarter of the filling, leaving about an inch of one of the long sides not covered.
  9. Roll the dough along the long side, towards the edge without filling to get a thin long roll.
  10. Flatten the roll a little and brush with the wash.
  11. Cut the dough into about 10 pieces each and lay out on a cookie sheet. 
  12. Bake for 30 minutes.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recipe - Eech (Bulgar Salad)

Eech is like tabbouleh, but with tomato puree which gives it a neat orange flavor.  I served it cold but you could serve it at room temperature.  You could also throw in some diced bell peppers if you want.  Some families do.

Eech (Bulgar Salad)


2 cup Bulgar wheat
1 large onion, finely diced
15 ounce can of plum tomatoes
2 cups near boiling water
2 T pomegranate molasses
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 large tomato diced
1 bunch parsley
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Saute the onion and plum tomatoes with the cumin.  Puree.
  2. Add the bulgar, the hot water and everything else.  Let sit for 30 to 45 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
  3. Let sit in fridge overnight to let flavors meld.


Recipe - Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

This reminded me of the Abkhazia walnut sauce.  Probably because of the walnuts.  And because the countries aren't too far away from each other.

Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)


2 large red bell peppers, roasted and skinned
1 small fresno pepper
1 slice crumbled bread (use vegan bread to make this vegan)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 T garlic
1/2 t asafedida powder (I didn't use this)
1 1/2 T pomegranate molasses
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t sea salt
3 T olive oil


Combine in food processor (I used my trusty immersion blender).
Serve either chilled or at room temperature


Recipe - Jajik (Cucumber yogurt dip)

Jajik (Cucumber yogurt dip)


2 cucumbers
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 T garlic
2 T chopped fresh mint
1 t cilantro


Peel and grate the cucumbers.  Mix with the garlic, yogurt, mint and cilantro
Refrigerate overnight (minimum one hour)


Recipe - Armenian Boreg

There are several variations on the cheeses in this recipe.   Probably feta would have been more authentic.  But it was a last minute decision so I just used one recipe when picking out the ingredients so this is what I used.  It took a long time, but was worth it.  So, so, so worth it.

Armenian Boreg


8 oz cream cheese
1/2 pound grated munster
4 oz ricotta
2 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley


1/2 stick butter, melted
filo dough


  1. Mix cheeses, egg and parsley together.
  2. Now the "fun" part.  Take your filo dough and put it on a cookie sheet, draping a damp towel over it.
  3. Going a sheet at a time, brush it with butter.

  4. Lay a tablespoon or two of the filling in the middle of one end of the dough.
  5. Fold the dough down over the dough and then up over it.

  6. Brush with more butter.  Yumm.  Butter.
  7. Fold the corner down and keep going like a flag.

  8. Yummy bundle of goodness.  Brush with more butter.
  9. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

  10. Yummm!


Armenia - About

Armenia is a small country located between Turkey and Georgia in the mountainous area around Mount Ararat. It's technically in Asia, but historically it's felt more of a connection to Europe.  As is the case with all the countries in this region, people have lived here forever.  The oldest shoe dating back to 3,500 BC was discovered, which is impressive, but not as impressive as the 48,000 year old hearth discovered.

There's a long history and I think that this link does a really good job of running through everyone that has run through the region.  So, I won't go through everything, just some highlights... The Armenians consider themselves descendants of Noah since the ark is rumored to have landed on Ararat.  Their ancient hero, Haik is the country's name sake.  I know you don't see Hayk in Armenia, but that's because the Armeinas call themselves Hay and their country Hayastan.  There also was an Aram later on who did a lot to expand the country so the Greeks and Persians named the country after him.

Historically, they are some of the world's oldest producers of wine.  They still make wine but also cognac.   Really, really good cognac.

They were the first official christian nation (301AD), which they are very proud of.   As such, they have tons of beautiful ancient churches.

Sumac is a popular spice, which I love.  I don't remember when I first tried it, but I had no idea it was from Armenia.  It's a little sour and I like to add it to yogurt and vegetables.

My favorite Armenian fact is that chess is a required subject in school and they have more grand masters per-capita in comparison to any other country.

On a sad note, in 1915, 1.5 million people were killed in the first modern genocide.


Argentina - Menu and Overview

Argentina is pretty synonyms with meat in my mind.  It's also synonyms with empanadas.  And since dumplings and meats are my favorites, this meal was a pretty quick win.  Unfortunately, we don't have a grill.  It does almost feel sacrilegious to cook Argentinian food in an oven, but it turned out awesome.

We had some friends over in our tiny apartment.  I did manage to take a picture of my friends, but not of the whole meal.  I'll figure this out eventually.


These were a pain to make, but they were great.  I made a ton so that I would have a lot of leftovers.  I made both beef and corn.  I'm not sure which I liked better.  They were both awesome.

Quality steaks will make or break this recipe.

Reminiscent of Michigan Potatoes.

Wonderful herby topping to the steak and great dipping sauce for empanadas.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Recipe - Chimichuri

Chimichuri is like an Argentine pesto.  Apparently they dislike this comparison, but they shouldn't make something like pesto if they don't want it compared.  :)

Serve this on steak or with empanadas.


2 cups parsley
4 t dried oregano
8 garlic cloves
1/3 onion, diced roughly
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup good olive oil (seriously, splurge here, you'll be glad that you did)


  1. Puree or blend together
  2. Let sit overnight to let the flavors meld.


Recipe - Beef Empanadas and Corn Empanadas

In Chicago there was this amazing food truck and it would park a few blocks from my office every Thursday.  And thus Thursday became Empanadas Food Truck day.  I miss that.  But, these turned out pretty good too!  It's no food truck and it took a ton of work, but I made a huge recipe and froze 2/3 of them for lunches and snacks.

I served this with Chimichuri Sauce.

Beef Empanadas and Corn Empanadas  

 For the dough:

6 3/4 cups flour
4 t salt
3 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced (or, freeze it and grate it into the flour mixture...I know! amazing, right?)
3 large eggs
1 cups ice water
3 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar

For the beef filling:

1 pound of lean ground beef
2 onions, diced
2 T smoked paprika
2 T ground cumin
3 T red wine vinegar
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 T parsley, chopped finely
2 T capers, finely chopped
6 T olive oil
2 T butter
16 ounces tomato sauce
4 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped

For the corn filling

3 cups frozen corn (about one and a half bags)
1 T garlic
2 onions, diced
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T half and half

2 eggs, gently beaten with a fork (for the egg wash)


  1. Let's start with the beef filling.  I did this at 3pm the day before I wanted to serve the empanadas.  It took me about an hour and a half, but it wasn't all active time.
  2. Heat the oil and butter and saute the onions for about an hour over medium heat.  About fifteen or twenty minutes into it, add the red wine vinegar.  Add the pepper and cook another 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the beef, spices, capers, tomato sauce and parsley. Cook until the beef is brown then crumble in the egg.
  4. Set this in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

  5. Now, the corn filling.
  6. Saute the onions in the butter and olive oil for about 7 minutes.  Add in the garlic and corn for another 5.  Then add the half and half. 
  7. Use an emersion blender and pulse a few times just so that the mixture is a little broken down, but you don't want soup or anything!
  8. Add in the cheese and let melt.  Add the cornstarch and stir just to incorporate.  Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

  9. Next, the dough.  I actually did this after the beef, but it doesn't really matter. 
  10. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
  11. Use a pastry blender to work in the butter.  It should be mostly incorporated with a few pea sizes left
  12. In another bowl, beat the egg, water and vinegar with a fork.
  13. Combine into dry mixture, but be careful to not over mix.
  14. With floured hands, shape the dough into a ball then flatten to a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.  I did this the night before.

  15. Okay, now we are ready to cook!  You want your oven at 400F.  
  16. Roll out your dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into 4 inch disks.
  17. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center and fold the circle into a half moon.  Pinch and fold the edges to seal them and place the formed empanada onto a prepared baking sheet. Stab the top of the empanada to keep it from exploding. 
  18. Continue to do this with the remaining dough and filling.
  19. Once you’ve formed all of your empanadas, brush them with the egg wash. Bake the empanadas for approximately 15 minutes (until golden brown).
  20. I froze half the empanadas before baked and just defrosted.
I folded the corn and beef differently to remember what each was filled with.  Here are a few ways that you can try.


Recipe - Argentine Potatoes

Argentine Potatoes


2 lbs baby potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 diced red onion


  1. Combine vinegar, cumin and chili powder.  Add in the potatoes and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Toss with olive oil and saute in a dutch oven.  Saute for about 20 minutes, stiring frequently.
  3. Add in the red onion.
  4. Move the dutch oven into your oven, preheated to about 350 degrees.
  5. Roast the potatoes until they are crispy on the outside and soft in the center, about 20 minutes.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Argentina - About

Argentina , or the Argentine Republic more accurately, is the 8th largest country in the world.  It's at the southern bit of South America sourrounded by Chile to the west; Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast and Uragauy and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. On the western border, just before Chile, lay the Andes mountains.  To the east the land is fairly flat, perfect for raising cattle.

Unlike most of Central and South America, Argentina is almost entirely of European decent, 95% by some accounts. Nearly half the population lives in and around Buenos Aires.

Of all the places that we have discussed thus far, this one has been on my travel list the longest.  Wine, cities, Patagonia.  This place has it all!

Yeah, let's talk Patagonia.  It's a beautiful region spanning Chile and Argentina on the southern tip of South America and is some of the most beautiful hiking in the world.

The picture above is from G Adventures, who I went with to China.  They have a bunch of Patagonia hiking trips as does Intrepid Travel and REI.  Sometimes I visit those sites to see their tours.  There's many years before we even qualify for the family ones though.  So for now, I'll live through looking at their websites.

Intrepid Travel
But it's not all rugged landscapes.  Buenos Aires has been called the "Paris of South America"

And the Mendoza region makes some great wine.

Argentina is the reason why I've paused on my updates.  You see, we just moved and we don't have a grill.  And I feel that it's almost sacrilege to cook Argentine steaks on the stove.  But, that's what I'm going to have to do.

And, of course, no discussion of Argentine culture would be complete without a tango clip.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Antigua & Barbuda - Menu and Overview

We actually cooked this meal back in March.  It was a ton of fun to bring a bit of the Islands to Chicago. 

This was one of my favorites.  It's always nice to have a signature cocktail at a dinner party and the Paloma did not disappoint.  Actually, none of the food did.  Even the two kids in attendance (Zander and my friend's three year old) really enjoyed the offerings.

I don't know why I never seem to take pictures of the people we invited over for the meals.  I'm a few behind at the time of typing this, but going forward, I'll get more people pictures.  Which means in a few more meals I'll have people.  The picture to the side shows the food half plated.  We let people top their fish and bean cakes to their liking. The picture below shows my plate just after I set it up.


Bajan Bakes
Black Bean Cakes
Palmoa Cocktail
Mango Avo Salad


Bajan Bakes
These Johnny Cakes were awesome.  I love cinnamon and while I'm not usually a fan of almond, it went really well in this little fried biscuit.

Black Bean Cakes
I often have leftover black beans after taco nights and I'm for sure going to be using this to revive the leftovers.  The toppings were really tasty and went really well with the beans, but maybe a bit more work than they were worth.

Palmoa Cocktail
I'm a sucker for tequilla.  Throw in some grapefruit soda, which I'm also a sucker for and we've got a winner.

Mango Avo Salad
Mangos and Avocado.  You can't go wrong.

Recipe - Bajan Bakes (Johnny Cakes, Barbuda style)

In Antigua & Barbuda they have their own kind of Johnny Cake.  It's very interesting with an almond flavor.  These are usually enjoyed for breakfast, but it's not wrong to eat them for dinner.  If something tastes this good how could it ever be wrong?

Bajan Bakes (Johnny Cakes, Barbuda style)


3 3/4 cups flour
1 T baking powder
3 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 T almond essence
3/4 to 1 cup water


  1. Shift flour, sugar and baking powder together.  
  2. Make a little well in the center and add the water slowly, mixing until not sticky. 
  3. Kneed for about 5-10 minutes and make into a smooth ball. If the dough is sticking to your hands too much, that means that you added too much water in step two, so add a bit of flour.
  4. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Roll dough into a strip and then cut into about 18 smaller pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball then flatten with your fingers.
  5. Heat oil in a pan until it feels uncomfortably warm when you hold your hand over the pan. 
  6. Fry 2-3 minutes per side.  I did 6 at a time.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Recipe - Black Bean Cakes

This is a wonderful vegetarian dish and could very easily be a main if you don't do meat.  All the flavors went together amazingly and everyone enjoyed assembling their cakes.


Black Bean Cakes

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 T dice jalapeno
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 small serano pepper
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 T EVOO
Yogurt Sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Start with the yogurt sauce.  Mix the yogurt with the cilantro and the juice of the half lemon.  Put in fridge.

  2. Now on to the salsa. Halve the tomatoes and roughly chop the 1/2 white onion and the serano pepper.  Drizzle with 1T olive oil ake at 425 for about 10 or 15 minutes.
  3. Put the veggies in a pot and just cover with water.  Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Blend with an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a regular blender, blend, then replace).
  5. Simmer while you make the bean cakes.

  6. Rinse the beans.  Put in a food processor (I just used my immersion blender again) with the 1/2 cup diced onion, jalapeno and cumin.  Process until it's a paste.
  7. Mix in the egg to the bean paste mixture.
  8. Make balls from the bean paste mixture (about 2 T per ball) and roll in the cornmeal.
  9. Heat up the olive oil.  Saute the bean cakes about three minutes each side.
  10. Serve topped with the salsa and yogurt.

Zander approves.


Recipe - Island Palmoa

I am a fan of good tequila and I really enjoyed this simple little cocktail.

Island Palmoa


1 part Sparkling grapefruit juice (I used Izze)
1 part tequila
Squeeze of lime


Stir together and serve over ice


Recipe - Mahi Mahi in Creole Sauce

Apparently there is some debate if creole sauce is authentically Caribbean.  It's a fusion sauce for sure. It mixed French and African traditions with foods available in the region.  But, in all fairness, what really is authentic?  So much of the food eaten in many parts of the world aren't "authentic" but brought by other peoples as they came to or through the area.  Think Italy.  Pasta is from China.  Tomatoes are new world.

I saw this on several sites for Antigua & Barbuda so, obviously the people who live there eat it.  If that doesn't make it authentic, I don't know what does!

Mahi Mahi in Creole Sauce


Creole Sauce

  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 T peri peri sauce (or diced hot pepper instead)
  • 2 scallions
  • 4 T finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 t cinnamon


  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 4 salmon fillets


  1. Sprinkle salt, pepper and the lemon juice on the mahi mahi filets.
  2. Saute the green peppers and onions for about 8 minutes.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper, scallions.  Simmer for about 25 minutes with the lid mostly covering the pot.
  4. Remove the lid and the bay leaf.
  5. Saute the fish in some olive oil 3 minutes per side.
  6. Serve sauce on top of the fish.


Recipe - Mango Avo Salad

I wasn't going to make this at first, because it's almost the same as the fruit salad that I made last week, but the baby loved it and we knew that our friends would enjoy the fruit.  So here it is!  If it wasn't for the baby and our friend who is pregnant, I'd have gone for this pineapple and rum salad.

Humorously, I made this so long ago that my friend has already had the baby weeks ago.  Hah.  Everyone loved this salad.

2 mangoes, cubed
2 avocados, cubed
2 limes, juiced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 T finely diced jalapeno

Rinse the red onion (it will make it less sharp).  Toss everything together.  Yum.

So, I forgot to take a picture of this so I grabbed on from Global Table Adventure to give you an idea of what it would look like.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Antigua & Barbuda - About

So, last week Anguilla teased me with thoughts of sun and sand.  This week it's Antigua & Barbuda, an island nation in the Lesser Antilles islands of the Caribbean.

I actually wrote this post and cooked this meal back in March while I was still in Chicago.  Chicago's March is, in my opinion, the worst month of the whole Windy City year.  It's usually not the coldest.  That usually goes to Janurary.  It's not even the snowiest.  But by the time March has come, all Chicagoans are just SICK of winter.

So when I saw all the beautiful beaches, great kayaking, snorkeling and rum, I was ready to go!  Average ocean temp is 79 degrees in March and the land would be around 83F.  In July it's 88F, which isn't too bad.

Can I go there now?

Barbuda only has two resorts.  Antigua controls most of the tourism.  It even has a harbor large enough to accommodate cruise ships.

Hum, a cruise would be okay too.

Okay, enough about my vacation fantasies.  But those chairs do look pretty lonely...

Sugar is grown on both islands, but as you can imagine by those pictures, tourism is a major industry.  So one more picture.

Antigua was named by Christopher Columbus himself after The Virgin of the Old Cathedral (La Virgen de la Antigua).  The Brits ended up getting the islands and it remained a British colony up until 1981.  Now it's independent but is still in the Commonwealth.

The vast majority of the inhabitants are descendants of slaves.  96% of the population identifies as African decent.  Antigua was the first British colony to completely do away with slavery.

When I hear "Carnival", I think of Rio's Mardi Gras, but in Antigua & Barbuda, it's a 10 day celebration of the abolition of slavery in July and August.

The official language is English, but most people speak a creole.

Most people are various type of Christian but some practice Obeah, which is similar to voodoo and descends from a conglomeration of various West African beliefs.

Many dishes are reminiscent of last week's Angola, which makes sense because many of the dishes were transplanted along with the people via the slave routes.  These foods include okra, eggplant and the polenta-like porridge, fungee.  Fungee is very similar to Angola's Funge, but it's made of cornstrach instead of cassava flour.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Anguilla - Menu and Overview

This is my seventh meal on my family's challenge to cook our way around the globe.

We cooked this back on March 1st, but then I got sick and then we sold our home and then we moved...  So, I've been a little bit busy.  This was by far the easiest meal I've done and I think right up there as one of my favorites.  It's right up there with Afghanistan.  It's also the only meal that I've made multiple times (minus the cornbread).

The menu:

Pineapple Cornbread
Barbecued Fish Steaks
Diced Tropical Fruit
Johnny Cakes

I was going to make a chocolate pie, but never did.  I think that if I were to cook this meal again, I'd ditch the cornbread and add the chocolate pie.  I still haven't made it, but I hope to one day!


Pineapple Cornbread
I wasn't impressed.  I had an open mind.  But, alas, this didn't quite live up to my hopes.

Barbecued Fish Steaks
Orange on fish?  Really?  Wow! Yes, please!  This was amazing.  I'd never have thought that the flavors would go so well, but they did.   It was also super easy to prepare.  It would have been better on the grill, but was still wonderful pan seared.

Diced Tropical Fruit
I'm not sure how authentic this is.  But all the fruits are locally grown.  This was my second week in a row having papaya in the house.  It's officially the baby's favorite fruit.  He squeals with delight when he sees it.  It's almost the same sound that he makes when he sees me at the end of the day so I know that he really loves papaya.

Johnny Cakes
These were magic.  I love bread.  I love fried things.  So it wasn't hard to win me over.  It also wasn't too hard to make.  Pete suggested that we dust it with powdered sugar, but it's not really that sweet.  It's a little sweeter than your average dinner roll or biscuit, but not something that I'd call dessert or anything.  I had these all week for breakfast spread with jam.  Yummy.

As you can see, I had a lot going on and a very messy counter.  This is why I had to take a bit of a hiatus.

But, Zander misses the fun international flavors.  The papaya won him over.  And the Johnny Cakes.

He's so little there.  It was 4 months ago so he was only 9 months old.  It's crazy how fast he's growing up!  Now he's 13 months and all over the place!