“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Cooking Up Travel Memories

A few weeks ago, my Travel Thoughts turned to food adventures I fondly recall from my trips abroad and I wrote an article titled “A Taste for Travel.” Then, the other day I was organizing my recipes and it occurred to me that those memories can be revived when cooking some of the dishes that I first experienced in my travels. Now I can’t wait to make some of them again. 

I decided I would dig out a few recipes for some of my favorite foreign culinary experiences and share them with my Travel Haven friends. I’ve included Chicken Tagine from Morrocco, Jaegerschnitzel from Germany, Yakisoba from Japan, Arroz con Chorizo y Camerones from Portugal, and Lechón Asado, a future memory from Cuba.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Morrocan Chicken Tagine (Chicken Stew)

This is the dish that really opened my taste buds for travel adventures. I ordered it knowing nothing except the ingredients and was blown away. Harissa paste can be found at many supermarkets or online.

Prep: 10 Minutes

Cook: 35 Minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

14 cup chopped almonds

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, finely chopped

8 whole boneless skinless chicken thighs

2 Tbsp harissa

114 cups water

1 (14 ozs) can chickpeas, drained

2 fresh tomatoes, cut in sixths or eighths

2 Tbsp dried currants or raisins

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp ground cumin

12 tsp cinnamon

12 cup kalamata olive (optional)

3 cups cooked rice or couscous

Directions

Heat oil in large tagine, pan or wok over medium high heat until hot.

Add almonds and cook until golden brown.

Remove with slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

Add garlic, onion, chicken to same pan in which almonds were cooked.

Sauté for 10 minutes or until browned.

Mix together harissa paste, water, currants, honey, cumin and cinnamon.

Add mixture to chicken and stir well.

Add chick peas, tomatoes and olives.

Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook.

Stir gently and baste occasionally for 20 minutes.

Add more water if necessary.

Top with browned chopped almonds.

Serve over couscous or rice.

 

German Jaegerschnitzel

My family is mostly German (and Irish), but my Mom was from Texas, so we didn’t eat many authentic German dishes. When I visited Germany though, the ancestral homeland called to me through the cuisine. Schnitzel seemed easier to cook than sauerbraten, so here you are.

Ingredients

Jaeger Sauce:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ white onion, diced finely

1 garlic clove, 1 Tsp if using garlic out of a jar

8 ounce cemeni mushroom, sliced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup white wine (Riesling is good)

2½ cups beef stock

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Schnitzel:

4 boneless pork chops (about 1 pound; can also be made with chicken or veal)

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

2 Tsp paprika

Directions

Jaeger Sauce

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Add butter.

Add garlic and let sauté until soft (1-2 minutes).

Add onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

Add flour. Mix it in quickly and thoroughly.

Add white wine and cook for 5 minutes (until wine reduces).

Stir in stock and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently as sauce thickens.

Add Worcestershire sauce and mustard, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put gravy in oven-safe dish and set in oven to keep warm.

Set oven to 225 degrees.

Schnitzel

Cover pork chops with saran wrap to prevent splatter.

With flat side of meat tenderizer, pound pork chops until they are about 1/4 inch thick.

Lightly salt and pepper both sides of chops.

Combine flour, salt, pepper and paprika in medium-size bowl.

Lightly beat two eggs in second bowl.

Fill third bowl with breadcrumbs.

Coat bottom of large skillet with 1/8 inch of canola oil.

Heat oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.

Dip pork chops in flour mixture and shake off excess. Then, dip in egg wash. Finally, put chops into breadcrumbs, pressing crumbs firmly onto meat for a nice, even bread coating.

Lay chops in skillet and let fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

When cooked, lay chops on paper towel to soak up excess oil, place in oven-safe dish and put in oven to keep warm until all chops are cooked.

Serve with sauce on the side.

 

Japanese Yakisoba (Grilled Noodles)

The noodle dishes were one of the great surprises for me when I went to Japan. Yakisoba was especially delightful.

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 20 mins

Serves 6

Ingredients

½ onion, sliced

1 carrot, julienned

3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 green onions/scallions, cut into two-inch pieces

4 cabbage leaves, cut into bite-size pieces

¾ lb skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

2 Tbsp canola oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 package dried Yakisoba Noodles (about 1 pound)

4-6 Tbsp yakisoba sauce

Yakisoba Sauce (Makes ½ cup (8 Tbsp))

2 Tbsp light brown sugar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp sesame oil

Optional Garnish

Benishoga (pickled red ginger)

Directions

Whisk together granulated sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce for Yakisoba sauce and set aside.

In large skillet or wok, heat oil on medium high heat.

Cook meat until no longer pink.

Add onion and carrot and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add cabbage and cook until almost tender.

Add green onion and shiitake mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

 

Transfer dried yakisoba noodles to a colander and quickly run hot water over noodles.

Separate noodles with hands.

Add noodles to skillet/wok and lower heat to medium.

Use tongs to combine noodles with other ingredients.

Keep an eye on noodles as they may stick to skillet/wok.

 

Add Yakisoba Sauce. Mix all together using tongs.

Transfer to plates and garnish with ginger.

Serve immediately.

 

Portuguese Arroz con Chorizo y Camerones (Chorizo, Shrimp and Rice)

I love shrimp any way you cook them, but the chorizo gives this dish its own special savor.

Prep: 20 Minutes

Cook: 30 Minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large tomato, chopped

salt and pepper

7 ounces chorizo sausage, casings removed, cut into ¼-inch slices

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 lb raw large shrimp, shelled and deveined

1½ cup cooked rice

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Directions

Boil or steam rice.

Heat oil in a large lidded frying pan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.

Add garlic, and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in chorizo, then stock and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add shrimp, stir through and cover.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.

If it looks too moist, simmer an additional 2 minutes uncovered.

Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve over rice with parsley garnish.

 

Cuban Lechón Asado (Mojo Marinated Pork)

When I go to Cuba next month I hope I get chance to try one of my favorite Cuban dishes in its native surroundings, Lechón Asado or Roast Pork.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 80 minutes (includes resting time for meat)

Serves 6    

Ingredients

For mojo marinade:

¾ cup fresh orange juice

1 cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, smashed

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp orange zest

½ cup fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp minced oregano (or 2 tsp dried oregano)

2 tsp ground cumin

Kosher salt and pepper

3-pound boneless pork shoulder

Directions

In food processor, pulse orange juice, cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and smashed garlic cloves until everything is finely chopped.

Add to zip lock bag with oil, orange zest, lime juice, oregano, and cumin and mix well.

Place pork shoulder in zipped bag and swish to thoroughly coat meat.

Refrigerate bag in baking dish overnight or for eight hours.

Remove pork from bag and let stand for an hour; reserve marinade in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Take pork out of bag and place in roasting pan or deep baking pan on wire rack.

Salt and pepper pork thoroughly.

Brown pork in oven until slightly browned (about 30 minutes).

Turn oven down to 375 degrees F.

Roast for another hour and 30 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Pour a half cup of the reserved mojo and baste your roast every hour with some of the mojo.

Transfer to cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest at least 20 minutes.

 

For a delicious Mojo sauce:

Pour pan drippings (about a half cup) into a frying pan over medium heat.

Add 2 sliced onions and half cup of reserved mojo from refrigerator.

Saute everything until onions are soft and translucent.

 for about five minutes.

Slice all of the roast (against the grain) and pour mojo with onions over all the meat .

Serve with Cuban black beans and white rice.

And…

Bon apetit!