Posts Tagged With: culture

South America! Here We Go!

Welcome travelers and foodie lovers to this week’s venture in culture, food and topography.  This week we are visiting various regions in South America and loving every bit.

 

Both North and South America are named after the cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci.  During Christopher Columbus’s exploration, it was Amerigo that thought Columbus ventured to a new world and not Asia.  Following the Feminine names of regions in Europe and Asia, the newly explored area was named America.  Inca, Azteca and Mayan culture were the largest empires in South American history.  The Aztecs were a powerful society until Hernando Cortez, a powerful Spaniard military leader, declared war on them.   The Aztecs were outmatched by the military modernization.  Over 600 years ago the Mayan culture developed until the culture disappeared due to wars and famine.  The Inca built their society high in the Andes Mountains and like the Mayan the Inca battled too many wars, thus over utilizing the supplies of the entire society.  At this point the majority of South America was ruled and occupied by Spain.

 

In the old world, many of the South American natives knew how to grow and harvest a large variety of various plants.  South American land is as diverse as is its culture.  Like Mexico, when European settlers arrived, they incorporated native dishes with their own fare.  Like North America, South America is comfortably nestled between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.  The numerous fruits and fresh fish are a true staple in the Amazonian region.  The large mass of Argentina and the long coastline of Chile provide the region with lamb, venison and fresh food from the sea.  Peru is known for their llamas and for the over 4,000 varieties of potato and sweet potato.  Feijoada, which is a bean, beef and pork stew and is made all over Brazil.  One can spend a lifetime exploring the various cuisines and culture of South America.  It’s easy to see the love and passion come out in the many cultures and foods of South America.

 

Many people now have heard stories about the cowboys of North America, but very few people and movies have been made about the cowboys of South America.  The Cowboys are named Gauchos and are famous for their horsemanship.  Most of South America is mountainous creating topography hard to travel on land.  Brazil leads plane manufactures in South America in production due to the size and shipping accessibility.  Another great topic is coffee.  Columbia is the largest coffee producer in the world. The beans are dried and roasted to bring us morning and late night coffee pleasure.   One last cultural that is a must when visiting South America is to make your way to Brazil 46 days before Easter.  It’s CARNAVAL!  Carnival, or Carnaval is a celebration in Brazil.  Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the festival, and although we will not be in that area next year we will have our fellow traveling foody reps reporting and photographing next year.

 

I like to leave you this week with yet another recipe from one of my books.  Around the World in 80 Recipes can be purchased on Kindle or Paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Damien-T.-De-Witte/e/B0080YZEU4.

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to exploring with you.

 

Feijoada

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients

  • 3 strips of raw bacon
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage
  • 1 lb boneless beef (any cut of meat)
  • 1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 cups canned black beans
  • salt and pepper

 

Directions

Cut the bacon strips into big pieces.  Fry them in a large pot over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Cut the onion in half.  Peel off the skin and outer layer.  Chop both halves into small pieces.  Peel the cloves of garlic. Chop them into small pieces.  Add the onions and garlic to the bacon in the pot.  Stir until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.  Cut the sausage and beef into 1-inch pieces.  Add them to the onions and garlic.  Cook until the meat is brown on all sides.  Add the stewed tomatoes (with juice), hot water, yellow mustard, and some salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to simmer.  Cover the pot.

Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often.  If it looks too thick, add more water, ¼ cup at a time.  Add the black beans (with liquid).  Cover the pot, and cook for 10 more minutes.  Serve in a bowl.

 

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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¡Viva México

Hola viajeros y amantes del gourmet.  Hello travelers and foodie lovers.  This week we explore Mexico.  A current attraction in Cancún, Mexico is “Bodies” by Jason deCaires Taylor.  Taylor creates hundreds of life-size human sculptures which act as a coral reef.  With the installment of the sculpture, marine biomasses, fish and tourism will divert attraction from the old reefs, thus giving the old reefs a better chance of natural rejuvenation.  Another attraction to Mexico is Copper Canyon which you might recognize the name from the show “Man vs. Wild” on the Discovery Channel.  The canyon is made up of 6 distinct canyons in the southwestern region of Chihuahua, Mexico.

 

Mexican food and the culture is something to be appreciated.  Like most countries, a meal is a bonding experience.  Mexican foods and culture are no stranger to this experience.  Mexico has introduced many wonderful products such as peanuts, vanilla, beans, tomatoes and of course CHOCOLATE!  From the Aztec’s usage of salsa and tamales to the Mayan’s incorporation of tortillas with bean paste, ancient Mexico has introduced myriad infusions of their cuisine to the world’s table.  With European settlers in the 1500’s bringing new products and livestock, Mexican food had reached new tasty heights.  The combination of indigenous and European traditional food has become Mexican cuisine as we know it today.  Present Mexican cuisine is so delicious and hard to resist.  With a few margaritas, an afternoon meal can easily run into a meal at dusk.

 

This week I leave you with a Black Bean Salad recipe found in my book Around the World in 80 Recipes.  The book can be purchased on Kindle or Paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Damien-T.-De-Witte/e/B0080YZEU4.

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to exploring South America with you next week.

 

Black Beans Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans , rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn , drained
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of hot sauce

 

Directions

Cook brown rice by measure out 1 cup of brown rice.  Rinse the rice thoroughly in a sieve or strainer until the water runs clear.  Heat a little oil in the pot over medium heat and fry the rice for a moment before adding the water.  This helps build flavor, but is definitely optional.  Add 2 ¼ cups water and stir just once.  Bring to a simmer and cover over tightly.  Turn the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.  Remove the lid and stir once to make sure there is no more liquid water at the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce.

To serve, place a scoop of hot rice in a bowl or on a plate, top with a generous scoop of the black bean mixture.  Stir together before eating.

 

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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Let’s Go To The Fair!

Hello all you traveling Foodie lovers.  This week we are talking about going to the fair.  Fairs are a meeting grounds for everything human culture.  Fairs have been around for many years.  It’s all about the show casing.  From arts and crafts, live stock and farming techniques to the crazy foods.  Which type of foods?  Well these days it’s not only fresh but its deep-fried.  Trends evolve from year to year at the state, county and global fairs.

The first fair in the world is not exactly known.  However, the chronicles of mankind are filled with references to fairs, not in an institutional context, but as a part of everyday communal interaction.  Indication in scriptures point to the existence of fairs as early as 500 BC.  Merchants from all over the countries would come together to trade regional goods and native wares.  Later, entertainment and other forms of activity were added to gatherings making them into the fairs that we recognize today.  In 1765, the first Northern American fair was presented in Windsor, Nova Scotia.  Elkanah Watson, from New England, earned the title, “Father of US agricultural fairs” by organizing the Berkshire Agricultural Society.  He created the Cattle Show in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in September 1811.  Today there are more than 3,200 fairs in North America alone, bringing people closure together to share and learn about the agriculture and domestic products.

Let’s not forget about the foods of the fair.  Between all the exhibits and competitions, people get hungry and they want food.  What kind of foods?  Well, it seems every so often fairs foods start a new trend.  Right now it’s everything on a stick and something being deep fried.  Let’s not forget about the classic funnel cake or some local ice cream.  Some of the more interesting treats we have tried were hash brown covered hot dogs, or a banana rolled in a flour tortilla and then deep fried.  Have you ever tried fried beer?  Or fried coke? How about a fried Twinkie?  Next time you are at the fair, explore some of the more interesting foodie goodness.

 

With so many fairs all over the globe I know that many of you will find one close to you.  I’d like to leave you lovely foodies with a corn dog recipe and funnel cakes.

 

Corn Dog

Ingredients

  • 1 quart oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 pounds hot dogs
  • wooden sticks

 

Directions:

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in bacon drippings.  Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg, buttermilk, and baking soda.  Mix until everything is smooth and well blended.  Insert wooden sticks into the ends.  Dip the hot dogs in the batter one at a time, shaking off the excess.  Deep fry a few at a time in the hot oil until they are as brown as you like them.  Drain on paper towels and serve.

 

Funnel Cake

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions:

In a deep-fryer, or heavy skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  In a large bowl, beat milk and eggs together.  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir into the egg mixture until smooth.  While covering the funnel hole with one hand, pour in 1 cup of batter.  Start from the center in a swirling motion to make a 6 inch round.  Fry on both sides until golden brown.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

 

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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AMER I CAN!

Good day to all!  Welcome to this week’s The Traveling Foody blog.  It’s Amer I “can” not Amer I “can’t.”  Why am I talking this way?   Well, today many of us American’s are celebrating the adoption of our independence.  With the invention of the internet we are able to share what this day means to us and to other nations.  It’s an awesome feeling to be free and be able to open up and share knowledge and culture between people from all nations.  I like to invite all our travelers and Foody lovers all over the globe to celebrate with us the joy each other’s stories and recipes which will bring all of us closer together.  I must add that I am grateful for my life on this beautiful earth and being able to share this earth with you, my family and friends.

 

North American food is as diverse as the land. In recent years North America has seen more sustainable farms popping up and pushing away from corporate and government subsidized farming.  People are willing to pay a little more for quality local foods.  The turn of the 19th and 20th centuries brought to light an influx of immigrants who developed a rich assortment of food preparation throughout the region.  From the Pacific coast to the Atlantic, North America has been a melting pot of cultures.  The vast rich farmland of North America provides people the perfect conditions for farming various fruits, grains, vegetables, and livestock.  The Pacific and Atlantic oceans also provide people with bountiful treats from the sea.  The combination of the North American topography and culture will astound the traveler.  North American cuisine will continue to fuse new and old traditions.

I would like to share with you some strange facts about food and about America.  Included in this week’s blog are recipes from the North American section of my book, Around the World in 80 Recipes.  Thank you to my good friends, Ben and Rachel Shelton, for letting us use their kitchen and for the beautiful photos they were able to capture for the book.

You can purchase the book at http://www.amazon.com/Damien-T.-De-Witte/e/B0080YZEU4.  For more information on upcoming books visit http://thetravelingfoody.com.

 

Strange facts:

Apple rock!  Why?  They are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

There were 57 varieties of pickles Heinz ketchup produced.  Now you know why there is a 57 on the bottle.

Wrigley’s gum was the first product to have a bar code.

Charles Jung invented the fortune cookie in 1918 in America.

If you chew gum while peeling onions you shouldn’t tear up.

California and Arizona produce 95% of America’s entire lemon crop.

In the American Civil War, acorns were used as a substitute for coffee.

 

Grilled Salmon

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs salmon fillet
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil

 

Directions

Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt.  In a small bowl stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved.  Place fish in a large sealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat.  Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

 

 

Crock Pot Bison Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups dry red kidney beans (soaked overnight in 2 quarts of water)
  • 4 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onion (2 medium)
  • 2 lbs ground bison
  • 1 can diced plum tomatoes (28 oz – 796 ml. size)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (23 oz – 680 ml. size)
  • 1 small can tomato paste (5.5 oz – 156 ml. size)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.

Put vegetable oil in large saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat, add onions and sauté for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in set aside spices, stir to combine with onions.  Let sizzle for a minute or two, or until the aroma from cooking spices becomes quite noticeable.

Immediately add the ground bison.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat has completely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer saucepan contents to the crock pot.  Drain the kidney beans.

Add kidney beans to the crock pot along with the plum tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.  Sprinkle in salt.  Stir to combine all ingredients.

Cover and set on high heat.  Serve in a bowl.
For light red kidney beans, cook the chili a minimum of 8 ½ hours; for dark red kidney beans no less than 10 hours is required.

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