Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guyana

Guyana is a country in Northern South America between Suriname and Venezuela - one of the smaller ones on the top right corner on the map that people seem to have a hard time remembering.  It is slightly smaller than Idaho.  It has been both a Dutch and British colony.  Three quarters of the population are Afro-Guyanese or Indo-Guyanese.  A lot of indentured laborers came over from India and made a huge cultural and ethnic impact.  Read more in the CIA World Factbook.

This Indian influence explains the recipe that stood out to me when I was looking through lots of lists: Chicken Curry.  Yes, a curry recipe that claims to be authentically Guyanese.  This I had to try.

The recipe didn't specifically say you had to start with a full chicken, just "3 lb chicken cut up into small pieces."  I decided I had to do this, though.  Despite the fact I've done it a lot, I still don't enjoy it.  I was also highly disappointed at the yield.  I always read that it is more frugal to buy whole chickens, but this one had so little usable meat on it.  I may have to rethink future purchases.

How you entertain the youth - the pots and pans cabinet.
10.3 oz!
A little disheartening, but the show must go on.

I took "grind garlic, one onion, and pepper" to mean that I could puree them in a food processor.  This then gets fried in a pan with some spices.

Garam Masala is a delicious mixture of spices that I use a lot in an Indian recipe I plan on doing for Everyday International soon.  I used to have a version from a local spice shop, and that one was a bit spicier than this one.  This is a bit sweeter - more cardamom and cinnamon perhaps.
The rest from here is fairly straight forward.  Add the meat and some chopped potatoes and cook.  Then add water and more onion and cook some more.  Voila!  Or whatever they say in Guyana.  The official language is English, so "Yay?"

Okay, anyway, time to eat!

Amelia?
Emily?  I really need to start labeling these right after they happen.
The food was alright.  That's really all that sticks out in my mind to say.  For having curry powder and garam masala it didn't have a big flavor impact.  I think I would have preferred the slightly spicier garam masala to the sweet one.  Maybe that would have packed more of a punch.

And with that we have made it through the G's!  Let's stay in the same region for another adventure.  Just a little north for...

Next time: Haiti

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Everyday Italy: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Kevin and I went to Italy in 2009.  More about that when I actually get to Italy in my regular country cooking.  While we were there we had lots and lots of good food.  Amazing food.  One thing that I particularly remembered was Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Fast forward to our first Valentines Day as a married couple and I wanted to make something delicious.  I looked through my favorite cookbook and found a recipe one for that same Italian dish.  Boom.  Decision made.  It was really good and became a regular item on the menu. (Unfortunately the chocolate cake that Kevin made on that Valentine's Day got knocked off of the counter by the cat.)
I highly recommend this cookbook!
Before each recipe it has a long description of what the recipe is and how they came to this version.  They try a lot of different things and then taste test them all.  I kinda want that job.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is basically spaghetti noodles in a bacon, cheese, and egg sauce.  The process is really what I find cool.
First fry the bacon then cook it in some wine.  This version uses white, but apparently there is some debate as to what is the most authentic.
While cooking the noodles, mix the cheeses, eggs, and some garlic.  You don't cook this mixture at all.  Once the noodles are done, you mix this in as soon as they are drained.  The heat from the noodles cooks the egg enough to eat.
It is really really delicious.  I have always liked my noodles drenched in a red sauce, so this was a delightful and exciting change.

The first time I made it I found it difficult to get everything timed correctly, which is important in this recipe.  The noodles need to be hot at the right time!  It definitely gets easier over time and I have got the whole thing down to about 20 minutes now.  A nice yet fancy weeknight meal.  Totally doable international food.