Argentina (Part 1)

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Bunuelos de Espinaca

Argentinean spinach fritters.

Total time: 60 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 450g fresh baby spinach, chopped and steamed
  • 3/4 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • oil for frying (liquid coconut oil recommended)

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Directions

  1. Chop spinach, then steam over boiling water for 4-5 minutes until fully wilted.
  2. Mix spinach and onion together in a bowl. Add milk and eggs. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together.
  4. Stir flour mixture into spinach mixture until batter is evenly combined.
  5. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large, deep frying pan over low-medium heat. Oil is ready to use with a drop of spinach batter added to the oil bubbles immediately.
  6. Drop batter (about 1 tablespoon per fritter), into the hot oil. Fry until outside edges of fritters are golden brown (3 – 4 minutes per side). Remove fritters with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil and adjusting oil temperature as needed.
  7. Serve with tzatziki sauce and chimichurri.

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Family Ratings

  • Mama: 4/5, very good as an appetizer!
  • Papa: 3.5/5, somewhat bland but the coconut oil adds a nice flavor
  • Girlie: 2/5 by themselves, but 4/5 when served with tzatziki sauce
  • TW: 2.5/5 by themselves, 4/5 when served with tzatziki sauce or chimichurri

Original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/236662/bunuelos-de-espinaca-spinach-fritters/

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Sri Lanka (Part 1)

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Scrambled Tofu

Vegetarian Sri Lankan meal.

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1kg firm tofu, crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 250g fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Steam the spinach until wilted. Squeeze out excess water. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté (2 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook (2 more minutes). Add tomatoes and cook (1 more minute). Add steamed spinach and cook (2 more minutes).
  3. Add turmeric, chill powder, soy sauce. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add crumbled tofu. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until heated (10 minutes).
  5. Serve with additional soy sauce and hot sauce as desired.

Family Ratings

  • Mama: 3.5/5, excellent with soy sauce!
  • Papa: 4/5, initially a bit bland but very tasty with soy sauce and hot sauce to add spice and flavour
  • Girlie: 3/5
  • TW: 5/5, really delicious with soy sauce added
  • McM: 4/5, could use more spice but great with soy sauce!

Original recipe: http://www.srilankanrecipes.info/recipes/TofuEggSoyaDishes/ScrambledTofu.aspx

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Scrambled tofu (left) served with pol sambol (bottom) and gotukola sambol (right) for a traditional Sri Lanka meal (see other recipe posts on this blog). We felt that this meal had some of the most interesting and exotic flavor combinations of any country so far!

Germany (Part 1)

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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

Iran (Part 1)

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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

Greece (Part 1)

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Spanakopita

Traditional Greek savory pastry. Spanakopitas can be labor-intensive to prepare but they are well worth the effort!

Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12-15 strudels

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 500g frozen* chopped spinach, defrosted* (see notes below)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups small-diced feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted* (see notes below)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion, and cook over medium-low heat (5 minutes).
  4. Add the scallions to the pan and cook until the scallions are wilted but still green (2 minutes).
  5. Add the cooked onion and scallions to the spinach.
  6. Add eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, feta, and pine nuts to the spinach mixture.
  7. Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a table. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. Continue in this way until there are four sheets on top of each other. Use just enough breadcrumbs between layers so that the sheets don’t stick together.
  8. Cut the layered sheets of phyllo lengthwise: cut in thirds lengthwise for small strudels, cut in half lengthwise for large strudels.
  9. Place spinach filling on the end of the sheets: use 1/3 cup filling for small strudels, use 1/2 – 2/3 cup filling for large strudels.
  10. Roll the phyllo sheets diagonally to make a triangle. Then fold the triangle of phyllo back straight. Alternate diagonal and straight folds until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.
  11. Continue assembling layered phyllo sheets and folding over filling until all of the filling has been used.
  12. Place strudels on a sheet pan with the seam sides down.
  13. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 30-35 minutes until the phyllo is brown and crisp.
  14. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Frozen chopped spinach and frozen phyllo pastry dough can be defrosted in the microwave (using the preset defrost function), however this may cause the phyllo to become brittle and difficult to fold. For best results, we recommend thawing the spinach and phyllo in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to recipe preparation.
  • Fresh spinach (steamed and chopped) can be substituted for frozen spinach.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 5/5, these are amazing fresh from the oven and also delicious served cold the next day!

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/dinner-spanakopitas-recipe.html