Germany (Part 2)

IMG_20160124_183013094 edit

German Cucumber Salad

Crunchy and slightly sweet. Pictured above (top) with chicken schnitzel (left) and german spinach with ham (right).

Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a non-metallic bowl.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 2.5/5, very tart

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/german-cucumber-salad-110564

Advertisement

Germany (Part 1)

IMG_20160124_183013094 spinach only

German Spinach and Ham

A savory German side dish.

Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh baby spinach
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 200g cooked ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Steam spinach, drain excess liquid, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in butter until tender.
  3. Stir in spinach, ham, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  4. Heat through and serve.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 4.5/5, delicious compliment to schnitzel!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/german-style-spinach-or-chard-315601

Spain (Part 2)

DSC09483 (1)

Paella

Paella is a traditional spicy Spanish dish with a variety of meats and seafood served over rice.

Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked white rice* (see notes below)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1kg chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes* (see notes below)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 lemons, tested
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 500g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 250g mussels
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions (we prefer to use a rice cooker).
  2. Cook mussels according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Set aside  in refrigerator to marinate.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and cooked rice. Add parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer while proceeding with the next steps.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink (5 minutes).
  6. Serve rice in bowls topped with meat and seafood mixture.

DSC09479 (1)

Notes

  • The original recipe involves cooking the rice in the skillet. However, we found that it was easier and faster to cook the rice ahead of time using a rice cooker.
  • The original recipe describes the chicken cut into 2 inch pieces but we found that these pieces were too large to eat easily from the bowls. We recommend using thinner strips or 1 inch cubes of chicken.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4/5, quite spicy
  • Papa: 4.5/5
  • McM: 4/5
  • TW: 4/5
  • Girlie: 4/5, a little too spicy for my preference

Original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/84137/easy-paella/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=8

DSC09486 (1)

Spain (Part 1)

DSC09481 (1)

Avocado and Tuna Tapas

Tapas are a traditional Spanish side dish. Avocado and tuna make a creamy tapas combination.

Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted and peeled
  • 2 170g cans white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chives (for garnish)

Directions

  1. Stir together tuna, mayonnaise, red pepper, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  2. Pack the avocado halves with tuna mixture.
  3. Garnish with chives and serve.

Family Ratings

  • Papa: 4/5
  • McM: 5/5

Original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/139620/avocado-and-tuna-tapas/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=4

Japan

IMG_20151115_185245351 edit (1)

Sushi

Homemade sushi is fun for the whole family with lots of opportunity to customize rolls based on individual preferences for fillings. Leftover rolls are delicious the next day!

Total time: 1 hour
1 cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sushi rice
  • 10 nori (seaweed) sheets
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved, stoned, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 170g smoked salmon
  • 2 can tuna
  • 100g crab meat (artificial or canned)
  • 4 tablespoons spicy mayonnaise
  • 1 lettuce leaf, thinly cut
  • soy sauce (to serve)
  • pickled ginger (to serve)
  • wasabi (to serve)

Equipment

  • bamboo rolling mat
  • chopsticks

Directions

  1. Cook the sushi rice according to package instructions. We used a rice cooker which worked well. More tips for cooking sushi rice are available below with the original recipe link.
  2. Shred the crabmeat and stir in mayonnaise to create a thick paste (pepper, wasabi, or sriracha sauce can be added to make a spicier version).
  3. Mix the canned tuna with mayonnaise to create a thick paste (pepper, wasabi, or sriracha can be added as above).
  4. Assemble the sushi rolls. Place a nori seaweed sheet on top of the bamboo mat. Wet your hands and scoop a small amount of cooked sushi rice (approximately 1/4 cup). Gently spread the rice evenly across the nori, leaving a small 1 inch gap without rice on the end you are rolling towards. Add the fillings (below). Folding the bamboo mat on the side closest to you, roll slowly and gently with even pressure to wrap as tightly as possible. Place the rolls in the refrigerator after rolling until they become firm (10 minutes). Use a wet sharp knife to cut rolls into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Some of our favourite flavour combinations included: creamy crab with avocado, smoked salmon with lettuce and avocado, creamy tuna with cucumber, spicy tuna with avocado. Feel free to create whichever combinations you like!
  6. Serve cold with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, a delicious meal that was a lot of fun to prepare!

Original recipe: http://www.ticklemytastebuds.com/perfect-sushi/
Sushi rice tips: http://makemysushi.com/sushi-preparations/how-to-make-perfect-sushi-rice.html

Norway (Part 2)

DSC05422 edit

Smoked Salmon Rolls

A delicious Scandinavian side dish with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 soft tortillas (8 inch diameter)
  • 1 cup (250g) light cream cheese
  • 340g smoked salmon
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • chives, chopped (optional)
  • capers (optional)
  • lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Spread tortillas with a thin layer of cream cheese.
  2. Top with salmon, dill, and onion. Chives can be used as a mild alternative to red onions. Capers and lemon juice are nice additions.
  3. Roll tightly. An extra dollop of cream cheese can be used to help seal the roll.
  4. Cut into 1 inch pieces and serve.

DSC05412 edit

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 3.5/5
  • Papa: 3.5/5
  • Nanya: 5/5
  • TW: 4/5
  • McM: 4/5

Original recipe: http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/food/smoked-salmon-rolls

Norway (Part 1)

DSC05420 edit

Fiskekaker

Traditional Norwegian fish cakes.

Total time: 45min
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1.2kg cod* (see notes below)
  • 3 teaspoons salt* (see notes below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup milk* (see notes below)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup minced chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • vegetable oil as needed
  • bread crumbs as needed* (see notes below)

Directions

  1. Slice the fish into small chunks and pound with a meat tenderizer until fish is soft and flaky.* (see notes below)
  2. Combine salt, pepper, 2/3 cup milk, butter, eggs, chives, and nutmeg in a large boil.
  3. Add fish to the mixture and knead together until the desired consistency is reached. (The mixture should be thick enough to allow firm patties to be formed. If the mixture is too watery, breadcrumbs can be added while stirring until the mixture thickens. If the mixture is too thick initially, another 1/3 cup of milk can be added).
  4. Make patties approximately 2-3 inches in diameter and approximately 1 inch thick.
  5. In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Sauté fish patties until golden brown (3-5 minutes each side).
  6. Serve as patties with a side dish (see smoked salmon rolls on this blog) or in a bun as fish burgers.

DSC05413 edit (1)

Notes

  • Depending on availability, haddock or pollock can be substituted for cod.
  • Some of our family members found this recipe quite salty, so less salt (1-2 teaspoons) may be preferable.
  • The original recipe suggests using a much larger quantity of milk. However, we found that this made it very difficult to form patties. We added bread crumbs to thicken the mixture and recommend using 2/3 to 1 cup of milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Our fish patty mixture is pictured below.
  • The original recipe suggests using a food processor to prepare the fish. However, we found that slicing and manually tenderizing the fish gave the patties an appealing chunky texture and emphasized the flavor of the cod.

DSC05410 edit

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4.5/5, delicious recipe although quite salty!
  • Papa: 4.5/5
  • Nanya: 5/5
  • TW: 5/5
  • Girlie: 5/5
  • McM: 3/5

Original recipe: https://arcticgrub.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/homemade-fiskekaker-our-monday-dinner-suggestion/

Iran (Part 2)

IMG_20160117_194132851 (2)

Uyghur Polo

Beef and rice pilaf, a staple dish among Central Asian countries including Iran. Pictured above (on left) with yogurt spinach dip (on right).

Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 500g beef (we used tenderloin)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 500g carrots, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions (we used a rice cooker).
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the beef in the oil until evenly browned, stirring occasionally (about 10 min).
  3. Add chopped onion to the pot and cook until translucent (about 10 min).
  4. Add carrots to the pot. (Initially it may look like there are too many carrots in the pot, however they will shrink with cooking and mix well into the recipe).
  5. Pour water into the pot. When the water boils, add the garlic bulb. Let the mixture simmer (5 min).
  6. Remove the garlic bulb and reserve. Add cumin. Allow mixture to simmer on medium-low heat (15-20 min).
  7. Add cooked rice to the mixture and stir.
  8. Replace the garlic bulb and pour raisins on top of the rice. Cover pot and cook on medium low heat (10-15 min).
  9. Remove the garlic bulb.
  10. Serve with naan and yogurt spinach dip as garnish (see recipe on this blog).

Family Ratings

  • McM: 4.5/5, very flavorful!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/uyghur-polo-pilaf-411849

Iran (Part 1)

IMG_20160117_194137298 edit

Borani Esfanaaj

Iranian yogurt and spinach dip.

Total time: 30min
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups thick balkan yogurt
  • 3 teaspoon dried mint
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see recipe)
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Steam baby spinach until just wilted. Drain well by squeezing out excess water and chop fine.
  2. In a medium saucepan, saute 1 1/2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil until lightly browned.
  3. Add chopped spinach and salt to taste. Stir.
  4. Remove from stove and allow to cool. Squeeze out excess liquid.
  5. Toast chopped walnuts in a dry frying pan until dark brown and fragrant. Avoid burning the walnuts. Set aside to cool.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the baby spinach mixture, the remaining minced garlic, dried mint, and toasted walnuts. Stir.
  7. In a bowl and the yogurt, and sea salt to taste, stir gently.
  8. Serve with naan, crackers, or as a garnish for Uyghur Polo (see recipe on this blog).

Family Ratings

  • McM: 4/5, delicious!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/iranian-yogurt-and-spinach-dip-borani-esfanaaj-444419

Afghanistan

IMG_20151204_190141340 edit

Qorma-E-Samaruq

Traditional Afghan mushroom stew with lamb.

Total time: 60 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2kg lamb chops, diced and bones removed* (see note below)
  • 2 800ml cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt to taste
  • 900g mushrooms, rinsed, stems trimmed, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until lightly browned (about 3-5 min).
  2. Add chunks of lamb and continue to saute, turning frequently, until lamb turns light brown (about 10-15 min).
  3. Add tomatoes, spices, and salt to taste. Stir and continue cooking until lamb is almost fully cooked (about 15 min).
  4. Add mushrooms, cover, and cook until mushrooms are tender and lamb is done (about 15-20min).
  5. Serve with rice or naan.

Notes

  • Some family members do not like lamb so we prepared this recipe using 1kg diced lamb chops and 1kg diced tenderloin (other cuts of beef could be substituted). We used separate skillets for lamb and beef and divided the above ingredients in half for each skillet.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 3/5, very flavorful with tender juicy lamb but very spicy overall and would recommend using half the spices next time.

Original recipe: http://www.afghankitchenrecipes.com/recipe/qorma-e-samaruq-chicken-and-mushroom-stew/