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Middle Eastern Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

 

 

Depending upon the source you consult, this roasted red pepper and walnut dip is Armenian, Arabian, Turkish or Syrian in origin. In any case, it is healthful, delicious and a welcome addition to any mezes platter. I like to serve it with warm pita bread or cucumber slices. If you are not meat-averse, this dip can also be used as a sauce for kebabs.

 

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Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)

 

Nasi goreng is Indonesia’s national dish. At its simplest, it is cold leftover rice, seasoned with sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and whatever leftovers and spices the cook has on hand. Often it is topped with a fried egg and served for breakfast. Of course, it can be much more elaborate, depending on the circumstances under which it will be served. My version leans toward simplicity, making it a quick and easy weekday meal.

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Tagine of Chicken with Apricots

 

Tagine is the name for a type of earthenware vessel as well as the stew-like dishes that are cooked in it. They are popular throughout North Africa and differ among locales. This one is my own invention, but the addition of harissa gives it a Tunisian spin. I love the juxtaposition of hot and sweet flavors. It is easy enough to make for a weeknight meal, but with a tiny bit of dressing up, it is also perfect for guests

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salsa

Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Nam Prik Num)

 

This recipe hails from northern Thailand. It is a kind of all-purpose sauce: you can use it as a dip for rice crackers or raw vegetables, or as a topping for plain rice or noodles, or stir-fried vegetables. Depending on the chile you use, it can be a bit fiery—that’s to be expected, as it is Thai, after all.

 

Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Nam Prik Num)
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Ingredients
  1. Grill basket or baking sheet required
  2. Food processor required
  3. 5 hot banana peppers
  4. 2 shallots, peeled and quartered
  5. 8 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  6. 8 oz cherry tomatoes (about 11⁄2 cups/375 mL) 250 g
  7. 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro 30 mL
  8. 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 30 mL
  9. 1 tbsp fish sauce 15 mL
  10. Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat barbecue to high or preheat broiler
  2. 1. Place banana peppers, shallots and garlic in a grill basket on preheated barbecue or arrange on a baking sheet and place under preheated broiler. Grill or broil, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking, until shallots and garlic are blackened and pepper skin is blistered, about 8 minutes for garlic and shallots, and 10 minutes for peppers.
  3. 2. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with a plate and let cool enough to handle. Remove stems and lift off skins. Transfer peppers along with accumulated juices to food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  4. 3. Add shallots and garlic and pulse until chopped and well combined, 5 or 6 times. Add tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and pulse until chopped and well combined, about 5 times. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl and let stand at room temperature until the flavors are melded, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
  5. Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)
Notes
  1. Tips
  2. You want a relatively large and not-too-hot chile for this salsa—that is the best substitute for the prik num chile that would likely be used in this recipe
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/

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Chinese Hot-and-Sour Mushroom Soup

 

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In Chinese medicine, which is fundamentally based on the balancing principles of yin and yang, heating foods are those that warm the body, feeding it with energy. Balance, which includes establishing equilibrium among the five flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami), helps the body’s vital spirit, called qi, to flow freely and support excellent health. Need I say more? Hot, sour, salty, sweet and loaded with umami from the soy sauce and mushrooms, which are also known to strengthen the immune system, this soup has all the makings of a restorative tonic. And it tastes good, too!

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Chili with Black Beans and Grilled Chicken

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The addition of grilled chicken adds a flavorful and festive note to this simple chili. I like to use leftover chicken alla diavola (marinated in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and chile peppers), which we often make on the barbecue. It adds pleasant hints of citrus and hot pepper to the mix, but if you’re opting for convenience, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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Paella

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My paella is not traditionally Spanish. It is more like a Portuguese dish in the sense that it combines seafood and meat. But I’ve been making it for years and it is a family favorite—one that, I might add, I often serve to guests. Served with crusty bread, a simple green salad and some good white wine, it makes a perfect Friday night dinner with friends.

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Mexican-Style Tomato Juice (Sangrita)

Whip up this Mexican-inspired spicy tomato-citrus juice during the dog days of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and in season. It’s a delicious nonalcoholic refreshment, but if you want to liven up the experience, add a dash of vodka or (as they often do in Mexico) a splash of tequila.

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Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

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If you have the ingredients on hand, this tasty dip can be ready to serve in about 5 minutes. Serve it with crudités, crackers or pumpernickel rounds for an elegant appetizer at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

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