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.
Last week, I made a dinner inspired by the movie Elf. This week, I decided to keep up with the holiday spirit and create another Christmas inspired meal. As I’m sure most of you know, there was this Grinch who had a heart that was two sizes too small. And he hated Christmas…the whole Christmas season (please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason). This Grinch, well, he decided to steal Christmas. After sneaking down to Who-ville, he stole everything…why that Grinch even took the last can of who-hash! Fortunately, the Grinch came to his senses and decided to return his haul to the Who’s. But even if he hadn’t, I wasn’t too worried about the who-hash; you see, I have a recipe for a homemade version!
I don’t know about you guys, but my life is starting to get hectic. I mean I absolutely love Christmas, but as we enter the last week of preparations, life is getting a little bit busy. Between shopping and wrapping and baking and figuring out our celebrating schedules, time has become a somewhat precious commodity. And with time at a premium, something has had to give; for us, that has meant food shopping. Yet, while trips to the food store may not be happening, eating is still a necessity. So, I’ve been doing a lot of pantry raiding in an attempt to keep us fed.
We were back in the Middle East for the latest installment of Cooking Around the World. According to Wikipedia, Qatari cuisine has been largely influenced by both Indian and Iranian culture. Apart from curry and tikka masala, I don’t know much about Indian cuisine, and I know even less about Iran. However, my research suggested that it was actually largely similar to what I had found for both Kyrgyzstan and Oman. Hoping for something new and exciting, I settled on a lamb dish…until the food store was charging $30 for a piece of meat. That just wasn’t going to happen. Back to chicken stew it was…
For our latest installment of Cooking Around the World, I had absolutely no options. The only country beginning with the letter “O” is Oman. No anticipation while the random number generator did it’s thing. No hoping for or dreading a particular outcome. Just starting research. And you know what? This was a difficult country to research! While Oman has history dating back hundreds of years, a national cuisine was harder to pin down.
In our latest expedition for Around the World, I was excited to be back in Europe. Yes, the whole point of this experiment is to try new cuisines, but at the same time I was happy to recognize all of the ingredients being discussed. For those who don’t know, Luxembourg is a tiny country — about 1,000 square miles, or roughly half the size of Delaware. Bordered by France, Germany, and Belgium, it takes the best aspects of these cuisines and rolls it up into a ball of tasty. And knowing how much I loved cooking French and German foods, you’ll understand how eager I was to get going on Luxembourg.
When I started researching, the first thing to jump out at me was the amount of Riesling used in the recipes. After a
Google search or two highly scientific study, my dad determined that Riesling goes with everything. And our follow up experiments, which involved pairing Riesling with all sorts of foods, seemed to confirm his conclusion. So cooking with it had to end well!
I’m really excited, guys. Yesterday I had a personal victory. You see, for our wedding we received a mandolin. No, not the instrument, but the nifty tool to make slicing easier. Shortly after the wedding we decided that we should make scalloped potatoes, and broke into the mandolin. As I whisked the sauce on the stove, my husband started slicing our potatoes. All was going swimmingly until I heard him curse loudly. I turned around, and there he was cradling his thumb. “It’s really sharp,” he said.
No kidding, I thought to myself. I sent him to go clean up his thumb, rolling my eyes at his clumsiness. My eye rolling lasted for about thirty seconds, until I too started cursing. And in true “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality, my thumb wouldn’t stop bleeding. So our mandolin prompted our first married trip for emergency medical care (and my first time getting stitches!).
Monday was one of those days. The cloud cover was depressing, and despite the 0% chance for precipitation it started to rain on my walk back from the grocery store. At lunch time, my husband texted me asking if you could get Seasonal Affective Disorder on rainy days. All things considered, it was a slow and dreary day.
And because it was a slow day, I was pretty lazy about dinner. This soup comes together very easily, and although it isn’t the prettiest dish it helps to combat rain-induced apathy. So I took the half an hour or so it took to make a batch of this, and we sat down to dinner. My husband, who as I mentioned had been rather meh on account of the weather, perked up immediately. “It’s like eating the stuffing of a twice baked potato!” he deemed, scooping another bowl out for himself. And another. And as he scraped the dredges out from the bottom of the pot he asked, “How difficult was this to make?”
“Easy,” I replied. “Really easy. Why?”
“Let’s make another batch!”
As we all know, the second letter of the alphabet is B. With seventeen options, I was rooting for Brazil. More accurately, I was rooting for an excuse to make those delicious little cheesey tapioca rolls they give you at Fogo de Chao. Yes, this may be against the spirit of this little experiment (I’ve made them before, and God knows I’ll make them again), but c’mon, those little suckers are addictive. But no. Upon getting the number thirteen I flipped back to Excel and saw the sad truth: Bahrain.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Bahrain. But in all honesty, I didn’t know much about it. I figured it was somewhere in southwest Asia (turns out I was right!), but that was about it. Technically named the Kingdom of Bahrain, it is a small island nation located in the Persian Gulf. Also, it’s capital is Manama; I had that Muppet song going through my head the entire time I was cooking. Anyway, onto the food!