Beans beans the musical fruit....

I have two new discoveries!

Discovery numero uno is Ranch Gordo's Heirloom Beans. Available at

I've always bought canned beans and have been satisfied. I've never been impressed with dried beans purchased at the grocery store. But the Rancho Gordo beans are an entirely different animal. They're so fresh and tasty. I'm ready to place another order!

The first ones I cooked are the garbanzos. And all the recipes come from my second new discovery Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook. My New Years resolution is to eat more whole foods, veggies and quality meat(which can be expensive so I guess you can say I'm going mostly veg).


Cooked beans!


I'll definitely order more of these and use them in hummus, bean burgers and any other garbanzo recipe I can get my hands on.

To cook the beans I used Bittman's method.

Rinse and pick over the beans

Place in a pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water.

Bring to a boil then reduce the heat until the beans bubble gently. Partially cover pot.

Check every 10-15 minutes. When the beans start to get tender add a generous pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Stir occasionally

Add water as necessary.

I started tasting my beans right away and added the salt and pepper after about 20 minutes. Overall the beans took about 2 hours to cook and I had to add water twice.

I kept some out and froze the rest in their own broth. The first dish I made was Chickpeas in Their Own Broth. I thought this would highlight the flavor of the beans and it did. It was a very flavorful dinner served with a salad. Don't worry about the bread crumb size. Mine was uneven. And I did NOT use 1/2 cup of oil.


Chickpeas and their broth are so flavorful they hardly need anything else to be completely delicious, but a bit of garlic and good olive oil make this dish spectacular. Cooking your own chickpeas is really essential here, because canned chickpeas don’t have the flavor.

One roughly 6-inch piece French or Italian bread, preferably a day or two old

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt & freshly ground pepper

3 cups cooked chickpeas with about 2 cups of their cooking liquid (5 cups total)

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

chopped parsley leaves for garnish

1. Roughly chop the bread and put it in a food processor; pulse until shredded, with no chunks larger than a pea but not much smaller either. Put all but 2 Tbsps of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread and a sprinkling of salt and cook, shaking the pan occasionally , until the crumbs are nicely browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove and drain on paper towels.

2. Warm the chickpeas in their broth with the garlic and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Top with the bread crumbs, garnish with the parsley, and serve, or store, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Gently reheat and garnish before serving.

Baked Lima Beans Parmigiana

Now I tried this dish twice. Once with frozen limas and again with the garbanzos. Both had excellent results but didn't take a very pretty picture. I'm going to make this again with some of RG's Christmas Limas I also bought. I think that might make a better picture and will post it then

I didn't use nearly as much oil as he could also use a jarred marinara but I think the fresh tomato sauce is better.

Baked Lima Beans Parmigiana

You can also use fava, endamame, cooked cannnelini, gigante beans or chickpeas

1/4 c olive oil
1 recipe Fast Tomoato Sauce(below)
4 cups fresh, frozen or cooked dry lima beans
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup cubed mozzerella(preferably fresh)
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 400

Use a tbs or so of the oil to grease a 2 qt souffle or gratin dish or a 9x13 baking dish

Spread tomato sauce in the dish and spoon the beans on top. Spread the mozz cubes around evenly pressing them into the sauce and beans a bit. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and parm and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until cheese is melted, sauce is bubbling and crumbs are brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Remove and sprinle with parsley and additional black pepper if desired. Can be served over rice or pasta.

Fast Tomato Sauce

3 Tbs olive oil or butter
1 med onion, chopped
1 24-32 oz can tomatoes drained and chopped (I'm lazy, I bought diced)
salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat olive oil in 12" skillet over med-high heat. Add onions and stir 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break up and the mixture comes together, thickening about 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Sorry for the long absence

I really have been thinking of new recipes for this blog but life and work are in the way.

I'm still cooking, it just hasn't been very international.

I just received an order of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans and plan on cooking those up soon.I've also been cooking from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook(which is excellent).

So maybe for now I'll post some domestic recipes until things settle down and I can get back to the Global Kitchen.

Eggplant and Tomato Salad and Baked Kibbeh with Onion and Pine Nut Topping Lebanon

It's really really hard to take a good picture of a meat pie but trust me when I say this is absolutely delicious and easy to put together.

The salad was a breeze too, although, the first time I made it I put a little too much lemon juice in it. It's beautiful to look at(although my picture isn't great) and delicious.

Both of these recipes are from Claudia Roden's Arabesque, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks.

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Eggplant and Tomato Salad(Batinjan Raheb)
6-8 servings

2-3 eggplants (about 2lbs)
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, crushed(I chopped mine)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
4 sprigs mint, chopped
4 scallions, finely sliced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
handful of pomegranate seeds

Prick the eggplants in a few places with a knife and roast on a foil lined baking sheet for 45-55 minutes or until the skin is charred and the eggplant is very soft.

When the eggplants are cool enough to handle peel them and and drp them into a colander or strainer with fine holes. Press out as much of the juices as possible. With a small knife chop the eggplant(still in the colander) and mash with the back of the spoon to get more of the juice out.

Mix the eggplant puree with the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and pint. Spread the puree on a flat place and sprinkle with the scallions, tomatoes and pomegranate seeds.

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Baked Kibbeh with Onion and Pine Nut Topping (Kibbeh Saniyeh)
serves 6

For the kibbeh
2/3 cup fine ground bulgur
1 medium onion quartered
1 lb lean boness leg of lamb(I bought ground)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon

For the topping
1 lb onions liced thin
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup pine nuts
salt and black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
1/2 to 1 tbs pomegranate molassas(optional but recommended)

Rinse the bulgur in a fine sieve under cold water and drain well. Puree the onion in a food processor Add the meat and the spices and blend to a paste. Add the bugur and blend to a smooth soft paste.

Press paste into a well oiled round shallow baking dish or tart dish(I used a pie plate). Flatten and smooth the top and cut the contents into 6 wedges and run the knife around the edges of the dish. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

While the meat is baking prepare the topping. Fry the onions in the olive oil until they are golden brown, stirring often. Add the pine nuts andstir until lightly colored. Add the spices and the pomegranate molassas and stir a minute more.

Spread on top of the kibbeh and serve.

Another French Fricassee and a non-French but very tasty salad!

I love pomegranates, pistachios, prosciutto and persimmons so I HAD to make this salad. It was very little work and the outcome was wonderful! And it's such a pretty presentation for company.

For a special occasion I might spring for the pomegranate vinegar but it was delicious with the sherry vinegar. I bet you could use white wine or champagne vinegar with success too.

If you've never had persimmons you must get the Fuyus! the other kind, Hachiyas, are really meant to be cooked.

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Prosciutto with Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Arugula
Bon Appétit December 2006

Makes 8 servings.

Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier

16 thin slices prosciutto (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1 large Fuyu persimmon, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pomegranate vinegar* (pomegranate vinegar is $12.00. I used sherry vinegar I had on hand)

*Available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Arrange 2 prosciutto slices on each plate. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over. Arrange persimmon next to prosciutto. Mound arugula atop prosciutto. Scatter pistachios over. Sprinkle with pepper; drizzle with oil and vinegar.

Yes it's another fab fricassee! This one has no garlic. I served it with roasted cauliflower (toss with a little olive oil salt and pepper. Spread on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes turning every 10 minutes).

I was a bit confused on the cooking instructions as the times don't jibe with the other fricassee recipe. I included my modification.

For the wine I used Viognier because it's my favorite white wine.

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Fricassee of Chicken with white Wine Capers and Olives

1 3-4 lb chicken cut into 8 serving pieces
Sea Salt
Finely ground white pepper
3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced thinly
2 cups white wine
2 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded cored and chopped
1 cup Picholine olives, pitted, or pimento stuffed olives(I found Picholines at the olive bar)
1/4 cup capers in vinegar, drained.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to low and add onions and cover pan. Sweat onions of 3 minutes. Add chicken back to pan and add remaining ingredients. Cover pan and simmer on low until chicken ins done. Recipe says 1 hour. I brought sauce to boil, reduced to low and simmered for 30 minutes.

Fricassee of Chicken with Garlic and Sweet Garlic Confit-France

These recipes come from The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells.

One of my favorite trips ever was to Provence and some of the recipes from this book took me right back.

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Broccoli, Avocado and Pistachios With Pistachio Oil
( Brocoli, Avocat, Pistaches et Huile de Pistache)

This salad is filling enough to have as a meal. It was incredibly easy to put together too. I used olive oil because I didn't want to spring for pistachio oil. However, I think this will be much better with pistachio oil and since I'm planning on making it again, I will splurge on the oil.

1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup pistachio oil, pine nut oil, almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs course sea salt
8 oz broccoli florets(about 2 cups)
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup salted pistachios coarsely chopped

Thoroughly blend lemon juice, fine sea salt and oil.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the coarse sea salt and broccoli and boil until the broccoli is crisp tender about 3-4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water to cool.

Halve peel and slice the avocado. Arrange a mound of broccoli in the center of a serving plate. Arrange the avocado slices around the broccoli. Sprinkle with the pistachios and drizzle wit the lemon/oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper and let infuse 3-4 minutes before serving.

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The chicken dish was fantabulous and it went together in no time at all. I made the confit a day ahead. Now you would think this would leave you reeking of garlic but the confit is actually sweet and the garlic that cooked with the chicken is mellow. No strong garlic taste at all, although, I haven't seen any vampires lurking about. Instead of a whole chicken I cut the recipe in half and used four thighs. I did have some sauce left over so I spooned it over bread. The leftovers are also excellent as the flavors really meld.

Sweet Garlic Confit (Confit d'Ail Doux)
4 plump heads of garlic =, cloves separated and peeled
1 qt whole milk

Place garlic cloves in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of the milk. Bring to a simmer and drain, discarding the milk.
Simmer the cloves in remaining 2 cups of milk over low heat until soft, about 20 minutes. Cool cloves in milk. Drain, discarding milk. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Fricasee of Chicken with Garlic and Sweet Garlic Confit (Fricassee de Poulet a Ail et a L'Ail Confit)

1 farm fresh chicken cut into 8 serving pieces at room temperature
Fine sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
20 plump cloves garlic peeled and halved
1 recipe Sweet Garlic Confit
1 1/2 White Wine(Viognier suggested)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken skin side down and brown 5 minutes on each side. Use tongs to turn.
When all pieces are browned remove them and transfer to a platter.
Add halved garlic cloves to fat in the skillet. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken and cook covered for approximately 20 minutes, turning the chicken once or twice until cooked through.

Remove the chicken and garlic from the pan and place on a platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tent with foil.

Discard the fat from the pan. Return the skillet to high heat and add the garlic confit. Once hot, carefully pour the wine over the garlic and deglaze, carefully scraping up any bits that cling to the bottom of the skillet. Continue to cook over high heat, smashing the garlic to a puree(I used a potato masher). Spoon the puree over the chicken and serve.

Mixiote De Carne, Tomatillo Guacamole, Mexican White Rice, Sighs of the Bride Fritters- Mexico

I can't tell you how excited I was to be cooking in banana leaves! Yes I'm easily amused.

All these recipes come from the excellent September 2007 Latin issue of Gourmet magazine.

For the ribs I used the guajillo peppers because the New Mexico peppers I had on hand are hot and I wanted to see how the other spices came through without being overpowered by heat. Plus I like the tangy smokiness of the guajillo's.

The ribs were wonderful and the guacamole was a perfect tangy accompaniment. I actually forgot the bay leaf but I wasn't left thinking, "this would be perfect with a bay leaf" so it was no big deal. I will definitely make these again! I may even try it with the New Mexico Chiles.

I liked the rice but it was a pain in the butt to make. I'm not sure the end result was worthy of a repeat. Also my rice wasn't getting brown and my arm was getting tired from stirring so maybe it would have been better if I had browned it.

I suck at frying because I never do it so my Sighs of the Bride could have been crispier. The fruit on the other hand was marvelous.

Ribs in banana leaves

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And unwrapped

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Sighs of the Bride with Mixed Fruit in Cinnamon Lime Syrup

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Mixiote De Carne

Gourmet Magazine, Sept 2007
Adapted from Estela Salas Silva


3 oz dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles(I used guajillo) seeded and stemmed (I did this over a bowl with kitchen shears)

3 tbs annatto seeds

5 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

6 lb beef short ribs or lamb shoulder with bone cut into 16 pieces(I used beef ribs)

3 banana leaves or 8 (11 inch square) pieces of parchment paper

8 Turkish or California Bay Leaves

-Fill a 2 qt sauce pan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add chiles to boiling water and remove from heat. Let stand, uncovered until chilis are softened and have turned a brighter red, about 10 minutes.

-Meanwhile, toast annatto and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring until fragrant and a shade darker. Transfer to a bowl to cool then grind to a powder.

-Transfer chiles to a blender with a slotted spoon, then add 1 1/2 cups soaking water, seeds garlic, vinegar and 1 tbs salt. Blend until smooth at least 2 minutes. Pour sauce into large (3-4 qt) shallow container and cool to room temp for 10 minutes.

-Sprinkle meat with 2 tbs salt, add sauce and turn to coat. using tongs or wearing gloves to prevent staining. Marinate meat, covered and chilled for at least 8 hours.

-Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the middle.

-Holding both ends of a banana leaf, drag leaf slowly over a burner on medium high heat until it changes color slightly and becomes shinier. Repeat on other side and with remaining banana leaves.

-Cut off tough edges from banana leaves and cut 8 11 x 11 inch squares, discarding remainder. Put each leaf on a 12" square of foil, then arrange 2 pieces of meat and some sauce in the center of each leaf using all of the sauce, and top each mound with a bay leaf(if using California bay leaves use 1/2 leaf). Fold in all sides of banana leaves, then wrap tightly in foil. Arrange packages, seam side up, in 1 layer in a large roasting pan and add just enough water to measure 1/8 inch in bottom of pan (about 2 cups).

-Bake adding more water as necessary to prevent pan from becoming dry until meat is tender and falling off the bone(open package to test) about 3 1/2 hours for beef and 2 1/2 hours for lamb. Discard foil and bay leaf and serve meat in banana leaves. Do not eat banana leaves.

-Notes: Meat can be marinated up to 24 hours in a bowl. Leftovers keep for 3 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

Tomatillo Guacamole

Adapted from Roberto Santibanez


1 1/2 tsp minced fresh serrano chiles including seeds or to taste
1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh epazote leaves or 1 tsp dried(I used dried)
1 large garlic clove minced
1 tbs fresh lime juice or to taste
3 firm-ripe avacados
6 oz small fresh tomatillos(about 6) husked rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup minced white onion

Stir together chiles through lime juice and add one tbs salt in a bowl, mashing slightly with a fork. Halve and pit avacados, then scoop flesh into chile mixture. Stir in tomatillos and onion mashing avacado coarsley with a fork.

Mexican White Rice

Gourmet September 2007

Though this rice mainly functions to sop up the meat's red sauce, a quick sauté with garlic and onion and the use of chicken broth as well as water means it can hold its own.

Makes 8 servings

Shelley Wiseman

3 cups long-grain white rice (1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water

Bring about 6 cups water to a boil and pour over rice in a bowl. Soak rice until it has turned a more opaque white, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a clean kitchen towel to dry, at least 1 hour.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a wide 4- to 5-quart heavy pot or deep skillet over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 5 minutes, then add broth, water, and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook over low heat until rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Cooks' notes:
Rice can be soaked up to 4 hours.
Rice will stay warm, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Suspiros de Novia
Sighs of the Bride Fritters

The magazine said they got their name because they're delicate.

Adapted from Estela Salas Silva

1/2 cup warm water
2 large egg yolks
2 tbs unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup olive oil for frying
confectioners sugar for dusting

-Blend water, yolks, butter, flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a blender just until smooth.
-heat 1/4 inch oil in a heavy 12" skillet over medium heat until it shimmers
-Spoon 1/2 tablespoons of batter into the oil about 8 at a time and fry (the batter will flatten into 2 inch wide discs), turning once until crisp and golden brown.3-4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool completely. Dust with sugar and serve with fruit.
-can be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

Mixed Fruit in Cinnamon Lime Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbs fresh lime juice
1 8 inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick broken into 4 pieces or 1 3 inch piece if cassia cinnamon halved.
3 lb mixed fresh fruit cut into wedges(they suggested peaches, plums and figs which are out of season so I used a red delicious apple, a gala apple bartlett pears and calimyrna figs)
1 lime thinly sliced 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

-Bring water, sugar, lime juice and cinnamon to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.
-Stir together fruit and hot syrup in a shallow serving dish. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, top with lime slices and pecans.

-can be made 2 hours ahead and chilled. Bring to room temp before serving

Chicken Satay-Malaysia with Sweet Soy Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce-Indonesia

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These recipes come from The Cradle of Flavor cookbook and are eyes rolling into the back of your head good.

I especially loved the dippping sauce and even after I had finished my satay, I was dipping my finger into the sauce and licking it off. I was going to make coconut lemongrass rice but it said not to cut the recipe and I didn't want a lot of leftover rice. So I just steamed jasmine rice and made a simple romaine salad.

I made the marinade for the satay a day ahead. When I initially tasted it on it's own my first impression was that it was very spicy. Not hot, as there's no chilis, just a real party in my mouth. But once it was brushed with the lemongrass oil and grilled it mellowed out. And when the chicken was dipped in the sauce it was heaven.

Also I never type a recipe as it is in the book. Instead I give my shortcuts, if there are any, and abbreviate the instructions. For example the satay recipe calls for thighs and gives instructions on boning and skinning. I just bought boneless skinless thighs. Also I cut the portions way back but include original portions in the recipe on the blog.

Chicken Satay-Sate Ayam (Teremgganu, Malaysia)

You can also make this marinade for a whole chicken or chicken legs. Also note the environmentaly friendly basting brush. It really does add flavor. I let the stalk sit in the oil for the hour the chicken was marinating.


1 tbs coriander seeds
1 tbs fennel seeds
2 stalks fresh lemongrass hard brown bottom end cut off, tough outer layers removed and thinly sliced(1/16 ")
5 shallots coarsly chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsly chopped
1 1 inch piece peeled galangal thinly sliced against the grain
1 2 inch piece peeled ginger peeled and thinly sliced against the grain
Scant 1 tbs tumeric
4 tbs palm sugar thinly sliced or dark brown sugar
2 tbs peanut oil
1 1/2 tsp salt

For the Satay

3 1/4 lb chicken thighs(boneless skinless)cut into 2-3 inch long and 1 inch wide pieces
1 thick stalk fresh lemongrass
4 tbs peaunut oil
30 sharp thin bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

1. Make the marinade. In a small food processor grind the coriander and fennel seedd to a powder. Add lemongrass through salt and pulse until it's the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. Make sure the lemongrass is well pulverized, otherwise it will taste bad. If paste doesn't puree properly you can add up to 2 tbs of water, one tbs a time. I did this.

2. Place marinade and chicken pieces in a bowl. Toss and let marinate at room temperature for an hour.

3. Prepare lemongrass stalk by cutting off end and peeling away tough outer layers. Smash the end with the edge of a knife so it resembles a brush. Pour the peanut oil in a bowl and let the lemongrass brush sit in the oil for at least 10 minutes. I let it sit the whole hour I marinated the chicken.

4. Prepare grill. Temperature should be medium hot and the rack should be oiled liberally.

5. Thread the chicken pieces on the skewers. Lightly baste the chicken with the lemongrass oil using the stalk as a brush. Grill the chicken until it has picked up some crispy black spots, about 3-7 minutes. Baste with more lemongrass oil and turn the skewers over, grilling until the other one is similarly browned another 3-6 minutes.

6. Transfer the satay skewers to a serving dish and let rest one minute before serving.

Sweet Soy Sauce and Lime Dipping Sauce-Sos Kecap Rawit (Indonesia)

3 fresh Holland or Thai Chilis, stemmed and sliced thin on the diagonal
4 tbs Kecap Manis(Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tbs fresh lime juice

Combine all the ingredients. Use in one sitting as chilis go limp if they sit longer than one hour.

Grilled chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce-Laos and Thailand

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I'm cheating here because I've made this several times and it's one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes.

It's also easy on the waistline as there's no additional fat aside from the chicken. It's up to you whether you eat the skin.

The recipe is from Hot sour Salty Sweet.

Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce-Gai yang, ping gai

Pepper Coriander Root Flavor Paste

2 tsp black peppercorns
5-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tbs coarsely chopped coriander roots
pinch salt
1 tsp Thai fish sauce

I took the lazy route and whirled the peppercorns, garlic, salt and coriander roots to a paste with my mini-prep until it formed a paste and added the fish sauce. The recipe suggests pounding to a paste in a mortar and pestle, and I've done that before with good results.


2 tbs Pepper Coriander Root Flavor Paste
2-3 tbs Thai fish sauce

3 lb chicken cut into 10-12 pieces

Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes(I whirled dried Thai chiles in my mini prep with the garlic)

Place the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Lower heat to medium low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic/pepper mixture. Let cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Marinate chicken for one hour in flavor paste plus fish sauce for one hour at room temperature or 8 hours in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before grilling or broiling until done. Serve with sauce.

Shrimp Piri Piri-Mozambique

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I want to eat this all the time. Maybe that's why it's considered Mozambique's national dish.

It was so easy to put together. I cut the Piri Piri recipe in half but honestly I wouldn't mind having extra to marinate chicken or other white fish.

This is also from The Soul of a New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson. I marked quite a few recipes in the book so expect more African dishes!

This is supposed to be an appetizer but I had it for dinner with rice.

Piri Piri

Blend the following in a blender:

8 red birds eye chilies, seeds and stems removed (my local store didn't have them so I subbed 2 serranos)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbs cilantro
1 tbs chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil

Shrimp Piri Piri

12 jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs Piri Piri, divided
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
12 Bibb lettuce leaves(I used romaine)

Toss shrimp with 1/2 cup of piri piri and refrigerate for 1/2 hour

Heat olive oil in sautee pan over medium heat and cook shrimp until done about 2 minutes each side.. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Squeeze lime quarters over shrimp. Spread the remaining piri piri on each lettuce leaf, place a shrimp on the leaf, fold over bottom and sides to form a wrap and eat.

Salmon with Sakay and Cucmber Sambal Madagascar

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Lest you think I'm a glutton, that's not a huge piece of salmon. The food is on a salad plate.

And yes, I know they do not have salmon or arctic char in Madagascar but Marcus Samuelsson says the fish used in the original dish is not available in the states. My fishmonger didn't have char available so I used wild caught cojo salmon.

These recipes come from The Soul of a New Cuisine:A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson. I haven't had time to read the book thoroughly but it looks interesting.

I was looking for Sub-Sarahan inspiration since all of the African dishes I've ever made are from North Africa and are Mediterranean.

This is a recipe I will defintely make again. It's not as spicy as I thought it would be and a nice break from more traditional salmon dishes. The recipe calls for arctic char but salmon is a good substitute.

I cut the sakay recipe down to about an eighth and eyeballed the measurements.

I loved the cucmber sambal-a Cape Malay influence. The Sambal was not very spicy, despite the serrano, and complimented the salmon.


3/4 cup chili powder
1 tbs ground ginger
1 1/2 cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
1 cup peanut oil

Heat a medium sautee pan over medium heat. Add Chilli powder through garlic and toast until fragrant about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Put spice mixture in blender, add salt, and blend well on low speed. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream and blen to a paste.

Store in the refrigerator in a tighly covered container for up to two weeks.

Char with Sakay

Eight 3 oz skinless char or salmon fillets
2 cups olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup sakay
1 line, quartered.

Combine olive oil, garlic and thyme and marinate fish for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 275. Place the fish in a shallow baking dish and rub all over with the sakay. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the fish from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Squeeze a lime quarter over the fish and enjoy.

Cucumber Sambal

1 tsp sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Juice of one lime
1 mint sprig, leaves only, chopped
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and sliced thin

Combine everything and let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving.

Javanese Grilled Chicken and Celebration Yellow Rice-Java, Indonesia

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I LOVE this grilled chicken. The simmering in spices before marinating and grilling really adds complex layers of flavor to the final dish. The meat is also really moist.

I could eat the marinade with a spoon. I really love the flavor of Kecap Manis(pronounced Keh-CHOP mah-NEESE according to the book)

I used bone in skin on thighs instead of a whole chicken.

Both these recipes come from Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore by James Oselund.

Javanese Grilled Chicken-Ayam Panggang Jawa


4 Cups water
3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
7 whole daun salam leaves(available dried at an Asian grocery)
2 tbs coriander seeds
1 2 inch piece galangal peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tbs salt

1 whole free range chicken


1 tbs coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic peeled and coarsly chopped
2 tbs peanut oil
1/2 cup Kecap Manis(Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)

1. Combine the ingredients for the broth in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lwer the heat to medium, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Add chicken to broth, raise heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes until it's about 3/4 cooked.

3. while the chicken is cooking make the marinade. Grind the coriander seeds to a dusty powder in a small food processor. Add the garlic and remaining ingredients and pulse until garlic is pulverized. No shards or slivers should be visible.

4. Put the chicken in a non-reactive bowl and cover with the marinade. Marinate uncovered at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigetrator overnight, turning the chicken to ensure it's evenly covered. Bring chicken to room temperature before grilling or broiling.

5. Grill chicken over medium-hot fire or broil basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

6. Allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Celebration Yellow Rice-Nasi Kuning

The author advises not to cut the recipe in half or use a rice cooker for this recipe.

I really liked this rice. I tasted the lemongrass, kaffir lime and coconut more than the tumeric. I also think you could easily use light coconut milk in place of the regular.

Traditionally this rice is reserved for special occasions or as a celebration of a baby's first taste of solid food. It originated in Java and is now eaten all over Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It's also often served as a dish called Tumpeng. The rice is formed into an inverted cone with a splayed red chile on top and with peanuts and omelet strips on the sides. This is said to represent early volcano worship by the Javanese.

2 Cups Jasmine Rice
1 1/2 Cups water
1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp kosher salt
2 thick stalks lemongrass each tied into a knot (smash with a knife and then tie)
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, crumbled to release their essence
4 fresh daun pandan leaves torn(optional-I didn't use them)
4 whole daun salam leaves

Rinse rice and place in large saucepan.

Combine water and tumeric and stir.

Add tumeric water, coconut milk, salt, lemongrass, lime leaves, and daum pandan and daum salam leaves to rice and stir well to combine.

Bring rice to a boil over high heat stirring frequently. Boil for 15 seconds, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover. Continue cooking for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid.

Remove pan from heat and allow to sit covered for an additional 15 minutes.

Open the pot and remove the lemongrass and leaves.. Fold rice with a spoon to distribute the flavors. Transfer to a dish, fluff and serve.

Chipotle Chicken Salad

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I'm getting down to the bare bones in my fridge before I leave. I had most of the ingredients for this salad on hand and had to make a regional dish for The Monthly Challenge Blog.

I didn't buy a rotisserie chicken-instead I baked a boneless,skinless chicken breast in foil in the oven for 25 minutes at 375. I seasoned it with salt and pepper. I normally would use tortilla chips but the Frito's are outstanding in this salad.

Chipotle Chicken Salad Gourmet Magazine July 2006

Melissa Roberts-Matar

1 rotisserie-cooked chicken (2 lb) at room temperature
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 (15- to 19-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1 rounded tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 firm-ripe California avocados, halved, pitted, and left unpeeled
3 oz corn chips such as Fritos (1 1/2 cups)
1 heart of romaine, separated into leaves
Remove chicken from bone in large chunks, with some skin if desired, and toss together with onion and black beans in a large bowl.

Purée cilantro, chipotles, oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender, then add to chicken mixture.

Cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes, without cutting through peel.

Toss chicken mixture with chips. Scoop avocado into chicken mixture with a spoon. Serve salad on romaine leaves. © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

Ribeye cooked in cast iron and roasted cauliflower. USA

I won't be cooking much because I'm going to Iowa next week. I'm going get creative with whatever ingredients I have on hand.

I added some new cookbooks to the list at the right so you'll know what to expect when I return.

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This recipe comes from The Notes from a New Orleans Foodie... in exile blog It's not so much a recipe as much as a technique. I bought a cast iron grill pan and have been itching to cook a steak in it. I bought my grass-fed ribeye at Wild Oats and topped it with mushrooms and Maytag Blue Cheese.

Warning-this will heat up your kitchen and smoke a bit so use your vent fan. You simply heat your oven to the highest temperature it will go to and put your cast iron pan inside. When the pan is the temperature of the oven, remove it and put it on a lit burner. Your steak should be at room temperature. Season your steak(I just used salt and pepper) and brush one side with olive oil. Put the steak,olive oil side sown, and sear for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn with tongs(no turner-use tongs)and sear the other side. Finish the steak off under the broiler. I cooked mine about 3 minutes because I like it on the rare/med rare side.

On the side is Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter which is a Cooking Light recipe. Roasting is my favorite way to prepare cauliflower with or without the brown butter. Sometimes I just toss it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 400°.
Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with
cooking spray. Coat cauliflower with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt and
pepper. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes, turning cauliflower twice.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until
lightly browned. Combine cauliflower and browned butter in a bowl, and
toss gently to coat.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 53(37% from fat); FAT 2.2g (sat 1.2g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.1g);
0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 7.5g

Arroz Gratinado-Mexico

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I always take a dozen pictures of my finished dish for my blog. Is it any wonder my dinners are never hot?

Anyway I couldn't decide which picture was better so I'm posting two.

This recipe is from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine. I loved it although I was tempted to add more cheese. I love cheese! But I used the amount the recipe called for and it was perfect. You could also use shredded chicken or make it without meat if you wish.

The wine is a Pinot Noir Rose and was recommended by the owner of my local wine store. I don't think I've ever had rose before but I really liked it with this dish!

Tomato Rice Casserole with Poblanos and Melted Cheese.

This main dish recipe offers great everyday flavors: roasted tomatoes and green chiles baked with shreds of beef, tender rice and gooey cheese.
Without the meat, this casserole is a substantial side dish to serve with grilled or roasted meats or poultry. To set on a buffet, double the recipe and bake it in a 13 x 9-inch dish.

Serves 6 as a casual entrée

For 2 cups essential roasted poblano rajas
1 pound (6 medium-large) fresh poblano chiles
1 T vegetables or olive oil
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 t dried Mexican oregano

1 pound ripe tomatoes
Salt )
1 cup medium grain rice, uncooked
1 cup grated Mexican Chihuahua or other melting cheese such as brick or Monterey Jack
1 1/2 cups boneless, shredded, cooked beef

1. Making 2 cups Essential Roasted Poblano Rajas. Roast the chiles directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame, about 10 minutes for broiler. (If using broiler, the tomatoes from step 2 can be roasted at the same time.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stem and seed pod, then rinse briefly to remove bits of skin and seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch strips.

In a medium-size skillet, heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until nicely browned but still a little crunchy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, toss a minute longer, then stir in the chiles and remove from the heat.

2. The Tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then flip and roast the other side. Cool, then peel, collecting all the juices. Chop tomatoes coarsely and combine with the juices. Return the chiles to medium-high heat, add the tomatoes and their juices and stir until the juices are nicely reduced, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt, usually 1 teaspoon.

3. The Rice. In a large (6 quart) pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the rice and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, until the grains are tender but not mushy or splayed. Pour into a strainer, then spread onto a tray to cool.

4. The Casserole. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread half of the rice over the bottom of a lightly greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Spoon on half of the chile-tomato mixture, spreading it to the edges, then sprinkle over about half of the cheese. If you’re using any meat, distribute it over the cheese at this point. Cover with remaining rice, chile-tomato mixture and cheese (in that order), and bake until bubbling and brown, 20-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

Yogurtlu Kebab Turkey

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Well I hear it's going to be cooling down here. Tomorrow it's supposed to be a brisk 103 instead of the 110 degrees we've been having. So hopefully I'll be able to fire up my oven soon!

I just can't seem to get away from the Turkish recipes! I was drawn in by the picture of this recipe although, mine didn't look anything like the food photographers. I think food stylists and editors cheat.

The kafta tasted like meat loaf to me. She gives a lot of ideas on other spices to add, which I'll definitely do since I have leftover meat. I have some fresh mint that needs to be used. Other suggestions are cinnamon and allspice. Cumin and Corriander, or red pepper flakes.

Kafta is usually rolled onto a ball, flattened and grilled on a skewer. You can also make "sliders" like this recipe.

When I make them again I'm going to grill them on my cast iron grill pan instead of broiling so they'll get a sear on them.

This dish was invented in Turkey by a man called Iskander in the 1920's and is a mainstay of Turkish Kebab houses.

The sauce and meat are served hot and the yogurt should be at room temperature.

Kofta Meshweya

1 1/2 lbs lamb with the shoulder with some fat, ground into a pate. (I just bought ground lamb)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 medium onions, finely chopped


Yogurtlu Kebab
(Kafta with Tomato Sauce and Yogurt)
From The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

1 lb tomatoes peeled and chopped
4 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 pita bread
Ground Lamb Kafta mixture from above recipe
2 1/2 cups plain whole milk or thick strained yogurt(I bought 2% Greek strained yogurt to cut some fat and calories)
1 tsp Paprika
2-3 tbs toasted pine nuts
2 tbs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Put tomatoes in a pan with 1 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until they soften.

Toast the pita bread until it is crisp and brek into pieces.

Shape the lamb meat into 12-16 small burgers. Broil, turning once, until they are brown on the outside and pink on the inside.

In a bowl put a quarter of the toasted pita, cover witht the tomato sauce, and top with a layer of yogurt. Mix the paprika and the remaining olive oil and dribble over the yogurt. sprinkle with pine nuts. Top with a kafta burger and sprinkle with parsley.

I promise my next recipe will not be Turkish.

The Imam Fainted- Turkey

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The story behind this dish is that when it was fed to a Muslim Cleric for the first time he swooned either from the sheer pleasure of the dish or from the amount of costly olive oil used. The dish was very very very good but not quite swoon worthy. Maybe if you're a cleric who doesn't eat well.

Anyway I cut the recipe in half. The dish is served at room tempreature as an appetizer but I had it for dinner with a salad and bread. One serving is one eggplant. I really had to restrain myself from eating two. Leftovers need to be brought to room temperature.

The Imam Fainted- Imam Bayildi From The Greatest Dishes by Anya Von Bremzen

6 Slender Japanese eggplants about 7 inches long
4 medium ripe tomatoes
2/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
3 medium white onions halved and sliced
12 large garlic cloves,peeled and chopped
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 heaping tsp sugar
1/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tbs lightly toasted pine nuts
lemon wedges

Using a vegetable peeler slice off strips of eggplant skin in one inch intervals for a "striped" effect. Pierce in several places with a small knife. Soak completely submerged in a bowl of water with 1 tbs salt. Place a plate on top of the eggplant to weigh them down. Soak for 30 minutes. Remove, squeeze water out of eggplants and pat dry with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350

Halve and seed 2 of the tomatoes and grate on the large holes of a box grater. Discard the skins. Seed and dice the other 2 tomatoes.

Heat 3 tbs of the oil in a large shallow ovenproof casserole or dutch oven. Sautee the onions over medium low heat until softened (about 10 minutes). Stir in the garlic and tomatoes both grated and diced and arrange the eggplants among the onions so they touch the bottom of the pan. Pour in the rest of the olive oil. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes urning the eggplants once.

Mix the water and sugar and pour over the eggplants. Salt to taste and place the pot, covered, in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes turning the eggplants every 10 minutes. At the end of cooking all the water should be absorbed and the cooking liquid and tomatoes should be glossy.

Cool the eggplant to warm or room temperature. Cut a slit in each eggplant and stuff with about 1 1/2 tbs of the onion/garlic/tomato mixture draining it on a fork as you stuff.

Transfer the eggplants to a serving platter. Spoon the sauce around them and sprinkle with parsley and pine nuts. Squeeze some of the lemon juice on top.

Khmer Stir Fried Ginger and Beef-Cambodia

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I haven't had time to get to the Asian grocery store and I've been short on time so I chose this simple recipe. There's a more elaborate Khmer recipe I'm going to try when I have some time.

Cooking fish sauce stinks to high heaven but the resulting dish is very good.

Look for young unwrinkled ginger otherwise you'll get the "cat hair" effect.

Khmer Stir Fried Ginger and Beef-Saiko cha k'nye From Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford

1/2 lb boneless sirloin or ribeye cut into thin slices
1/2 lb ginger peeled and cut into matchsticks
3 tbs vegetable or peanut oil
3-4 garlic cloves smashed and minced
2 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp sugar

Heat a wok over medium high heat and add oil when hot. When oil is hot stir fry garlic until it starts to golden. Add meat and stir fry until it changes color. Add fish sauce, sugar and ginger and cook until tender about 4-5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Spiced Orange Shrimp Ceviche-Ecuador

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This appetizer is out of this world!

It comes from the aforementioned Greatest Dishes cookbook.

Chunky zesty sauce with crunchy onion and cool cilantro. A refreshing cooler for a hot summer day.

Most cerviches are raw fish "cooked" in lime juice and seasoned. This incarnation is more like a shrimp cocktail.

And I loved the presentation. We used the endive leaves to scoop up the cerviche.

The book states that ketchup is indeed an authentic cerviche ingredient in Ecuador. She also suggests using some chopped jicama for crunch or mango for sweetness.

Spiced Orange Shrimp Ceviche
From The Greatest Dishes: Around the World in 80 Recipes by Anya Von Bremzen

1 lb uncooked shrimp
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
4 tbs fresh lime juice or more to taste
2 large garlic cloves chopped
1 small jalepeno cored and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
large pinch ground cumin
small pinch ground cinnamon
small of ground cloves
dash of tabasco sauce
1 medium red onion quartered, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves plus more for garnish
2 tbs olive oil
Belgian endive for garnish

Boil salted water and add shrimp. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 1/2 minute. Drain and immediately place shrimp in ice water. Drain, pat dry, peel and devein shrimp.

Place ketchup in a large bowl and whisk in the orange juice until blended. Whisk in lemon and lime juices. Add garlic through tabasco. Taste and adjust lime juice. It should be sweet tart and spicy.

In a large non-reactive bowl toss shrimp, onion tomato and cilantro. Pour the marinade over shrimp and toss in the oil. Cover and refrigerate 8-24 hours tossing once or twice.

Serve in martini glasses with the endive as a garnish

Peruvian Grilled Chicken-Peru

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This recipe comes from the September issue of Gourmet magazine. I'm assuming you all know how to grill chicken so I didn't include directions here.

I loved the flavorful marinade. Peruvian food has a heavy Japanese influence hence the soy sauce. The other item you see on the plate is Tostones from the same issue. I didn't include the recipe here because I didn't think they were very good.

Pollo A La Brasa (Peruvian Grilled Chicken)

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbs fresh lime juice
5 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 chicken, quartered

Blend soy sauce through oil in blender. Put in large ziplock bag and marinate 8-24 hours.



I got a request for Khmer food. That person would be my brother, a chef, who lived in Cambodia for over 10 years. My sister-in-law is Khmer.

Tomorrow I'm making a Peruvian dinner so it will have to happen next week. Meanwhile...

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I'm not a big beef eater but Wild Oats had some beautiful grass fed ribeyes on sale. I'll spare you my rant on why you should eat grass fed beef(better for the cow, better for you).

Seeing them made me crave Chimichurri, which is my favorite condiment for beef.

This recipe comes from The Greatest Dishes!: Around the World in 80 Recipes by Anya Von Bremzen. The book is pretty much the worlds greatest culinary hits and is a great choice for those who want to dabble in international cuisines but who are wary of being too adventurous.

The CLBB is a bad influence. I had posted that I didn't have any cast iron cookware and was immediately told to get a cast iron skillet NOW! Someone mentioned Marshalls had Lodge for $9.99 and, well, my car happened to find the Marshalls across the street on my lunch hour. I didn't find the skillet but I did find a really nice cast iron grill pan for $14.

Unfortunately I couldn't do this steak in the cast iron skillet. It's still 110 degrees here and heating up the house and opening the windows is not an option. Maybe this winter.

Chimichurri from The Greatest Dishes by Anya Von Bremzen

1 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
6 large garlic cloves chopped
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp Goya adobo seasoning(I skipped it)
1/4 cup mild olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar

In a mini processor process parsley and garlic until minced but not pureed. Add a little vinegar if necessary to help processing.
Scrape into a bowl and let sit 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste and let the sauces stand at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. It will keep refrigerated for a week.

serve on steak.

Peppery Hot and Garlicky Fish and Carrots in Oil-Jazar bi Zeit-Libya/Algeria

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If you like Claudia Roden's Arabesque then you'll love The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. At 513 pages she covers every region of the Middle East.

I was happy to find a small Middle Eastern Market near my house(with an African Market and an Eastern European Market across the street!). I stocked up on a few things mentioned in the book. I didn't find Argan oil but there's a large Middle Eastern Market downtown that may carry it.

For this dish I bought a can of harissa instead of making my own. The homemade is probably much better but I was feeling lazy.

She warns that the fish is spicy but I didn't find it particulary hot. Then again I'm not a wimp when it comes to spices. I think I may up the harissa to 1 tablespoon next time I make this.

I loved the mint with the carrots. I didn't have dried mint but I had some fresh that had to be used quicly so I chopped the rest of it up and added it at the last minute.

Here's a tip. If a recipe calls for a small amount of tomato paste I take what I need and put the rest in a ziplock, smash it flat and freeze. Whenever I need another small amount of paste I just break off a chunk. I did this with my canned harissa too.

Peppery Hot and Garlicky Fish-L'Hout Hraimy

The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

1 whole head of garlic peeled
2 tsp tomato paste
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 teaspoon harissa(recipe to follow if you want to make your own)or buy a can.
or you can sub 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper
juice of one lemon
2 lbs fish filets(I used cod)

puree the garlic in a food processor. Add to skillet with tomato paste and stir in oil and the rest of the ingredients except the fish. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add the fish and cook over low heat 3-10 minutes turning once until done(mine took about 6 minutes)
serve hot.

Makes 3/4 to 1 cup

2 oz dried hot chili peppers stems and seeds removed
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 tsp ground caraway
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
Olive Oil

Soak the peppers in water for 30 minutes until soft. Drain and pound with the garlic, spices and a little salt in a mortar and pestle, or blend in a food processor adding just enough oil to make a paste. Press into a har and cover with oil. It keeps for many weeks in the refrigerator if covered with oil.

Carrots in Oil-Jazar bi Zeit

1 lb carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tbs dried mint
2 tbs olive oil

Put the carrots in a pan and cover with water. Add salt and simmer until tender about 20 minutes. Uncover and let liquid reduce(I poured most of it out) Add garli, mint and oil and cook a few minutes more.

A Tunisian version calls for 1 tbs tomatoe paste in the cooking water.

Mint and Parsley Salad with Rice -Lebanon

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The recipe says this is four servings but they're going to be four generous servings. It makes a LOT! I liked it on it's own and ended up adding more lemon juice.

This will be great in a pita for tomorrows lunch or, as the book suggests, as a vegetable stuffing.

Tabbouleh Bi Roz
From Arabesque

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups loosely packed chopped flat leaf parsley
7 scallions thinly sliced
juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons
5 tbs olive oil
black pepper
5 ripe tomatoes diced
Romaine lettuce(optional)

Cook the rice according to package directions and let cool.

In a large bowl add salt, parsley and scallions. Mix.

Whisk lemon juice olive oil and pepper and stir into mixture. Serve on flat plate topped with tomatoes. More lemon juice can be added if you want a sharper flavor.

Tuna wth Red Bell Pepper Sauce-Morocco

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I'm always nervous searing my own tuna. I don't know why as ahi is quite tasty raw.

Tuna is expensive and I was only making enough for myself so I had the fish monger cut me a small piece. Hence the little squares.

This recipe is also from Arabesque which is my new favorite cookbook!

Hout Bil Felfa (Tuna with Red Bell Pepper Sauce)

4 bell peppers
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tbs red or white wine vinegar
3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs olive oil
4 thick tuna steaks
chopped flat leaf parsley

Prepare sauce. Place bell peppers and garlic cloves on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Broil until garlic is roasted and skin on peppers is black and blistered. Place the peppers in a zplastic bag for approximately 15 minutes. Take the skin off the garlic. When the peoppers are cool enpugh to handle, peel rough cop and place in food processor with garlic vinegar and oil. Puree.

Heat the oil in the skillet and sear the tuna for no more than one minute on each side. It should still be red in the center.

Serve on top of the auce sprinkled with the parsley.

Chicken with Tomato Pilaf-Turkey

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This Turkish dish is from Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden. I love this cookbook. It's beautifully photographed, the recipes are easy and the ingredients are readily accessible at any grocery store or Middle Eastern market. The recipes are also appealing if you're cooking for someone who isn't really adventurous.

This dinner went together easily. Minimal chopping and 2 pots. I cut the recipe in half so I'd have dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. I used thighs. I just cut the skin off, trimmed the fat and cut the meat off the bone. I also cheated and didn't use butter and oil for the chicken. I just used a little bit of butter. And I didn't use as much butter in the rice as the recipe indicated. I also sprinkled it with Zatar and lemon juice.

I had a Japanese eggplant that needed to be used so I brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper and served it on the side.

Chicken With Tomato Pilaf (Tavuk Ve Domatesli Pilav)
From Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden

Serves 4
1 1/2 cups Basmati or long grain rice
1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled (I didn't peel mine)
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tsp sugar
salt and black pepper
1/2 stick butter cut into pieces

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 tbs sunflower oil
2 tbs butter
salt and black pepper
2 tbs chopped parsley
quartered lemon or sumac

Soak rice in cold water for a few minute and drain and rinse.
Cut tomatoes into quarters and cut off stem. Puree to a liquid in a food processor. Add enough water to the tomato to make the mixture 2 2/3 cups.

Put the tomato in a sauce pan with crumbled bouillon cube, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add rice, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile stir fry chicken in melted butter and oil until browned.

Remove rice from heat and stir in butter pieces until melted.

Pile rice on plate and top with chicken and cilantro. Sprinkle with sumac and lemon juice if desired.

Mean Chef's Essential Roasted Tomato-Jalapeño Salsa-Mexico

I love salsa!! I can eat it like there's no tomorrow. It's healthy, satisfying and so easy to make. This recipe is from Rick Bayless. It's not tremendously spicy but it does have a backkick to it. I made mine in my mortar.

Roast these:
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Pound the garlic and chiles with salt
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Add tomatoes
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Add onions, cilantro and vinegar
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1 lb red ripe tomatoes
2 large fresh jalapeno chilies
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (optional)

1. Roasting the basic ingredients:.
2. The broiler method: Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet and place about 4 inches below a very hot broiler. Roast until blistered and blackened on one side, about 6 minutes; with a spoon or pair of tongs, flip the tomatoes and roast on the other side.
3. The griddle method: Line a griddle or heavy skillet with aluminum foil and heat over medium. Lay the tomatoes on the foil and roast, turning several times, until blistered, blackened and softened, about 10 minutes. Don't worry if skin sticks to the foil. Cool, then peel the skins, collecting all the juices with the tomatoes. While the tomatoes are roasting, roast the chiles and unpeeled garlic directly on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet (you already have one set up if you've griddle-roasted the tomatoes) over medium. Turn occasionally until both chiles and garlic are blackened in spots and soft, 5 to 10 minutes for the chiles, about 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool, pull the stems off the chiles and peel the papery skins from the garlic.
4. Grinding the salsa:.
5. The mortar method: In a large mortar, use the pestle to crush and grind the chiles, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to a coarse-textured paste (this will release a wonderfully pungent aroma), paying special attention to breaking up the chile skins. A few at a time, grind in the roasted tomatoes, transferring the ground mixture to a bowl if the mortar gets unmanageably full.
6. The food processor or blender method: In a food processor or blender, grind the chiles, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to a coarse paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Add the tomatoes and pulse a few times until you have a coarse-textured puree. Transfer the salsa to a serving bowl, and stir in any reserved tomato juices.
7. Final seasoning. In a strainer, rinse the onion under running water, shake off the excess and stir into the salsa, along with the cilantro and optional vinegar. Add water, if necessary, to give the salsa a thickish, but easily spoonable, consistency (2 to 4 tablespoons is the norm). Taste and season with salt, usually a scant 1/4 teaspoon, and the salsa's ready to serve.

Thai Lime Beef Salad

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Back to Asian food! I wanted to make something refreshing that wouldn't heat up the kitchen.

I've made this salad twice and love it! The blend of herbs in the salad and seasoning in the dressing is perfect. I grilled my meat instead of broiling.

I got this recipe off The Monthly Challenge Blog but it's originally from the Bon Appetit (May 2001). The original source is The Blue Elephant Restaraunt in Paris (

Thai Lime Beef Salad

For the dressing:
7 T. fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
7 T. fish sauce (nam pla)
3 T. minced, seeded jalapeno chilies
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. sugar

For the salad:
1 lb. flank steak
1 head romaine lettuce, torn in pieces
4 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tomatoes, quartered
3/4 c. chopped shallots
1/4 c. matchstick-size strips peeled cucumber
1/4 c. diced celery
1 T. chopped fresh mint
1 T. minced fresh lemongrass, or 1 t. grated lemon peel
1/4 c. thinly sliced radishes

Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temp. before continuing).

Preheat broiler. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Broil to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer meat to cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut meat across grain into 2.5 inch wide strips. Cut strips crosswise into thin slices. Combine meat slices, lettuce, cilantro and next 6 ingredients (through lemongrass) in large bowl. Add enough dressing to taste (may not need all) and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with radishes.

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Chicken with White Wine, Grape Juice and Cilantro and Baked Rice-Spain

I made Spanish food again last night. These two recipes are from La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain by Penelope Casas

I always use bone in/skin on chicken. I think it has a lot more flavor than boneless skinless meat and you can always take the skin off after cooking. This recipe calls for a whole chicken cut up but I just used some thighs I had in the freezer.

It was a really easy meal to put together. It was also a lot milder than the Asian food I've been eating. I think I've grown too accustomed to spicy garlicky food.

I enjoyed these two recipes and would definitely make them again.

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Pollo a la Uva Blanca con Cilantro (Chicken with White Wine, Grape Juice and Cilantro

From the Andalucia region of Spain

3lb Chicken, cut up
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, slivered
3/4 c dry white wine
1/4 c plus 2 tbs white grape juice
6 tbs minced cilantro

Heat oil in shallow pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Sautee chicken until golden all over. Add onion and sautee until wilted. Add wine, grape juice and 3 tbs of the cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and turn up the heat. Boil the sauce until reduced and slightly thickened. Serve sprinkled with remaining cilantro.

Arroz al Horno (Baked Rice)

2 tbs olive oil or butter
2 tbs minced onion
1 c Valencian or arborio rice
1 c chicken broth
1 c water
2 tbs minced parsley
1 1/1 tsp thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
few strands saffron crumbled

Preheat oven 400. Sautee onion until softened. Add rice through saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and salt to taste. Cover and place in oven for 15 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Bartolome's Malaga Style White Gazpacho-Spain

Last night I perused La Cocina De Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain by Penelope Casas and the photo of Bartolome's Malaga-Style White Gazpacho (Ajo Blanco Malagueno de Bartolome Rodrigo Lucena) caught my eye.

I love cold soups in the summer.

I had accidently bought raw almonds at Trader Joe's instead of my usual roasted which turned out to be a good thing as I have everything I need to make this recipe.

This morning I blanched the almonds(cover with boiling water for exactly one minute, drain and plunge in ice water and squeeze to peel) threw everything in the processor as directed and put it in the refrigerator.

According to the book this is a gazpacho typical of Malaga and the sweet green grapes are essential to counterpoint the tang of the garlic and vinegar. The shrimp are not typical but add flair.

The end result was phenomenal. The grapes and shrimp beautifully complimented the soup.

I added a bit more vinegar before serving.

This would be a great "company" soup course.

Bartolome's Malaga-Style White Gazpacho (Ajo Blanco Malagueno de Bartolome Rodrigo Lucena

One six inch piece cut of firm textured French bread crust removed
1/2 lb(about 1 1/2 cups) blanched almonds
2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
2 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
1 cup mild extra virgin olive oil, preferably Andulasian hojiblanca
4 cups ice water
16-24 skinned seedless green grapes or 16 small balls of green melon or apple
12 small cooked shrimp(optional)

Soak bread in water and squeeze dry. Place in food processor, add the almonds and garlic and blend till very smooth. Add vinegar and salt and with motor running add the oil in a thin stream until incorporated. Gradually pour in water.

Transfer to covered bowl and chill overnight of for several hours. Before serving taste and adjust salt and vinegar as needed. Garnish with 3-4 grapes and 3 shrimp if using.

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Squid with Ginger Garlic Sauce (Muoc Tuoi)-Vietnam

Last night I discovered I had all the ingredients on hand for this dish from Vietnam. Once again it's from Hot Sour Salty Sweet.

The recipe goes into detail on how to clean a squid but I bought a bag of frozen squid tubes for another recipe some time ago so I just cut one into rings.

This was easy to put together. The sauce would also be good with an Asian salad or as a dip for summer rolls.

I plated it like a salad and served it with a side of rice.

Squid with Ginger Garlic Sauce (Muoc Tuoi)

2 lbs cleaned squid chopped into rings
2-3 tbs lime juice
1/2 c chopped coriander

Boil the squid and cook until tender 4-6 minutes
Drain and place in a bowl with lime juice. Toss to coat.
Serve on a bed of lettuce. Sprinkle with coriander. Serve with Ginger garlic sauce.

Ginger Garlic Sauce

2 tbs minced ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
1 bird chile minced
1 tsp sugar
3 tbs Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
3 tbs lime juice
1-2 tbs water

Mix well.

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Aromatic Minced Pork-Shan Style (Laab Moo Tai Yai)-Thailand

I'm cooking Thai again. This recipe is from Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through South East Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

One of my favorite Thai dishes is Larb(also known as Laab)so I was happy to see I had all the ingredients for the Shan (NE Thailand) style on hand.

This is spicy hot and instead of poaching the meat, as in other larb recipes, the meat is stir fried with a paste and herbs

Normally the meat is minced or ground but I left mine in bigger chunks.

The end result was fantastic. I loved the flavors.

Aromatic Minced Pork-Shan Style (Laab Moo Tai Yai)

6-8 cloves of garlic, skins on
3 TBS minced lemongrass
1 TBS minced galangal
6 dried Thai red chiles
1 tsp salt
1 TBS toasted sesame seeds

Put the garlic cloves in a dry pan over high heat and roast until the skins are mostly blackened.

When cool remove skins and chop.

Now you can do this in your mortar and pestle but I used my mini-chopper.

Finely chop garlic with salt then add remaining ingredients and process one by one until a paste is formed.


2 TBS peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
3/4 lb ground pork
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens
1/2 cup rough chopped coriander
1/4 cup chopped mint

Heat a large wok over high heat and add the oil. Add the shallots, lower the heat to medium and cook till browned about 4 minutes. Add the paste and break up with a spoon. Add the pork and cook till browned on all sides then an additional 2 minutes. Add the scallion greens, coriander and half the chopped mint. Remove from heat and mound on plates. Sprinkle with remaining mint. Serve with rice(I used jasmine) and vegetables.

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Jungle Curry! Thailand

Welcome to my blog!

I'm still trying to figure out the settings on my digital camera so these pictures aren't so great.

This blog is going to take us on a trip around the world through international cookbooks. The list to the left will be updated. I'll also throw in some recipes from other sources.

Friday night's journey started in Northern Thailand. This recipe is from Hot Sour Salty Sweet: a Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. If you don't already have this book, I highly recommend buying it. It's part travelogue part cookbook. The photography and narrative are excellent.

I chose Jungle Curry (page 246) partly because I like the sound of Jungle Curry and because we're in monsoon so it seemed like an appropriate dish on a hot balmy night.

Like most Asian recipes most of the time is spent prepping and setting up the mis-en-place. Once that's done it's smooth sailing.

This was also my first experience with shrimp paste. I had been warned of the smell but boy oh boy was I taken aback when I broke the wax seal! I was actually a little worried about the flavor it would give to the curry but from what I understand it works as an enhancer,like fish sauce. No trace of the stink in the final product.

I absolutely loved this dish! It was descibed as "hot" in the book but mine just had a little kick to it. I may increase the chiles when I make it again. I also discovered Jungle Curry is just as good the next day.

Ingredients for the Jungle Curry Paste
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1/4 cup chopped shallots

1 tbs chopped garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbs minced galangal

1 heaping tbs minced lemongrass(approximately one stalk)

8 dried red chilis stemmed and minced

1 tbs coriander roots(I couldn't find them so I used stems)

2 wild lime leaves deveined and minced

1 tbs shrimp paste

(the recipe also calls for 1 optional tbs minced krachai. I couldn't find it so I left it out)

Put the shallots and garlic in a large mortar and pound to a paste. Add each ingredient one by one pounding and grinding to a coarse paste.

You can also use a blender but I like my mortar and pestle.
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Ingredients for the dish:
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1 lb boneless pork cut into small pieces(I used butt)
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs minced garlic chopped
3 round Thai eggplants quartered
1/2 lb yard beans or green beans cut into 1 inch sections
3 tbs Thai fish sauce(I like Golden Boy)
4 wild lime leaves coarsely torn
1 cup Asian basil leaves
salt to taste
(the recipe also calls for an optional 1/4 cup thinly sliced krachai to be added with the eggplants. I couldn't find it so I left it out)

Heat a large wok over high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add garlic and stir until it begins to golden. Add curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds pressing into the side of the wok. Add the pork and stir-fry until it begins to borwn on all sides 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the eggplants, beans, fish sauce and half the lime leaves and cook for 8 minutes. Add the remaining lime leaves and simmer for another 15 seconds.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves. Salt to taste. Serve with sticky rice.

I had my Jungle Curry with a glass of Hirsch Veltliner. It was recommended as a "wine that goes with everything" by the woman in the wine shop. It's a thirst quencher of a wine. I'd describe it as citrusy and crisp. And affordable.

I know the quality of this photo sucks.
But it was a drab looking but fab tasting dish!

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