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Day 73: Turkey

9 May

Popeye would love this dish!

Kids would love this dish!

Kiymali Pide was the unanimous choice for gastronomic mecca of Turkey. Inigo was excited at the idea of working with dough again, and Tristan loved the idea of creating a pastry “boat” for meat mixture.

Prepping up for pide

I say Toma-toe

The preparation was filled with dicing and slicing tomatoes, bell peppers and parsley. Paprika, cumin, coriander were added to the meat mixture for that added flavour. Easy enough, the task was shared between the brothers with Inigo taking the lead on the dough making. “Tristan, watch my dough technique and then you can give it a try!”  explained Inigo.

The daily grind

Pide cut-outs

After the meat mixture was ready, Epicurious Kids moulded mini pastry boats for individual servings. “We have to squeeze the meat first, otherwise it gets too soggy when baking” reminding Tristan.  Trouble shooting is key in cooking and I was beaming with pride to see how the mini-chefs have evolved through the years.  

Folding the pide with pride

Piderrific!

Once the pide was in oven, the Epicurious Kids tossed the salad of mesclun and roma tomatoes for the sides. The delicious smell of pide filled the kitchen and Inigo couldn´t help himself: “that taste like exotic pizza!”   “Turkish pizza boat that´s much healthier!” agreed Tristan.  Afiyet olsun!  

Pide is better than pizza!


Side Trips: Adobo Adventures with Uncle Andrew

11 Oct

It all begins with one slice…

The Epicurious Kids were excited beyond belief when they found out that their Uncle Andrew was going to Brussels to help them cook-up a couple of dishes and episodes.  Adobo was on the menu and Tristan and Inigo were up for the challenge.  Adobo was a Filipino iconic dish with many variations.

Uncle Andrew´s recipe has a modern twist Epi Kidz were excited to showcase.

A quick chicken shower ensures food safety...

Swiss precision —learning from the master

Ingredients sourced, chicken washed, Team Adobo was ready for the chopping board.  Two whole chickens were chosen and ready to be quartered. “How are we going to make many pieces of chicken with that?” asked Inigo. After a few deft moves maneouvering the bird, both Inigo and Tristan got the gist of the art of quartering chicken.

Monkey see, monkey do

Practice makes perfect

The more challenging part of the adobo prep opened with dicing red onions.  Inigo, always up for a challenge said “I will do the onions, Uncle Andrew, I am not afraid to cry!”  Tristan opted for the safer garlic duty.  Their Uncle Andrew kept a careful watch on dicing and slicing techniques while the boys kept busy with their individual tasks.

Gingerly cutting ginger

Big boys don´t cry

To each his own stations

Team adobo hard at work!

Ahhh...the salty, vinegary goodness of a good adobo base!


The next step in the adobo adventure was the measurement of salty and acidic.  Tristan started to measure soy sauce in a cup while Inigo took a bottle of apple cider and poured it onto another measuring cup.  “Won´t this be too vinegary, Uncle Andrew?” Inigo asked skeptically. “Not at all,”their uncle explained, “once we add the coconut milk, everything will soften up and the adobo will mellow out.”

Is this how I do it?

Mixing in some love

Team adobo on the home stretch!

Kitchen Stadium was not free of some food scuffle.  Epi Kidz were arguing over who would stir the pot. In the end, peace prevailed in Kitchen Stadium under the watchful eye of Uncle Andrew. Coconut milk was poured into the bubbling mixture and Inigo and Tristan took turns mixing the chicken into the brown, velvety sauce. “The ideal is to have the adobo cook slowly for about an hour to get the chicken falling off the bone…” Andrew explained to the boys as they licked their lips in anticipation.

Sharing the glory...

Adobo Glory

A side of greens was quickly sauteed together, broccoli and green beans to balance the meal. And for the final touch, succulent morsels of perfectly tender chicken was grilled in the oven for that extra crunch.  “Uncle Andrew, that looks and smells delicious!” exclaimed a hungry cook, Tristan. Inigo was elbowing his way to the Adobo platter, “serve me first, please, I can judge the adobo if it is good or not!”  

Adobo adventures has come to a yummy conclusion. Epicurious Kids were happy to have this wonderful opportunity to share with their Uncle Andrew.  “Food always taste better when shared,” observed Tristan.

Check out the recipe: Secret Ingredients

Nothing taste better than a home cooked meal— with loved ones!

Coming Soon: Adobo Adventures

8 Oct

Epicurious Kids are excited for their Uncle Andrew to visit and share his special recipes and foodie techniques. Check out their adobo adventures appe-teaser:

Adobo Adventures (click here to watch the hot preview!)

Epicurious exchange

Day 30: Iraq

10 May

New equipment and gadgets are always exciting to discover, for Epicurious Kids, the open fire — in all forms, is one of the top culinary experience.  Their new grill is now being put to the test in firing up Iraqi kabobs to perfection.  The meal was EZ enough to prep for, pieces of lamb were filleted to workable cubes for the stick, and a grilled eggplant salad was the chosen accompaniment for the Lamb Kabobs.

Precision is key

Broccoli days

Inigo managed the protein while Tristan cut some red onions, broccoli and seasoned baby tomatoes to kabob with the lamb.  When the time came to skewer the meat pieces, Tristan was slightly concerned he would kabob”” his finger.  After a few trial runs, his confidence returned and was on his way to finishing off his mix grill.

Point taken

focus is key

With the sun shining outside, a rare occasion in Belgium, we fired the grill and tried it out.  The timing for the eggplant vis-a-vis the meat was a fine balancing act and I put Inigo in-charge.  He was as vigilant as an owl.  This was a simple and quick meal made EZ by the new grill.  The boys were excited to serve their creations having been on hiatus now for three months from their “world tour”.

And finally the feast

Moveable Feast

Eggplant

Feast fit for (grill) Kings

Day 29: Iran

3 May


Organic or regular tomatoes???

The minty smell of freshness

Landing in Michigan the Epicurious Kids were already in a heated debate over their next culinary adventure with their cousins Paulo and Sofia.  Russia was the initial plan for the botched Easter menu, but after an informal poll with the family, Iran seemed to be the popular choice.  Kabab Koobideh (minced lamb) with Maast-o-Khiar (yoghurt sauce) and some grilled fish Maahi Kabab and then some rice or polow (pilau) of course…

Trying to squeeze in some food shopping and cooking time with 4 kids under the age of 8 was an ordeal in itself.  In between errands and childcare, we decided to make a quick stop at the local Meijer´s and buy 5 simple ingredients: minced lamb, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin and pomegranate juice.  It was crunch time and we only had 30 minutes to find, purchase everything and pick-up Sofia and Sasha at school.  EZ enough, I thought.  I underestimated  the sheer size of American stores.  The distance between the green section to the meat section was about 30 aisles and a 5 minute sprint with 3 kids in tow…

Sourcing ground lamb in Michigan --- EZ!

Prepping his beautiful fish

When the ingedients were finally sourced, girls picked up at school, we set up in the kitchen, the fish station the lamb station and the prepping area.  Everyone was eager to start cooking, cutting and stirring… we needed some order amidst the eager faces and excitable hands.  Inigo couldn´t be separated from his favourite protein, fish, while Paulo and Tristan were given the minced lamb to make the kebabs…  For Paulo´s first time in kitchen stadium, he was eager and naturally skilled in using his hands and knife.  A good listener, he watched as his cousins handled the fish, cut off the gills and seasoned in the pomegranate mixture (intriguing ingredient!).  Now it was his turn to do it.  Success at the first try!

Epi Kidz boost local economy by hiring local help

Tristan mentors Paulo in the art of prepping fish

However, the concentration levels fluctuated from intense concentration to Bakugan brawls in the living room and an impromptu tag game in the garden. Everyone was still eager to run back in the kitchen, in between steps to lend a helping hand.  Inigo, in the meantime, was seriously finishing off his fish preparation and madly mixing in the spices for the kebab mixture.  Sofia was peeking cautiously into the kitchen trying to figure out the commotion.  She wanted to wait at the last minute to participate in this craziness.

After mixing in the dry spices into the minced lamb mixture, the kids added some chopped garlic, onions, coriander.  The Pilau was slowly cooking, and Sofia wondered why the rice was yellow.  From the turmeric, explained Tristan.  She wrinkled her nose unconvinced.

Each his own stations

It takes a village to stir polow!

The Three Muskateers

The anticipation was palpable as the kids kept rushing between the kitchen and the grill where their uncle Gino was busy tending to the kebabs and the fish.  “When is the Iranian food ready?!” they kept chirping every 1 minute.  They were clearly excited to sample their own concoctions.


After a few more minutes, four tiny tummies were ready at the table to feast on their creations.  We decided to make it easy on ourselves by buying the pita bread.  After quickly whipping up Maast-o-Khiar — a yoghurt, cucumber dip for the kebab,

we set the table and celebrated a job well done.  Sofia was the first to taste everything.  An avid foodie and enthusiastic eater, she was neck-to-neck with cousin Inigo.  Too bad baby Sasha has to watch the chaos from a distance—for now.

Sasha surrounded by her posse

Polow Sabzi

Kabab Koobideh with Maast-o-Khiar and Pita Bread

Maahi Kabab

The second Epicurious Kids meal abroad was a resounding success.  The kids were proud of their work and exhausted.  Nothing like sharing a meal together with loved ones.  In this case the secret ingredient is:  family!

Next stop… perhaps Iraq.  Right now, we are hangin´with the posse.

One for All and All for One! Yum!

Thumbs up for Iran! Cuisine that is...

Day 28: Georgia

30 Apr

Georgian feasts are well known for their extravagance, abundance and musical theatrics.  We will probably not do too much justice in portraying this eclectic cuisine, but after much reading, it seems that we would be repeating ourselves in cooking some of the more child-friendly dishes.  Like their neighbors, Azerbaijan and Iran.  Tomatoes seem to feature in most of their dishes and after much mutton and read meat on the menu, the kids opted for an herby chicken recipe, Chakhohbili.

Quick and easy Georgian stew

We didn´t have that many ingredients, garlic, onions, coriander, thyme, basil, parsley, tomatoes and chicken.  Inigo did most all the prep work focused on getting the job done. He was too occupied by our impending trip to Michigan to visit his cousins that it was impossible for me to add more tasks onto his plate.  The secret of the cooking this dish seemed to be in the slow simmering time.

Ahh, channeling in Michael, gloves make all the difference

Once the ingredients were thrown in the pot for simmering, Tristan jumped in to offer his expert stirring.

The meal was quickly done, the Epicurious Kids were busy discussing if they should back their toques for the trip… and which country they should cook together with their cousins in Michigan.  Definitely traveling to the US with Iranian recipes under their belt.  No better place to incite a few revolutions, foodwise, that is.

Simmering goodness

Heartwarming simple feast

Day 27: Azerbaijan

7 Apr

Azerbaijan was another challenge for the Epicurious Kids.  After digging through various recipes, and checking the compatibility ratio of ingredient list to what we can source locally, we abandoned all dreams of cooking with Nar, pomegranates or even quince and settled on home made Dushbere (tortellini like pasta filled with minced meat) and Lavangi, walnut, rice and prune stuffed chicken.

Bunny working hard

Bunny rolling with the times

The kids were surprised to be making another pasta dough already, asking me if we are getting close to Italy…  Not yet, but you can see how pasta kept following us since China, through Mongolia, Bhutan, the Stans with their different versions of Lagman.  “I can make more pasta dough mommy, I am good at it now,”  Inigo confidently volunteered. This was true.  There were surprisingly many dough recipes since we crossed Tibet.

fold, twist and turn... this is gonna be hard

Tiny fingers twistng and turning tiny pasta

Again, it was Inigo who dove into the task of rolling out the dough, cutting it up into squares and filling up the tiny pockets with minced meat.  Once Tristan saw Inigo twist out mini tortellinis, he joined in the fun.  It was easter weekend and the Russian meal was postponed due to heating issues, warm soup is the perfect dish for this evening´s meal.

Spooning tiny balls of yumminess

Work divided

Once all the pasta has been rolled out and all the tiny squares filled up, the kids were slowly folding, twisting the meat filled pasta dough.  “This is not easy mom… sometimes the meat keeps coming out of the pasta!” complained Tristan.  It wasn´t easy to get the kids to focus on the arduous task of twisting tortellinis.  “I´ll show you Tristan!” Inigo eagerly piped up.

Stringent quality testing tasting pasta dough

Tiny fingers twist Azerbaijani tortellinis

Brothers in arms, we did it!

Bunny fights the smoke boiling his tortellini

The Lavangi , walnut stuffed with chicken was easy piecey.  The boys were relieved.  Popped into the oven  and the broth slowly boiling with radish, carrots and veal… bones, our Azerbaijani meal was well on its way.  The chicken basically prepared itself, stuffed with rice, walnuts and prunes, it was simple.  The more time we spend in the kitchen the easier it is for everyone to find their stations and work on their individual tasks.  Every meal gets quicker to prepare and cook.  Kids are excited to serve, the heat is spilling out of the kitchen into the dining room.  Delicious!  Georgia is on our mind…

Kids excited to bake their chicken

Fruits of our labour... delish soup

Lavangi roasted to perfection

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