Ireland Day 3 – Irish Boxty

For Ireland’s third dish I bring you more potatoes! This simple and tasty dish was first made in the 1700s and was easy enough to make due to the use of potatoes, a widely available staple.

The first preparations of boxty used the following ingredients of grated potatoes, either oatmeal or flour, egg yolk, milk, and butter or animal fat. Many would transform tin cans into graters. Traditionally these “potato cakes” were cooked over the stove in a pan. The more modern approach to this meal does not differ dramatically, you can find the recipe here.

The combination of mashed with raw potatoes gives this dish a nice texture. Sometimes the cakes are served with a rich stout reduction sauce or a simple tab of butter- we used sour cream! 😍

Often times it’s recommended to serve these cakes with sausage and veg. We opted for honey glazed carrots and parsnips with thyme and rosemary along with kielbasa which is not traditional but what we prefer.

Oh the versatility of a potato. This recipe forever changes the game for leftover mashed potatoes! It was a wonderful surprise especially with the addition of sour cream. The carrots and parsnips were a lovely side and completed the meal. Don’t underestimate the ack of meat in this dish because these little cakes will fill you up! We rated them 8.5/10.

Ireland Day 2 – Irish Beef and Guinness Stew

Oh how beautiful a fresh pot of stew is on a cold night (that was the case we had this meal). Irish Guinness Stew is a classic and is comparable to France’s Boeuf Bourgignon (which you can find here).

The origins of Irish stew were thought to contain mutton otherwise known as older sheep. Due to its tougher consistency it was cooked for long durations of time, otherwise known as stewing or the nowadays slow cooking! According to Alan Davidson, a food expert/historian using neck or shank meat on the bone was thought to add more flavor. The very first stews primarily was made up of mutton, beef, or lamb, potatoes, and onions.

Over time other hearty veggies and herbs were added along with the well loved Guinness stout. The stout of course is characteristic of Ireland, the alcohol evaporating over time during the stewing process. The contribution Guinness brings is unmistakable. Another way to really pack in flavor is by browning the meat and scrapping any stuck bits from the bottom of the pot.

The recipe Ian used can be found here. He thought the recipe was straight forward and was enjoyable to see all the elements come together.

Ian served up a very hearty stew full of rich flavors and a variety of vegetables. The flavor was more “complex” and allowed for the perfect opportunity for bread dipping.. if only we had bought bread 🤷‍♀️Either way it got high marks with 9/10!

(104) Ireland Day 1 – Fish Pie

We have made it Ireland! We will be exploring traditional dishes for the next several days to honor our heritage. Ian is much more Irish than myself which makes up nearly half of his ancestry! Without further ado that’s dig in!

Source: Vacations.AirCanada

Ireland is an Island country west of Scotland, England, and Wales. Northern Ireland is considered to be part of the United Kingdom which covers 1/6th of the island. Ireland has nearly 2,000 miles of scenic coastlines with several beaches and dramatic cliffs. Along with the beautiful scenery you can find historic castles throughout the country and other ruins- about 30,000 total! The county of Mayo has the closest pub to person ratio in the country topping Dublin at 323:1 Did you know that Halloween actually has Irish origins? A Celtic festival called Samhain which means “summer’s end” is celebrated by having having bonfires, wearing scary masks, and dressing up. At this ancient gathering it was believed dead spirits would visit you on the eve of Halloween.

There is more to Irish cooking than just potatoes and stews! Irish cuisine consists of English and other European influence. Natural resources such as seafood and native grown crops and raised livestock. In general meals are hearty and are often served with soda bread. In the 18th century potatoes were the primary food source for the Irish until 1845 when the potato famine arrived.

The dish I am starting this Irish adventure with is fish pie. Thought to have originated by its’ neighboring country Scotland, fish pie was made similar to shepherds pie with potatoes on top. Fish pie may have also been the result of experimentation during lent since all other meats were not allowed. These pies often involve a white or cheese sauce using milk that the fish was poached in. You then bake the pie in the oven and garnish it with dill. You can find the recipe here!

I had to add a few extra steps for my preparation due to some of the seafood being partially frozen and the salmon having skin attached- I allowed the thawing shrimp to gently come to temperature in a pot full of water at medium heat and after the salmon cooked I removed the skins. The rest of the cooking wasn’t too complicated, I had made a bechamel sauce before and was familiar with the process. Don’t forget the dill!!

We thought this dish packed a savory punch with the seafood medley and crisp potatoes. The pie was overall very creamy and the dill complimented the other components of the pie. It was very unique especially with the cheese component, not what I would have expected had Irish origin. We rated it 7.75/10!

(103) Micronesia – Coconut Chicken Curry

Micronesia, officially known as the Federal States of Micronesia is a country that spans over 600 islands and even more atolls in the western Pacific Ocean. The name Micronesia comes from the Greek words “mikros” meaning small and “nesos” meaning island. The main country is made up of four island states: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Yap, and Kosrae. This Oceania country was once a territory of Spain, Germany, and Japan. During World War II Japan had a Navel Base at Truk Lagoon (also known as Chuuk Lagoon) which now is a hot spot for scuba diving to explore the several ship wrecks and other sunken army vehicles along with the reclaiming coral reefs. Another spot to visit in Micronesia is the ancient city that was built between 1200 and 1500 on a coral reef and is the only one of its kind.

Source: Planet of Hotels

As an island nation, Micronesia depends on natural resources for much of its cuisine. Taro, bread fruit, coconut, banana, and yams are the most common staples. Shellfish, pig, and chicken are the primary proteins on the islands. Many inhabitants grow raise their own livestock and harvest the above staples. There is a mix of eastern and western influences due to its prior inhabitants, every state also having its own distinct cuisine. Rice is an important element and can be found served with every meal. Micronesians also take care with their seasoning, a step that shouldn’t be skimped.

The meal I prepared for mighty Micronesia is a coconut chicken curry. I couldn’t find much on origins, I summed it up to a flavor fusion from its culinary influences. You can find the recipe here.

The cooking and preparation was easy and was done in half an hour. The steps were simple and easy to follow. I had no complaints! As a bonus I used coconut milk to make a fragrant coconut rice, (in Jonathan voice) yasss queen!

Micronesia served up a flavorful curry with beautiful colors from the array of veggies. The spices were comforting and not too strong. The variety of ingredients gave nice contrasting textures. We thought this dish deserved 7.75/10 as a rating.

(102) Netherlands – Boerenkool Stamppot

The Zaanse Schans Windmills. Source: The Globe Guide

Welcome to the Netherlands, a Northwestern European country which borders the North Sea, Belgium, and Germany. Netherlands means “low-lying country” which is indeed a true fact. The country is relatively flat with 25% of the country being below sea level, and 50% 3ft or less above sea level. When many think of Netherlands you think of tulips right? Even though the Dutch are the world’s largest exporters of flower bulbs, tulips are not native. Tulips originate in Turkey and were imported in the 16th century. Another big export of the country is beer which they rank the 2nd largest in the world. The Dutch really like their booze because they are also the inventors of gin which was created in the 16th century and introduced to the British. Sounds like they know how to have a good time!

When it comes to the cuisine of Netherlands the country is relatively healthy and is the 2nd largest exporter of vegetables in the world. With veggies on the mind there are two other key ingredients to the Dutch dinner- meat and potatoes! Back in the 1800s potatoes were eaten with every meal since they were widely available and inexpensive. With colonization and trading of goods during the Golden Age (1581 to 1672) Dutch cuisine is quite the fusion of flavors. The national dish of the Netherlands is called stamppot, doesn’t that sound appetizing?

There are a variety of ways to prepare stamppot, but the base always is mashed potatoes. The variations come from the vegetables that are mixed in, whatever is available in the kitchen! This meal is said to be one of the oldest Dutch meals and used to be a staple dish in the winter. Using the seasons past crops and the heartiness of the potatoes and sausage left you warm and full with little expense. Boerenkool translates to kale and is the type of stamppot I prepared with the addition of carrots. This is the recipe I used.

The meal was easy enough to prepare. I made a basic gravy using a rue which turned out to be more pale than I had anticipated- I suspect I needed more time to get the deeper brown color. I substituted my go to kielbasa for the sausage because of the more desirable texture and leaner meat (I go for turkey). I made sure to liberally season the potatoes with nutmeg, nothing is worse than bland mashed potatoes!

We found this dish to be very hearty with a nice mix of veggies and kielbasa. The warmth from the nutmeg was notable and a pleasant. The gravy paired well, however it also made the dish heavier and more filling. I didn’t chop the kale fine enough, but I think this element helped lighten the meal. We rated it 6.5/10.

Kim’s Easter Carrot Cake

Happy Easter!

Hey guys I’ve got a bonus recipe for you this week! I made this for last Easter and forgot to post it .. oops! I hope you are all doing well and are able to see family for the holidays this year.

I got this recipe from a past patient of mine who used to make cakes for her business. She made wedding cakes and occasion cakes, it was her true passion! Unfortunately I don’t think she is able to do this anymore with her current medical status. Either way her spirit and passion of baking live on through her recipe. This one is for you Kim!

When making the carrot cake I decided to add some additional spices that weren’t part of the original recipe and I felt it brought more dimension to the cake. I also added more cinnamon too 🤷‍♀️

The cake was VERY heavy due to the amount of carrots and nuts, but I felt pretty healthy eating it.

The cake was a success and enjoyed by my family. Let me know in the comments if you tried and you how it went!

(101) Latvia – Piragi

Riga, Latvia. Source: Kimkim.com

To start our journey over 100 we head to Latvia, a lesser known European country with historic charm and breath-taking scenery. You can find Latvia situated between Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic Sea. It has an expansive coastline that spans nearly 310 miles. Latvia also has an impressive amount of forests which covers over half of the country. Riga, the capital of Latvia, was founded in 1201 and is home to famous art nouveau architecture which makes up a third of the city. Additionally in 1510 the world’s first Christmas tree was decorated in Riga and additionally caught on nationally.

Latvian cuisine is heavily influenced by Russia and Germany, along with other bordering countries. Latvia is well-known for the popularity of foraging, especially for mushrooms, berries, and herbs. With distinguished four seasons, the cuisine is dependent on what is available at the time of the year. Seafood is another substantial part of Latvian cuisine due to the country’s sizable border along the Baltic Sea. Other agricultural resources are used as well in the Latvian kitchen including the dish we are making!

Not to be confused with the Polish pierogi, piragis are meat pastries filled with bacon, ham, onion, and spices. Also known belovingly as “bacon buns” these pastries traditionally were eaten for special occasions due to the hours of work required to make these little masterpieces. Each Latvian family may have a slightly different rendition of these bad boys and luckily that is exactly where I found this recipe! I reached out to a past coworker of mine knowing of her origin and was fortunate to gain a recipe that will be apart of my repertoire. You can find Sandy’s recipe at the end of this post!

I started by making the filling which chilled in the fridge while I made the pastry. It is a timely process, but an important one. I feel it would not truly be a piragi with store bought dough due to some unique ingredients. It was so satisfying seeing how much the dough had tripled in size! As I was making the fillings I discovered using the edge of a glass helped seal the edges of my piragis. Make sure you try this on a day off or a weekend, you will need hours to go through all the steps!

WOW Latvia knows what’s up! All the labor that went into making these was paid off by the unique blend of savory flavors that danced our tastebuds. The creamy sour cream was a nice pairing with the rich meat and pastry flavors. The pastry itself was pillowy soft with a nice crust. Ian being the red sauce man that he is tried a marinara sauce too and that was also a success. Once we tried the piragis with marinara it made us think of little mini calzones. Don’t hate us Latvia 😅

We had put up our aprons for a little while and found this to be just the dish to get us back into the swing of things again. We rated this dish 9.5/10 😍

Our Favorite Recipes 51-100

Just like before, we give you the run down of our favorites, a full ranked list, and crown a top dish! Also as mentioned before we will remake anything that was rated below 6.5/10 (or if you see a lower rated country and have a suggestion we are all ears)! 🌽

It has been so much fun exploring new countries and flavors. We can’t wait to try more!! If a recipe seems intriguing to you click on the recipe name to visit the post!

(54) Malaysia: Nasi Lemak 6.5/10

6.5-7

(61) Vietnam: Pho 8/10

7.25-8

(95) Afghanistan: Kabuli Palau/Qabili Palau 8.75/10

8.25-10

OUR WINNER IS…

Puerto Rico!! My bestie Zory is the owner of this fabulous recipe and obviously we are OBSESSED. It has been made several times and is full of love and flavor.

After another 50 we will make another go to list of our favorites and maybe you’ll find a new favorite yourself 😊

(100) Honduras – Enchiladas Hondureñas

Pulhapanzak Waterfall, Honduras. Source: wildfrontierstravel.com

Our 100th country can be found in Central America bordering El Salvidor, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Honduras also borders two bodies of water- the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Honduras can be translated to “great depths” and was named this by Christopher Columbus due to the great depths of the ocean along its shore. The hieroglyphs of the Mayan ruins in Honduras have given the most information of their history. The Copan Mayan ruins in particular have the most intact hieroglyphs which hold the most value. The country’s flag has 5 stars which represent all Central American countries, the center star representing Honduras. Honduras is a hot travel destination due to its rich history, tropical forests, and gorgeous coast lines.

The cuisine of Honduras is a combination of several influences including Spanish, African, Caribbean, and Mesoamerican. Coconut and coconut milk are largely used with cooking. Corn, beans, and rice are other staples found often at the heart of a meal accompanied by local produce such as sweet potato, tomatoes, carrots, and cassava to name a few. Another key component to Honduras cuisine is the meat- cue Arby’s commercial “we have the MEATS.” Beef is the most commonly prepared meat, with others based by region such as seafood by the coast. Due to the high rates of poverty in the country beans are often substituted when meat is not available or affordable. Some of the popular dishes of the country include tamales, pupusas, bean soup, chilaquiles, and enchiladas which we will be making today.

The Honduras enchilada is not like the typical Mexican enchilada, it differs not only by its presentation but also its filling. These enchiladas are often seen as a breakfast dish and are served in an open format vs rolled. The only clear similarity is that both use tortillas as their base! If you are intrigued by a new way to have “enchiladas” click here.

Cooking the Honduras enchilada involves several steps and layers. For this particular recipe it called for making a sauce from scratch then cooking the meat, potatoes, and eggs. While I prepared this it made me feel like I was having breakfast for dinner, what a delight! Don’t forget to fry the tortillas before you build these little masterpieces! I will say though my sauce wasn’t as thick as I would have liked and leaked through which effected crispness of the tortillas.

We found these breakfast treats very savory and can see why they would be a solid way to start the day. This open faced format did make it challenging to eat especially with the juice soaking through. I also probably should have made the lettuce more finely shredded to make it easier to enjoy. Overall they were really good and worth 7.5/10.

That’s 100 countries guys can you believe it!? We have learned so much about the world of cuisine and it has given me more insight to what kind of food I enjoy which has been surprising. I can’t wait to serve up more traditional dishes and discover new favorites. Maybe you will discover a new favorite dish yourself!

(99) Guadeloupe – Chicken Colombo

Source: cntraveler.com

Welcome to Guadeloupe, an archipelago of 12 islands and is a French territory. It can be found in the Northeastern portion of the Caribbean by Monserrat and Dominica. This nation is home to one of the tallest peaks of the Caribbean which so happens to be an active volcano. At nearly 5,000 ft, La Soufrière is situated in Basse Terre, the capital of Guadeloupe, on the Western part of the region. The original indigenous name for Guadeloupe was Karukera which translates to “island of beautiful waters.”

Guadeloupian cuisine is similar to other surrounding Caribbean islands. Local produce, seafood, and creole seasonings can be found on the menu. Rum or as the locals call it “rhum” is the preferred alcoholic beverage and is made on the island. Colombo is the national dish of Guadeloupe and was what we decided to make today. Colombo’s origin stems from Indian laborers that worked in the sugar cane plantations of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the 19th-20th century. Colombo is a type of curry that includes the following ingredients: coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, allspice, fenugreek, pepper, and yellow mustard seeds. Make your own chicken colombo here!

Cooking and preparation was easy to follow. Luckily this recipe also had directions to make colombo seasoning- I will admit I did not have “fenugreek” so I omitted it. I let the chicken marinate prior for the recommended amount of time which is an important step. Too many times have I cut time short to marinate the meat and it shows! I will admit when I added the coconut milk my heart skipped a beat- one of my favorite ingredients!

It looked like it had potential but I thought it was water down in flavor. Definitely could omit some of the water to let the coconut milk flavor pull through more. I felt it should have been cooked less for a better texture, but it was well seasoned. Unfortunately we thought the dish fell flat and was rated 6/10.