193 Recipes: Guidelines for This Challenge

Yesterday, I wrote about my personal challenge to cook a dish from every country around the world. Today, I’m writing out my guidelines for this challenge. Not because I need a formal set of rules— this is a just-for-fun side project— but because I think typing out some rough guidelines before a big project like this will give me some basic structure and sanity.
Here are my guidelines.

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193 Recipes: Cooking My Way Around the World

Cook one dish from each country around the world. 
This is my personal challenge. What better way to get to know the variety of cultures and cuisines on our planet than by cooking a dish from each country?
There are no timelines, and no target dates. This is a challenge, but it’s also meant to be fun. “Every country” is a fuzzy concept, and somewhat controversial, but I decided to use the United Nation member states list as my benchmark. I’ll update the count + link the recipes below as I work my way through this list. Here are my guidelines for the challenge.
Current status: 2/193

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Victuals: A review and two recipes

Above, a photo that I snapped of the inside cover of Victuals the day it arrived at my doorstep– I wanted to share the beauty of this book the minute I saw it. 

Ronnie Lundy’s Victuals (pronounced “Vittles”) is a chronicle of a 4000+ mile journey through Appalachia, a story and a history told through food. It’s part cookbook, part edible atlas. It winds its way through Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina, and pays homage to the traditions of Europe, West Africa, and the pre-colonial Americas that come together in the food of the Mountain South.  It’s a book filled with seasonal and regional recipes, but also a history of the land and the people of Appalachia. Victuals reflects a confluence of climate, culture, industry, and ethnic heritage.

Personal history also plays a huge part in this book. Ronnie Lundy grew up in Appalachia. She vividly remembers her “summers up home” in Kentucky, and recipes like the swing shift steak come directly from her childhood.

There are recipes for every season. There are recipes for bright vegetable sides and hearty meat-centric suppers. There are recipes for sweet desserts and salty snacks alike. There’s a roasted root vegetable salad that comes dressed with bacon and orange soghum vinegar. Kale potato cakes, spring ramp pot roast, miner’s goulash, and a speckled butter bean cassoulet with rabbit confit. A simple skillet cornbread, a luscious buttermilk brown sugar pie, salty cheese nabs, and the sweet-and-savory banana pudding you’ll find below. There were also a few odd but delicious-sounding pickle recipes I put on my list for the spring– picked ramps and pickled green strawberries.

The book is divided by key food groups and ingredients. Each section is devoted to a staple food– salt, corn, beans and apples, among others. The apple section is one of my favorites. It includes fried apples, cake, a sticky pudding, and a recipe for pork & kraut in cider gravy.

To be honest, I had no idea the food of Appalachia was so varied. Staple foods pop up repeatedly, but there’s almost infinite variation in the preparation and addition of seasonal produce. And while this book digs deep into food traditions, the recipes are modern and fresh.

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Friday Things


Whoa… Is it October already? The last few weeks have flown by for me. Things got so stressful and crazy so quickly! I do have a banana bread recipe that I want to share, but it isn’t quite ready yet.

In the meanwhile, here are some of the fun links that have been serving as necessary distractions for me over the last few days! Most of them are food related, a couple of them aren’t.

I made Joy the Baker’s One-Pot French Onion Pasta last night and it was serious comfort food. A perfect match for Thursday night homework anxiety.

Speaking of which… Joy’s Baking Bootcamp is back! One year, four recipes, each one showcasing new techniques and ingredients from King Arthur Flour. I followed along last year and every. single. thing. was delicious– these pepperjack + green olive rolls were my favorite.  This time we begin with chocolate hazelnut rolls with quick puff pastry!

Always charmed by Fanny’s blog, full of pretty photographs and illustrations and animated gifs. This is her ultimate kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) recipe, and I cannot wait to make it.

Loving these 4 Cozy Recipes for October. Especially the radicchio salad.

Navaratri Golu is coming up! It’s a Hindu holiday that marks the beginning of fall. I usually don’t celebrate it unless I’m at my parents’ place, but I loved this little explanation + guide to the festivities, and knew I had to share it.

Considering participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015. Give cookies, get cookies, support a good cause. Have you done it? How did it go?

(Re) Obsessed with knitting. It’s so calming, and great stress relief. Currently finishing up that scarf I started approximately five years ago. Once I’m done, I’ll move on to simple hats and this perfect blanket.

This month I’m kicking off an 8+ week long project for my social media class… I’m trying to figure out what strategies work best for growing an Instagram following. Follow me on Instagram and look out for notes and insights on my personal blog (nothing on there now, but content hopefully coming soon).

Have a lovely weekend!

Weekend Things

Succulents in a North Berkeley garden

{I caught a glimpse of these succulents next to the sidewalk on an early morning walk.}

There are some weeks when I have the time to cook a new recipe every night, or photograph a couple of posts in one long afternoon. This hasn’t been one of those weeks. I’ve been trying to eat simpler, healthier foods. Usually something I can make a batch of and stash in my fridge to grab-and-go later. But often something as simple as a protein bar or an egg and cheese sandwich on an english muffin. Which is to say, stuff that isn’t quite blog-worthy. 

In lieu of a recipe this week, here’s what I’ve been reading on the internet and dreaming of cooking up in my kitchen. 

This round up is going to be a long one, so links are after the jump!

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Weekend Things

 Why is it so hard to leave the house sometimes? I miss long morning walks and hikes on the weekends. Recently I’ve felt more busy than not, and it’s gotten easier and easier to skip walks and hikes and the hours I used to spend wandering downtown. I think I’ve convinced myself that leisure time is unproductive, or worse, unimportant… When really, it’s the happiest I am all week.

This Saturday I finally made it down to Claremont for a steep stairway walk through the hills, behind the beautiful Claremont Hotel & Spa. There were gorgeous views, blue skies and sunshine. And roses. So, so many roses. 

Here are my favorite links this weekend.
The Real Secret to Productivity: It’s all about routines and systems. Are we even surprised?
How Do Some People Always Stay Upbeat? An old question, an old answer, but worth remembering.
Should we really Stop Vilifying Almonds? Almonds are one of the biggest water-consuming crops in California, and they’ve exploded in popularity in the last few years. That’s a big problem right now, as the state goes through a major drought. Almonds are currently using 10% of the state’s agricultural water supply. But almonds are part of a much larger problem of water use and agriculture in California. Either way, I’ll probably stop buying almond milk (for now). 
I love this illustrated recipe journal. It’s beautiful.
I ate these dumplings at a fancy Italian restaurant in North Berkeley, and it was one of the best things I ever ate. Who knew you could make them at home? Trying this when I work up the courage + confidence.
Matcha Mint Iced Tea is something I want to stock my fridge with.
I’m in love with ALL THE DONUTS! There may be a donut recipe coming up later this week.
Bananas + cream are a classic dessert combo, and I feel like they’re making a comeback right now. Making this easy banana pudding.
Have you ever wondered why every single recipe seems to be baked at 350F? I know I have. Some answers from The Kitchn. 
Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016! How do we feel about this?
Currently reading: This nearly 800-page novel for a contemporary fiction class that I love. 

Weekend Things

It has officially been spring for nearly a month, but only now does it feel real.

I spent an hour wandering around my favorite market yesterday, and spotted fiddlehead ferns and ramps on the shelves. Ramps! I’ve never cooked them before, but everyone seems to love them. I brought home a bunch to sauté for dinner tonight.

While I have been a little overwhelmed with school work (as mentioned in this post), it’s hard not to be happy when springtime comes around. The good weather puts me in a good mood, and I am always looking for a chance to spend some time outside.

I hope that snow has turned to spring for you, that cold days have been traded for warm ones, that afternoons spent hiding indoors in wool socks have been swapped out for iced tea on the patio.


Here are some of my favorite things I’ve read this week.
Are we The Shut-In Economy? Joy the Baker’s blog pointed me to this piece. There are many good discussions to be had on staying in, buying back your time, entitlement, and class differences.
In the spirit of springtime, I want to make all of Yotam Ottolenghi’s asparagus recipes. Asparagus with mushrooms and poached egg? A recipe after my own heart.
I’ve been craving Chinese takeout and there’s a big bag of green beans in my fridge. I’m thinking something along the lines of these recipes may be in order.
Have you ever wondered what a chef’s home kitchen would look like? This is it. Ina’s kitchen is as light and bright as I imagined it would be, and Pierre Herme’s is appropriately hip.
One of my favorite fashion blogs linked to this piece, where Hallie Wilson of Corals + Cognac talks about leaving her job for full-time blogging. Not for everyone, but some real talk on self employment.
Also relevant: Alistair Humphreys’s Thoughts on Turning Your Hobby Into Your Career.
And finally, Nick Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe. This is some straight-up life advice. I love Offerman’s simple, straight forward, and just plain awesome outlook on life. I have this on audiobook, and listening to it makes me happy. Highly recommended.

Weekend Things

Tea for Two | YanYan Zhang on Flickr


Are you having a good weekend? I hope you are. I hope you’re sleeping in late and making some very good pancakes.

I write this sleep deprived, from an airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m en route to my parents’ home in Florida, and have a three-hour layover. Yes, that’s right, three hours in an airport at 6 AM. I’ll take three hours over a rushed thirty minutes, but it’s still a long time.

There are really only three things I like to do during layovers– nap, read things on the internet, and buy Cinnabons. While I can’t share my Cinnabons (or my naps, sorry!) here are the links that have been keeping me busy.

How to Roast Artichokes

How to Roast Artichokes

I never envisioned this blog as a place for how-tos, but I’m liking these simple posts. Photographed step-by-steps of kitchen basics. This might turn into a series.

I’ve shot a few of these posts so far. While I imagined them as a way to share my kitchen knowledge, I’ve actually learned a few new tricks myself. Take this post on artichokes, for example. I had never roasted them before testing out this recipe for the blog.

How to Roast Artichokes

It has been years since I had an artichoke— three, maybe four years. My parents used to steam them for family dinners every once in a while, but artichokes mostly looked intimidating to me. Sharp, spiky, messy to eat, and how on earth are you supposed to cook them without turning them mushy? The flavor of an artichoke is incredible, but hardly ever seemed with the work.

I’ve eaten steamed artichokes my whole life, which are easy enough to make. But I was recently told that grilled artichokes are the gold standard. I don’t own a grill, and I still haven’t had an artichoke with that special charcoal smokiness. But what I do have is a very hot oven.

I bought a bunch of artichokes and opted to roast them, concentrating their flavor and adding just a touch of caramelization.

How to Roast Artichokes

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