The Marshall Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, its closest neighbor being Hawaii to the northeast. This independent nation is made up of 1,225 islands, 870 reefs, and 29 atolls which spans over 750,000 sq miles. Sadly this country is facing the looming threat of global warming and is at high risk of being under water if the globe warms two degrees.
Cuisine of The Marshall Islands mostly includes ingredients that can be found locally including several varieties of fruit, seafood, and rice. The Marshallese take care with food preservation including fermentation. Dried pandanus paste which is made from pandan leaves can last several years if prepared properly. These leaves have a subtle vanilla flavor and were used when we made nasi lemak from Malaysia.
Today’s recipe combines all the island flavors including coconut and papaya. We opted to omit the sweet potato salad since we aren’t big mayo fans. You can find the recipe here
I found the cooking and preparation simple, but it didn’t look too appetizing. Looking back I actually forgot to bread the fish, that makes a HUGE difference in the end result. It would have given the dish the “face lift” it needed, especially if shredded coconut was added to the flour! We served up the concoction over a bed of jasmine rice. Meh
This was another dish that was really unique and unfortunately lacked contrasting textures due to my error and execution- I blame this on being a crunch meal during the work week. The elements of the dish all worked together and the mint highlighted the freshness of the fruit. It was a little too unique for us, but I guarantee if you follow the recipe you will have a better result. We rated this version 6.25/10.
For our final meal in Brazil we decided to do two classics- cheese bread and beef kabobs. This delectable and versatile cheese bread (or pão de queijo in Portuguese) has its roots set back to been the Portuguese colonized Brazil. It originated when the African slaves of these landowners used cassava to make tapioca flour by grating the flesh of the root, allowing it to soak in water, and straining the mixture so it could dry. The first bread was made solely of this starch and did not contain the dairy products until later on. The bread is now very popular throughout Brazil. If you are interested in making this cheesy goodness click here.
The history of churrasco however is a bit different. It started when cowboys in the Southern Brazilian wilderness cooked local game over an open fire in a deeply dug pit. Before the meat was cooked they allowed the flames to die down until embers remained, the meat was skewered and salted thoroughly. Now a days you can see these kabobs with various vegetables and fruits accompanying the tender and flavorful meat. Today’s recipe includes pineapple, peppers and onions that were simply seasoned with salt/pepper. I did not bother to prepare the pineapple as the recipe directed because grilled pineapple is already incredible.
While I prepared the bread and the meat marinated Ian heated up the grill. It did not take long to cook the meal, most of the time was spent skewering the meat and produce (it took a surprisingly long time). We decided to make up a fresh salad using greens from our garden to lighten things up.
HOLY GUACAMOLE! This cheese bread is everything you are looking for- soft, doughy, and cheesy. It is just so easy to make and 100% gluten free! I can see myself making this bread as a side, as an appetizer paired with tomato sauce, or a delightful snack. The kabobs of course were delicious and I do love so grilled pineapple. I feel like it is the superior way to prepare it and honestly I didn’t season it at all (even though the recipe called for butter among other things). This meal was crazy good, the bread really outshining the kabobs and truly blowing our minds. We rated this dish 9.5/10!
We are back the Caribbean baby! St Lucia is an island situated in the Caribbean Sea south of Martinique and north of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Although a small country it is full of various unique landscapes such as rainforests, coral reefs, mountains, a dormant volcano, and sandy beaches. St Lucia has also been known as Iyonola and Hewanorra which were names given by natives meaning island of the iguanas, but was renamed in the 16th century by the European settlers.
So I already had a hunch I would like this dish since we had made a coconut curry tuna dish for Tuvalu not too long ago. Although this is not the national dish, it is still a good representation of the country with common ingredients. Their cuisine is influenced by British, East Indian, and French cooking styles and flavors which can be seen in this dish.
There is a large variety of spices St Lucians use such as allspice, cinnamon, curry, and cloves and an even large variety of fruits that are native to the island. This dish has the wonderful pineapple which can easily elevate any dish in my opinion, especially when grilled! I used this recipe when preparing dinner.
As expected the dish was a hit and easy to prepare! I had marinated the chicken overnight to get the best flavor possible. The pineapple coconut rice was amazing (honestly what doesn’t coconut milk and pineapple make better)? The chicken was very flavorful and well seasoned. I would have liked to try the marinade on bone-in chicken that I would cook up in the Air Fryer. We rated this dish 8/10.