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!

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 Frikade─╝u 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!