26X2, Week 3: Cook Islands
Admittedly, I knew nothing of the Cook Islands before this challenge. That’s exactly why I’m doing this! These recipes were the most fun to read through so far, so even if you don’t plan to make any yourself, I suggest reading them for their charm. I set out to make the tiopu kuru (breadfruit stew), but the elusive breadfruit was impossible to find in Philadelphia. I even spent a few hours in Chinatown with a dead phone (I needed you, Google translate!) and no luck. Plan B was to buy as many Cook Island ingredients I could remember reading about and hope they were sufficient for at least one recipe. That’s how I ended up with a papaya, mangoes, limes, three forms of coconut, turmeric root, arrowroot, bananas, and yucca (I was guessing at this point).
26X2, Week 2: Basque Country
Basque Country is not a “country” in the traditional sense, but a region that spans between Spain and France. There is a Basque culture and language and people. In its own language, the region is called Euskal Herria. They have stunning beaches, lengthy history, and rich food. After researching this area, I’m intrigued to learn more through first-hand experience.
Cooking (eating) and traveling are always on my list of things to do more of as a new year starts. While I’m regularly in the kitchen as it is, I’ve found that I haven’t been challenging myself as much as I have in the past. And while we travel fairly frequently, I’m always looking to explore other cultures, particularly ones that I know little or nothing about.
That brings me here, to the start of 2017, with a new project in mind. Each week, working my way through the alphabet, I’m going to pick a culture, country, or region starting with that week’s letter. Then, I’ll pick a dish representative of the culture to try to replicate. I’m calling this project 26X2. (Hopefully) by the end of the year I’ll have made it through the alphabet twice, and I’ll have explored 52 new cultures and their recipes.
26X2, Week 1: Albania
For the first week of 26X2, I’ve decided to focus on Albania. Not really knowing where to start, I did a Google image search for traditional Albanian recipes to see any common trends. One dish stood out to me, and it turned out to be flija.
Tokyo has so much to offer: breathtaking views, sincere people, remarkable food. We were blessed to experience some incredible adventures in this colorful city. Here’s how we filled our days:
We had time to kill before the patisserie we were after was open for the day (priorities), so we found ourselves wandering towards the Imperial Palace. This was our first taste of traditional Japanese architecture and it was quite impressive. The surrounding gardens were vast and beautiful.
I’m not going to do a long, wordy post on our recent trip to Tokyo, though I could probably write for days on the subject. Instead, I’ll break up the details and focus on the highlights of our trip. And I’m going to go right for the good stuff: this post is all about the food.
Here are the eats that topped our trip:
3am noodles: We loved the little noodle shops where you buy a ticket from a machine and hand it to the cook to place your order. This is how we enjoyed our first Japanese meal (we’ll call it the jet lag special), and it’s one of our fondest memories. This was a dish of udon noodles with vegetable tempura in dashi (broth). I could barely walk back to the hotel from being so full.