World Cooking

Beef and Apricot Tangine

This weekend Paul has been feeling a bit under the weather, and after a few too many bland 'sick meals' of rice and bananas noted that his taste buds were crying out for flavor. I responded with this warmly spiced Beef and Apricot Tangine. Two bowls in, Paul claimed optimism about his imminent recovery. North African tangines are traditionally cooked in an eponymous earthenware pot and often rather complex. By virtue of the necessity of (calmly and serenely) cooking between gleeful crawling baby and voluble toddler chatter, our simplified take of a Beef and Apricot Tangine takes inspiration from Morocco's tangines, while simplifying the cooking process and ingredient list. This stew is rich in texture, deeply spiced, and a lovely balance of sweet and sour; a perfect late February weekend meal.

Beef and Apricot Tangine

Haitian Ginger Cake (Bonbon Siwo), Birthdays, and a Break

As many of you may have noticed, we at the Hungry Hounds took a long break over the holidays from posting. Of course, that didn't mean a pause in cooking and eating, just a pause in posts while we relaxed with family, enjoyed time with our kids, and caught back up on work. This week our Madeline turns two, and last month Gideon passed the six-month mark. Gideon is (finally) mostly sleeping through the night, and Madeline is getting more and more fascinating as her vocabulary grows and she is able to share what she's thinking. Last week when we mentioned her upcoming birthday she asked us if "Maybe...maybe...I can eat cake....that'd be DEEEELicious!" Well cake you shall have, Madeline! We will be making her this subtly sweet Haitian classic ginger cake, Bonbon Siwo. It is a warmly spiced Haitian gingerbread cake that is dark and dense with coconut milk and blackstrap molasses, and boldly flavored with fresh ginger, cloves and cinnamon.

Haitian Ginger Cake (Bonbon Siwo), Birthdays, and a Break

Mediterranean Beef Kebabs

"COOK!" "COOK!" .... "Mmmmmm!" Our 16-month-old daughter will proclaim as she urgently points to the stove around meal times. Our Madeline is both patient and persistent in her quest for food, and will next proceed to helpfully list all her favorite foods for us to cook, meat...blueberries...strawberries, with the ever present refrain; "COOK!" Yes, our daughter is a voracious carnivore who swings her little legs and claps her hands in delight when she gets meat for her meals. These Mediterranean Beef Kebabs are one in a long-line of meat dishes Paul has concocted for Madeline, and they are as delicious as they are simple to make! And if you give them a try, you might just find your guests swinging their legs in delight too.

Mediterranean Beef Kebabs

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth is Paul's non-traditional adaptation of the famous aromatic Daokou chicken from Henan province, China, near the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Already a deft broth maker, Paul has honed his technique and varied his flavor profiles during my pregnancy, in empathic response to my near-daily nausea. I love this broth's bold citrus aroma and flavor, subtle honey sweetness, and rich background spices. Its a great broth on its own (Paul's favorite), or with fresh steamed veggies and rice (the way I like it best). This recipe is adapted from Carolyn Phillips' wonderful new Chinese cookbook All Under Heaven.

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth

Spiced Moroccan Carrot Salad

When the winter chills set in, this colorful tangerine hued salad, with its bright splashes of pomegranate, feta, and cilantro is a full flavored pick you up. This is a long-standing recipe in our repertoire, with a captivating citrus and spice vinaigrette. 

Spiced Moroccan Carrot Salad

Beef Stroganoff

We are well into January now, and all of those New Year's resolutions to subsist on green smoothies and sorghum grain bowls may be looking more aspirational then realistic at this point. Enter Beef Stroganoff, a rich and sumptuous cold weather hit packed with umami meatiness, the tang of sour cream, and the piquant brightness of white wine and mustard. Beef Stroganoff is the perfect old-school counter to the self-flagellation that too often accompanies the new year, and beats the joy out eating. This New Year resolve to eat food you love!

Beef Stroganoff

Haitian Squash Soup, Soup Joumou

Dieujuste Saint-Surain stands in his field in Senk-Pòt, Haiti, holding up two freshly harvested joumou (Haitian Creole for calabaza squash).  “To me, joumou means life, it means independence and it means the dignity of feeding my family with the food I grow,” says Saint-Surain. 

Following a long-fought independence from colonialism and slavery, Haitians developed a unique tradition of hospitality, celebration, and generosity centered around a simple meal: soup joumou. This well-loved Haitian dish is a hearty squash soup with meat and local vegetables. Soup joumou is shared widely with friends and neighbors on Haitian Independence Day, for Sunday breakfast, and at community celebrations. 

As Haitians take stock of the devastation of Hurricane Mathew, the spicy complexity and heritage of Soup Joumou is a reminder of a strong people, and a proud history of incredible resilience and independence in the face of daunting odds. 

Haitian Squash Soup, Soup Joumou

Fresh Guava Jam

Hurricane Matthew is churning through the southern Caribbean this weekend, and we can already feel the winds picking up and the temperature falling here in Port-au-Prince. Currently, it looks like the eye-of-the-storm is likely to pass just off the southwestern tip of Haiti, but the damage may be significant. People are bracing for the storm; battening down the hatches and stocking up the larders as they are able. Keep Haiti in your prayers. 

One of the new additions to our pantry stock, in addition to some pickled red onions and granola, is Fresh Guava Jam, courtesy of jam making with our staff this week. Rather than traditional Cuban-style guava jam, which relies on long cooking to create a darker caramelized flavor, our Fresh Guava Jam has a bright fresh fruit flavor. It is not too sweet and has a tart bite from fresh squeezed key limes, which balance the warm tropical sweetness of the aromatic guavas.

Fresh Guava Jam

Venezuelan Arepas with Recado & Lime Chicken

If you've never tried an arepa before, you have been missing out. Arepas are to South America, what tortillas are to Central America and Mexico; a simple, easy to make, and yet ridiculously delicious corn-based staple and platform for creativity. These arepas are in a more Venezuelan style, a little more rounded and thick, and cooked primarily on the stove-top. This week we have been topping our arepas with Recado and Lime Braised Chicken, fresh avocado slices, and our Mexican Quick Pickled Red Onions. These arepas are also great with Paul's Yucatán Citrus Pulled Pork

Venezuelan Arepas with Recado & Lime Chicken

Recado and Lime Braised Chicken

Recado and Lime Braised Chicken is an easy, vibrant, deep, and tangy chicken dish that we love to make and serve to guests. This week we have been eating it on Venezuelan arepas with pickled red onions, avocado and a fried egg, last week we made our version of a pulled chicken sandwich on Paul's homemade bread with a creamy sauce. This dish is Paul's creation and takes his stunning version of Mexican colorado recado paste, and makes it into a rich braising liquid that allows the pungent recado flavors. Recado and Lime Braised Chicken is easy to make, and is a versatile an endlessly flexible dish, on tacos, over rice, with potatoes, or in sandwiches. 

Recado and Lime Braised Chicken

Mayan Red Spice Paste, Recado Colorado

complex base, potent marinade, or vibrant accent flavor. Mayan Red Spice Paste, Recado Colorado, is popular, both for its beautiful vibrant red hue, and warm tangy flavor. Rich in color, and fall flavors, our non-traditional take on Recado Colorado streamlines the preparation process. Recado Colorado is excellent for making red rice, a great base for barbecue sauces, a go-to rub for meats, on burgers, and a potent flavor boost for chilis and other soups. Stay tuned for two fantastic recipes using our Mayan Red Spice Paste coming up in the weeks ahead.

You may have noticed that we have a fondness for spice pastes here at The Hungry Hounds. If you too have caught the flavor paste obsession, check out our two other potent pastes: Smokey Mexican Chile Paste, Chilmole, and Garlic Ancho Chile Paste

Mayan Red Spice Paste, Recado Colorado

Potato Beet Salad

The days are hot, school is out, the grill is fired up, and it's potato salad season. We're adding some color to ours today with a Haitian variation of Potato Beet Salad. Potatoes and beets are a lovely earthy combination with some parsley, and pickled red onions, this is great mellow tasting accompaniment to your early summer grilling. Check out other non-traditional potato salad variations: moroccan roasted sweet potato saladgrilled potato salad with jalapeno, bacon & blue cheese & tuscan potato salad.

Potato Beet Salad

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Tortillas are a food we sometimes overlook. We find ourselves too busy focusing on the fillings to pay much attention to the tortilla itself. But we've discovered that a well done flour tortilla (not to be confused with a masa corn tortilla) is a marvelous thing: flaky and tender, with the just the right amount of chew, and a subtle sweet and nutty richness. Tortillas, like any bread product, can be intimidating. But they don't have to be. At heart tortillas are a simple, versatile, and rustic bread that is quick to make and forgiving for newbies. Tortillas don't have to be perfect circles or exactly uniform. Homemade fresh tortillas coming hot off your stove will be miles ahead of their store-bought competition. A recent trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras re-ignited our passion for making Homemade Flour Tortillas, and we've been making them regularly ever since.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Smokey Mexican Chile Paste, Chilmole

Last weekend, Rebecca and I moved into our permanent house here in Haiti. What a relief after months of transition. With food on the mind, our first order of business was setting up the grill! And yes, if you were wondering... it is the same grill we had in Pittsburgh for 8 years, lovingly disassembled and brought over in a suitcase by my MacGyver-of-a-father. As temperatures rise, there is just something special about grilled food. Maybe its that the smokey char reminds me of campfires and sleeping under the stars, maybe its just the uncomplicated joy of cooking over flames. For me, this Smokey Mexican Chile Paste is the closest thing there is to bottling all that is beautiful about grilling. Our non-traditional take on Mexican chilmole paste tempers the hard char of the classic black version, for a lighter, more fruity chili flavor. This paste is excellent for making red rice, a great base for barbecue sauces, a go-to rub for meats, and a potent flavor boost for chilis and other soups. 

Smokey Mexican Chile Paste, Chilmole

Haitian Pikliz

It is a big week for us. Friday marked our first official day as country representatives, and tomorrow we are moving into our new house. The thought of unpacking after 6 months makes me giddy! This week's transition seems more final than the previous ones, it feels like we have finally arrived at our destination, Haiti is home. As we have explored Haitian culture through food, pikliz was our first culinary attempt. Pikliz is a beloved Haitian condiment; a pickled cabbage dish with spices and citrus notes, that often accompanies rich or fried foods. Our usual make-taste-adjust routine was somewhat stymied, when after our 9th batch, we just couldn't seem to get a consensus from our Haitian friends and co-workers, of the flavor profile for the perfect pikliz. More heat, more sweet, less sour, more citrus, less salt, more salt, add color, more crunch. Finally we figured it out, there is no perfect master recipe. This is our favorite version of our many, many batches. Enjoy tinkering with the recipe to make pikliz your own. This tangy condiment is fantastic with all manner of meathot dogsburgers, and stewed dishes.

Haitian Pikliz

Caribbean Spiced Roast Chicken

Several years ago, while traveling in New Orleans, Rebecca and I heard about a local chef who made a traditional roast every weekend for a family dinner. Inspired, we began our own tradition of a weekly roast, sometimes meat, other times vegetarian. Our frequent favorite was a classic roast chicken with butter, garlic, and lemon. Adapting this dish to our new home in Haiti, we created a Caribbean Spiced Roast Chicken, drawing on the sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors found across the Caribbean basin. This combination of spices is reminiscent of Jamaica's famous jerks and Haiti's vibrant marinades, and the crispy skin will have you coming back for more.

Caribbean Spiced Roast Chicken

Slow Roasted Mayan Pork with Garlic Salsa

Today marks Madeline's first full week outside the womb, and most aspects of our life have irreversibly changed. Cooking and eating together has been the one constant in this topsy turvy new world since we arrived home from the hospital. A food focus persisted during labor as I panted out a list of food requests in between contractions. Paul, both remembered every request and has been cheerfully cooking up a storm this last week. Yesterdays' creation was a yeasty sugar rush of homemade cinnamon rolls, but the vast majority of my requests have been for roasted aromatic meats like this Slow Roasted Mayan Pork with Garlic Salsa. This dish is a Paul invention, which means making use of some extraordinary homemade condiments (Xac spice mix and charred garlic salsa), the end result is transcendent.

Slow Roasted Mayan Pork with Garlic Salsa

Spiced Roasted Garlic Butter

We are both great lovers of butter in all its forms. Since butter is a luxury product in Haiti running around $12 a pound, we feel like it deserves special treatment and the addition of roasted garlic and the warm, sweetly spiced, and earthy flavors Yucatán Spice Rub, Xac, takes things to a whole different level. In this flavorful butter, a base of roasted garlic is mixed with the pungent flavors of Mexican cinnamon, oregano, allspice, pepper, cloves, bay and cumin. Slather this on garlic bread, meat, fish, roasted vegetables...we haven't found a medium yet that doesn't benefit from this punchy butter.

Spiced Roasted Garlic Butter

Yucatán Dry Spice Rub, Xak

Sometimes in the dead of winter, cooking needs a little extra oomph. Yucatán Dry Spice Rub, Xak, fits the bill. With a few minutes of work, your kitchen will soon be filled with warm, sweetly spiced, and earthy flavors. This easy and versatile spice rub stores well and provides a unique flavor boost to pork, poultry, fish, soups, veggies, or even garlic butter. Stay tuned for great new recipes in the next two weeks featuring Yucatán Dry Spice Rub to get you started. This spice rub recipe was inspired by Daniel Hoyer's book of Mayan cuisine. 

Yucatán Dry Spice Rub, Xak

International Mains Round-Up

It’s the season of warm meals shared with friends and family, lively conversations, and hearty mains. For us, it is also a time for saying goodbye. We’ve put together a collection of 9 of our most frequently requested international main dishes to inspire your fall cooking. 

  1. West African Peanut Stew with Kale

  2. French Vegetable Soup, Ratatouille

  3. Tanzanian Sautéed Kale

  4. Cuban Shredded Beef, Ropa Vieja

  5. Flemish Beer Braised Beef & Onions, Carbonnade De Boef

  6. Pork Vindaloo

  7. Berbere Spiced Chicken, Doro Wat

  8. Yucatan Citrus Pulled Pork, Cochinita Pibil

  9. Vietnamese Pho

International Mains Round-Up

West African Peanut Stew with Kale

Our sister-in-law made this deliciously comforting West African Peanut Stew with Kale on a recent visit to New Haven, and I have been craving it non-stop ever since. The taste and smell of garlic, ginger and peanuts will warm you on these crisp fall days. This simple and hearty vegetarian take on the classic West African peanut stew uses pantry ingredients and works well with whatever greens you happen to have on hand. 

West African Peanut Stew with Kale

Butter Chicken Schnitzel

The first time I met Rebecca's grandmother (Oma, as we called her), she made me chicken schnitzel. This was not your cafeteria or greasy diner schnitzel. Oma's ability to transform the humble chicken breast in her old cast iron pot, into something both simple and sublime, was incredible. Her schnitzel had a buttery flavor without being greasy, a perfectly fried crisp exterior with a moist, juicy, flavorful interior. Nearly every time we visited, regardless of the time of day, even breakfast, Oma would have a fresh plate ready for me. With Oktoberfest celebrations upon us, we thought it was time to share her Butter Chicken Schnitzel. If you're worried about frying in butter, remember that when properly fried, only a small fraction is absorbed during cooking.

Butter Chicken Schnitzel

Charred Garlic Salsa

To celebrate the garlic season, we've been eating batch after batch of this sweet, smokey, and nutty Charred Garlic Salsa. It's easy to slip into thinking of garlic as a year-round kitchen workhorse, rather than as a seasonal specialty worth savoring in its own right. If you've never paused to taste the difference between early summer's stale grocery garlic and the in-season local variety, this is the perfect vehicle to indulge. Charred Garlic Salsa is inspired by the flavors and techniques of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, and is delicious with chips, on bread, with grilled meats, tacos, or as an amazing condiment for sandwiches.

Charred Garlic Salsa

Grilled Greek Salad

Grilling is our cooking method of choice for these early summer days, but it's not all about the meat.  Actually, our summer diet has tilted vegetarian since we started making this Grilled Greek Salad. I dreamt up this colorful dish in the colder months, with longings of summer. This salad knocked our socks off and had my meat loving husband requesting more. We made Grilled Greek Salad through bitter March sleet, April winds, and May rains. And now finally, with seasonal vegetables and balmy temperatures, we can grill in the sunshine. Unlike some grilled salads, this isn't grilling for cuteness. Grilled Greek Salad is a hefty, hearty entree salad, that relies on the grill to give the peppers, onions, and tomatoes their luscious char, and to add caramel sweetness to tangy halloumi cheese. Topped with kalamata olives and a tart lemon-zest vinaigrette for contrast, this salad is dynamic. Halloumi, for those not familiar, is a hard salty sheep-milk cheese from Cyrpus, a great cooking cheese that keeps its shape and texture at high heats.

Grilled Greek Salad