Pass (up) the ketchup: 6 condiments with a worldly flair

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Photo courtesy of Alexandra Grablewski

By Bao Ong

New Year’s resolutions inevitably involve food — dieting, shunning carbs, going macrobiotic or gluten-free, eating more vegetables — the list goes on. But if you’re looking to stretch your culinary horizons without going too far out, condiments are a good way to go.

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Easy Passover Lunches

During the week of Passover, as Jews mark their ancestors’ exodus from slavery to freedom, the holiday’s added dietary restrictions might seem like shackles of a different sort — especially at lunchtime on a busy workday.

From Weight Watchers- But by turning your focus to fresh vegetables and lean protein, eight flour-free, corn-free, rice-free, bean-free days can become an opportunity to eat more healthfully. Here are some ideas for easy-to-prepare, portable and tasty lunches to help you fress without fuss. Print out this list and stick it on the fridge and you won’t have any excuse to eat matzo sandwiches all week! (CLICK TO SEE RECIPES)

Meatball Soup for Obama

President Barack Obama will have a lot on his plate during his upcoming visit to Indonesia. But many Indonesians seem more interested in what will be on his dinner plate with approximately 60 thousand voting on an online poll on the American Embassy’s Facebook page. Their top choice is a meatball soup called bakso, a lowbrow street snack that some foodies would rather keep off the presidential menu.

Obama spent three years of his childhood in Jakarta. He has often reminisced about the food he enjoyed here as a kid, including bakso, the dense gray meatball sold in soup from hundreds of thousands of food carts all over the country. “In an interview earlier this year with a local TV station, Obama not only reminisced about bakso – but he went on to imitate the sounds of the street vendors. “I like street food. And I like the street vendors,” he had said. “I still remember the sounds of people as they walk by ‘satay!” Right? You know? Ya, ‘Satay!, Bakso! Bakso! .The uh — I miss that.”

Click here to get the recipe for Meatball Soup

Cinnamon Jerk Chicken Recipe from Guam

Summary: Deep rich and delicious flavors to make your chicken a family favorite.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 to 3 Pounds of Skinned Chicken pieces (I normally use skinless breast pieces, but legs and thighs are just as delicious).
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 Can (6 ounces) tomato paste (Italian seasoning paste, if you can find it. If not, plain tomato paste is good).
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Olive OilDIRECTIONS
    1. Take a paper towel and pat dry all of the chicken pieces. Place chicken aside.
    2. In a small bowl, mix cinnamon, salt and pepper well.
    3. Rub the cinnamon mixture, with your fingers, into all of the chicken pieces.
    4. Heat Olive Oil in a large nonreactive skillet.
    5. When oil is hot, place the chicken pieces in the skillet to sear (about 4 minutes on each side). If you do not have a skillet large enough, you may need to sear the chicken in two batches. A skillet with 2 or 3″ sides works best.
    6. When chicken has been seared on both sides, remove from skillet and place aside.
    7. Lower the heat to medium-high and add 3 of the minced garlic cloves and the chopped onion.
    8. Saute the onions and garlic, until the onions become soft and golden brown.
    9. Add 1/2 cup of water to the onions and garlic in the pan. Use a spatula or spoon to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the skillet and loosening any particles stuck on the bottom.
    10. When the water has mostly evaporated, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, tomato paste, Italian herb seasoning and remaining minced garlic cloves. Mix well.
    11. Add the chicken back to the skillet. The tomato liquid should cover about 3/4 of the chicken. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-high heat for 30 – 40 minutes until chicken is tender and fully cooked.
    12. Place chicken mixture on a serving plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Multi Cultural Super Bowl Appetizers

    Crab Ceviche- Photo Credit Bakespace.com

    All recipes can be found here or the official Multi Cultural Cooking Network at http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com   Click on Recipe choice for recipe

    Photo Credit: BBC

    About the Cities of Super Bowl 2010: New Orleans

    Saints Win(Brees & Favre) Photo by David J. Phillip AP

    It is quite convenient for the Multi Cultural Cooking Network that the New Orléans Saints will be in the Big Super Bowl dance versus the Indianapolis Colts.  Why? New Orléans is legendary for food so it makes our jobs easier.  The list of foods of New Orléans are as long as the Menu items at Bubba Gump. – Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor

    Food History of New Orleans, A Very Multi Cultural Story

    The Cajun and Creole foods of the city and south Louisiana are living examples of people adapting to their new surroundings and neighbors. Creoles are descendants of wealthy Europeans sent to establish New Orleans. Their taste tended to be richer with sauces and roux from the French, sausages from the Germans, spices and rice from the Spanish, and desserts and pastries from the Italians. These European descendants often intermarried or employed Africans from the West Indies or Africa who contributed spices, slow cooking methods, beans and rice, and the use of the tomato. Africans brought with them a vegetable used to thicken and flavor soups. We call this vegetable “okra,” but the Africans called it “gumbo,” giving the famous soup its thickness and name. Native Americans introduced the settlers to local vegetables and spices, including sassafras for file and bay leaf.  Read More:  The Food of New Orleans

    Food History from the Institute for New Orleans History and Culture at Gywnedd Mercy College

    Dinner and a Movie: St. George Shoots the Dragon

    This photo is taken from Whatsforlunchhoney.blogspot.com

    The Dinner:  Serbian food is a blend of the two Empires that it bordered (Ottoman and Austria-Hungary) and the country features a very distinctive shift in meals in every part of the country. From Oriental to European, all types of food influences fill Serbian cuisine.

    Grilled meat is considered the national cuisine, however something found exclusively within the borders of Serbia is Kajmak, a treat made of milk fat. In addition there is ajvar, a specialty made from grilled red peppers – it is best served with grilled meat.

    The Movie: St. George Shoots the Dragon is the 2009 Serbian Oscar entry, directed by Srdjan Dragojevic and written by Dusan Kovacevic. It is a film that covers the time of the Balkan Wars to the Battle of Cer during World War I. Audiences are introduced to a cast of characters which include a wounded soldier named Gavrilo (played by Milutin Milosevic); George (Lazar Ristovski), Gavrilo’s seargeant in an earlier battle, and Katarina (Natasa Janjic), the woman they both long for. This group become involved in a love triangle and over the

    Serbian Oscar entry “St George Shoots the Dragon.”

    course of the film the lives of the war invalids and the decision by the Serbian government to send them to the front is explored.

    The film is well shot and acted. It is hard to think of a foreign actor who commands screen attention like Lazar Ristovski (who could be likened to Liam Niesem). St George Shoots the Dragon is violent and rough; however, this is fitting since it takes place in the countryside of a war-torn nation. A few gimmicks take away from the film, such as a scene with Gavrilo Princip crossing the border with the main character on his way to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand. Nevertheless, one consistently amazing piece is the score, which is beautifully composed by Aleksandar Sasa Habic. It supports the film through every twist and turn and compliments the imagery onscreen perfectly.Article Written by Michael Fusco Read More  Dinner and Movie reviews at: http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/dinner-and-a-movie.html

    The Food Traditions of Christmas Ornaments

    Christmas Food Ornaments

    The tradition of popcorn and berry garland was birthed in the United States.

    Did you know that ornaments are supposed to be different every year? That’s right, Christmas ornaments are meant to be a board-overview symbolizing memories of Christmas over the years. The earliest ornaments were apples, used during the 1800s. Eventually paper streamers with bits of shiny metal foil were added as an effect to make the Christmas tree reflect light.

    Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, Christmas trees were decorated with any household odds and ends, varying by country. Americans, for instance, would string long strands of cranberries or popcorn to circle their trees. Small gifts began to be used to decorate the tree, some times containing tiny intricately woven baskets, or at times just hanging by a thread or a piece of yarn.

    In the UK, creative ornaments of lace, paper or other materials showed the variety of interests and talents of their makers. Small “scraps” cut out of newspaper or magazine illustrations also found their way to the family’s tree.

    In the late nineteenth century, German glass blowers, in the area around Lauscha, began  blowing Christmas themed glass strictly for the holiday. Initially replicating fruits, nuts and other food items, they soon branched out and began to manufacture hearts, stars and other shapes that, prior to, were created out of cookies. However, now it had the added dimension of a wide color palette enhanced by the luminosity of the glass itself. Eventually the glass blowers began creating molds of children, saints, animals, and famous people. In the late 1800s to the early 1900s, F.W. Woolworth began to import the German glass ornaments at a value of 25- million.

    In many countries there are still special ornamental traditions today. Here are a few of the ornament traditions:

    In Germany there is the pickle ornament, placed on the tree first by the parents. The story goes that the child who finds the pickle first (normally the most observant one) would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas.

    In Lithuania, Father Christmas spreads grain on the floor and children must perform a special song or dance on this grain so they may receive their presents.

    In Argentina instead of placing gifts under a tree presents are put into shoes.

    Article written by Jasmine Gore

    Italian: The Feast of the Seven Fishes

    Calamari Salad:  a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

    The Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa de sette pesci) is a uniquely Italian tradition from Southern Italy, celebrated on Christmas Eve (also known as “the vigil” or “La Vigilia”). Although some parts of Italy do not celebrate the feast, it is believed to be an authentically Italian tradition going back to the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from the Italian xmas eveconsumption of meat or milk products on Fridays and specified holy days. In the stead of meat, Catholics ate fish, typically fried in oil. Other seafood has been incorporated into the celebration as well.

    So why seven fish? The story is debatable. Some say it has to do with the number of sacraments celebrated in the Catholic church, while others say that it has everything to do with the Biblical meaning of the number seven representing perfection. No matter what the story…that’s a whole lotta’ seafood, so there’s bound to be a whole lotta’ family and friends and fun.

    Popular dishes include

    The meal’s components may include some combination of anchovieswhitinglobstersardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eelssquidoctopusshrimpmussels and clams. The menu may also include pastasvegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

    Popular dishes

    many more. See allrecipes.com for menu tips for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

    Fried Smelts: a popular dish for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

    Ginger Beer Recipe from Trinidad and Tobago

    by Jeneba Ghatt

    Ginger beer is a delicious alternative to egg nog during the holiday.

    While Americans usually feature Egg Nog as a holiday drink, in Trinidad and Tobago there are several beverages that are consumed during the Christmas season. Among them is sorrel, puncha cream and ginger beer. My favorite is ginger beer because I love ginger — it aids in digestion. It also reminds me of the variation of the drink that I grew up with in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The ginger would steep for at least one day so the output was quite a pungent drink that had quite a punch!

    Recipe from the book, Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago (Hippocrene Books, NY), by Ramin Ganeshram. Available at Amazon.com.

    Ingredients

    1/2 lb. of fresh ginger, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater

    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    1/4 teaspoon ground mace

    1 ½ cups of light brown sugar

    1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

    6 sprigs mint

    Instructions

    Put ginger, lime juice, mace and 3/4 cup of the sugar into a wide mouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into jar and add the pod. Add 12 cups boiling water to jar and stir until sugar dissolves. Set ginger mixture side to steep and cool to room temperature. Cover jar tightly and refrigerate for 1 week.

    Line a large sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth. Strain ginger mixture through sieve into another wide mouthed gallon glass or ceramic jar, firmly pressing on solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard solids. Add the remaining sugar to ginger beer and stir until it dissolves. Serve in glasses over crushed ice, garnished with mint sprigs.