theworldfrommykitchen

My Global Food Challenge


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Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary! Mocha Chocolate Chunk Icebox Cake

Here is my rendition of Ina Garten’s Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake, it looked incredibly easy and delicious on “The Barefoot Contessa” Old School Retro Mix episode, so I had to try it for my anniversary. I know I am missing out on many great recipes as a cook who does not eat mascarpone or cream cheese (its substitute), and it certainly is difficult to come up with the right consistencies or flavors without them. But during an episode of “The Pioneer Woman”, Ree Drummond talked about one of her secret “weapons”, Cool Whip. So an idea was born, and here is my take on a delicious cake.

P.S. and as I am writing this entry on April 8, 2014, my family is still talking about the cake.

P.S.S. I used Cool Whip Lite because we had it on hand, and it still tasted great. I do want to try it with regular Cool Whip the next time and I have been told there will be a next time. If you use thinner cookies, and an 8″ springform pan, this recipe will make 5 layers, but trust me, the three layers with these thicker, chunkier cookies are perfectly scrumptious.

Link to recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/wedding-anniversary/


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Syria

Additions/Omissions:  

Taste Test:  

Zip Facts about Syria:

  • Damascus, the capital city of Syria, is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the world, for over four thousand years, and part of the Fertile Crest.  It was originally known as the city of Jasmine
  • It was on the road to this city that St. Paul had his vision which led to his conversion
  • A popular Syrian dish is tabbouleh, which is made from bulgur, tomato, onion, parsley, and mint
  • The Syrian goddess Atargatis became a mermaid after accidentally killing a shepherd she loved. This became one of the first stories of the half woman-half fish creatures
  • Pet hamsters are all descendants of the Golden (Syrian) hamster found there in 1930

Syria - fateh_moudarres_family_d5546347h (1)

Family – Fateh Moudarres (1922-1999)

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/fateh-moudarres-family-5546347-details.aspx

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/syria/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-middleeast.pdf

syria mothers day 1994

 


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Wales

Additions/Omissions:  

Taste Test:  

Zip Facts about Wales:

  • “Gorau arf, arf dysg” is an old Welsh proverb which means “The best weapon is the weapon of learning”
  • The Welsh wear daffodils (the national flower) and leeks (popular in Welsh cuisine) on March 1, St. David’s Day, in honor of the Patron Saint of Wales
  • Visit:http://www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.co.uk/, which is the website of the Welsh village with the longest name in Britain (58 letters, translated as “St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave”) and one of the longest place names in the world
  • Wales (Cymru) is the mythical land of King Arthur.  In 1962, Lawrence of Arabia was filmed on its Myrthyr Mawr Sand Dunes
  • Sir Thomas John Woodward, knighted in 2006 by the Queen, is the famous Welsh singer, Tom Jones

Wales - SHChinese Pears

Chinese Pears – Sue Hunt

http://56groupwales-art.co.uk/SHIndex.htm

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/wales/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-europe.pdf

1998 Princess of Wales

 


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Switzerland

Additions/Omissions:  

 Taste Test:  

Photograph:  Cheese Rosti Side Dish

 Zip Facts about Switzerland:

  • Switzerland is landlocked but there are more than 1500 lakes there
  • Switzerland (Switzerland and Confoederatio Helvetica) has no national motto, flower, or animal
  • Despite its neutrality, every citizen is required to have access to a bomb shelter
  • Frank Zappa burned down a casino in Montreux, hence the song “Smoke on the Water”
  • The Swiss army knife is red so it can be easily seen in the snow

Swiss insula-dulcamara-1938

Insula Dulcamara (1938) – Paul Klee (1848-1940)

http://www.paulklee.net/insula-dulcamara.jsp

Link to Recipe:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/switzerland/

Link to Map:    https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-europe.pdf

Switzerland_2013_Smurfs_fdc

 


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United Arab Emirates

Additions/Omissions:  

 Taste Test:  

 Zip Facts about United Arab Emirates:

  • The federation of the United Arab Emirates is divided into seven emirates, each governed by a hereditary emir.  Before 1970, UAE was a British colony known as the Trucial States
  • The largest shopping mall in the world is the Dubai Mall.  At 2,722 feet, the Burj Khalifa became the tallest building in the world in 2010
  • The Palm, two gigantic islands in the shape of outward palms, extend off the mainland of UAE
  • There are no income or personal taxes in the UAE
  • 80% of the population is made up of foreigners.  Retired people must hold some job or return to their home country

UAE - hamad al falasi-landscape2

Colloquialism, Dr. Hamad al Falasi, Winner of the International Emerging Emirati Artist Award 2013

http://emergingartistaward.com/img/golden10-2012-2013/hamad-landscape2.JPG

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/united-arab-emirates/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-middleeast.pdf

180px-UAE_2009_FIFA_Club_World_Cup_-_Abu_Dhabi_b


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St. Patrick’s Day

Our family is incredibly diverse, across nationalities, ethnicities, religion, etc., but sadly, as far as I know, there is no Irish ancestry or any link to Ireland.  When I was growing up, I was told that everyone could be Irish for a day on St. Patrick’s Day, if you wore green and celebrated the day.  I know there is great controversy over turning everything green and about really how Irish is Shepherd’s Pie, but my daughter wanted green beer and her boyfriend loves Shepherd’s Pie, so there you go.

Additions/Omissions:  not a fan of sour cream so used a little extra butter, had to leave out rosemary for one diner, used turkey bacon

Taste Test:  Harp beer was good (I’m not a big beer drinker) and one drop of food coloring does not hamper the taste.  Excellent Shepherd’s Pie, even without the sour cream and rosemary.                                                                                                         

Zip Facts about St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish, and the color green:

  • The Celts called their idea of heaven “Green Erin” a nickname eventually given to Ireland.
  • Green, the symbolic color of St. Patrick’s Day, is mainly due to the lush ground cover of clover over the entire country of Ireland, also known as the “Emerald Isle”.  The original color associated with St. Patrick’s is blue.
  • St. Patrick, born Maewyn Succat in Scotland, was known for being the first to use the Irish 3 leaf clover, also called the Shamrock, or Tri-foil, as an illustration of the doctrine of the Trinity. He did not drive the snakes out of Ireland because there were no snakes there.
  • There is a legend started around the 1700s that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns that will pinch anyone they can see.
  • In 1961, parade organizer Stephen Baily, head of Plumbers Local Union #110, discovered that a dye used to detect leaks in plumbing had escaped into the river.  Hence, the idea of dyeing the entire river bright green for St. Paddy’s was born.

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/st-patricks-day/


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Taiwan

Taiwanese meatballs served with my recipe for pasta salad (Ronzoni Rotini).  See Tanzania post for the rationale for mixing cuisines.

Additions/Omissions:  I always take a bit of license with meatball recipes but hopefully preserve the flavors of the country’s cuisine.  I didn’t use an egg as I would normally do because there are some wet ingredients.   I omitted the cornstarch in favor of the breadcrumbs, shorted the brown sugar a tad, and since I made average sized meatballs, I did not use the presentation leaves (certainly would have been a much better presentation).

Taste Test:  Great, would definitely make them again.

Zip Facts about Taiwan:

  •  Taiwan is considered one of the “Four Asian Tigers” with South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore
  •  Taiwan was originally Formosa (beautiful island) as named by Portuguese sailors.  In Chinese, Taiwan means “terraced bay”.  The official language is Mandarin, but Fujianese and Hakka are the most spoken
  •  Taiwan is world famous for its films, which have a long history, and its award-winner director, Ang Lee
  •  In 2004, Taipei (the capital city) completed the 101 skyscaper, which was the world’s tallest building at the time
  •  The color white and the number 4 symbolize death, the color red is used for wedding ceremonies and monetary gifts are presented in red envelopes

Taiwan Drifting Bamboo

Drifting Bamboo (2012) – Suling Wang

http://www.inceptiongallery.com/FR/artistes/suling-wang.html

Link to Recipe: https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/taiwan/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-asia1.pdf

Taiwan stamp

 


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Tanzania

Additions/Omissions:  

Taste Test:  

Zip Facts about Tanzania: 

  • Tanganyika “sail in wilderness” and Zanzibar “fair is this island” were once one nation before they became Tanzania and part of Zanzibar in 1964
  • The world’s largest complete crater is Tanzania’s extinct Ngorongoro Crater.  Some of the earliest human remains were discovered in Olduvai Gorge.  Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcanic mountain is not only the highest mountain in Africa but the highest free-standing mountain in the world
  • The world’s largest crab, the coconut crab, makes its home on Chumbe Island (Zanzibar)
  • Modesty dictates that women must still wear skirts, but can breastfeed openly and uncovered in public
  • Lake Natron, an incredibly salty body of water in Northern Tanzania with a pH of 10 and temperatures reaching 120oF, is home to blue-green algae and alkaline tilapia and provides both a nesting and feeding habitat for flamingoes, protecting their eggs against predators

Tanzania Charinda-Mama-Africa-TG025A

Village Memories, (Mama Africa, 2011 ) – Mohamed Charinda

http://www.bwoom-contemporary.de/Charinda%20Mama%20Africa%20Village%20memories%20TG025.html

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/tanzania/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/map-of-africa.pdf

Tanzania_2010_Jane_Goodall_Institute_-_50_Years_of_Gombe1MS

 


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Tajikistan

If you’ve seen one beef meatball, you’ve seen them all.  So I will just have to put them in different dishes.

However, you’ve probably not have tasted them all yet.  Here’s one with a cinnamon/coriander/turmeric combination.

Additions/Omissions:  Since I started writing about our dinner adventures, every time I have the hankering to have just pasta and my homemade sauce, I look for a recipe for meatballs that are different from my passed-down Italian recipe.

So I use my sauce and normally do not make the noodles or pasta called for in the recipe but substitute a Ronzoni/Barilla pasta and a similar gluten-free one.  In this case, I am not a fan of yogurt anyway, but it sounds like it would be delicious if I was.

Taste Test:  As you may already know, I prefer savory over sweet and while these are not sweet per se, I was not crazy about the cinnamon.  My family liked the taste but the texture was not the same as my meatballs.  I usually add an egg and at least some breadcrumbs to all meatball recipes and cook them for a long time in the sauce.  If I make them again, I would omit the cinnamon and add an egg, some breadcrumbs and cook in the sauce for a longer period.

Zip Facts about Tajikistan:

  • Tajikistan, the “Land of the Tajiks” and one of the smallest countries in central Asia is land locked and is mountainous and rocky in over 90% of its land mass
  • The Wakhan Corridor, or Wakhan Salient was one part of the “Silk Road”, a trade route between China and Europe, that passed through Tajikistan
  • Tajikistan broke from Uzbekistan, became independent in 1991, and moved toward a free market and democracy after its civil war ended in 1997
  • Although originally part of the Persian Empire, the Tajiks distinguish themselves from Iranians, but their culture is still Persian influenced and their language, Tajik, is a variety of the Persian language
  • There are still stories and sightings of the Yeti (Abominable Snowman) in the Pamir Mountains (he may be living with Rudolph)

Tajikistan image

Dastarkhan (2005) – Azam Atakhanov. Dastarkhan

http://archiv.artguide.ru/uploads/events/image_medium/u/p/2226.jpg

Link to Recipe: https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/tajikistan/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-asia1.pdf

180px-Tajikistan_2007_Jewellery_c


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Thailand

As much as I love to cook, when you have a career, a full-time job, all of the little part-time volunteer chores, kids with aspirations and extracurricular activities, etc., it is difficult, to say the least, to be as creative as you would like to be in the kitchen.  While it is one of life’s necessities to eat, and certainly to feed your children, the possibility of gourmet cuisine moved down the list of essential priorities, and was replaced by the easy, the quick, and sadly, the routine preparations.

Two nights homemade, two nights eat out, two nights order in and one night of leftovers became our weekly ritual, despite the fact that I tried to cook in advance on the weekends and that I watch every show on the food network channel.  (Special thanks to the chefs in the afternoon for all of their guidance and inspiration, especially for 30 minute meals, semi-homemade, ten dollar dinners, and everyday Italian).   But it was Rachel Ray’s talk show special several years ago on her most downloaded slow cooker meals that prompted me to purchase a fair-sized crock pot and experiment with those recipes as well as anything I thought could be modified as a one-pot meal.

Not only do I use it to make established slow cooker recipes, but it is handy to keep things warm while I am cooking other parts of the meal or a great starter for my homemade sauce.

Additions/Omissions: Just left out the beans

Taste Test:  Great flavor, the right amount of heat, even for the one who can’t handle anything too spicy.

Zip Facts about Thailand:

  • Originally Siam until 1949, Thailand means “land of the free (freedom)”.  It has also been called the “Land of Smiles” for its friendly, peace-loving people. Bangkok’s real name is in the Guinness Record Book – “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”
  • Siam’s culture is well-preserved, Thailand has never been colonized.  In the “land of the white elephant”, elephants represent peace and prosperity
  • Thais believe that the soul resides in the head so they don’t like to be touched on the head
  • Thailand’s major export is rice, it is one of the world’s top producers and its jasmine rice is fragrant and exceptional
  • Underwear is a must, it is illegal to leave home without wearing it, and men cannot be bare-chested in public (I will assume that goes for women as well)

Thailand Thongchai a

Thongchai Rakpathum

http://kinmen-art.blogspot.com/2014/03/2014_15.html

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/thailand/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-asia1.pdf

Thailand_2011_Orchids_c


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Tasmania

tasmania-flagOK again, not a country, it’s one of the Australian Islands.  Everything from Cape Grim sounded wonderful, including this steak and stout recipe, and who could resist the adorable Tasmanian devil.  

We don’t eat steak often but an occasional thick, tender, juicy, medium rare to rare steak with great spices in a marinade or rub is a welcome change from chicken.

Additions/Omissions:  Did not purchase Cape Grim rib eye cutlets but had a respectable rib eye substitute, used Guinness stout, and switched to turkey bacon.  

Taste Test:  I am not a fan of stout beer so I was not particularly fond of the potatoes, although my family liked them.  The only real complaint was the salt level was a little too high, it wasn’t the salt I added, but may have been the bacon and the stock cube used. A low sodium chicken broth may suffice here.  The steaks were exceptional.

Zip Facts about Tasmania:

  • The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii, which means flesh lover) is a carnivorous marsupial that got its reputation for its cranky behavior when disturbed.  If their ears turn from pink to red, it yawns, growls, or releases an odor, run (or don’t, but they do bite).  The Tasmanian Wolf/Tiger (Thylacine) has been extinct since 1936, a dog-like long-tailed marsupial with both male and females sporting a pouch (the male to protect his vital organs, and the female for carrying their young)
  • Tasmania has the purest water and air in the world, over 5 tons of water was exported to Seoul Korea as drinking water for the athletes during the Olympic games
  • The island is separated from Australia by the Bass Strait, it is the largest of the Australian islands, and ranked 26 in size in the world
  • Tassie was the home to Australia’s first legal casino and the oldest brewery in Australia
  • Tasmania houses 10,000 years old conifers, the largest lavender farm, and is the sole proprietor of the Huon pine tree, one of the oldest plants on the planet

Tasmania - LendisJohn_pink-cloud-2

Untitled (Pink Cloud) – John Lendis

http://handmarkgallery.com/tasmanian-artists/artwork.php?id=7048

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/tasmania/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-oceania.pdf

Tasmania


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Tibet

I always run into trouble when a dish calls for pasta or noodles, but especially this one with multiple starches.   Two of the five people who sit down to dinner at my table try to eat exclusively gluten-free, so I either use a gluten-free substitute or leave out the starch altogether.

I am trying out different homemade gluten/gluten-free pasta recipes, after being thoroughly surprised by a Christmas gift of all of the pasta attachments for my artisan Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.  I will fill you in on my sad results so far in an upcoming post.

Additions/Omissions:  I took a bit of license with this dish, eliminating both the noodles and the rice, and substituted parsley for seaweed (mostly dealing with what was available in my kitchen).

Taste Test:  The flavors are here if not all of the substance.  I am sure that the noodles and rice would have enhanced the heartiness of the dish, a Tibetan comfort food.

Zip Facts about Tibet:

  • Despite what you may think, Tibetans usually eat meat, including beef, goat, mutton and yak (especially yak jerky).  With the exception of growing barley, agriculture is not ideal on the Tibetan plateaus. Meat dishes are generally served with rice, crystal noodles, and potatoes
  • The Tibetans do eat a lot of dairy.  However. the designations of “yak butter” and “yak cheese” used in Tibetan cuisine should be labeled as “dri butter and cheese”.  Yaks are male and the dri are the females of the species
  • Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain, is situated on the border of Tibet and Nepal
  • Since 1951, Tibet has been under China control.  The Dalai Lama presides over the parliamentary Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamshala, India, which is currently not recognized
  • A white or yellow decorated ceremonial scarf (kata) is placed around the neck of guests or performers

Tibet skgi_902199_8404

Dragon, Tensing Rigdol

http://www.mechakgallery.com/tenzin_rigdol_portfolio.html

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/tibet/ 

Link to Map:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-asia1.pdf

tibet-exil-gov-1

 


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Togo

Whenever I can use choose a recipe that calls for fresh garlic, that will always be my first choice.  Sometimes I add it to a recipe that does not specifically require it.  I am convinced there is enough research evidence to support its protective health benefits.  Besides the fact that I am Italian, and I really enjoy the flavor.

My family goes to the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties, NY every year at the end of September where we eat everything garlic, including ice cream, and purchase different varieties of garlic, including German white and Italian red (which has an extra kick).  We use half of the bulbs to plant and half to use, so that we have plenty of garlic throughout the year.

Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

Additions/Omissions:  Made a plain cornbread instead of mixture with puree and chicken stock, used chicken thighs and legs

Taste Test:  Great flavor, liked the thighs better than the legs for this dish

 Zip Facts about Togo:

  • Their exotic birds include drongos (a black, dive-bombing fork-tailed bird, or a slang word for stupid in common Australian dialect) and grebes (a freshwater, diving bird with lobed toes)
  • Their first Olympic medal was bronze for the K1 slalom kayak at Beijing in 2008
  • Ewe is the most common language and, in it, Togo means “house of sea”
  • The green stripes on the Togolese flag symbolizes hope and agriculture
  • 50% of the indigenous population of Togo believe in Animism where the spirit world and physical world are one and the same
togo - Azankpo-Collage-Pig-AZA05-A

Collage Untitled (2011) – Tété Camille Azankpo

http://www.bwoom-contemporary.de/Azankpo%20Collage%20Art%20Africain%20AZA05.html

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/togo/

Link to Map:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/map-of-africa.pdf

492px-Togo_1994_Lunar_landing_strip_a


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Tonga

Additions/Omissions:   

Taste Test:   

Zip Facts about Tonga: 

  • Tonga comes from the word “Tongahahake”, or “the wind that blows from the Southeast”.  The Tongan inhabitants are Polynesian and live on only about 1/6 of its 176 “Friendly” islands
  • In Tonga, it is illegal to appear shirtless in public, even swimmers are fully clothed
  • Kava, an ancient ceremonial spicy “tea”, is commonly drunk by men before and after church on Sunday and after dark at kava clubs
  • Some women never leave the house except to go to church, they can never have custody of their own children or own land
  • If your oldest sister wants your child, you have to give it to her, if a women has a lot of sons and the family needs a daughter, the next boy is raised as a girl

Tonga between the lines II

Between the Lines II – Dagmar Dyck

http://solandergallery.co.nz/files/images/between%20the%20lines%20II.jpg

Link to Recipe:  https://theworldfrommykitchen.wordpress.com/tonga/

Link to Map:   https://theworldfrommykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/recipemap-oceania.pdf

342px-Tonga_2012_Queen_Elizabeth_II_Diamond_Jubilee_MS