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Food & Drink

    Food & Drink  --  Inspire

    Fun and Delicious Ways to Cook Fish

    Cooking at Home with Fresh and Sustainable Fish

    It’s been a summer of a lot of fish for us and I am now feeling much more confident in the kitchen as I have learned fun and delicious ways to cook fish. My membership to the monthly Wild Caught Alaska Seafood delivery service has certainly helped with that. Having this beautiful fish ready in my freezer is convenient, healthy, sustainable and most of all delicious.

    Today is the third and final blog featuring fun and delicious ways to cook fish, recipes I have either created on my own or taught myself from recipes I have found over the summer. I offer you a little bit of everything here today, from Thai inspired Cod to Ceviche from Peru and Walnut encrusted Halibut. Get cooking my friends! I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these delicious recipes.

    Salmon Salad on Croissant

    How to cook fish
    Delicious salmon salad

    Whenever I cook a whole or half a salmon fillet, this recipe is one of our favorites to use for the leftovers. Although honestly we rarely have any leftovers. But we enjoy this salmon salad on croissants for lunch, hiking or even for dinner on a warm summer night.

    6-10 oz cooked salmon, flake and bones removed

    1/4 cup of capers

    1/4 cup diced celery

    1/4 cup chopped green onions

    1 T dry dill

    1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise mixed with some of the juice from the jar of capers

    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Mix together and let refrigerate for a few hours before enjoying as a sandwhich.

    Thai Cod in Coconut Broth

    One of our favorite recipes for cod or white fish. Check out our YouTube video here on how to make this delicious meal. BTW we post a YouTube video EVERY TUESDAY for Tasty Tuesday. We sure would love for you to follow us on YouTube.

    Crunchy Rockfish Tacos

    How to cook fish
    Rockfish in the skillet for crunch fish tacos

    I wasn’t familiar with rockfish when I first received it from Alaska, but I have found it to be a pretty versatile, somewhat nondescript fish that is perfect for breading and frying. It makes good fish and chips and crispy fish tacos. Here’s how I did that.

    10- oz rockfish, thawed and dried with a paper towel

    Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup panko, 1 T cumin, 1/2 t red chili powder or flakes and salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the dry mixture.

    Cook in air fryer about 6 min first side, turn over for 3 more minutes. Or fry in cast iron skillet in vegetable oil, set on paper towel to drain a minute before serving.

    Salmon in Lemon Basil Sauce

    How to cook fish
    Salmon with lemon basil sauce

    Easy but elegant.

    2 6 oz salmon fillets drizzled with olive oil and the salt and pepper. Let sit for a few minutes.

    In food processor or blender mix together;

    1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 T fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until mixed. Pour in small saucepan and bring up to medium heat.

    Meanwhile cook salmon about four minutes per side in skillet. Place on plate and pour warm basil lemon sauce over.

    Ceviche

    One of my favorite foods from around the world is ceviche; it is so very easy to make, and healthy too. Here is how we did this on our YouTube channel for Tasty Tuesday.

    Walnut Crusted Halibut

    How to cook fish
    Halibut with walnut crust and shallot lemon sauce

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and I changed it up a bit and made it for two people. Oh my did it turn out lovely. This is something you could easily serve to guests.

    2 6 oz halibut fillets; salt and pepper them and let them air dry for a few minutes

    Combine 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Add 1 T melted butter, 1 T stone ground mustard, 1 T dry dill, 1 t lemon zest.

    Place the halibut on greased baking sheet and cover with walnut mixture, pressing into the fish to get it secured. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and then back in preheated 425 oven for 10-15 minutes.

    Meanwhile in small sauce pan heat 1 t olive oil, 1 T chopped shallots, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T butter and 1 t dry dill (or fresh).

    Pour sauce over fish for serving or serve on the side.

    What does F.I.S.H stand for?

    Well, ” fish is so healthy” of course! Especially when you are buying, cooking and serving wild caught sustainable fish. I have learned a lot about how to prepare fish these past few months and I now am confident in my kitchen when it comes to delicious and healthy fish meals.

    I hope you too will try some of our favorites here, and learn fun and delicious ways to cook fish. Be sure to check out our Salmon Recipe Blog and our White Fish Recipe Blog from earlier this summer. Enjoy!!

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

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    At Home  --  Food & Drink

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish Recipes

    Our summer of healthy eating continues and we have been swimming in delicious wild caught fish from Alaska, thanks to our monthly membership with Wild Alaskan Company. And today I am sharing with a few of my favorite wild caught Alaska white fish recipes

    Wild Alaskan Seafood

    Hopefully you saw my blog from a couple weeks ago, ranting about the amazing wild caught Alaska salmon we have been enjoying. Check out the salmon recipes I shared in the link.

    Meanwhile, salmon isn’t the only fish in the sea, and in fact I often prefer a firm white fish when in a restaurant or cooking at home. I am a big fan of halibut, and we order cod in restaurants around the world. Cod has many different names depending where you are including haddock, plaice, scrod, pollock and Gadus. Gadus is the actual name of the genus of this fish.

    Recently I discovered that one of my favorite fish, Black Cod, is not cod at all. Black Cod is actually Sable Fish, sometimes called Butterfish.

    Confused? Well rest assured these fish, no matter what they are called, can all be delicious as long as you are buying and serving wild caught and not farmed. There is also a difference in taste between Atlantic Cod and Pacific Cod (in my opinion), another reason I am such a fan of fish from Alaska.

    Get Your $15 Off Today and Free Recipes Too

    As I have enjoyed my monthly delivery from Wild Alaskan Company I have been experimenting with white fish and have five wild caught Alaska white fish recipes to share with you today. I continue my experimenting in my kitchen, so I hope to have more recipes (both white fish and salmon) in the months ahead.

    Meanwhile, Wild Alaskan Company has given me an affiliate relationship, which means, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and become a member AND you will receive $15 off your first order. Go ahead. Click and start enjoying this healthy option delivered direct to your door.

    And then start cooking with the wild caught Alaska white fish recipe’s below.

    Air Fryer Cod

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Air Fryer Cod

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz Cod fillets

    Two Tablespoons Panko, mixed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of red chili flakes

    After thawing your cod fillets dry them really well with a paper towell and then let them sit out and air dry a bit more. Mix your breading ingredients together and toss the fillets in the panko mix. Preheat your air fryer for about 5 minutes to 375 degrees. Place your fillets in your air fryer basket and cook for ten minutes, turn over and cook another 6-8 minutes until done.

    Easy, healthy, delicious.

    Cod Tacos

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Fish Tacos

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz Cod fillets

    I used Air Fryer Cod (above) for our tacos, but you could also fry the breaded cod fillets in oil on the stove top until crispy.

    Break the cod apart and make street taco size tacos using four inch round flour or corn tortillas. Offer homemade coleslaw, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese and salsa for a make your own taco feast.

    Butter Cod or Halibut

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Butter Cod

    Serves Two

    You can use either halibut or cod for this recipe. Thaw two 6 oz pieces of your choice

    In cast iron skillet (or other skillet that is ovenproof), brown 4 oz of butter. Place fillets in butter and fry two minutes on each side. Remove from heat and spoon brown butter over fillets, then add juice of one lemon.

    Put in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes to finish. Spoon sauce over fish once during cooking.

    Baked or BBQ Orange Halibut

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Orange Halibut

    Servess Two

    Two 6oz Halibut Fillets

    2 Tablespoons butter

    Zest of one orange

    1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

    Place Halibut on foil. Smear one tablespoon of butter on each fillet. Sprinkle orange zest on each fillet. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Place on cookie sheet for oven (375 preheated) or roll-up side of foil for BBQ leaving top open. Pour half cup of OJ over fillets. Bake or BBQ till flaky.

    Miso Glazed Sable Fish

    Wild Caught Alaska White Fish
    Miso Glazed Sable Fish

    This is possibly my favorite recipe of all time. I had a dish similar to this in a restaurant years ago, and it took me a long time to find a recipe that works. This one definitely works. Sable Fish is da bomb.

    Serves 6

    Six Sable Fish fillets thawed

    Marinade: 1/3 cup white miso (usually in the refridgerated specialty foods section of your market)

    1/3 sake

    1/3 rice vinegar

    1/4 cup brown sugar

    Heat the marinade ingredients on the stove top until sugar melts, about five minutes. Let cool. Hold out about a half cup of marinade and pour the rest into a gallon size freezer bag and add your fish fillets. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours turning bag occasionally.

    Grease a cookie sheet really well and place your fillets on the cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake fish for about 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and finish the fish under the broiler another 2-3 minutes. Watch it closely.

    Meanwhile in microwave reheat the marinade you held aside.

    To serve the Sable Fish place a little bit of the marinade on top, sprinkle with fresh, chopped green onions.

    Delicious and beautiful served with black rice and stir fried bok choy.

    Chinese Halibut with Noodles

    This is a recipe I created based on a dish I had when I was in China. I don’t think the fish I was eating in China was Halibut, but I enjoyed the dish so much I came home and came up with this recipe. Chinese Halibut with Noodles was presented on my YouTube channel as part of our weekly Tasty Tuesday series. See it here. We invite you to follow us on YouTube.

    Get Cooking

    As you can see there are so many ways to cook delicious wild caught Alaska white fish recipes at home…don’t be afraid! Give it a try and start enjoying healthy, delicious, easy wild caught Alaska seafood this summer. I’d love to hear from you if you try any of my recipes. I promise one more blog in a few weeks with more great recipes. Meanwhile, get cooking!

    Be safe my friends.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog.

    See our blog with recipes for Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon here.

    See this week’s best performing pin here.

    Adventure Travel  --  Food & Drink

    Tasty Tuesday Travel Tour

    Touring the World Through Food Every Week

    Chinese Halibut

    What is a Tasty Tuesday Travel Tour? If you love travel like I do, you are probably feeling a little tense right now. When can we go? Where will be able to go? And when? And where? AND WHEN?

    Okay, take a deep breath. We all need to stay safe. I’m doing a few “staycations” around my region, and trying to be patient and wait.

    One thing I have started as a way to help me get through this lull in travel is my new series on YouTube called Tasty Tuesday. Each week I’m presenting a new and delicious dish I’ve learned to make on my travels. You can join me every Tuesday and travel around the world with me through food. It’s a Tasty Tuesday Travel Tour! And it’s free!

    Follow me on YouTube and let’s travel through our taste buds!!! Here is a link to this week’s TASTY TUESDAY.

    Thanks for all your love and support. Be safe my friends and enjoy TASTY TUESDAY TRAVEL TOUR!!

    See all the previous Tasty Tuesday’s here.

    Watch for a blog next Friday all about Wild Caught Alaskan White Fish. See our previous blog about Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon here.

    We love it when you share our blog!

    Eat Around the World
    Tasty Tuesday

    The link below is an affiliate link meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    https://wildalaskancompany.com/?discount=15off&avad=270677_a1bfe852d

    At Home  --  Food & Drink

    Wild Caught Alaska Salmon

    Fresh, Delicious and Delivered Right to Your Door! Salmon Recipes Included.

    Location: Washington State USA

    Back in the day…

    I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Back in the day, salmon was cheap, local, abundant and taken for granted.  Today, salmon is not as abundant in the waters of the Puget Sound.  In fact, growing up with fresh salmon, oysters, clams, Dungeness crab and many other stars of the sea right in my backyard, I know now, we took it all for granted. This is how I have falling in love with wild caught Alaska salmon.

    Fast forward forty years and as I travel around the world in my nomad life (currently on pause due to that inconvenient little virus), from Malaysia to Spain, I’ve run across some truly remarkable, unique and delicious fish I was never familiar with before.  And I’ve also learned that most people around the world are eating farm raised salmon…that disgusting excuse of a fish.  It’s why I never order salmon in a restaurant anymore unless it says wild caught Alaska salmon. 

    salmom
    It’s like Christmas in July!

    Back home in Washington State I don’t buy fish in my grocery store much either, because it is either Atlantic farm raised or thawed from previously frozen – and I’m unclear of how long ago that might have been.   Did you know approximately 91% of the seafood that the United States consumes is imported from overseas? A significant portion of that fish is un-sustainably farmed. It is harmful to the environment and unhealthy for humans. Gross.  

    There used to be a woman in my hometown of Gig Harbor who had a small business selling wild Alaska salmon her husband caught in the summer.  But she is no longer operating which led me to go searching for other options.

    And boom.  There it is.  I discovered the Wild Alaskan Company.  Best Google search ever!

    Wild Alaskan Company

    What a great story this company has.  A family run, sustainably fished, environmentally conscious business with an amazing product you can have delivered right to your door.  What you say?  No joke.  And, the customer service is remarkable.

    Wild Alaskan Company
    So much yummy goodness in my box

    I’ve been a member now for two months and we are eating so healthy having this beautiful fish in my freezer.  Wild Alaskan offers monthly membership (cancel anytime), with door to door delivery of your choice of a box of salmon, or white fish, or mixed.  I am currently enjoying the mixed which includes coho, sockeye, cod and halibut.  I did a special order too of sable fish (often called Black Cod).  Wild Alaskan salmon is always frozen soon after it’s caught to lock in that fresh taste.  You want it frozen – that’s what makes it taste fresh. Seems weird but it works.

    Wild Alaskan has given me an affiliate relationship, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and join the fish club.  AND if you use this link you will get $15 off your first order! So please check out the recipes I am providing to you below and place your order for your first box, and get cooking and enjoying unique and sustainable wild caught Alaskan fish – the best in all the world.

    Watch for a blog in a couple weeks all about recipes for white fish. Meanwhile enjoy these;

    Simply Salmon

    Simply salmon
    Simply Salmon ready for the BBQ
    simply salmon
    Simply Salmon on top of a delicious salad

    Frankly when the fish is this fresh, it really doesn’t need much done to it, and that is why Simply Salmon is one of my favorite preparations, especially in the summer.  Easy and delicious  

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz Fillets Wild Alaskan Salmon thawed and placed on foil

    Smear one teaspoon of butter on each

    Squeeze juice of one lemon over all

    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Wrap salmon up in the foil leaving a vent at the top and place on hot BBQ for about five – seven minutes, test it for doneness it may need a few more minutes but be sure not to overcook.

    Enjoy.

    Smothered Salmon

    Salmon recipes
    Smothered salmon going into the oven
    Baked salmon
    Smothered salmon over a bed of barley salad with warm vinegaret

    This recipe works both for the BBQ or the oven and we have served this both summer and winter.

    Serves Two

    Two 6 oz fillets Wild Alaskan Salmon thawed

    Place salmon skin side down on a foil covered cookie sheet if using the oven, or on a large enough piece of foil to put on the BBQ

    In a separate bowl mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of coarse ground dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

    Smear each piece of salmon with mixture and bake at 350 degrees or BBQ until done.

    Squeeze of lemon before serving

    Salmon Lox

    salmon lox
    Salmon Lox with weights ready to go in the fridge
    Salmon Lox
    My favorite breakfast, lox and bagles with fresh made lox

    One of my favorite breakfasts in the world is lox and bagels with cream cheese, until recently when I learned that much of the lox I have been eating is farm raised.  So I made up this recipe for my own.

    Two 6 oz fillets Wild Alaskan Salmon thawed

    Set the salmon on your cutting board and let air-dry for about 20 minutes.  Then pour one teaspoon of good gin over each fillet.  Let sit for another ten minutes.

    Meanwhile in small bowl mix 1.5 tablespoons sugar

    1 tablespoon kosher salt

    1-2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper, preferably a mix of black, white and red peppercorns (I use my mortar and pestle for this)

    1/3 cup fresh chopped dill fronds

    Place one salmon fillet skin side down on large piece of cellophane.  Top with sugar mixture.  Place second piece of salmon on top of it – skin side up – to make a salmon sandwich.  Wrap tightly in cellophane, use another piece of cellophane if necessary to seal it.

    Place the salmon in a shallow dish such as a pie plate then top with another dish big enough to hold several cans of beans or tomatoes or whatever you have.   These will serve as a weight.  Place in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, turning once or twice a day and draining the liquid that collects in the dish.

    Slice then and Eat!

    Salmon Pie

    salmon pie
    Beautiful and cheesy salmon pie
    salmon pie for dinner
    Salmon Pie is delicious both hot or cold

    Well, having salmon leftovers is really unusual, but if you find yourself in such a situation, this is an old family recipe from my husband’s side of the family.  It was one of my kid’s favorite things when they were growing up.  

    Serves Four

    In the bottom of a deep dish nine inch pie shell layer one cup of cheddar cheese.  Take about 2 cups of cooked salmon broken into pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Layer the mixture on top of the cheddar cheese.

    Chop one bunch of green onions including tops and sauté in two tablespoons of butter.  To this mixture and on medium heat add one can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon dry dill and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper.  Cook until combined and bubbly.  Remove from heat and stir in two eggs.  Pour mixture over the top of the salmon and cheese in the pie shell.  Place the pie on a cookie sheet then bake for 30 min in a 325 degree oven.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Good both hot or cold.

    Smoked Salmon

    As part of my weekly TASTY TUESDAY on YouTube, our final recipe is a video, with instructions on how simple and delicious it can be to smoke your own Alaska salmon.  You only need salmon, water, salt and brown sugar to create a delicious smoked salmon.

    And there you go – my top five salmon preparations, each one made better with wild caught Alaska salmon.  I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these recipes!  And watch for more great fish recipes coming your way soon.

    Healthy, delicious and fun.  Use this link and save with Wild Alaskan Company. What could be better?

    We love it when you pin and share our blog.  Thank you!

    See this week’s best performing pin here.

    Europe Travel  --  Food & Drink

    The Cyprus Test Kitchen

    Cooking the Local Cuisine

    Location: Cyprus

    We spent seven weeks on the island of Cyprus – 37 days longer than we thought we would be here. During that time we were basically under house arrest so there was very little sight-seeing. Fortunately we are allowed to go out to the grocery store (with advanced permission) and the stores were bursting with wonderful fresh produce; avocados, citrus of every kind, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, pomegranates, lots of greens and potatoes and cucumbers. Just about anything you can think of to use in my Cyprus test kitchen.

    Fresh produce in Cyprus
    Beautiful and abundant produce

    Introduction

    I’m very grateful that one of the first things we did on arriving in Cyprus in early March, (before all hell broke loose and quarantines and lock downs became the norm), was take a cooking class. By doing so during our first few days, I was introduced to the incredible cuisine of Cyprus; a little Greek, a little Turkish and a bit reminiscent of Eastern Europe. The cuisine is hearty with pork, beef, lamb as well as middle eastern spices and lots of beans, rice and local produce. There is also seafood, although we unfortunately did not experience it.

    Cyprus coffee
    Delicious Cypriot Coffee cooked in Sand

    Since the island was on lockdown during our visit, we were unable to go out and taste the cuisine at the hundreds of restaurants and tavernas dotting the island landscape. So I decided to use all that time I had on my hands to bring the cuisine to us, creating a personal Cyprus test kitchen. I did a similar thing when we spent three weeks on the island of Antiparos a few years ago. We were there in the off-season and almost everything was closed. So I taught myself to cook Greek (see it here). And that was my attitude and goal here in Cyprus. It’s been one of my favorite boredom-buster-in-lockdown activities.

    Taste of Cyprus

    Before the lockdown began, during our first few days on the island, we signed up for a full-day tour with Cyprus Taste Tours, a local tour company and we were so blessed to meet Liza (Lee-zah) a Cypriot who loves food and loves introducing it to visitors. Our day included a beautiful drive through the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus, a visit to the Vouni Panayia Winery and a visit to the Loukoumia Geroskipou candy making factory. We also made a brief stop at the Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery to learn a bit about the ancient ways of making wine.

    Cypriot Cooking
    Beautiful fresh bread right out of the outdoor oven

    But the best part of the day was the four hours we spent at Mrs. Sofia’s Traditional House learning and eating several of Cyprus’ most traditional foods. She has a perfect Cyprus test kitchen and I was infatuated.

    Cooking with Mrs. Sofia

    As you know, I love taking cooking classes in every country we visit, and it’s always my favorite when I am cooking in a local home with a local family. That’s what happened at Sofia’s Traditional House.

    We were at the family home of Sofia and Andreas, the home Sofia grew up in. The original part of the home has been preserved in a way that guests can see how a traditional Cypriot home was in the past. Sofia and Andreas have added a cooking kitchen on to create a space for classes (only through Cyprus Taste Tours) as well as serving meals to tour groups that come through.

    Our Cyprus Feast
    Spectacular

    We learned so many things during our time with Sofia. First she pulled fresh bread out of the outdoor oven and fresh halloumi out of the outdoor cheese maker. Wow. Delicious.

    Next we watched the interesting process of making traditional Cypriot Coffee in a special machine where the coffee cooks in hot sand. Amazing.

    Then we began to prepare the ingredients for our feast.

    Six Famous Cypriot Dishes

    During our time with Mrs. Sofia we learned to make the following dishes;

    Halloumi Cheese – famous cheese of Cyprus is fantastic eat fresh, boiled or grilled. Squeeky texture with a very high melting point give it an unusual variety of cooking and eating options.

    Cyprus Food
    Koupepia

    Koupepia – stuffed grape leaves, very similar to Greek Dolmades, the Cypriot version is filled with rice, pork, tomato and parsley and simmered in a tomato broth.

    Cyprus Cuisine
    Preparing the meatballs with Mrs. Sofia

    Keftedes – a word that means meatballs and can refer to many kinds but the most popular are a minced pork, grated potato, onion and parsely with a hint of cinnamon.

    Pligouri – which is a pilaf of bulgur wheat. Bulgur wheat is what you might know in tabouleh. Pligouri is considered a poor man’s food, but is delicious, quick and easy to make.

    Cyprus Food
    Anari Cheese with Spoon Sweets

    Spoon Sweets and Anari Cheese – Anari Cheese is the fluffy white byproduct of halloumi cheese made by adding fresh raw milk to the whey after the halloumi curds have been separated. Spoon Sweets are spoon size bites of usually fruit but sometimes vegetables, usually the rind preserved in a sweet syrup.

    Things I Tackled at Home

    After going in to quarantine then followed by lockdown, I realized I wasn’t going to be eating in any local restaurants. So I set out to teach myself in my own Cyprus test kitchen, how to make several more of Cyprus’ most famous dishes. Here is everything I tackled during our weeks of solitude with recipe links when possible;

    Cyprus Cuisine
    Sheftalia

    Sheftalia – a type of sausage without skin its held together with caul fat. Very popular taverna meze. I was able to buy the Sheftalia already prepared at the butcher and grilled it up at home.

    Kolokouthkia me ta afka – is a traditional scrambled egg and zuchinni dish often eaten as a mezze.

    Cyprus Food
    Kolokouthkia (scrambled eggs and zuchinni) and fried Halloumi

    Fried Halloumi – this cheese is really amazing, with a very high melting point so it’s perfect for frying…but I also love it’s dense saltiness just to pop in my mouth.

    Macaronia Tou Fournou (similar to Greek Pastitsio ) this deep dish casserole was delicious and I plan to make it again. Layers of macaroni pasta, boullanaise sauce, bechamel sauce and grated halloumi it was comfort food at its finest.

    Cyprus Cuisine
    Macaronia Tou Fournou

    Melitzanosalata – smashed eggplant cooked and mixed with garlic, lemon and parsley and usually served as a mezze.

    Avgolemoni Soup – Lemon and Egg Soup. Simple and absolutely delicious. What a refreshing surprise this treat was. I will certainly make it again.

    Cyprus Cuisine
    Avgolemoni Soup

    Lamb Chops – for our first Easter dinner we had lamb chops fresh from the butcher, marinated simply in olive oil, lemon and rosemary.

    Kleftiko – Lamb Shank. This is the most famous dish on this island, and I wasn’t sure about tackling it. Usually cooked in a traditional outdoor oven for hours and hours, I took my chances cooking it in the oven in my kitchen. This was our Easter dinner on the Cypriot Easter Sunday and it was amazing.

    Cyprus Food
    Kleftiko

    Souvlaki – I’ve eaten souvlaki in Greece and the USA and I love it but I wasn’t sure about making it myself. But on one of our final days in Cyprus I went to the butcher and bought beautiful piece of pork tenderloin and made the most mouth-watering meal! We had a lot of meat left and we enjoyed it again on day two.

    Souvlaki
    Souvlaki in Pita

    Fresh Lemonade – we were up to our ears in both lemons and oranges and we loved having fresh squeezed OJ each morning. We put our fresh lemonade skills to the test and what a refreshing afternoon pick me up.

    Cyprus Lemonade
    Fresh Lemonade using the lemons in our yard

    In addition we learned to make Cypriot coffee in our Cyprus test kitchen, just like Turkish coffee, dark and strong.

    Things We Ate Elsewhere

    Our lovely Airbnb host kept us in delicious baked goods, including one of Cyprus’ most famous desert flat breads called kattimerka, very much like lefse. She brought us a local molded pudding (cake) made from semolina flour called Halva as well as orange cake. And she also made us our favorite, the traditional Easter bread called Flaounes.

    Cyprus foods
    Easter bread known as Flaounes

    We bought Galaktoboureko at the local bakery, a very dense custard, phyllo, and honey pie.

    Cyprus sweets
    Galaktoboureko

    From the grocery store we enjoyed excellent local olives and olive oil as well as wonderful wines from Cyprus including Commanderia, the Cypriot favorite. As well as Tahini, Hummus and Tzatziki.

    Cyprus food
    Halva Pudding

    At the local butcher we sampled the traditional Tsamarella, a sausage made from lamb or goat and served like an appetizer with cheese and bread.

    Things I Didn’t Have

    We missed out on one famous Cypriot speciality, a slow clay pot cooked meal called Ttavas. We also didn’t get to experience the cultural traditon of mezze meals, either a meat mezze or seafood mezze at a traditional taverna. This is the most popular way to eat in company, sampling dozens of small dishes while drinking and enjoying each other’s company. So sorry we never got to do that.

    Cyprus will always hold a special place in my heart…what a remarkable place to be in lockdown. Even though we missed so much, I still feel a great emotion to the people and the place…perhaps we can return when times are better.

    I am so grateful to this country for the love they showed us. EUCARISTW POLU. Thank you very much. You will never know how much it has meant to us.

    Adio is. Farewell.

    Check out this week’s top performing pin here.

    Cyprus Test Kitchen
    Cyprus Test Kitchen
    Food & Drink  --  Inspire

    My Favorite Coffee Around the World

    Stop and Smell the Coffee

    Location: Around the World

    Lucky am I that I have tasted coffee all over the world, in fact, in 110 countries. Wow that is a lot of countries and a lot of coffee. I do love coffee and although there has been many countries where the coffee was downright lousy or non-existent, luckily there have been many countries where it was delicious and abundant.

    Enjoying Cyprus coffee

    Cyprus

    We are currently hunkered down on the island of Cyprus, where coffee rules. Cypriot coffee is much like the coffee of Turkey or Greece, and is usually made in a Cezva, a metal cooker with a long handle and a pouring lip. The coffee in Cyprus is arabica coffee and is ground so fine it is almost like a powder. Traditionally cooked in sand over an open fire, many traditional houses will still make the coffee in a machine that uses sand very hot, then place the Cezva into the sand and bring the coffee to boil twice.

    I had never seen coffee made in this manner and it was something fun and new to see.

    Brewing over the hot sand

    Cyprus is another of a long list of countries who know how to make good coffee, even though they don’t grow their own beans. Many countries with the best coffee don’t grow beans. It’s all in the way it’s prepared.

    So I thought today I would share with you all my favorite coffee around the world, in addition to Cyprus. Some of the worlds best and most delicious. Whatever you call it; java, joe, mud, cuppa, brew, cafe, octane, rocket fuel or juice – here is my favorite coffee around the world.

    Coffee in France
    Espresso in France 2007

    France

    I visited France in 2007 and despite the Starbucks phenom in the USA, France was the place I had my first and most memorable cup of real good espresso. And I didn’t have just one. I drank so many cups of espresso during my ten day visit to Paris and northern France. I learned how much I love a deep, dark rich cup and I have loved it ever since.

    Italian coffee
    My husband enjoying coffee in Italy

    Italy

    Most people think of espresso as Italian, and certainly they are credited with the invention of the espresso machine. I loved this amazing coffee here as well, and was a bit confused by the social etiquette surrounding your morning coffee. Most baristas were kind and assisted this silly American.

    Ethiopian coffee
    Ethiopian woman preparing the coffee

    Ethiopia

    My 2008 trip to Ethiopia remains one of the highlights of my travel life, and learning the complicated process the Ethiopia Coffee ceremony encompasses is one of the most interesting things I have ever seen. Ethiopians strongly claim their country as the birthplace of coffee, and they take the ceremony of coffee very seriously. You can’t be in a hurry for your morning cuppa here…but it is very much worth the wait.

    Zanzibar Coffee

    Zanzibar

    The beautiful island country of Zanzibar (actually a self-governing island of Tanzania) has many coffee plantations as well as beautiful and interesting spice plantations. On a tour of one of these plantations we learned a lot about the coffee culture of Zanzibar and enjoyed drinking the rich dark brew at Zanzibar Coffee next to our hotel.

    Moroccan Coffee
    Coffee at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca

    Morocco

    There are so many things I love about Morocco, including the food, and the coffee is high up on that list of favorite things. We drank it in all parts of the country and it was rich and delicious no matter where we were. Moroccans could be found drinking it morning and night, but for me I had to stick to the morning, or I would have been awake all night long.

    Greek Coffee
    Coffee in Greece

    Greece

    Another country that really knows how to do coffee is Greece. Like other European countries coffee often comes with a “biscuit” for dipping, and a cup of beautiful dark coffee in the afternoon was my favorite mid-day treat.

    Breakfast in Qatar

    Qatar

    This photo does not do justice to the coffee we had in Qatar. We transited through Qatar and spent only one night, and enjoyed on the morning of our departure what I can say is hands down the best breakfast I have ever eaten…including a pot of delicious brewed dark coffee.

    Vietnam Coffee
    Almost always served in a glass cup in Vietnam

    Vietnam

    We spent a month in Vietnam and really grew to love the coffee there. Often served with sweet milk, but you could order it without, the local coffee was almost always served in a clear glass cup without a handle.

    Guatemalan Coffee
    Coffee in Guatemala

    Guatemala

    When we returned home after our month in Guatemala we brought with us six pounds of coffee…now one of my favorite coffee around the world. The production of coffee is big in many Central American countries, but of all the countries we visited we liked Guatemalan coffee the best.

    Vietnam Coffee
    A special latte made to look like me in Vietnam

    So there you have it, my favorite coffee around the world. I can’t wait to continue my coffee culture research when we can start traveling again and continue our ’round the world travel. Coffee makes me happy!

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    Africa Travel  --  Food & Drink

    Exploring the Flavors of Mauritius

    A Melting Pot of Cuisines

    Location: Mauritius Island, Indian Ocean

    Culture Clash

    The flavors of Mauritius come from cuisines far and wide. The Island of Mauritius was uninhabited by humans until the arrival of Arabs in the 12th century. Then the Portuguese and Dutch dropped by and eventually the French and British colonized the island. The Dutch used the island as a stopover port between Madagascar and India and later for harvesting the ebony tree. Slaves were brought from Madagascar to assist in that pursuit.

    Sugarcane occupies 36% of the islands total area

    The French brought more slaves from the African continent in the 1700’s. Those slaves brought with them much of the African cultural foods and spices attributed to the flavors of Mauritius on the island today. French is still the main language of the island.

    Tea for every ailment

    The British claimed the island in 1810 and slavery was abolished in 1835. To maintain the growing sugar cane industry the British secured indentured servants from China and Malaysia and eventually a large number from India. Much of the island today feels more Indian than African and Hinduism is the largest religion.

    Salt from the island

    Today sugarcane remains the top crop of the island. Tea was once a major crop, but has declined over the years, but still is grown. Salt flats also once prolific have dwindled. Most grains are imported and many vegetables come from South Africa.

    Tea tasting and Tea plantation tours are popular activity for visitors

    African Influence

    Today exploring the cultural foods of Mauritius is a colorful collection of the history of slavery, indenture and colonialism. Creole cuisine traces its history directly to those brought from the African nations to work the sugar cane.

    Fish Curry made in our cooking class

    While visiting Mauritius we enjoyed a wide variety of Creole foods, both traditional and Nuevo. Creole is a common cuisine enjoyed on the island and we ate it in several locations as well as took an intensive Creole Cooking Class from a local chef (Diary of a Foodie Lover) who helped us explore the flavors of Mauritius. In our class we learned to make a fish curry, octopus salad, and my favorite, the flat bread known as farata.

    Making farata from scratch with Chef Didier

    Other Creole items we have enjoyed include rougaille – a spicy tomato based stew with chicken or fish – as well as Gaiteau another spicy fried ball made from lentils or chickpeas that you eat almost like popcorn, and hearts of palm salad – one of the most popular dishes on the island. The key to Creole cooking is the spices, very reminiscent of Africa. Many families and chefs create their own secret mixture, with the most popular additions being turmeric, coriander, curry, garlic, ginger, mustard seed, star anise, cloves, cardamom and thyme.

    Piment Crazer

    A spicy condiment called piment crazer is served along side bread in most restaurants. Watch out! Holy cow it is spicy. Made with chilies garlic and lemon it will make your eyes water!

    Smoked marlin salad with hearts of palm

    Prawns and fish are popular, of course, since this is an island. Marlin, not normally something you see on a menu, is favored smoked. You can find smoked marlin salads and sandwiches. Chicken is prolific. Although roti is traditionally an Indian bread, the use of roti as a wrapper for curry in the Creole style is common. Roti stands are abundant along the street and often have a very long line. It’s eaten for all three daily meals.

    Tandori Chicken with fried yams

    If you come to Mauritius we recommend a cooking class with Chef Didier and Mauritian Creole dinner at Creole Shack (casual) and Le Chamarel (fancy). Want to try fish curry at home? Here is a recipe.

    Asian Influence

    The term “coolie” was used in reference to those indentured servants who came from Asian countries, and although smaller in number their impact on the cuisine is still evident. The Asian immigrants are responsible for making rice a major part of every meal in Mauritius even though rice is not grown on the island.

    While visiting we had Chinois food several times. Similar to Chinese and Malaysian dishes we have eaten around the world, except the rice is Basmati. Every rice dish we were served while on the island was Basmati. No Chinese sticky rice like what we are used to. Basmati is a key ingredient in the flavors of Mauritius.

    Street vendor serving boulettes

    As in all Asian cuisines, vegetables, rice and noodles play a big role, with protein more of a garnish. On our street food walking tour with Taste Buddies in the capital city of Port Louis we loved the boulettes, a French word for a Chinese dumpling served throughout the island by street vendors.

    Boulettes in broth

    BBQ pork is also a popular dish – glazed with a cherry-honey mixture, the pork is served with fruit and not the spicy mustard we are used to from the USA.

    BBQ Pork with fruit

    And finally a very popular Chinese dish on the island is called Magic Noodles. It is a layered dish made in a bowl with a fried egg on the bottom, noodles and veg and then turned out onto the plate so the egg is on top. Very popular and very local.

    Magic upside down noodles

    If you come to Mauritius be sure to explore China Town in the capital city of Port Louis. Want to try Boulettes at home? Here is a recipe.

    Indian Influence

    Indo-Mauritians (both Muslim and Hindu) have had a major impact on the island economically, politically, culturally, and certainly in the cuisine. Today’s Indo-Mauritians trace their ancestry to the indentured servants who arrived during the colonial era. Hinduism is the largest religion on the island, and much of the population originates from the Tamil region in South India.

    We found Indian inspired foods everywhere, with some of our favorite flavors of Mauritius coming from street food vendors who prepare delicious roti (flat bread) stuffed with everything from vegetables to octopus, and samosa stuffed with potato and veg. We ate roti several times for breakfast, served hot off the grill at a vendor just down the street.

    Roti three ways; vegetable, chicken and lamb curry

    We learned a lot about this cuisine on our walking tour with Taste Buddies and enjoyed some local favorites like Dholl Puri, a light and delicate tortilla-like bread made from lentils. Sometimes stuffed with curry but often just stuffed with a spicy sambol sauce (sort of like salsa). Dholl Puri in Mauritius is always flat and soft, where in India it can be puffy.

    Dholl Puri – made from lentil flour

    We had a wonderful surprise when our Airbnb host brought us a full homemade meal of Dholl Puri. She made the delicious Dholl Puri herself and served it for us with Chicken Curry with potato and peas and along side some pickled vegetables and sambol. It was by far the best rendition we had on the island.

    Dholl Puri with pickled vegetables and chicken curry

    Our favorite Indian meal was at a restaurant close to our apartment called Zub. The service was excellent and the menu huge. We loved it.

    Our feast at Zub Express Indian Restaurant

    Want to try Dholl Puri at home? Here is a recipe.

    French Influence

    French influence on the cuisine is most evident in the abundant use of delicious baguette and other breads, puddings and desserts as well as bouillon, coq au vin and daube.

    Although Mauritius was a French colony for a much shorter period than when the British held it, the French influence is greater in the culture. The food and the language are French but the British left behind left-hand side driving.

    Entrecote with butter and frites

    We made a point to try French cuisine while on the island. Although many restaurants have menu items that salute the cuisine, we visited one of the highest rated French Restaurants in the town of Black River called Bistrot de la Poste about thirty minutes from where we were staying. The owner, a French man who was raised in Basque Country, chatted with us and welcomed us to his restaurant while we enjoyed a remarkable selection of French food and wine. The menu included canard, foie gras, frites, entrecote, and a lovely selection of French desserts.

    Canard with scalloped potato

    The island also grows its own coffee, and it is often served in the French style – strong and black. We tried three different locally grown coffees, all pretty good. Locals are very proud of their local brew, and you won’t find a Starbucks anywhere on the island. Most cafes we visited also served as a boulangerie and patisserie and included a wide selection of French style desserts and breads.

    Our favorite of the coffees we tried – Dodo Cafe

    The majority of visitors on the island are French, but there are also many guests from other countries around the world from honeymooners to families. This means in addition to the incredible selection of foods mentioned above, you will find pizza, pasta, burgers, sushi and a wide variety of other internationally loved dishes.

    A treat at the Boulangerie down the street from us

    Although we try not to eat out often in our travels (in an effort to stay on budget), we did try all the cultural influenced cuisines at least once during our six week visit. Food is the best way to learn about a place, to meet the locals and experience the culture and Mauritius is a tasty tapestry of delicious history, people and food.

    Just for you – I continue my quest to eat the world. I hope you enjoy!

    Check out our blog about the wildlife preservation efforts on Mauritius.

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