Guatemalan cuisine is a mix of culinary traditions of the aborginal population that inhabited the land and of those of her later colonizers. This mix of Mayan and Spanish culinary traditions is reflective of cuisince of another country: Mexico. There are thus dishes with similar sounding names but different interpretations (like the enchilidas) as well as dishes with different names in the two cultures but that have a similar culinary composition. The Atolillo Guatemalteco or Guatemalan Atolillo is very similar to the Mexican Atole, a sweet drink that is consumed warm. While Mexican Atole is made with masa harina, the Atolillo Guatemalteco is made with rice milk. Requiring just a handful of ingredients that most would have in the pantry, the drink comes together very quickly (does require overnight soaking of the rice). A comforting drink with the warmth of cinnamon and vanilla and the taste of arroz con leche, the Atolillo Guatemalteco is perfect for a cold evening in Feburary. Details
Jollof rice is to West African cuisine what barbeque is to the Southern states of the United States of America. Much like the never-ending food wars over Texas barbeque versus Carolina or Kansas barbeque there is much spirited debate and light-hearted cooking wars over Ghanaian Jollof versus Nigerian Jollof versus Sierra Leonean. Jollof is quintessentially West African and a dish that is a great one pot meal of sorts: vegetables, grain, and protein all in one dish (“of sorts” as it definitely takes more than one pot to make but comes together as one dish!). Thus, Jollof seemed like the natural choice to feature for Sierra Leone. Details
Rice cooked with meat and vegetables is eaten all around the world. Pilaf, or rice cooked in broth, is believed to have originated in Persia around 500 BC. By the time it reached Africa, it had become a blend of rice, warm African spices with various meats mixed in. In Kenya it became Pilau, a rice and meat dish with a familiar spice blend. Details
Welcome to India. We’ve traveled there before. Flavors from exotic spices perfume every dish. Garlic, ginger and chiles add heat. If you love Indian food but are intimidated by long lists of ingredients and techniques, well, I’ve got your back. I’ve taken my inspiration for our recipes this month from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking” and “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.” Both of these books are devoted to recipes in the under 30 minutes or less category. You’ll need to purchase some spices (the bulk spice aisle is your friend here), but other than that most of the ingredients are commonly found. Details
I didn’t have to think too hard this month to decide which recipes that I wanted to share with you. Although I owned an Italian restaurant in Seattle for 25 years, my entire kitchen staff is from the state of Michoacán, Mexico, and the food of their country is the one that we have made over and over again for restaurant family meals and celebrations. As you may have guessed from the photo accompanying this post, what you are looking at is our end-of-the-shift family meal. These tried-and-true dishes are at the heart and soul of my repertoire. I hereby bring you “McElroy Family Favorites!” Details
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