Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 8: Our Lebanese Dinner


I ended up cooking mezze, or appetizers, for our Lebanese dinner. It's really hard to choose a favorite though. Seriously, every single dish I tried was good. The chicken wings would be perfect as an appetizer for a Christmas party, or served when friends come over to watch the Super Bowl. The salad is normal enough to add to a normal dinner salad rotation, but different enough to be interesting. The dip, a great alternative to hummus. And the cheese rolls. Mmmmm! Just wait until you hear about them.

Very nice juicy wings in a lemon-garlic marinade. I found the recipe in the fantastic cookbook Arabesque (page 276 if you want to look it up). They were so simple to make too. A bag of wings, a marinade of a few tablespoons olive oil, a juiced lemon, salt, pepper, couple cloves minced garlic, and a few minutes under a broiler. I'm getting hungry just thinking about these wings. If you're a fan of lemon-pepper chicken, you'll go crazy for lemon-garlic wings.

What I really like about this particular salad is how much texture it has. Sure, there's a lot of flavor. But just look at it. 3 kinds of greens (Butter/Boston, Romaine, and Spinach), toasted pita bread, bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes all tossed together with a light dressing made with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, lemon pepper, dried onion flakes, celery salt, garlic powder, and olive oil. Fattoush is also just plain fun to say. 

 If you've never been to Asheville, North Carolina, you really should go. It's beautiful. The food downtown is terrific. We've vacationed there twice. First on our honeymoon and more recently as a family. Both times we tried several local restaurants and were never disappointed. At one restaurant I tried Baba Ganoush for the first time. Ever since then I have been wanting to make it, but intimidated to try. Why on earth was I intimidated!? Turns out it's so easy to make this delicious dip! Roast an eggplant, peel it, add seasonings, mash to mix, and serve. Even if you're not generally an eggplant fan I think you'll enjoy the flavor of Baba Ganoush. 

Do you like mozzarella sticks? I do. Crispy on the outside. Gooey on the inside. But terribly greasy. These cheese rolls though were even better than mozzarella sticks! A blend of shredded cheese is mixed with salt, pepper, parsley, and some egg white to bind. That seasoned mixture is then rolled inside egg roll dough. Then you brown each side until golden. These cheese rolls are mozzarella sticks grown up. You can find the recipe I used here

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Market Day- Guess What I'm Making!

Yesterday was such a refreshing day! Hung out with the family at the zoo, got my shopping done, and finalized the touches on our Lebanese dinner.

Ingredients: Lettuce (butter and romain), spinach, eggplant, mozzarella, egg roll wrappers, bell pepper, beans, pita bread, lemon juice, olive oil, cucumbers, tomato, chicken (and of course spices and seasonings).

Can you guess what we're having (a hint at the link)?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quick Update- Where to next?

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the planet. Still here. You should hear about Market Day and the actual culinary adventure soon. We've been really, really busy! In the meantime while you wait to hear about Lebanon, are you interested in a preview?

Right now I'm considering what reason to explore next. Leaning towards Africa right now. There's so much to explore there. Every once in a while we visit a city with an Ethiopian restaurant. Oh, I love their food. Moroccan is really good too. The other idea I'm considering is a "Christmas 'round the globe" trip. Perfect for December. Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Planning Day: Lebanon

Last time I tried cooking a recipe inspired by Lebanon it quickly become a favorite. It's been enjoyed by my family and at potlucks. Hummus Casserole. I know, it sounds weird but it's really really yummy. Check it out!

from Free Retro Graphics

This time I'll mostly be using Arabesque, the cookbook I checked out from the local library for my Turkish culinary adventure. There are some great websites I'm devouring too. Chances are I'll be including something from a couple of them. 

Lebanese seems to have an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. There's also a lot of starch and more fish than animal meat. I just love how so many recipes include lemon juice in them! I've always had a soft spot for lemons. 

Have you ever gone out to eat at a tapas restaurant? Spanish tapas are so great, rather like a flavorful buffet filled with an array of healthy, light dishes rather than the calorie-laden heavy dishes at a traditional American buffet. In Spain tapas are a normal part of life. In Lebanon however I read mezze, their word for a variety of appetizers, isn't something eaten every day- more often when company comes over and you serve them drinks. Still, if I did choose to simply cook mezze, my family would be able to sample a fairly wide variety of Lebanese dishes. 

That is particularly appealing. I'm reading of such delicious foods as dates stuffed with mascarpone cheese, picked and raw vegetables, and dips like hummus and baba ghanoush. Baba Ghanoush reminds me of my honeymoon. I first tried it at a fusion restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. It was love at first bite. Seafood like shrimp, tabbouleh, falafel, a pastry made of spinach and cheese, kibbeh (a dish of chopped meat and bulgur), skewered meats, and fattoush (toasted bread tossed with vegetables) are some of the other tasty dishes served at mezze.

Then again, we could have a family-style supper. One or two items from mezze like perhaps some hummus and bread. A hot dish, like a cilantro shrimp stir fry, fish tagine, chicken shawarma- isn't that a favorite!?- love ordering it when I'm out and not in the mood for gyros-, tahini and yogurt potato salad, or couscous with carrots and peas and golden raisins. I even found a recipe for a short rib lasagna roll! Of course no meal would be complete without a flat bread. Finished with dessert. Did anyone mention baklava? Oh, my. My husband told me just this morning he has a delicious recipe. Really!? You've never mentioned it or made it since we married and you say you have a great baklava recipe?! Oh my oh my! 

It all sounds delicious. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

7: Our Turkish Dinner

A big apology to my readers! I'm sorry it took me so long to update. Life intervened.

Sunday was our Turkish adventure. We enjoyed an extremely simple, sweet pumpkin soup. A savory chickpea salad that made it feel like summer despite the red, yellow, and orange leaves outside our window. Some tasty zucchini cakes that have to be healthier than the fried zucchini you get at Carl's Jr. Meatballs, and of course some pilaf.

You can find this recipe for chickpea salad at Binnur's Turkish Cookbook. It's really easy to whip up and full of flavor. This was my personal favorite dish! I also loved just how filling it is. I've eaten the leftovers for lunch and been perfectly satisfied. The dressing is what really makes this salad special. 

I think these zucchini cakes would make an excellent appetizer for any party. I found the recipe in the cookbook Arabesque. It's made of chopped onion and zucchini, mixed with feta cheese and a bonding agent of flour, eggs, seasonings. They're cooked until browned on both sides and then ready to eat. A very delicious appetizer indeed. Definitely a healthy alternative to fried zucchini!

This sweet pumpkin soup was the favorite of the rest of the family. There were only a few ingredients which means their request to make this regularly will be no problem for me! A can of pumpkin, some vegetable broth, a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper all cooked until heated through. Serve with a swirl of Greek yogurt for a delicious meal!

The pilaf was extremely simple. It made an excellent side dish. We all agreed the simplicity of the flavors would make this great with any dish- meatloaf, BBQ chicken, you name it. Simply wash and then saute your basmati rice in butter. Then cook it in stock and season with salt and pepper. It's that simple.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Market Day: Guess What I'm Making (Turkey)

Can you guess what I'm making for our Turkish culinary adventure this weekend? It's more than one dish this week. I'll be including a soup, an appetizer, a salad, a main course...Oh, and there are hints you can use in my planning post. Comment below with any guesses!

Honey, mint, dill, yogurt, rice, pumpkin, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), olives, feta, tomatoes, ground beef, onion (yellow and red), zucchini area all in the picture. Not pictured: Salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, egg yolks, broth

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Planning Day: Turkey

It's here! It's finally here! The week I get to cook Turkish dishes. I've been looking forward to this week ever since we started our "journey" through the Mediterranean. Turkish food is so good.

Unfortunately I'm still waiting for my two cookbooks to come in at the library. Searching the web meanwhile I've found some rather delicious looking recipes. Among them is a great website called Binnur's Turkish Cookbook that's filled with years worth of recipes. What a resource! Every once in a while I find myself scrolling through the website, staring at the delicious recipes. My mouth waters as I read about the food.

Pilafs made from rice or wheat. Dishes- savory and sweet- made using yogurt. Turkish cuisine is filled with vegetables, and if I wanted I could even make a vegetarian supper quite easily. Kebabs, meatballs, and chicken Tava sound so good though. They all seem to be calling my name! Of course I mustn't forget the soup, which is a very traditional way to start a meal over there, and perfect for a cool November evening.

Best of all, every recipe I've read so far is easy to make. I can't wait for the weekend. This is going to be great!

We may just have to go out for some baklava for dessert.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Making Pastizzi

Tip: Use frozen pastry dough instead of making your own. 

Mix eggs with ricotta cheese. I found two ratios in recipes online. One had 1 egg to 1lb ricotta, the other had 2 eggs to 1 lb ricotta. 1 egg/1lb was the most common.

Mix until smooth and season with salt and pepper. The cheese filling is ready to use!

Making curried pea filling. Split peas that have been boiled in water are then set aside. Onion and garlic are sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with curry powder. The peas and a little water are added and cooked until the water evaporates. Once the mixture is cooled it's time to stuff!

Cut the pastry dough into circles- like a cat's head biscuit- and fill with about a tablespoon of your desired filling. Fold it over, seal, and bake in the oven.  

Very tasty! 

Ricotta Filling Recipe (includes a video)

Monday, October 31, 2011

6: Our Dinner (Malta)

As the week kept rolling along so did our planned culinary adventure. But finally on Saturday I made it to the market and found the time to cook! None of us were very hungry. We didn't want a large meal. As the day drew to a close we just wanted to settle down with something light, easy-to-eat, and enjoy a good movie together. Thankfully the Maltese supper I'd planned was a perfect fit.

In the end using all these ingredients

we enjoyed a very light, easy-to-eat supper perfect for movie night!

I made Pastizzi!

They're basically like a meat pie without the meat. We enjoyed two varieties. One with made with curried vegetable (split peas with curry and onion) and the other with a cheese filling (ricotta and eggs). I enjoyed the curried split pea ones best, my husband the ricotta cheese filled pies. My toddler just enjoyed the fun of having pocket pies for supper. Something he could eat with his hands.

Sunday after church we reheated the leftovers for a light lunch. They reheated beautifully. In fact the flavors were actually better the second day than the first. I read online Pastizzi freeze well. Now I wish I'd made a really large batch to freeze. Because they reheat so beautifully they would make a food to keep on hand in the freezer for a quick, grab-on-the-go or I'm-tired supper. I plan to make them again in the future. Perhaps I'll experiment with the fillings too.

Oh, also-- the ricotta filling is great baked in a pie crust with mixed vegetables and some chicken. I made a pie with it for supper tonight. So yummy! Perhaps I'll have to blog about that over on Wee Wonderings this week.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Market Day: Guess What I'm Making! (Malta)

Finally, after getting moved due to work schedules, we're about to travel to Malta in our kitchen! Hurrah! Our culinary adventure to Malta will include a light, easy supper. As you can see I'm cutting a corner by buying Puff Pastry shells rather than making my own pastry. What a blessing to have the option available on a busy weekend day! 

Ingredients: Pepper, salt, eggs, onions, garlic, split peas, curry powder, puff pastry, ricotta. Totally forgot to throw olive oil into the picture! 

Can you guess what we're having? You can find hints as always on my previous blog entry Planning Day: Malta.

Comment below with your guesses or even suggestions!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Planning Day: Malta

The island of Malta is a neighbor of Sicily. It has its own cuisine which is a blend of many other cuisines, particularly with an Italian and an Arabic influence according to multiple resources I've read. Since "fresh is best" seems to be a motto for Maltese foods, in-season vegetables are an important part of the dishes. I think I like it already!

Stews made with locally caught fish and vegetables. Pies and pastries are both sweet and savory, a normal part of Maltese cuisine. Mmm, pies with fish and vegetables? Pastries filled with cheese and vegetables? Sounds delicious. Nougat and macaroons- my mouth is watering already. But pretty heavy on carbohydrates! Apparently if I want to eat healthy, I'll just stick with stew. Stew can be hardy, and of course the weather will be cooperating. On the other hand, hey, it's an adventure right? I can enjoy something like a pie or a pastry. What to choose?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tumbet Recipe: A Healthy Casserole

Did I really just say it? Healthy and casserole in the same phrase? But it's true, this casserole is both flavorful and healthy. No fattening cream of soups in this dish. Only layers of vegetables (and tubers) and a little healthy fat coming from olive oil.

Several days after making it we're still enjoying eating Tumbet! On Saturday my husband discovered that a splash of lemon juice adds something to the flavors. It's an unauthentic addition I've made to the recipe. If you want something more authentic, leave it out. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Please remember to give ample time for the prep work. Also, take note that if you use a large stand alone, plug into the wall skillet browning the vegetables will take a fraction of the time of using a frying pan!

Tumbet makes a nice vegetarian main dish. I'd guess some lemon chicken or blackened chicken would make a nice accompaniment if you want to add in a meat dish and serve this on the side. A green salad and a crusty bread complete the meal would complete the meal. We simply ate the Tumbet with a side of crusty bread.

Tumbet (adapted from Spanish Cookbook, Aubergines,  Culinary Chase, and GroupRecipes)
2-3 small eggplants, sliced thinly
3 potatoes, sliced thinly (russet is my recommendation)
1-2 bell pepper, sliced
5 ripe tomatoes (must be ripe; you want them to be juicy) cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon juice (optional; unauthentic)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp oregano (depending on how strong you want it; we added more when we reheated and it was even better, so that's why I've listed the 1/2 tsp as an option)
olive oil
*optional: sheep's milk feta sprinkled on servings (unauthentic)

Thinly slice eggplant and lay in single layer on strainer or a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for an hour to remove juices. Mop up any brown droplets of liquid at the end of the hour.

Meanwhile prepare potatoes by slicing thinly and brown slightly on both sides in olive oil. Place in casserole dish sprinkled lightly with salt. Then repeat with the eggplant, placing that in a layer on top of the potatoes. Slice the bell pepper into strips, saute quickly, and layer on top of eggplant.

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add diced tomatoes and smash it lightly to remove juices. Add lemon juice, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until a nice sauce. Pour over the casserole.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes and allow to cool before serving.*

*Note: When I reheated it again for supper tonight I put a little sheep's milk feta on my serving. Wow! Just wow!

Working on the Design More

Just a quick update. I'm trying to link the tabs and create links to individual recipes. It still has a few glitches to work out but at least the tabs work now :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

5: Our Dinner (Balearic Islands)

Yesterday morning was so busy! I wasn't sure whether I would have the energy or time to whip together our culinary adventure and started thinking about moving it to Saturday. But armed with the knowledge I'd chosen something rather down-home, I realized it really wouldn't be any worse than whipping together a pot roast for supper. Not only that, but the flavors would be more interesting! So I decided to go ahead with our planned Balearic Island dinner. It didn't disappoint.

What in the world did I create using butter, sugar, salt, eggplant, onion, garlic, bread, bell pepper, tomatoes, eggs, yeast, potatoes, flour, olive oil, and milk?


Tumbet is the Balearic Island cousin to Ratatouille. It's a casserole, made from layers of thinly sliced potato, eggplant, bell pepper, and a sauce with onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Apparently it's one of the most popular dishes on the Balearic Island of Majorca (Mallorca). Occasionally someone will add a layer of zucchini in to the mixture. Since generally there's no zucchini I made it without. Plus of course it's October and zucchini isn't in season here. I think zucchini would have added a pleasant flavor to have layered in the casserole. It was very easy to make; anyone could make Tumbet. Because the potatoes and eggplant is sliced thinly and then sauteed before cooking, you either need to plan extra time for the prep work or prepare it on a nice large griddle instead of a frying pan. I served it with a nice bread on the side.
We enjoyed Tumbet, and my toddler asked for more for lunch today. The recipe sure made a lot though. Suffice it to say between the leftover Tumbet and the leftover chili from earlier in the week I don't have to cook this weekend. 

I almost made the Balearic Island cousin to pizza called Coca de Trempo.  It was really a tough choice for me, whether to try the casserole-like Tumbet or the pizza-like Coca de Trempo. You should check out this recipe for Coca de Trempo. It looks really tasty and easy to boot. Just a flat dough covered with diced, marinated vegetables and baked before serving cold.

This was dessert.

It's a sweet bread called an Ensaimada. Mine puffed up bigger than I was expecting. Apparently they are very popular as either a breakfast food (without a filling) or as a dessert with any number of fillings. The dough is so soft and moist and tender, and pulls away beautifully when served. The flavor of the dough is very pleasant. I really enjoy how it's not too sweet and not too savory. Here is the recipe I used if you'd like to give it a try yourself. I think next time I make Ensaimada- and yes, there will be a next time!- I will divide the dough and make a few smaller buns instead of one large Ensaimada. I'm pretty sure cream cheese would taste wonderful inside instead of butter, and read suggestions of jam, chocolate, custard as fillings. My husband thought it would be great drizzled in caramel. However you eat it, it's delicious, even plain. Definitely try your hand at making it one day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Market Day- Guess What I'm Making! (Balearic Islands)

What a busy week it has been! I only today got around to making it to the supermarket for our next culinary adventure. Even that was early in the afternoon after a full morning. Well, at least we made it there!

So can you guess from the following ingredients what we'll be making?

Butter, sugar, salt, garlic, onion, eggplant, bell pepper, 
bread, eggs, yeast, potatoes, tomatoes, flour, oil, milk

Comment below with your guesses! 

(Please forgive the quality of photos on this blog or lack thereof; I am working with a phone's camera for now)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Planning Day: Balearic Islands

This week we're taking a kitchen-based boat ride west through the Mediterranean Sea from Corsica to the Balearic Islands. They're an archipelago off the coast of Spain. Supposedly a beautiful vacation spot, and the more I read about the gorgeous beaches, the 300 days of sunshine a year, and all these islands have to offer the more I want to vacation there myself one day. Apparently it's not unheard of visitors end up settling on one of the lovely islands.

The cuisine is supposed to be rich in vegetables like eggplant, potatoes (I know, a tuber), peppers, tomatoes. They love clear soups and a wide variety of sauces. They have a vegetable-bread stew, and a casserole similar to France's ratatouille. Seafood is, of course, also popular. They have a few twists to their breads as well- literally. They also have a

Unfortunately our library doesn't have any cookbooks I can find on the Balearic Islands. I'm doing all my recipe hunting and menu planing from the internet. Right now the most helpful websites I've found are,, and Epicurious.

What is known:
                     The country we're "visiting": The Balearic Islands off Spain
                     Late Week Weather: sunny and cool, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s
                     According to the website "All About Spain" the most famous food we can thank the Balearic Island of Menorca for is mayonnaise (Wikipedia agrees with this).
                     Very famous for olive oil- thousands of years of fame here actually, going back to ancient Rome
Must decide:
                     What we're to eat
                      Can I use what I have?
                      Do I have to visit a specialty store or can I stick with a normal grocery store?

What would you make if you were cooking a Balearic Island style supper?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mint and Sheep's Cheese Omelet

The soup I made for our Corsican cooking night was enjoyable. The bread was pretty tasty. The omelet though was delicious. We all enjoyed it. Every last bite was devoured. When the forks were put down the only complaint was that I hadn't made more.
I found the recipe in a treasure of a book called Corsican Cuisine by Arthur L Meyer (page 24 if you want to find it and make it yourself, which is well worth it!). The ingredients were few, and there was no rolling of the omelet involved.

The omelet is cooked on both sides, not rolled, and in olive oil instead of butter

Sliced and served

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Recipe: Corsican Garlic-Potato Soup

My husband, if you recall from the last post, wasn't feeling particularly well the day of our culinary adventure. It was quite providential I'd planned this soup. It makes for a nice, simple alternative to chicken soup for soothing scratchy throats. The flavors are much milder than say a French onion soup, so if you want a big garlic flavor I recommend using more than the one bulb of garlic called for in the recipe.

Peel the potatoes

Slice and cube (put into a bowl of water to prevent browning)

Crush the garlic with the flat of a butcher knife, but do not chop or mince

Some water and olive oil

Sprinkle in the fresh herbs

Simmer, partially covered, then add some stock to egg yolks and return to pot to thicken

Serve over a thin slice of bread with some garlic toast on top

I adapted the recipe from two sources, Corsican Cuisine by Arthur L Meyer and the website

3 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 head of garlic,
cloves peeled and crushed
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 and 3
5 cups water
1 fresh bay leaf (or two dried)
2 leaves sage
2 egg yolks
1 or 2 soft-cooked eggs (optional)
4 thick slices of crusty hearty bread
salt, to taste (trust me, this is very necessary!)
grated hard cheese (optional)

Peel and cube potatoes and place in water to keep from browning.
Peel and crush garlic.Heat the 3 tbls oil in a large saucepan, add the potatoes and garlic and saute to release the aromas but do not brown. 
After a few minutes add the water. Stir in the herbs and 2 Tbls olive oil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Remove the garlic and herbs reserving the garlic. Beat two egg yolks with some hot stock. Slowly add to soup whisking. Lower heat and allow to thicken while stirring constantly: DO NOT BOIL. Season with salt to
Make garlic butter from the reserved garlic and spread on bread. Toast. 
Place plain, thin the slices of bread in the bottom of flat soup plates and ladle the soup over each.  Top with toast spread
with reserved garlic and a soft-cooked egg is optional but authentic. Sprinkle each thickly
with the grated cheese if desired.

Friday, October 14, 2011

4: The Answer to What I Made is (Corsican cooking adventure)---

Last night was it! We "traveled" to Corsica in our kitchen.  It didn't take long to make or use a lot of ingredients. A pretty easy and down-home meal.

What did I make using flour, olive oil, eggs, potatoes, mint, sage, bay leaf, garlic, and cheese?

A nice loaf of bread

Mint and sheep's cheese omelet (apparently you can use ricotta)

Garlic-Potato soup (served over bread with more bread on top of the whole thing!)

The resulting flavors were very down-home as I mentioned before.   I was thinking it'd be about as garlic-y as French onion soup is onion-y. Overpoweringly garlic soup. It wasn't! In fact, if you are a garlic lover it probably could have used more than one bulb of garlic to get the real garlic flavor coming.  The part that definitely reminded me of French onion soup was serving it with the crusty bread.  My husband had a sore throat last night and said it was perfect to sooth it. Suppose it's a good alternative to chicken soup in that way!

Oh, the omelet was all our favorite. When I read the recipe called for "sheep's feta" and mint I wasn't quite sure what I'd think of a minty omelet. Once again it wasn't enough to be overwhelming. The flavors from the mint were rather subtle. They seemed to serve as a means to balance out the stronger flavor from the cheese. The eggs were light and fluffy. Altogether a really pleasing omelet to enjoy. My 2 year old wanted more! 

We all enjoyed our "trip" to Corsica. There was nothing particularly jazzy about the flavors. They didn't exactly pop. Still, there was nothing at all to complain about the meal. It was good. Good down-home cooking, Corsican style. 

Recipes coming later this weekend in another post!

Questions-- Which sounds the tastiest to you? Would you have tried any or all of them, or looked for completely different recipes? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Market Day- Guess What I'm Making!

This morning I woke in the chill pre-dawn, long before my usual time, with an idea. Why not have a preview of the dish(es) I'm going to make by letting you peek inside my grocery bags? You'll have an idea of the ingredients that go into the dishes I make ahead of time. Plus, you'll be able to learn if I was able to get them at the corner supermarket/farmer's market or if a stop at a specialty store was in order. This week I only had to go to my local supermarket.

Trivia: BTW, did you know garlic is much, much cheaper at an Asian market than a grocery store? Just fyi. 

Let So can you guess from the following ingredients what we'll be making? 

Flour, olive oil, eggs, cheese, potatoes, mint, sage, bay leaf, garlic

Comment below with your guesses! 

(Please forgive the quality of photos on this blog or lack thereof; I am working with a phone's camera for now)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Planning Day (Corsica)

The weekend is quickly approaching so it's time for me to start planning our next adventure.

What is known:
The country we're "visiting": Corsica.
What the place is: An island off France and Italy.

The local weather: Cooling off and rainy. So nothing summer like. Maybe something heartwarming.

Must decide:
What in the world are we to eat?
Do I have many ingredients on hand?
By any chance, does the library possibly have a cookbook somewhere on this?!
When will I shop for the ingredients I don't have?

I learned that an old saying in Corsica is "Eat your soup or jump out the window." Hm, maybe soup is the way to go. Go, proceed, not go- SPLAT! Sorry, bad attempt at a joke. They also love eggs, so perhaps that route instead.

I enjoy these culinary adventures. Not only are they usually quite tasty, but they also help me to learn a lot about places I've never been. Perhaps, one day, I will be able to travel and try these foods first hand.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 3- Greece

With this post I'll have caught you up to where my family finds itself. A look ahead: this week we'll be "visiting" Corsica, a Mediterranean island southeast of France and west of Italy. On our last adventure we  enjoyed Greek food.

Greek food just happens to be a favorite of my husband. When I married him he already owned two Greek cookbooks. I had to find something different than we typically did. When I did- oh wow! We enjoyed it so much. In fact, it was so delicious I forgot to take any pictures. It was also exceedingly healthy, and so simple to make anyone could try it as the first soup they even cooked from scratch. Read more and find the recipe here. 

Week 2- Italy

For our second culinary adventure we "visited" Italy. If you go to a restaurant and order Italian food here in the US, you usually end up with the most diet unfriendly, unhealthy offering imaginable. Very calorie laden, very fattening. Many times when we cook Italian in our own kitchens here in the US we don't fare much better. Very heavy, very saucy. Alfredo sauce, baked ziti, lasagna.

When the time came to cook Italian (not my husband's favorite for reasons mentioned above) I knew I had a challenge before me. Not only did I have to find something my family would enjoy, I had to find something lighter. Mediterranean food is supposed to be good for you after all.

Plus, it was a hot day.Armed with a stack of cookbooks again fresh from the local library, I finally crafted the evening's more in the original blog post.

Week 1- Spain

round the world in 52 weeks
Week 1- Spain

For the first week's adventure we went across the ocean and started our tour of the Mediterranean countries with a little visit with the cuisine of Spain. On our last visit we enjoyed being introduced to the idea of tapas by my wonderful friend M who was blessed by being able to live there for a while. This time I decided to try something different than a tapas recipe (although those are popular here in the US). I knew wanted something light and summery too. Made me thrilled to find books like "Seasonal Spanish Food" by Jose Pizarro. What an inspiration. An excellent guide. Although I ended up having to adapt a couple recipes and also didn't make my meal exclusively from that cookbook- having found recipes elsewhere I liked too- I found it to be an excellent guide for figuring out what foods are summery there. They ended up being pretty seasonal here too. Exceedingly flavorful. Also very healthy; no fears of anyone breaking their diet with these dishes. And very down-to-earth. Anyone can make this. 

See my full blog post a few weeks back here on Wee Wonderings.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

So it begins.

Cooking 'round the world is nothing new in my house. It all started a few months after my husband and I got married. We had recently learned we were expecting our first baby and were in the process of looking for a house. I found that so frustrating! I wanted something interesting. I love to cook. He loves to cook and eat. We both enjoyed visiting restaurants others than Chilis, restaurants that had Greek, Mediterranean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Ethiopian food. Interesting food, healthy and exotic. So I decided to cook 'round the world in a year "and I'll continue it after the baby is born!" I said to myself.

It worked! Each week we both looked forward to our next adventure. Each week I updated a note on my personal facebook page. "Blog about this!" someone told me. "Why?" I wondered. After the year was up and as my newborn changed into an older baby, I tried to get a "cooking routine" going instead of having "adventures". Experienced mom friends said that's what moms do, after all. It wasn't me. 

So here I am. Blogging just on our culinary adventures.

We've already had two, and I blogged about them on my other blog. Should I re-post the same entries here or just link to them? We had some Spanish, Greek, and Italian food. I purposefully tried to choose healthier meals than the heavily sauced Italian foods we think of. Right now I'm exploring the foods of the mediterranean. Sometimes I find inspiration from an armload of cookbooks I bring home from the local library. Other times, blogs, or perhaps cooking websites. Wherever the inspiration come from, the result is usually a lot of fun to make, and tasty to eat. 

I hope I can keep up with this blog. I hope you enjoy it. Here we go!