If you're anything like me, you're definitely an international foodie. You've tried Russian food with your friends or tried making your own vegetarian sushi at home. Trying international foods is a terrific way to find out more about a culture - and it's certainly cheaper than a roundtrip ticket!
Paella de Verduras (Spain)
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 piquillo peppers
1 large bermuda or Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
3 large cloves or garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 - 1/2 tsp bittersweet Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
5 - 10 strands of saffron
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cubed
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 8 - 10 halved grape tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups Bomba rice, or Calasparra rice
3 cups vegetable stock, or 2 cubes vegetable bouillon. (Keep stock warm!)
Finely minced parsley
1) In a 13" paella pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Add the Piquillo peppers, onion and bell peppers. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, saffron, zucchini and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in the rice and warmed stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed.
2) Cover with foil, put in 350 F oven for another 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
3) To serve, decorate with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
MAKES 3 SERVINGS
2 tablespoons pesto (store bought or homemade)
2 tablespoons tomato sauce or paste
5 white onions
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1) Slice onions very thin and toss them in your largest pot along with the water, oregano, salt and pepper. Turn heat on medium low, stir and cover. Let cook for a little over an hour, stirring occasionally.They will get very, very soft and translucent.
2) Roll out pizza dough very thin. Place in greased long rectangular tart pan and prick the bottom with a fork. Brush with pesto and tomato sauce and then add a thick layer of cooked onions (you might not need all the onions). Sprinkle the sliced olives and sundried tomatoes on top and finish with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
3) Bake at 450 for about fifteen minutes, or until the bottom of the pizza is done. Remove and let cool then pop out of tart pan and trim sides.
4) Serve with a glass of red wine and pretend you’re in Nice.
Alitcha Aterkik (Ethiopia)
Yellow Split Peas
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
4 cups water
1 cup dried yellow split peas
Olive oil, to taste
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch of fresh ginger peeled, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Salt, to taste
1) Place 3 cups water (or a stock if you wish) and the yellow split peas in a large saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the water has absorbed, about 40 minutes.In the meantime, saute your onion until clear, 5 minutes. Then add ginger, garlic, and turmeric and cook 1 minute.
2) Add to the cooked peas.
3) Add a little more water and simmer again until the peas are very soft. Add salt to taste
Vegan Bibimbap (South Korea)
Mixed Rice and Vegetables
MAKES 3 - 4 SERVINGS
Sauteed fern (Available at Korean supermarkets, but if you omit, that's okay too!)
1 bunch spinach, washed and trimmed
1 package mung bean sprouts (or soybean sprouts), washed and trimmed
1 medium carrot, cleaned and julienned
1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into dominoes
About 6 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
2 cups cooked rice
2-3 tbsp sesame oil
About 1 tbsp cooking oil for stir frying
3 tbsp Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang, available in many supermarkets and Asian stores)
Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
Salt and pepper
1) Boil mung bean sprouts in water for about 5-7 minutes until just tender. Drain thoroughly using a colander. Move to a large bowl. Using a pair of chopsticks, dress with about 2 tsp sesame oil, salt, pepper, about 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp green onions. Set aside on a plate.
2) Blanch the spinach in boiling water for no longer than 15 seconds and drain using colander. Run under cold water immediately, then squeeze out all the water. In the same large bowl that you used for sprouts, dress using the same exact ingredients. Move to the plate next to the sprouts (but don’t mix them together!).
3) Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add carrots and saute for about 5-6 minutes until done. Set aside.
4) Using the same frying pan, pan fry the tofu until golden crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
5) In a small bowl, whisk 3 tbsp hot pepper paste with 1 tbsp sesame oil.
6) If you got the dry ferns, soak them in water for about 4-5 hours until completely reconstituted. Drain. Boil in water for about 30-45 minutes until these suckers are completely limp. Drain. Then saute in soy sauce (to taste), 3-4 cloves minced garlic, and sesame oil (also to taste) for about 5 minutes.
7) Assemble all of the above over a bowl of brown rice. Admire for a few seconds and then mix it all together with a spoon, then eat it!
Veggie Patties (Jamaica)
Pocket Pastry filled with Diced Vegetables
MAKES 6 LARGE PATTIES
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Coarse sea salt
2 larges cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced carrots
1/4 cup 1/4-inch-diced yellow potatoes
1/2 cup fresh green peas (or frozen)
1/2 cup sweet fresh corn (or frozen)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup chilled coconut oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
1) In a medium-size saute pan over medium-low heat, combine the coconut oil, the onion cinnamon, allspice, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, carrots, and potatoes, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the green peas, corn, cabbage, thyme, and lemon juice, cover, and cook for 3 minutes more. Season with additional salt and the white pepper (or to taste) and set aside to allow the flavors to marry.
2) Combine 1 1/2 cups of the white flour with the pastry flour, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Set the remaining 1/4 cup white flour aside. Add the coconut butter to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertip until the mixture resembles fine sand, about 10 minutes.
3) Combine the vinegar and water and mix well. Then, without overworking the dough, add the vinegar mixture by the tablespoon, while stirring, just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and begins to coalesce. Squeeze into a tight ball, flatten, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4) Preheat the oven to 350F and remove the dough from the refrigerator.
5) With the reserved flour, lightly dust a clean surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut six 6-inch circles from the dough (you can use a bowl). Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the center of one side of each circle, leaving about a 1/8-inch border. Fold the other half over to make a half-moon, press to seal, and make ridges around the edge using a fork. (hs note: if your dough is at all on the dry side you may need to run wet fingers around the edge of the circles to help get a good seal).
6) Transfer the patties to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve immediately with some hot sauce.