An AWESOME food blog, inspired by "Julie & Julia."

52 weeks, 52 countries
I'm cooking across the world because I can't afford to travel it! Every week, I will randomly select a country, do a little research, do a little cooking, and do a lot of eating. So read, laugh, travel, eat, and enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week 10: Chile

I always put this off until forever. But I figure it doesn't really matter because nobody besides my family actually reads this. But that's ok. I'm not doing it for the fame and fortune that is supposed to accompany a blog. Although that would be nice.

Back to business. Last week I made Chilean food in honor of my dear friend Elder Pierce who is serving his mission in Concepcion. I've been thinking a lot about him lately because of the earthquake and everything (he's ok, no worries) so I thought that I would bring a piece of him home. I made the meal at Alexa's because Justin and Spencer and I were fighting and couldn't be in the same room together. So my testers this week were Holly and Alexa and then some Polynesian boys who tried to convince me to make dog. Anyway, it was strange working in an unknown kitchen. I didn't really like it and am excited to cook in my own kitchen tonight.

For an appetizer I made Cold Avocado Soup. It was just avocados, chives, and milk. The avocados I selected were not the ripest and so this soup had a strange texture but when eaten with fresh tortillas (the kind you buy raw and cook yourself) was actually quite nice. We ended up using it as a dip for our main dish which was Chilean Carbonada. This was really really tasty. It was this steak stew type thing with potatoes and butternut squash and rice. Oh my goodness! It turned into this really thick gumbo-like thing. I really don't know how to describe it but I loved it! We ate this with the tortillas and dipped it in the soup and it tasted divine! For dessert I made Que Que. Now this was quite funny to me because it translates to What What in English. :D Anyway, it was this lemon pecan loaf. It tasted really good but was really crumbly because Alexa and Holly did not have any proper butter and I was not about to go back to the store. I liked the cake loaf what thing. It was just too dry.

Chilean food was good. A success I would say. Elder Pierce will be proud. Now I just have to get around to writing him a letter. We'll see when I get time for that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 9: Greece

This week I had a fabulous Greek picnic in. . .


It was great. We wanted to go to the Grand Canyon but it turns out that the North side (the side that's only a 2 hour drive) doesn't open until May. So instead of driving 8 hours, we went to Zion. And we (as in Justin, Spence, and me) did all of this because my little brother Eric's class is doing "Flat Stanley." They send this little drawing of a boy to their friends and family that live in other places and everyone takes pictures and it's really cute so yes.

Because we were going to be outside this Sunday, I decided a picnic would be best so I made Greek food. My favorite! At least my favorite this week. I love gyros! Always have, always will, so that is what I made. I looked for lamb but it doesn't seem to be available in St. George, so we had chicken. I cooked the chicken in olive oil, made a cucumber yogurt sauce (yum!) and chopped some onions and tomatoes and bought some shredded lettuce. All we had to do was pack this in a cooler and assemble it in pita pockets when we were ready to eat. They were delicious! Except that the pitas got soggy in the cooler because I was dumb and put them on a plate in plastic wrap instead of leaving them in the bag. Yeah, I'm slow. We devoured them so quickly that I didn't have time to take a picture so you must use your imagination. I loved them, but I am biased because I love gyros.

Now for dessert, I made a combination of two things. I wanted to make baklava because I love it! But Justin hates nuts, so I didn't. But I wanted some sort of fillo dough dessert. I found a recipe for Myzithropita which is a fillo dough and sweet soft cheese fried dumpling but it required making my own fillo dough which was not happening. And also I needed a fryer. Then I found a recipe for Galaktoboureko rolla which is a custard filled fillo roll. But we had custard last week and I did not want it again. So I made the sweet cheese filling (ricotta, yogurt, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice) and rolled it in fillo dough and drowned it in cinnamon infused honey. And life was good. Love love love love love. I'm planning on making variations of this dessert with pumpkin, custard, maybe even chocolate. I just love fillo!

I love Greece. I hope to go there someday. Mediterraneans are so beautiful. And all the relics and art and brown skin and azul oceans and white sand. And gyros. And fillo desserts. Yes, Greece should be expecting me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 6, 7, & 8: Russia, Norway, and England

I swear I haven't disappeared off the face of the planet! I have just be uber busy. Life is hellish right now with Miss Saigon, mid-terms, work, and money. This whole being a grown up thing is strange. I turned twenty 3 weeks ago. How strange that I am an adult. I can no longer tell people I am technically and teenager. Crazy, yes. I know. That is why I didn't cook then. I didn't cook the week before because I was visiting American Fork. But I did cook the week after, February 28. And I made food from 3 countries! As I posted earlier, February is Elsa month. So I celebrated my heritage by cooking a side dish from Russia (possibly where my dad is from. . . we aren't sure because he is adopted but he certainly looks Russian), a main course from Norway, and a dessert from England.

The Russian dish I made was Pskovsky Hot Vinegret. It was GOOD. It was made with turnip, potato, carrot, mushroom, and vegetable stock. Pretty simple and straightforward. The only problem was the turnip. None of us (Alexa, Justin, Spencer, I) had ever eaten a turnip and we were scared. I kept thinking about Wallace and Grommit, which really is beside the point but that was my thought process. We smelled it first and it smelled like a dirty sour potato. Yum. But I stayed true to the recipe and added it in. Turns out Turnips are delicious. It added this really earthy flavor to the veggies and I quite enjoyed it.

Next up we have Norwegian apple pork chops with caraway seeds. I loved this! And that is saying a lot because I hate pork chops. Now to be honest, I was planning on making a fish dish for Norway because that is pretty much all they eat but I chickened out. I hate fish. Always have. Can't eat it unless it's covered in batter and fried and smothered with tartar sauce. So I wasn't prepared to make that leap. Perhaps in the future. But these chops were another huge step for me. I seared the meat and then put it in a pan with sliced apples, apple juice, and lots of caraway seeds. Now I know the seeds kind of look like fruit flies but I loved the seeds and so did Spencer. They had a kind of floral and musky and I don't know what flavor but they were tasty. Alexa on Justin on the other hand. . . not huge fans. Alexa doesn't like rye bread and caraway seeds just happen to be the main flavoring component of rye bread. But the combination of the meat with the fruit was splendid and I would like to have it again.

English trifle! YUM! This dessert will always be good no matter who makes it! And I made it so it was especially good. I made my own lady fingers and I took a picture of one as proof. I also made my own custard and my own whipped cream. I did not make my own raspberry jam though which would have been awesome. I made little mini trifles for everyone because I don't have a big fancy trifle dish. I layered the lady fingers with raspberry jam spread on them, the custard, defrosted frozen raspberries and whipped cream, refridgerated it and voila! Dessert.

Good week. Tasty food. I should stop getting so behind. I have to do two countries this week because of another trip to American Fork. Blarg, so much work. But I love doing this project and it's not a chore. Cooking relaxes me. It is my escape from all the aforementioned woes of daily adult life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Week 5: Denmark

Yay February! The month of my birth! Since I am so awesome and the world is a better place because I live here, I am commemorating this month by cooking food from the places where my ancestors came from. For the first week, I did Denmark! I love Denmark! My grandma loves to make us aebleskivers, a sphere-shaped apple-filled pancake-thing. But other than that, I've never really eaten the food of my people.

Pardon my French, but Denmark is badass. The way it got its name, so legend tells, is that when King Dan conquered the Roman Emperor Augustus (yes, THAT Augustus), the people named the country after him. The Danes were also. . . VIKINGS!!!!! I love vikings!!!!! They are so cool and they discovered America, for real unlike that impostor we shall only call Chris. A cool little family fact, there was this great viking called Canute the Great. I don't know if that is who he is named after, but my cousin's name is Knute, and I know his name is Scandinavian. So that's awesome.

Denmark is a super green country. Green in the environmentally friendly sense, although it is green in the landscape sense as well. There is a monarchy similar to England. Their Queen's name is Margarethe II and their Prime Minister is Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Way cool name!

Alright, the food.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 4: Ethiopia

Last week of January, Ethiopia. Yes, it has been over a week since I made this meal, so yes, this entry will be short on account of memory loss. Now, when most people think of Ethiopia, they think of starving children and AIDS, for good reason. Over 50% of the population of Ethiopia lives below the poverty line. With a population of nearly 80 million, that's a lot of impoverished people. 1,450,000 of those people have HIV, 135,000 of which are children. It is believed in the year 2010 that 1,000,000 children will be orphaned by AIDS. These statistics are desperately sad and shocking. It is a horrible horrible problem and everyone needs to do his or her best to help. That said, with this project, I wanted to focus a little bit more on the rich cultural history of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is considered to be one of the oldest human settlements in the world! Lucy, that famous skeleton lady named after the Beatles' song, was found in Ethiopia. It has been an independent country since ancient times. It was one of the first Christian countries in the world. And Ethiopia has 84 indigenous languages! EIGHTY FOUR!!!!

So, the food. I made Doro Wat in Berbere paste, Carrot and Ginger salad, Iab, and Sanbusa.
Doro Wat is a chicken stew type thing. Way way spicy! I loved the spice though. A traditional condiment in Ethiopia is Berbere paste, a paprika and onion based sauce. I had to make my own and it was actually quite tasty. The chicken was marinated for a half hour before cooking in lemon juice which actually begins to "cook" the meat itself. The acid does it. So, cooking semi cooked chicken. You end up with a really strange texture. In the soup, I served carrots and ginger stewed in sugar. They love ginger in Ethiopia. Yup.

Iab is a cheese dish. In Ethiopia, they don't have a dessert course. They eat cheese instead. And not just any cheese, this special tangy cheese. It is not available in the states, but I found some recipes that the authors say come pretty close to tasting like the actual thing. It's cottage cheese, yogurt, lemon zest, and salad spices like cilantro and parsley. This is traditionally served on Injera, a kind of flat bread, but I didn't want to make that so I bought na'an. I won't lie, I was most worried about eating this dish. But it ended up being my absolute favorite! It was way tasty! It was so refreshing and really helped cut the spice of the the Doro Wat.

Sanbusa was my way of having dessert. I can't just not eat dessert, I don't work like that. So, I made a pastry that is usually stuffed with meat and stuffed it with a honey cream cheese conconction. They have honey in abundance in Ethiopia, so I thought this fitting. The filling tasted amazing! The pastries were dry and hard. Looked a lot better than it tasted.

And that was Ethiopia. Not my favorite. Except for the cheese. I'm making Iab again!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 3: Argentina!

Alright, so, I am horrible. I have decided to consolidate and write only one post a week because,
WOW, school? Crazy times. So yes. I swear I did cook last week though, I promise, even though I am only writing now. Last Sunday was. . . ARGENTINA!!!!!!!! Now, Argentina wasn't coming up for another few months, and this made Lucia very sad, especially because she was craving potato gnocchi. So I moved it up!

Ok, Argentina. It is the second largest country in South America and the eighth most populous country in the world! Lots of peeps. It lies between the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The name "Argentina" derives from the Greek word argentos which means "white, shining." How poetic is that? There is proof of human existence in Argentina as early as 11,000 BCE. Sometime (a great sometime) after this, the Inca Empire invaded Argentina. Go Incas! In more modern history, Argentina was the home of the beautiful Eva Peron. I love her. If you have not seen Evita, you are a crime to humanity. It is amazing! And informative. I don't feel like blogging about her life, so just see the movie. The current President of Argentina is a woman (they have a thing for strong and powerful women those Argentines)! Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is her name. They are currently experiencing a great financial growth. Yay women!

Alright, now for the food. I will admit, this was not as great a success as the first two weeks. It wasn't a failure by any means, but it wasn't amazing. I made potato gnocchi, at Lucia's request. It was fairly easy and I think I would like to try making it again. I don't think I used enough flour though, because they were a little on the mashed potatoey side. They were served in a butter sage sauce which I thought was divine! As a side, I made a citrus medley, just cut up grapefruits and oranges, to cleanse the palate :P

Dessert was interesting. I made dulce de leche, which I thought would be easy. All you do is boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for 4 hours. I accidentally fell asleep during this time. All the water boiled out and some of the milk leaked out and it burned and our apartment was filled with smoke. I am brilliant. Luckily, most of the concoction was saved and still delicious. I put this on a traditional cookie called Alfajores. Now this cookie has a ridiculous amount of cornstarch and tastes very chalky. I did not like it, but Lucia said that it was supposed to taste like that. I think she was humoring me. But they weren't bad. Lex liked them too. Perhaps I was the only one troubled by the texture.

All in all, it was a good week. I think that I will have to try both recipes again. Maybe I was just uber stressed and that is why it wasn't perfect. I don't know. I would like to thank taste testers Lucia, Cody, Alexa, Chad, Justin, and Jake for eating and complimenting one of my less than wonderful dishes. You guys don't have to be so nice. I promise I won't kill myself if it sucks or if you don't eat it. I will move on. So please be honest. It helps me grow :D

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week 2: Done!

Yay Latvia! Oh my heck! So tasty were the delicious creations of last night! I made Frikadeļu zupa, a meatball and vegetable soup. So a little bit about meatballs. I don't like them. I never have. But, I came to this conclusion as a child when I saw one and thought, "GROSS!" I have never actually eaten one, at least not that I recall. Until last night! And they are tasty! The soup was so wonderful; loved all that fatty goodness!

I served it with rye bread (which I bought because, hello, I'm a college student and don't have two days to spend making bread) which is the bread of choice in the Baltics. It was great at absorbing all of the extra broth and fat!

For dessert, we had an apple loaf. It didn't have a fancy Latvian name. But I swear it was authentic! This was good, but not as good as the soup. It was really moist on the inside but kind of crusty on the outside. And it need to be sweeter. But the chunks of apples inside were fantastic!
That's not burn on the outside, it's cinnamon, just so you know.

I would like to thank my taste testers Justin, Alexa, Kyle, Jaelyn, and Chris for venturing into the unknown world of Latvian cuisine. It was well worth it I think! And as I predicted, the fat has given me sufficient energy to make it through this week! I know I have mentioned the fat in this meal multiple times, but it's a big deal for me because I don't eat fat. Like ever. So, to finish things off, I like Latvia. A lot. And I'm glad my ancestors weren't wealthy because peasant food is really good!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 2: Latvia

Hmmm. Latvia. What is there to know about Latvia? Well, Latvians originated from the Latgalians, an eastern Baltic tribe. The country borders the Baltic Sea. It is slightly larger than West Virginia and has a population of 2,231,503. Latvia's government system is a parliamentary democracy. It's a pretty cool place.

I'll be honest, the first thought that came to my head when I thought "Latvia" was "Russia." But Latvia is not Russia! Yes, they were once part of the Soviet Union, but not really by choice. Latvia was invaded by the Nazi's in 1935. They didn't get their independance back until 1991. That's a long time of oppression. Even before the Soviet Union, Latvia only experienced Independance for a short time. It was conquered multiple times by neighboring countries. Because of this, most Latvians were serfs or peasants. The food that they ate was cheap and long lasting. They ate a lot of leftovers. In fact, there is a Latvian crepe dish called Komm Morgan Wieder which translates to "Come Back Tomorrow." I won't be making this dish, but I thought it was pretty interesting. Their food also contained little or no spices because they were expensive to import. The food of Latvia has a lot of fat in it so that the peasants would have enough energy to make it through the day. This way of preparing food on the cheap created many traditional Latvian recipes.

I already have an idea of what I am going to prepare on Sunday. I'm actually quite grateful that the super fattening Latvian food will be what I am preparing this week. The first week of school really took it out of me. Maybe the fat will give me energy to make it through the second. . .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week 1: Done!

K, so I made this meal last Wednesday and it is now Sunday evening and I am only now writing because this week was "Elsa is lazy and doesn't want to write anything because she is about to start school and will have to write a million things then," week.

Anyway, the meal was FANTASTIC! I adore Indonesia! So super tasty! And I am not the only one that thought so; my taste testers Justin, Spencer, Cody, Lucy, and Britney all agreed!

For the main course, I made Ajam Djahe Mannga, which is basically spicy ginger mango chicken, with sticky rice. It was served with a chile, tomato, ginger sauce that was like a volcano in your mouth, but a good volcano. Yum yum.

For dessert, I made Kue Kering. I know that sounds wildly exotic and awesome, but it was really just a nutmeg butter cookie. If you read my last post, you know that Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch and is the home of nutmeg. Hence, the tasty butter cookies. They crumble in your mouth "like chalk. . . in a good way," to quote Justin.

My first week was a delicious adventure! I would suggest that every one tries these recipes! I'm off to another country next week; can't wait!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Week 1: Indonesia

YAY! Happy New Year! And happy new resolution! I am writing a food blog, and as boring as that sounds, I PROMISE it will be beyond exciting! Welcome to the Exotic Food Experiment. I LOVE cooking. Love it! And, I love trying new things. So this experiment is the fusion of those two loves. I am way so super excited!

Ok, down to business. This week, the country I am visiting is. . . INDONESIA! A little background info on this beautiful country:
Indonesia is a country in Southeastern Asia. It comprises of 17,508 small islands! Only 6,000 are inhabited, but still! Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch in the 17th Century, and declared its Independence on August 14, 1945. It is the worlds 4th most populous country, the 3rd largest democracy, and has the world's largest population of Muslims. And, most importantly, it is beautiful!

Indonesia is known as "The Spice Island" in the culinary world. The spices nutmeg and clove are native to the island! Popular spice combinations are cinnamon, coriander,star anise, cumin, cardamom, and chili. Rice is a meal staple. In Indonesia, the food is a fusion of Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, and Indian tastes. How awesome is that!

I can't wait to cook my Indonesian meal! Whoot!