“There is a famous Middle Eastern saying: Sar fi beynatna khobz wa meleh, meaning ‘Now there is bread and salt between us.’ This idiom is used to illustrate how eating together will cement the relationship between two people,” The Eat Offbeat Chefs. For me this saying is how I live, I love to cook or enjoy a meal with others to grow our relationships. As a child all of my close relationships with my family grew from the times we sat and ate together as we still do today when we are together.
Last year I heard about The Kitchen Without Borders cookbook and was immediately intrigued. Having lived in New York City where you can find any cuisine I love being able to make those recipes at home.
The cookbook is beautiful and really well made. I was worried that my sometimes picky tastes would make it difficult for me to find recipes to make. However, it was the exact opposite I had a hard time choosing just two.
Carne Mechada, is Venezuelan shredded skirt steak with sliced peppers and onions. This recipe is by Chef Hector from Venezuela. I love all types of steak and peppers so this meal really spoke to me.
All of the ingredients were really easy to find (most in my own kitchen already) except the skirt steak. Not sure why but over the last few months we haven’t been seeing skirt steak in our grocery stores. I even went to The Fresh Market and they didn’t have any, the butcher there suggested I use flatiron steak instead, so I did.
The directions are clear, however, I didn’t cook my onion and garlic for 10 minutes as the recipe stated since they started to burn after a few minutes. I wound up tossing them and starting again watching the onions and garlic carefully, once they were golden brown, I moved on to the next step of the recipe.
When you add the cumin it seems like so much and smells really strong, but don’t worry it flavors the meat nicely and isn’t overpowering when the dish is done. I loved the fact that you can spend 15 minutes getting this started and then just let it cook for 1.5 hours.
The meat shredded easily and was delicious. The next time I make it I am going to make some empanadas with it the meat.
I love cauliflower and am always surprised when I find new ways to cook it. Manchurian Cauliflower is a recipe by Chef Rachana from Nepal. All of the ingredients were in my regular grocery store.
I followed the recipe and my batter was a little thick, but it fried perfectly. Make sure when you drop the cauliflower in the oil that you move it around so it doesn’t stick together. After tasting the fired cauliflower I felt it need a little something so I added a sprinkling of salt over it and this made it perfect.
I served the manchrian cauliflower with some roast chicken and a side of tzatziki dip. The meal was really filling and tasty. Overall this was an easy recipe to follow with great results and I will make it again soon.
I really enjoy cooking dishes from all over the world. The Kitchen Without Borders cookbook allows you to make recipes from refugee and immigrant chefs. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. Some do require specialty ingredients but the cookbook offers some suggestions as to where to get the specialty ingredients.
Both of the dishes I made were great and I would make them again. I am really looking forward to cooking through a lot more of The Kitchen Without Borders cookbook recipes. What recipe are you looking forward to making?