Ajvar

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Ajar is a  delicious Balkan red pepper and eggplant spread. It’s really simple to make, too.  Vine Vukicevic, my Pilates coach, introduced me to ajvar.  She is from Bosnia and tells me that no house in the former Yugoslavia is ever without this tasty spread.  She always looked forward to arriving home after school and enjoying it as a snack, spread on bread and sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese. Once I learned to make ajar, it quickly became a popular appetizer at my house – I spread goat cheese over toast triangles or crackers and top them with a good dollop of this instant, positively ambrosial treat. 

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Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Cachupa)

Cape Verde is a collection of islands off the west coast of Africa, and cachupa is their national dish. There are many different versions, but most are based on some kind of pork or perhaps freshly caught fish, although vegetables may be substituted. Since Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony, this rendition contains chorizo. Because sausage is relatively pricy, the result is probably deserving of the description cachupa rica, which means it was prepared when the family was feeling prosperous.

 

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Original San Antonio Chili

If you are looking for the ground beef chili your mother made for Friday night dinner, this isn’t it. If instead you want to taste what amounts to a fabulous, highly spiced beef stew, then I highly recommend this chili. Leftovers reheat well.

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Parsnip Soup Shooters

How’s this for cold-weather hospitality? If you are entertaining on a chilly night, start the evening with a welcoming shooter of hot soup. I serve this parsnip soup in espresso or demi-tasse coffee cups before a glass of wine. It makes about 16 shooters.

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Spinach and Tomato Dal

 

Dal can be pungent or very tame, and it plays a significant role in Indian cuisine. This mildly spiced version makes a delicious main course over hot cooked rice; it can also be served as a side dish.

 

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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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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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