Although it is nearly impossible to run out of places to explore when it comes to this monthly feature, that does not mean we have never found ourselves truly digging around for a place that strikes our fancy. You have to truly be interested in it to make it interesting to others. That is not only the key for this recipe; it applies to anything. As Amir mentioned on a previous post, we are currently embarking on another healthier eating challenge, and it involves the ‘v’ word: vegan. When I first challenged myself to eat vegan, I was completely engaged in the lifestyle and found myself moving through it with no problem. For some reason, this time has been a much more challenging affair. I did not want to vegan-ify a culture’s recipe for our sake, so I looked around for something that would fit the bill. That was when I remembered that we both love quinoa. It is an ingredient that fares well in so many recipes, and with its roots in Peruvian cuisine, it was just the thing to investigate.
Some serendipity was involved with this month’s Ethnic Exploration. As Chrystal and I were planning out our EEs for the rest of the year, we were tapped by someone on Twitter out of the blue. A man named Tim, the founder and owner of White Lion Imports, hit us up to see if we’d be interested in trying out a Sri Lankan spirit he just started distributing in the U.S. It’s no secret that the Duo loves a libation. Always down to try something new, we decided to give it a go. As the three of us chatted further, though, it became clear that we should collaborate on a culinary exploration of Sri Lankan cuisine. For the first time, we’d have an expert at our disposal, serving as a direct liaison into this new food world on which we were about to embark. Off we go!
In just over a week, I will be in Greece. That is why we are sharing a recipe from the land of extensive history, beautiful landscapes and dishes that make the cuisine a favorite amongst many. Amir will not be there during the trip, so I’ve taken it upon myself to lead the course for us both. Perhaps I’ll eat for two. And not because I am pregnant! Greek food has long been high on my list as a ‘favorite’, even though the Libra in me has a hard time signifying anything as a favorite. The Greek won me over with their passion for life and food with everyone around them, related or not. The idea that anyone in the house is family is one that rings true for me and those around me. We When there is a sizzling plate before you and your loved ones, all you want to do is share. This month’s Ethnic Exploration features a dish that is perfect for doing just that.
August has been one heck of a month for Chrystal and I, so much so that we turned around, blinked, and it’s already September! The bulk of last month was spent in anticipation, preparation, and execution of our Third Annual Seafood Boil. In all the seafood boil madness, we had to find time for our next Ethnic Exploration. The original plan for this post was much more ambitious. It involved a variety of recipes, a few of our friends, and a fair share of in-depth planning. Needless to say, this audacious idea required much more time and energy to complete than we had available with all that was going on. Without piling even more onto our plates, we had to head back to drawing board in pursuit of something a little more simple. And that’s when we landed in Hawaii.
I have a feeling no one noticed we did not post an Ethnic Exploration at the end of June. It slipped through the cracks as we both found ourselves wrapped up with individual, Duo and group related projects and events. We’ve do try to maintain a regular posting schedule, especially when it comes to the monthly Guest Test Kitchen and Ethnic Exploration features. Last week I sent an text to Amir that said “Um, did I ever write the Austrian EE?” There were at least 17 question marks and exclamation points, but I’ll spare you the overkill. I accept full responsibility for dropping the ball! You guys are always so forgiving and understanding, so we know that you’ll let it slide. When you see the Austrian sweet treat that landed on our plates, you’ll let it slide with a smile.
Summer is officially on! The time has come to bring out the charcoal, strike a few matches, and light up the grill. To help ring in the summer, we teamed with Hebrew National Hot Dogs to throw a grilled hot dog party.
This month’s Ethnic Exploration takes us back to South America. While we were in the full throws of planning and executing April’s Polish Ethnic Exploration, I stumbled upon an article in the Kitchen Daily section of the Huffington Post that heralded the arepa. Crispy, golden brown on the outside and soft, airy on the inside, the article described an arepa as a “golden, thick goody” that’s a “cross between a tortilla and a pita.” What’s more, these small delights are generally stuffed or topped with anything from cheese, your choice of meat or veggies, even a savory sauce. Of course, in true Huffington Post fashion, a slideshow of breathtaking photos concluded the piece, offering great ideas on potential arepa stuffings. Well, I couldn’t even make it pass the first image before I sent an excited email to Chrystal: “I know what our next EE is going to be. We’re going to make arepas!”
When I was a kid, one of my favorite snacks were frozen pierogi. I would slide down the frozen food aisle, pop open the glass door and grab a bag of Mrs. T’s frozen potato dumplings. At that time, I had no idea that pierogis were traditional Polish delicacies or even that what I was eating had a true connection to another culture different than mine. I just knew that the creamy potatoes in a half moon of soft dough tasted good with applesauce and sour cream. Fast forward 20 years, and I’ve just had pierogis again following a long break from my childhood favorites. Amir and I decided to explore the making of pierogis for this month’s Ethnic Exploration. There may have been one small snafu, but after a second go ’round, we got it just right.
Happy Friday, Happy April, and Happy Springtime to you! This past Saturday, we celebrated a friend’s birthday by riding our bikes through the streets of Long Beach. It was all fun times until the rain decided to come out and play along with us. Some unfortunate nicks, scrapes, sprains, and wipe-outs did result, so frankly, the weekend just got away from us. (No one was badly injured, thankfully, just our bruised egos as we realized the limitations in our riding skills.) So, as a result, our March Ethnic Exploration is just now making its way to your computer screens. Hey, on the bright side, April will have two editions of our monthly ethnic food expedition! And here’s the first…
This month’s dish to try came about from Amir’s suggestion. We would take a trip to Sweden through food. We’ve featured one Swedish delicacy here before. Perhaps you remember the kroppkakor? They were potato dumplings stuffed with meat and onions and served with a cream sauce. The name may have been hard to say, but they were not hard to eat. That being said, it was decided to try something else that would be brand new to us. It involved pickling, and it’s not just vegetables that were on the table.