Tag Archives: Ethnic Food

October Foodie Penpal and Aunt Ethel’s Enchiladas

Earlier this month you may have read my post about becoming a foodie penpal. Well today is the day that all the foodie penpals share about their boxes. My box came from a lovely woman named Emily from Midland, Texas and within it was all kinds of Texas delicacies like Texas Trash (a sweet concoction kind of like puppy chow) and Amazing Corn (kind of popcorn but kind of not). I was especially excited for the Hatch Green Chiles in the box because they were perfect for a Mexican-inspired dish that I learned from my Aunt Ethel. Aunt Ethel was my dad’s oldest sister and since she didn’t have any kids of her own, she loved to spoil her nephews and nieces with her amazing cooking. She made the best fried chicken, red velvet cake, and ranger cookies that I’ve ever had.  Another one of her great recipes were her enchiladas. With my Hatch Green Chiles, I had everything I needed to make them for dinner last night.

Aunt Ethel’s Chicken Enchiladas (yields 4)

  • 2 large chicken breast cooled and cubed or shredded
  • 1 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 4 oz. diced green chilies
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 pkg. large flour tortillas (I substitute whole wheat tortillas instead)
  • 1.5 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1.  Spray 10 x 15 glass baking dish
  2. Mix soup, milk, sour cream, chilies and green onions.  Spread one cup of mixture on bottom of baking dish.  Reserve 1 ½ cups for top.
  3. Add chopped chicken to remaining mixture.  Spread a roll of filling across the center of the tortilla.  Roll and place, seam down, in pan.  Cover with remaining sauce and cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Thanks to Emily for all the great Texas goodies!

C is for Columbian Cookies

Well, I had another baking flop today. Not that the cookies I made were bad, but after I made them I realized just how un-authentic they were. I was attempting to make a dark sugar cookie hailing from western Columbia. But I failed to spend the time researching like I should have, and instead just went with the first recipe I found. I should have known better when I saw that recipe was from Pilsbury. (How much more American can you get?) Here is the recipe I used.

After I made them, I started researching. (I know, shame on me.) First I found out that I should not be using dark brown cane sugar but rather panela, a solid sugar cane substance that is then grated into the recipe. Second, the recipe called the cookies “cucas” but according to the Word Reference Forum and Local Spanish, cuca is a dirty word in Columbia. Eek!

It just goes to show that research is important and the internet is not always correct. But regardless, the cookies were pretty good if you’re looking for something a bit different and on the line of a Columbian cookie.

I don’t think the icing is authentic either but I figured I’d add it any way. Who doesn’t like a little extra icing, right?

Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C.

 

Opa! Guide to the Greek Festival

September is just a month full of festivals…and I love it. This past weekend we were invited by a friend to the Greek Festival in OKC. As a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, she knew everything about the food, dances, and traditions. Being escorted by a “local” definitely enhanced the entire experience. She taught me how to pronounce everything correctly, told us what we should try and what to avoid, and introduced us to a number of the people running the festival. I even got a picture with the pastor’s wife in her full costume.

We ate our way through the festival. With each ticket came two al a carte items or the Greek dinner so Hubby and I decided to get one of each. First we did the gyro and loukoumades. We both agreed that the gyro was one of the best we’ve ever had. The tomatoes and onions were diced small making it easier to eat and the flavor was delicious.

The loukoumades were equally good. Similar to a donut hole in appearance but not texture, the fried dough balls are very light, similar to a puff pastry. Covered in honey and cinnamon, we probably ate all of our calories for the day in just that one dessert.

But we were not done yet! Next came the dinner which was a choice of lamb, chicken or pasticcio (the Greek version of lasagna). We went for the pasticcio which was served with Greek-style potatoes, green beans, spanakopita, and pita. I loved the pasticcio but the potatoes were incredibly salty. Since Hubby is not fond of spinach, I ate most of the spanakopita and it was pretty good too.

And finally we were thoroughly entertained by our friend’s daughter and her dance troop, the Opa! Dancers. Ranging from age 4 to 9, these kids put on four performances in one night.

ANZAC Biscuits

I found out about ANZAC biscuits a few weeks ago while browsing through a kids international cookbook, but decided to seek out the real recipe and find out more about these Australian/New Zealander cookies. The cookie recipe was first published in the 1915 St. Andrews Cookery Book. Named ANZAC after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the biscuits originated from wives/mothers sending the cookies to their husbands/sons who were stationed overseas. Due to the ingredients and hardy nature of the biscuits, they were well suited to travel.

ANZAC biscuits ingredients are pretty straight forward. Lacking eggs and milk, these cookies are long-lasting and do not require refrigeration. The only ingredient that may be difficult to find pending your location is the golden syrup. Golden syrup is a sugar cane syrup easily found in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. In Oklahoma City, the only place I found the syrup was at Whole Foods. I tasted the syrup to see what it compared to. If you are stateside, a cheaper alternative may be Cairo Syrup.

I stuck pretty close to the original recipe which had me melt the butter and syrup together and then add a mixture of boiling water and baking soda. One change I did make was swapping the sugar out for Splenda to make them a bit more diet friendly. In my oven, the cookies were done in 16 minutes rather than 18 to 20. The batter made about 20 cookies but they turned out a bit more round that ones in the book I saw.

I brought the finished product to Hubby’s office on Friday for lunch. Both he and the nursing staff enjoyed the lightly sweetened, dense cookie. They were gone pretty quick!

Latin American Breakfast

When Hubby and I were in Mexico last month, I discovered Chilaquiles – a traditional Mexican breakfast made with chips. My favorite version was called the country breakfast and included chicken, a tomato-based sauce, and lots of queso fresco.

Traditional Mexican Chilaquiles courtesy of On the Road

So today when we went to Cafe Kacao, a Guatemalan breakfast place here in OKC, and I saw a similar dish, I had to try it. What they called Migallas, was almost a perfect replica of the breakfast dish I thoroughly enjoyed in Mexico. A combination of chips, eggs, jalapenos, queso fresco, and red and green peppers, Migallas was was well flavored and filling.

Migallas served with fruit in a sweet cream, fresh tortillas, & delicious black beans.

Look good?

Check out this recipe from Simply Recipes for the basic Chilaquiles. Feel free to add eggs, chicken, pork or steak to make it a hearty dish.

A little Guatemalan coffee made breakfast perfect!

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.

GALLO PINTO

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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

FRIED PLANTAINS

Ingredients

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

Directions

  • 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”?

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 www.UnitedNoshes.com.

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