Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Creamy Parmesan Chicken Risotto

It seems like my posts are going to be few and far between these next few weeks before graduation. I really hate it because its the time of year when I want to share a bunch of cute holiday craft ideas/recipes. But unfortunately when you have to choose between class, work, blogging, and breathing, it's pretty obvious what goes first. (Sleeping dropped out of the running long ago.) Anyway, I wanted to be able to post at least once this week and hopefully get a country in. The country posts take forever, so don't hold your breath.

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I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it has been gross and rainy the past few days here in Tennessee. Rainy October days call for comfort food and PJs. (Unless you are a college student taking seven classes to graduate in 2.5 years while working 5 jobs and writing 11 papers. Someone that crazy doesn't even know what pajamas look like. They just know that they are on page 16 of their 20 page research paper in Spanish and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel because their computer screen has caused them to go blind.)

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What was I talking about?

.......oh yeah, chicken risotto. It's perfect for a yucky day. Or a sunny day. Or a snowy one. Even one of those weird days when you can't see your hand in front of you because all of the fog, but for some reason everyone still thinks driving is a good idea. Yes, that is the kind of day for risotto. And here is that risotto:

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Creamy Parmesan Chicken Risotto
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 cup milk
¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tsp Pampered Chef Garlic and Herb Seasonings
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper, to taste

To cook the chicken heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Cook the chicken until it’s done and browned all over. Meanwhile bring the broth to a boil in a small pot and heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Pour one cup of the boiling broth over the rice. Stir and cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Continue in this manner, slowly adding in more broth as the rice absorbs it until there is no more broth. Stir in the milk, seasonings, cheese, and chicken. Bring it back to a simmer and cook until the milk has been absorbed as well. Season to taste and serve.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cheese and Chilies

Life continues to get crazier and crazier, but Bhutan and its unique cuisine do not deserve to be ignored any longer. There is a widespread deficiency amongst the college-age American population of knowledge about Bhutan. When I told several different people that I cooked Bhutanese food, they either gave me blank stares, asked me what country the "Bhutan" was from (like it was a dish and not the actual place's name), or said something like, "Bhu-what?". I am here today to put an end to Bhutanese ignorance. Bhutan is actually one of the many nations that make up our world and deserves to be recognized. Bhutanese culture lovers unite! :) Before I get too carried away here....

Bhutan is a country. There's our start. Can everyone say Bhutan. (The inner teacher is really coming out now.) It's located in Asia. Yes, China is not the only country over there no matter what the bottom of every item you have ever bought claims. If you find China on a map and go south a bit, you will find Bhutan tucked away in the Himalayas. The mostly Buddhist Bhutanese people are matrilineal (ancestry is passed down the mother's line) and archery is the national sport. The Driglam Namzha is basically Bhutan's code of etiquette. It regulates dress code during different situations depending on the formality and context. It also tells the people how to eat, bow, talk, and how to build their buildings. One minority group refused to follow the new code when it was enacted in 1990, and their whole region was exiled and no longer is recognized by the Bhutanese as being part of Bhutan. About 20% of Bhutan is currently in exile because of nonconformity. That's a high percentage, especially since Bhutan is not that big to begin with. Back to the point about how Bhutan is matrilineal, it is the Bhutanese men who generally cook, clean, and take care of the home. It's also illegal to smoke in Bhutan and has been since 2010. It was the first country to enact this law. Bhutan has some very interesting laws....

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Bhutan is home to the amazing red rice; the only rice that grows at high altitudes such as those in Bhutan. (They are in the Himalayas, after all.) Other than the staple of rice (and in some regions corn and buckwheat), yak, chicken, dried beef, and pork are popular. Chili peppers and cheese are other must-haves for a Bhutanese table. Butter tea is a common drink that literally mixes tea with butter and supposedly tastes great.

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Eze is like the salsa of Bhutan and is great served alongside your main dish and rice to spice things up. (Because you didn't think your Bhutanese food could get any spicier.)

Eze
1 small onion, quartered
1 small tomato, quartered
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
4 red serrano chilies
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns

Broil the chilies under high heat until charred. Flip them over and cook until the other side is charred as well. Wait for the chilies to cool before peeling and seeding them. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a nice paste has formed.

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Ema Datshi is the national dish of Bhutan, and consists of chili, "Ema", and cheese, "Datshi". It's spicy and good served over a nice heaping portion of red rice. Be careful when you cook the chilies because they will smoke you out if not covered properly.

Ema Datshi
8 ounces feta cheese (the creamy block kind, not crumbled)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cups green chilies, seeded and sliced into long strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
1 tomato, pureed in a blender
a few leaves of cilantro
salt, to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. (Trust me; you’ll want the lid unless you enjoy hot chili smoke in your eyes and throat.) Add the garlic, onion, and chilies to the saucepan, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and do not allow them to brown, only caramelize. Add in about a cup of water along with the tomato. Simmer for about 5 minutes before adding the cheese. Stir until creamy, adjusting the water as needed. It should be a creamy sauce. Last of all, stir in the cilantro and cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste and serve with red rice.

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Minced chicken and (even more) chilies come together to make the meat dish called Jasha Maroo. It's also good over rice and topped with cilantro.
 
Jasha Maroo
1 pound chicken breast, cubed
1 tomato, chopped
6 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tbs oil
salt, to taste
cilantro, to garnish

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and chilies. Cook for about 5 minutes before adding the chicken. Allow the chicken to brown for a couple of minutes before pouring in the water along with the tomato, and ginger. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if needed. Serve atop red rice garnished with cilantro leaves.

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The Bhutanese sure do love their cheese and chilies. Unfortunately, I was not able to get authentic cheese nor chilies like they have in Bhutan. My Ema Datshi looks a little chunky because the feta I used did not melt as nicely as I had hoped. Oh well, the chili flavor still showed through. My mouth was on fire! I also couldn't get ahold of any red rice, so I subbed black rice, which I think looks very similar. Maybe it was all the less-than-perfect substitutions or maybe I just wasn't in a spicy food kind of mood, but I wasn't completely thrilled with my Bhutanese experience. I think I just wasn't feeling it because everything tasted great and came together well. (Except for the chunky cheese.) I even stirred some of the leftover chili salsa (Eze) into soup I made a couple of days later. I wonder if my meal goes along with the mandated Driglam Namzha code. I would not want to be exiled....

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Oatmeal hot or cold!

As the weather continues to fluctuate between summer and fall, I cannot keep track of whether I should plan on making cold overnight oats or warm cooked oatmeal. That's why I'm sharing two oatmeal recipes today. This way you have a back-up plan for whatever the weather decides to do. Who knows- it might be snowing tomorrow morning but get up to the mid 90s by the afternoon. You will be well stocked with yummy oatmeal recipes for every situation imaginable.

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I have seen quite a few recipes on Pinterest and around the web for oatmeal made with grated zucchini. The claim is that the zucchini moistens up the oatmeal without imparting any squash-y flavor. I decided to try it out for myself and threw in some grated apple to give it a fall theme. A big glob rounded it out and created one of the creamiest bowls of oatmeal I had ever experienced. Zucchini is a definite winner, and this recipe is great for all you fall lovers!

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Peanut Butter Apple Zoats
serves 2
1 small apple or half a large apple, grated
½ a zucchini, grated
1 cup oatmeal (I used a mixture of quick and old fashioned.)
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2-3 tbsp maple syrup, optional
¼ cup peanut butter
cinnamon, to taste

Bring the oats, milk, water, apple, and zucchini to a boil in a small pot and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the oats have reached your desired consistency/texture. Stir in the peanut butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon and enjoy!


If you are still clinging to the last recesses of summer (or living in the southern hemisphere), Peach Melba Oats are the way to go. Inspired by the favorite dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with peaches and raspberry sauce, this scrumptious bowl lets you have all the decadence for breakfast! A thick and luscious vanilla-yogurt-oatmeal base is mixed with fresh fruit and raspberry preserves to create a cooling breakfast treat.

Peach Melba Overnight Oats:

Peach Melba Overnight Oats
¼ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup milk
½ cup rolled oats
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 peach, peeled and diced
handful of raspberries
3 tbsp raspberry jelly/preserves

Mix together the yogurt, milk, and oats. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. The next morning stir in the vanilla, peach, and raspberries. Top with the preserves and enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fat Rice!

Tonight’s meal was extra special because I got to share it with one of my very best friends, Becca, who has actually spent a month living in Burkina. Burkina Faso is an African nation with a history of French colonization up until the 1960s and an even more recent history of governmental overthrows and issues. By recent I mean last month. Yeah, things in Burkina are not going so well right now. In 1984 Burkina Faso changed its name from Upper Volta to what it is today. The current name means "the country of honorable people". One very interesting custom that is generally practiced between family members or between members of two different ethnic groups is called "rakiire". Rakiire is basically a form of joking with the other person, but in the Burkinabe culture it is seen more as an invitation into the community than a harmful insult. Members of a single family can basically trash talk each other and it is seen as loving expression. Between members of two different ethnic groups rakiire expresses a pact of peace and nonaggression. If two tribes seem to be on the edge of a battle, rakiire can be used to defuse it. I guess the Burkinabe utilize it as a way of fighting with words instead of weapons in a way that is more comical to the other group than hurtful. Check out this interesting article if you want to learn more about rakiire: http://blog.compassion.com/burkina-faso-culture-the-tradition-of-rakiire-in-burkina-faso/  Maybe the coup leader who just seized the president of Burkina back in September and declared a change in government was persuaded to back down by rakiire. Six days later the transitional president, Michel Kafando, was restored to power.

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Becca and the internet told me that Burkinabe food is based mainly off of the common staple or rice along with a sauce. I debated on making peanut butter or okra sauce with as this seemed to be the most common Burinabe meal, but I have made peanut sauce and a million times. ( also goes by the names fufu, mielie-meal, ugali, sadza, pap, and nshima in other African countries. It also closely resembles the cou-cou of the Caribbean.) Instead of making yet another repeat meal, I decided to go with what appears to be Burkina’s national dish: Riz Gras, which means “fat rice” in French. Becca said that meat was hardly ever served where she stayed except during celebrations. She was working in an orphanage so I am sure that the food was not of the highest quality, but meat definitely is a treat for most Burkinabe people, orphan or not. Riz Gras would probably be a great meal for an important day. I had to feed my guest the best. 

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Riz Gras
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 cup rice, rinsed
1 small onion
1 tomato
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cabbage, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
oil, as needed
salt, to taste
thinly sliced onion, to serve

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a pot/wok. Add the chicken and fry until browned all over. Cover the chicken with water and bring it to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, process the onion, tomato, jalapeño, and garlic together in a food processor until it becomes a thick past. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes. Pour the broth into the saucepan along with the cabbage, carrot, rice, tomato paste, and chicken. Stir to evenly mix everything together. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the rice is done and all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes for white rice and 45 for brown. Season to taste and serve topped with onion slices.

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Becca and I LOVED the Riz Gras. (At least I know I did, and she said that she did.) We had to sub roasted red peppers for the tomatoes because of my allergy and her complete hatred towards anything tomato related. (Maybe that’s why we are such great friends. We bond over a common enemy.) The flavor was amazing, and even with the peppers instead of tomatoes, the color turned out to be just like in the pictures I found of authentic Riz Gras. It was nice to have company for one of my countries and learn about Becca’s experience in Burkina. African food never ceases to amaze me. I’d eat Riz Gras every day!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Abi!!

It's my roommate's 21st birthday, so I thought I would share a cute birthday card to celebrate.

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Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Polish Pierogis!

Although Poland has had a sad past of Nazi and communist takeovers, today it is one of the safest and most peaceful countries on Earth. Poles have a lot to be proud about. Nicolas Copernicus, the astronomer who first suggested that the sun was in the middle of the solar system rather than the earth, was a Pole. Poland's school system is the 10th best in the world. Poland is and has been (except during Nazi takeover) extremely tolerant to all people no matter their race, gender, or religion. To further prove how peaceful the Poles really are, they were the first country to outlaw corporal punishment, way back in the 1700s when American teachers were still beating their pupils with sticks. (My mom's teacher actually hit her with a ruler and that was in the 80s!) Slavery was never allowed in Poland. The Poles also work the second most amount of hours per week out of any other people in the world. Man, I think we should all become Polish. The world would be a better place.


Poland: Polish Pierogi:



Polish cuisine is pretty well known here in the US due to the fact that there were a lot of Polish immigrants who came over at the turn of the 19th century. (Approximately 19-20 Americans are of Polish descent.) Bigos, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, soups, and pierogi are some of the most popular Polish dishes. There were so many that I had trouble choosing the right one. I settled on pierogi and a carrot-apple slaw because they were different from things I had cooked from this region before, and pierogi have always been on my things-to-try list. Noodles, eggs, pork, rye bread, and soups are the foundations to Polish food. They love hearty fare and will go all out for Christmas and Easter. For Christmas they have their traditional Wigilia, a meal with 12 courses that is centered around fish. The meal is so popular that they actually call the whole day of Christmas Eve Wigilia. The main meal is served around 2 in Poland and generally is followed by a nice dessert of yeasted cakes or poppy seed pastries.

Pierogi Ruskie: Potato, Cheese, and Fried Onion Stuffed Pierogi:

Pierogi are popular Eastern European dumplings stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. Cheese, fried onions, and mashed potatoes are the most common fillings, so that's what I chose to go with tonight. Way back when, pierogi were considered to be peasant food, but once nobles caught on, they became widespread. They are so widespread today that you can even find them on the frozen food aisle here in America. It's crazy how things can catch on so quickly and spread all over the world. You can choose to either boil or sauté them, but I would definitely go with sautéing!

Pierogi Ruskie
serves 4-5 (4-5 pierogis each)
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup hot water
1 egg

For the filling:
1 potato, peeled and cubed
¾ cup cottage cheese
1 egg
½ onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
salt and pepper, to taste
butter, optional if sautéing the pierogi
sour cream and sautéed onions, to serve

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the potato cubes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set them aside to cool. Meanwhile, mix together all of the dough ingredients until a soft ball has formed. Continue to knead it for 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of extra water if needed. Cover the dough with a moist towel and set it aside for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat a pan over medium heat with the oil. Add the onion and cook for about 6 minutes, or until golden. Mash the potato up with the onion, cheese, and remaining egg. Season to taste.

To make the pierogi, roll out the dough to be about 1/8” thick (or even thinner if possible), and use a biscuit cutter to cut it into 4” rounds. Keep the dough covered with a moist towel as you work to prevent it from drying out.  Place a couple of teaspoons of the filling in the middle of each round, fold it in half, and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining pierogi.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook 4-5 pierogi at a time for about 5 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon and either serve immediately topped with caramelized onions and/or sour cream, or proceed to the next step.

Heat a tablespoon of butter or so over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté the peirogi on each side until golden. Serve with the fried onions and/or sour cream.

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Literally meaning "salad with carrots" Surowka z Marchewki is a colorful and delicious addition to any Polish meal. The Poles love their shredded veggie salad mixes and this particular on is a winner!

Surówka z Marchewki
4 carrots, peeled and grated
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup raisins

Toss the carrots, apples, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until chilled. Top with the raisins and serve.


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I actually enjoyed the SSSSSSSS a lot more than I thought I was going to. (That always seems to be the case.) The combination of carrots, apples, lemon juice, and raisins just seemed a little strange to me, mostly due to the carrots. I ended up really liking it. The citrusy lemon flavor did wonders to the carrots and apples. The flavors all came together nicely. My only complaint is that it takes a bit of effort to grate the apples and carrots, and it can make quite a mess. The pierogis, on the other hand, were not my favorite. It is very funny how things never turn out as planned. I thought that I would love the pierogis. I had never had one before but have wanted to try them for a long time now. It might have been because I don’t like potatoes, or possibly because they took stinking forever and made a bunch of dirty dishes, or even because after the photoshoot and cleaning everything up they had grown cold and our microwave was currently out of commission, but there was something about them that I just did not care for. Oh well, the fried onions on top were delicious.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

For all mayo haters....

As I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of mayo. I'm not as bad as my former coworker who was actually terrified of the stuff, but I am not all that willing to have it come near my mouth. Because of this, chicken and tuna salad are generally off my list. A couple of years ago I came up with an ingenious way to use Laughing Cow cheese as a substitute for mayo in chicken salad. I decided to try it out with tuna and enhanced the creamy factor even more with the addition of avocado in the mix. I then rolled this delightful tuna salad in a scrumptious tortilla along with some fresh veggies. It was a wrap to die for! If you share similar animosity towards mayo as I do, I definitely recommend that you try this recipe out for yourself.

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Avocado Tuna Salad Wraps
serves 4
4- 8” tortillas
1-5oz can of tuna
3 wedges of spreadable cheese (like the Laughing Cow cheese wedges)
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
3 tbsp grated carrot
3 tbsp chopped red onion
1 ripe avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
lettuce (optional)

Mash the avocado with the cheese wedges. Mix in the lemon juice and then add the tuna, pepper, onion, and carrot. Season to taste. Divide the tuna salad in between the tortillas along with some lettuce if desired. Roll fold in the sides of the tortillas, roll them up, and enjoy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mocha Latte Oatmeal

I feel like an ice cube. My body is definitely not ready for winter, and this little cold front we are having here in Tennessee needs to go back where it came from. I am not a fan of the cold weather, but there is one benefit of cold winter mornings....


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Yep, it's hot oatmeal season again! What better way to warm up and start your day than with a hot and creamy bowl of oats? This particular recipe will definitely motivate you to get up and then keep you going. It's like your morning Cup of Joe and favorite breakfast treat all rolled into one. And because it's mocha, its awesomeness is automatically quadrupled. (Because chocolate makes everything better. :) )

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Mocha Latte Oatmeal
¾ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 banana, mashed
pinch of salt
sweetener, to taste
¼ cup milk

Bring the coffee to a boil in a small pot and stir in the oats, salt, and cocoa powder until there are no lumps. Cook until the oatmeal has reached your desired consistency and then add in the banana and sweetener to taste. Meanwhile, whisk the milk until frothy. Heat it in the microwave for 40 seconds. Serve the oats topped with the steamed milk.

Friday, October 2, 2015

I may be cou-cou, but that fish can fly!

Barbados is by far not the biggest nation on earth. It's only 14 miles wide and 21 miles long. I cannot imagine living in a place that I could drive across in the time it takes me to get from my apartment to the grocery store. About 90% of all Bajan (the colloquial term for Barbadian) people are of African descent, and the remaining 10% is made up of Indians, Europeans, and Chinese immigrants/descendants. Because it was a colony of Great Britain, Barbados's national language is English. The people speak Standard English in formal settings, but their own dialect of English called "Bajan" in every day speech. Bajan English is a lot different than Standard English, and you may have a hard time understanding it if you are unfamiliar with all the Creole words and phrases. I think it is so cool how a language can morph to be completely different after a few generations. It's so cool to watch the evolution of a new language as a people group adopts and adapts to it.

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Bajan cuisine is a mixture of British, Indian, and African cooking styles and ingredients due to its history of colonialism and immigration. It's very similar to other Caribbean cuisines. Curries, fish, exotic fruits and vegetables, lots of carbs and fat.... Basically deliciousness!


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Cornmeal, water, and okra are the only ingredients it takes to make Cou-Cou. It's cheap, filling, and healthy, and that is exactly why it became so popular in Barbados back in its colonial period. It was a common slave meal, and even now that slavery has ended, it can still be enjoyed as a nutritious side to any Bajan meal. Every Friday it is traditional to cook up a big batch and enjoy it with your family. I wouldn't mind picking up this tradition......

Cou Cou
4 okras, thinly sliced into rounds
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 cups water
2 tsp butter
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix together 1 cup of water with the cornmeal. Bring the remaining water to a boil with the okras and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Quickly whisk the cornmeal into the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cou cou thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pot, about 10 minutes.
 
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Creole sauce is spicy, and makes a great accompaniment. Since Cou-Cou can be a little bland as can plain fried fish, he sauce definitely amps up the flavor level of the meal. It uses hot sauce and Creole seasonings which are a mixture of thyme, ground mustard, marjoram, cumin, coriander, anise, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, parsley, and cardamom.

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Creole Sauce
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
8 ounces chopped tomatoes
2 tsp Creole seasonings
2 tbsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped parsley, to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the onion and pepper are tender. Add the remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 15 minutes and serve alongside flying fish and cou cou.

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Step aside birds; there's a new star in town. It's the amazing flying fish! No, I am not pulling your leg. Flying fishes do exist, and they are considered a Bajan delicacy. These extraordinary animals can self propel themselves out of the water using amazing wing-like fins. It looks like they are almost flying! Barbados is nicknamed the "land of the flying fish", and they used to be abundant along the Barbadian coast. Unfortunately, pollution and other factors have caused the flying fish to no longer migrate to Barbados, but fried flying fish still remains one of their favorite dishes. Along with Cou-Cou and spicy Creole Sauce, it makes up the national dish and for good reason. It's delicious! I wasn't able to get my hands on actual flying fish, but tilapia was a yummy and decent substitute.
 
Fried Flying Fish
2 flying fish fillets (I used tilapia.)
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ cup flour
1 tbsp Creole seasonings
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg white, whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
oil, for frying

Soak the fish for 20 minutes in the lime juice and water. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, and coat it with the flour and seasonings. Dredge the fish in the egg white and then dip in the bread crumbs. Heat about a ½” of oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Cook the fish on each side for a couple of minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

 
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After a less than stellar experience with cou-cou’s close cousin, fungi, I was a little nervous about making another cornmeal-okra dish. Okra and I have not had the best relationship in the past, but I think I am slowly getting over that as I begin to explore okra in different forms than boiled or fried. Cou-cou was surprisingly good. My Creole Sauce didn’t turn out too “saucy”. It’s probably because I had to sub roasted red peppers for the tomatoes (I’m allergic). Tomatoes are a lot juicier than peppers. Oh, well. It was still yummy. I was a little sad that actual flying fish was not available (and probably will never be in Tennessee), but the tilapia was a great substitute. The whole dish went together well. Everything balanced the other components out, making for the perfect weekend meal.