V is for Venezuela: Pabellon Criollo (Shredded Beef & Black Beans) {Gluten Free}

Venezuelan Pabellon Criollo might just be my favorite edition of Cooking Around the World!

Venezuelan Pabellon Criollo might just be my favorite edition of Cooking Around the World!

Cooking Around the World is officially winding down.  We only have four countries left!!  I have to say, though, we were absolutely thrilled with Venezuela.  I hadn’t had a country from the Americas since Ecuador, and while I’d been enjoying my string of Middle Eastern cuisine, it was nice to have something completely different.

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United Kingdom: Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding – Gluten Free

UK Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding

UK Sunday Roast with Yorkshire Pudding

Cooking Around the World is back with the United Kingdom!  When we first drew the UK, my husband was very excited for bangers and mash.  Me, though, I wasn’t so convinced.  Not that I didn’t want bangers and mash, but I knew I wanted to turn to my lovely readers for advice on this one.  What is traditional UK cuisine?  And you guys came through!  There was a pretty unanimous consensus: the Sunday roast was what I needed to make.

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T is for Turkey: Shish Kebabs & Vegan Pinto Beans

Marinated beef makes for a really tasty shish kebab

Marinated beef makes for a really tasty shish kebab

This week in Cooking Around the World, I’m excited to feature Turkey.  While there are, of course, many types of food that are common in Turkish cuisine, the most well known is the kebab.  Even within the realm of kebabs, there are multiple types.  From ground meats formed around a skewer to large cuts that are cooked similar to a rotisserie and then shaved off and served in a tortilla, I faced many options.  In my attempt to recreate the most quintessential dishes, though, I opted for the classic shish kebab.

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S is for Serbia: Pljeskavica (Hamburgers) with Vegan Potato Salad (Gluten Free)

It may sound like an all-American dinner, but this is a very popular Serbian meal

It may sound like an all-American dinner, but this is a very popular Serbian meal

We’re up to the letter “S” in Cooking Around the World with a trip to Serbia!  I have to admit, I had absolutely no idea what traditional Serbian cuisine was like.  And it wasn’t until yesterday that I found out that Aileen from Morsels & Moonshine was of Serbian descent, or I would have asked her!  But, alas, I had already made my Serbian meal.

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R is for Russia: Beef Stroganoff

No, it's not Rwandan, but it is delicious!

No, it’s not Rwandan, but it is delicious!

Ok, so I have a confession to make: we didn’t actually get Russia from the random number generator.  Nope, we got Rwanda.  And being the good and honest person that I am, I highlighted it on my spreadsheet and turned to Google to start looking for traditional Rwandan cuisine.  Do you want to know something about traditional Rwandan cuisine?  It’s sort of non-existent.  Moreover, what they do eat is darn similar to what I made for Malawi.  My husband and I looked at each other: did we really want to do that again?  Or could we change the rules just a little bit and allow for something we really wanted to eat?

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N is for Norway: Kjøttkaker med Brunsaus & Rødkål

Norwegian Meatballs in a brown gravy served with mashed potatoes and sweet and sour cabbage

Norwegian Meatballs in a brown gravy served with mashed potatoes and sweet and sour cabbage

This week in cooking around the world, we’ve traveled to Norway.  In doing the research, I found a lot of familiar types of recipes with names and accents that were completely foreign.  For instance, the dish I chose is simply meatballs and gravy, served with mashed potatoes and red cabbage.  This is definitely something I know about.  But the pronunciations have me pretty confused.  How is one supposed to pronounce a “kj” sound?  I suppose this is why it’s a good thing that I’m a blogger and not an orator.

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A Fiesta in a Bowl

Taco Casserole

When I first met my husband, he was a picky eater.  Seriously.  At the dining hall, he would eat burgers, fries, and pizza.  And cookies and ice cream, of course.  Every once in a while he would get crazy and throw shredded cheese on some chips, put it in the microwave, and call it nachos.  But other than that, he was strictly on the plain-foods diet.  Slowly, his tastes started to expand.  He’d come to my apartment and I’d force him to eat vegetables as a side dish even when I cooked with peppers and onions in the main dish.  I forced my heat-wuss start to acclimate to flavors like buffalo sauce and jalapenos.  It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

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G is for Germany: Sauerbraten and Spaetzle

So, I know there are no pictures here.  After about three weeks of fighting with my camera and SD card and computer, I’ve decided to cut my losses.  This will be a blind post.  You’ll have to use your imagination.  You know what beef looks like, right?  And noodles?  And a crockpot and boiling water?  Good.  See, we don’t need those stinkin’ pictures anyway.  But I digress.

I was quite excited when I got the letter G.  After France, I figured I’d end up with something like Ghana.  But nope, fortunately I was able to pull another country whose cuisine I’m familiar with.  I wanted something traditional, but also relatively simple the day of serving — the fiance and I had Pre-Cana, and I knew I wouldn’t have hours to dedicate to an intricate meal.  This crockpot sauerbraten ended up being the perfect thing!  But I couldn’t just serve meat and gravy.  So, instead, I turned to spaetzle.  Back when I was a gluten-eater, I would devour this stuff.  And yet, I hadn’t had it in three years.  My cousin sent me a gluten-free recipe for spaetzle and together with my sister and fiance managed to make a big bowl of it.  It was messy and sticky, but it turned out to be delicious.  Enjoy this brief (albeit belated and blind) trip to Germany, and prepare yourself for more regular and illustrated posts!!

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D is for Dominican Republic: Pastelón de Harina de Maíz

Hot, bubbly beef and cornmeal casserole

Hot, bubbly beef and cornmeal casserole

When I pulled the Dominican Republic for the letter D, I was pretty excited.  Finally, we were at least swapping hemispheres!  It would be like a mini Caribbean vacation in my kitchen (sans the gorgeous beaches, girly boat drinks, and bikinis)!  Ok, so it wouldn’t be exactly like a Caribbean vacation, but c’est la vie.

Anyway, Google searches yielded a ton of information about Dominican cuisine.  With African, Spanish, and indigenous influences, Dominican food tends to feature hearty, inexpensive dishes.  And with cold weather slowly creeping into our region and my budget refusing to expand, these are attributes I can certainly get behind.

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C is for Chad: Beef in Peanut Sauce

Not the prettiest dish, but it was hot, hearty, and yummy.

The Earth has a circumference of roughly 25,000 miles.  And yet, my first three endeavors in cooking around the world kept me within 3,000 miles.  So really, at this point, it’s more like cooking around southwest Asia and north Africa.  Oh well.  For the letter C, I drew Chad.  Officially formed as a country in 1960, Chad is pretty much smack dab in the middle of northern Africa.  Prior to gaining its independence, Chad was a French colony.  Given my French ancestry, a large part of me hoped that a strong influence of French cooking would still be present in Chadian cuisine.  I had no such luck.

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