Category Archives: Ethnic and Tasty

Check here for recipes, restaurants, and foodie penpal posts.

London Calling!

Only 3 days until Opening Ceremonies! I was in the grocery store yesterday and saw this display. I couldn’t help but take some pictures and make one small purchase for Friday.

I just had to get the London Lollies to celebrate on Friday. Unfortunately we’ll be watching the Opening Ceremonies from LAX but at least we’ll do it in style!

Molcajete Recipes

When Hubby and I got married two years ago my cousin got us a molcajete from Williams Sonoma. We had recently discovered that we loved guacamole and were so excited to make it “the real” way. That is all I’ve ever used my molcajete for. As far as we were concerned, molcajete = guacamole maker. But now that we’re in Mexico, we’ve discovered it has a lot more uses than to just make awesome guac. In addition to having guacamole made at our table, we’ve also enjoyed freshly-made salsa and stew made and served in a molcajete. Newly aware of its additional uses, I thought I would do some recipe research to share.  Here’s what I’ve found:

Rudy’s Molcajete Mixto Recipe – a mixed grill of carne asada, nopales, chicken, shrimp, jalapenos, and chorizo sausage served with queso fresco, avocado, and lime

Mexican Style Meat and Vegetable Stew – a chicken, flank steak, and bacon in a tomato based broth

Seafood Molcajete Recipe – shrimp, scallops, and chicken sausage  served hot and spicy in the molcajete

Currently our molcajete is in a storage unit in Augusta, Georgia but once it’s out, I promise to try these and share how they go.

Have any molcajete recipes to share?

Courtesy of My own pics are still to come!

It’s All Greek to Me Friday Lunch

For this week’s Friday no-kitchen lunch, we went Greek. Our menu included grilled eggplant, a Greek salad, humus and pita, and grapes. Simple but delicious.

For an easy eggplant recipe, here’s what I did:

  • Cut eggplant in long slices
  • Dip each piece in olive oil and sprinkle with season salt and ground pepper
  • Place on griddle heated to 350 degrees or in a frying pan on medium high heat
  • Heat approximately 4 minutes on each side or until color darkens and eggplant becomes soft

Eggplant cooking on the griddle

Yummy Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, and olives

My Greek Plate

In addition to great food, we had a fantastic group of students on Friday. These students have either returned from abroad or are headed out to one of the following: Spain, Italy, Hungary, England, New Zealand, Japan, Panama, or Costa Rica. Quite the international group and I think they are all pretty wonderful.

Our rising sophomores

Yep…Friday is still Hawaiian shirt day in the Chemistry department

A couple of our great study abroad alums

Pura Vida! No-Stove Costa Rican Lunch

Costa Rica seems to be one of those hot destinations right now for study abroaders, honeymooners, and anyone looking for an affordable, fun vacation. I have never been but thought I would give their cuisine a try for Friday lunch.  Here was our menu all done without a kitchen stove:

  • Gallo Pinto (done via microwave)
  • Fried plantains (via toaster oven)
  • Roasted Chicken (via grocery store)
  • Pineapple
  • Chips and salsa
  • Coconut, chocolate chip cookies – ok, not quite Costa Rican and definitely made with a stove thanks to a recent alum that came by.



  • 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 boi-in-bag rice
  • 1/2 cup diced onion with 1 tsp oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • season salt to taste


  • microwave rice according to directions
  • microwave beans for 2 minutes in bowl
  • microwave onions in oil for 2 minutes
  • mix all ingredients and add salt for taste

Gallo Pinto



  • 3 plantains cut length-wise and in half
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • season salt to taste


  • spread olive oil on roasting pan
  • set toaster oven to 425 degrees
  • brush plantains with olive oil
  • sprinkle with salt
  • place plantains down on roasting pan
  • cook in toaster oven for 15 to 2o minutes; skins should come off easily

Cut plantains in half by length and width

Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt

Lay flat on toaster pan and bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes

The final product!

Some real Costa Rican salsa

My Costa Rica plate…yum!

These are my great students!

I had to put this one in…we thought we had an earthquake during lunch but it was actually a military maneuver too close to the coast. At least I got to practice my earthquake preparedness!


Pecorino Moment

Do you ever have those moments that catapult you back to into your memories from abroad? I had one of those last night – what I would call a “pecorino moment”.

Hubby and I went for some great Italian in La Jolla at a little place called Barbella.  It was a lovely restaurant with an open covered porch and all kind of character. The menu was small but looked scrumptious. Trying to implement portion controll, we shared the cheese plate, a bibb salad, and fettuccine alla bolognese. When the cheese plate arrived, I was immediately thrilled to find one of my favorite combinations: pecorino e miele (sheep’s cheese and honey). As soon as the sweet and salty concoction touched my tongue, memories of a meal in Montalcino sprung to my mind as if I was reliving it again from 9 years ago.

In general, I would say I am not a lover of food.  I more eat to live, than live to eat. I could eat a turkey sandwich for every lunch for the rest of my life and be fine. But there are a few meals that I have partaken in during my 30 years that are truly memorable (for good or bad):

Age 7: My Aunt Ethel made cabbage rolls and my mother told me I had to try them.  I told her that green was not my color.

Age 15: I went to the homecoming dance with a group of people and at dinner all the girls ordered salad. Trying to not be the odd duck who really wanted steak, I had my first salad ever and discovered that maybe green was my color – at least if it had enough bleu cheese dressing on it.

Age: 18: I was in South Africa volunteering at local high schools and staying at a Christian camp that provided three meals a day. We were told we had to eat everything so as not to offend. This included the neon pink hot dogs; I’m still not sure what they were made of.

Age 20: Sitting in a tiny restaurant in Montalcino, Italy, I had the very best meal of my life consisting of risotto di Brunello di Montalcino (risotto made with red wine) and pecorino e miele.

Age 27: Dining with a group of students in Cusco, Peru, they decided to order cuy (guinea pig) for the table. I just couldn’t get myself to try it…with teeth and all staring at me, I contemplated becoming a vegetarian.

I just couldn’t do it.

What are your “pecorino moments”?

Southern-Style Lunch & Elise’s “Lighter” Pimento Cheese Recipe

Usually the Friday student lunch is all about trying new foods from other countries, but this week I decided to mix it up and share my southern culture with my students and friends. For anyone who has never been to the southern states, let me introduce you to our neck of the woods and particular cuisine:

The REAL southern states are in deep red. (Thank you Wikipedia for the image!)

These are some traditional southern foods

Top from R-L: Skillet Cornbread, Fried Okra, Chicken and Dumplings
Bottom from R-L: Collard Greens, Shrimp and Grits, and Boiled Peanuts

We didn’t have any of these for Friday lunch but we did have fried chicken, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, red velvet cupcakes, and my absolute favorite, pimento cheese.

Here is my Easy “Lighter” Pimento Cheese Recipe:


  • 2-cup bag of reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2-cup bag of reduced fat shredded colby jack
  • 2 oz. jar of diced pimentos with liquid (usually found near the olives; be sure they are diced very small)
  • 3 heaping tbsp. light mayo
  • 1/2 tsp. season salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl using a spoon to blend all ingredients in the mayo
  • Add additional mayo, salt, and/or pepper if desired
  • Chill for an hour before serving
  • Serve on crackers or as a sandwich

You need all of these items plus light mayo

Fried Chicken, Pimento Cheese and Red Velvet Cupcakes

Not a lot of color but oh so delicious

Two friends and me enjoying a delicious southern lunch!

Moroccan Short-Cut Lunch

For the Friday student lunch, I was adventurous today and made a meal from a place I’ve never visited: Morocco!  Once again, with limited resources I had to cheat a bit and bought a good bit of the cuisine, but I still did my research.  If I had actually made these items, I would have used the following recipes:

But as it was, I was short on a kitchen and on time so I took the following short cuts.

  1. Buy roasted chicken from grocery store, add lemon wedges and olives, and microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Purchase Athenos hummus, scoop into a bowl and serve with pita wedges
  3. Order tabouli salad from pre-made section at Ralph’s and pour in serving dish
  4. Slice oranges and sprinkle with cinnamon – this one is a real recipe so it isn’t really cheating.

In the end, it was a delicious meal and it looked pretty good too!

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Olives

Olives, Tabouli, and Hummus

Cinnamon Sprinkled Oranges – so good!

Take 1: Cleaning the tabouli out of our teeth!

Take 2: Me and my wonderful students



International Do Gooder: The United Noshes

With this post, I add a new category to Global From Home: International Do Gooder.  My mother raised me to believe that to whom much is given much is expected. For those of us who have had the privilege to travel and see the world, we are certainly blessed and I believe we are called to give back in whatever ways we can.

The United Noshes have decided to do just that through one of the most creative fundraisers I’ve come across.  Currently they have endeavored to raise funds for World Food Program USA by cooking an authentic meal from each of the 194 countries (in alphabetical order!) that are members of the United Nations. There last meal represented the dishes of Columbia and included chicharrones (fried pork belly), chorizo, arepas de queso (corn and cheese griddle cakes), baked plantains, and several other dishes.  The meals are fairly elaborate and the Noshes maintain as much authenticity as possible in the ingredients and cooking methods.  For each meal they invite friends and acquaintances to join them and in return, only ask that they make a donation to the World Food Program USA.  As of right now, they have made 37 meals and raised over $6,000. Wow!

Columbian Dinner at the United Noshes

I am so in love with this idea: educate yourself and others on ethnic food, dine with friends, and raise money for an extremely worthy cause all within your own home. Sounds like a global from home winner to me.  While 194 authentic meals is certainly over my head, I do think the Noshes set a great example.  Plus, in addition to their philanthropic work, the Noshes also give back to their readers with links to all their recipes at

Visit the World Food Program USA website to learn more about their programs or to make a donation.

Ceviche and Inca Kola

In 2009 I ventured to Peru with 16 college students, 1 faculty member, and 2 tour guides for a 14 day study abroad program with the University of South Carolina. As the program assistant, I handled the finances, student concerns, escorted the group on all excursions and classes, and I counted to 16 a lot.  Not a bad job, huh? It really was a fantastic group and an incredible program. The geography professor that taught the class had been a Peace Corps volunteer back in the 70s so he was up for all kinds of adventures.

Me and part of our group at Machu Picchu in May 2009

So last night when I was browsing Open Table for a restaurant and came upon the Cafe Secret Cocina Peruana, my hubby and I decided we should give it a try. Although the service was a tad slow, the food was authentic and savory. We agreed to go 100% Peruvian beginning with our beverages – a pisco sour and a diet Inca Kola. To start we had papitas and yuquitas, which were fried potatoes and yucas served with hard-boiled eggs and olives in a really yummy sauce.  For dinner Hubby got ceviche with shrimp and sea bass, while I had pascado sudado, a spicy dish (my mouth was on fire) with snapper, onions, and tomatoes served with quinoa. The meal brought back fond memories of a great trip and it was great to share it with Hubby.

These are traditional Peruvian ingredients that Cafe Secret uses in their dishes.

Me eating pescado sudado

Shrimp and Sea Bass Ceviche

Diet Inca Kola – it kind of tastes like bubble gum.

Cafe Secret on Urbanspoon

Store-Bought Japanese

As you may have already guessed, the student lunch this week was of the Japanese persuasion.  It also required very little cooking as I pretty much bought everything (100% fine by me!). We had spicy shrimp tempura rolls, california rolls, edamame, rice, and red bean angel rolls from the Asian market. While most of the food (especially the sushi) was devoured, everyone was a little hesitant about the red bean angel rolls.  They were made from a red bean paste spread over a light angel food cake roll and had a very mild sweet flavor. My dad always says that no cake is worth eating if it doesn’t go “thud” when it hits the plate.  These definitely didn’t thud, but they seemed fairly authentic from what I remember eating when I was in Japan.  Fortunately I didn’t think they were so bad so I brought two packages home with me…dessert for tonight!

On a side note, I have to give Ralph’s (our local grocery store) huge props.  The two women who work their sushi counter were awesome! They took my order and made my sushi on the spot.  Plus, they were delicious!

Our Japanese spread

Perfectly plated!

This picture is not quite accurate. I actually ate my sushi with my fingers. Embarrassing, I know, but chopsticks and I just don’t get along.

These are the bean paste angel rolls from the bakery at the Asian market.