Global Cuisine

sam-gye-tang-opener.jpgStuffed and sated without the ability to eat even one more bite – or so I thought – we headed to Hwang Hu Sam Gye Tang restaurant to experience Samgyetang, a hot bowl of bubbling chicken soup made with one very important ingredient: ginseng.

Ushered upstairs to the second floor of this elegant and glistening airy restaurant, we were seated next to a vast window overlooking a rainy busy side street below. We passed walls that were lined with photographs of celebrity and everyday patrons, leaving the menu to appear even that much more sparse. Hwang Hu Sam Gye Tang doesn’t offer too many things other than chicken and ginseng soup, a fact I’d later forget about once the scorching hot liquid touched my tongue.

The chef and host suggested that they bring our food to the table before cooking purely for photographic purposes. “Please, do not go through any trouble” I said to our guide, watching my translated words make their way to the chef. The chef wouldn’t have it any other way, his face said everything I needed to know. Once a boiling hot soup is brought to our table I would see none of the ingredients; steam and bubbles would make sure of that. I acquiesced and like a good guest I let them set out bowls of food to photograph.

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Spicy Pumpkin Seeds – Great with beer

Classic Margarita – Blending is not allowed.

Lila’s Guacamole – The best way to eat green.

Huevos alla Amy – A breakfast treat.

Tortilla Soup - In case it's still cold in your neck of the woods.

Topopo Salad – A salad of volcanic proportions.

Ceviche – Cool and refreshing.

Enchiladas Suizas – Simply delicious.

Mexican Chicken – Spicing it up.

Goat Cheese and Poblano Quesadillas with Pineapple-Habanero Salsa - For those who like it HOT!

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa - It's not a celebration without tacos & salsa.

snowpeastirfry.jpgPeas are one of my favorite vegetables to grow. Just plant them near something they can attach to and watch them emerge from the earth, their tendrils climbing and clinging, eventually bearing bulbous pods filled with green pearls. I grow two varieties: classic shell peas and sugar snap peas, which I use mainly for stir-frying. But I love them raw too. They make a nice addition to a salad. Every now and then I'll pluck one from the bush and nibble on it while I'm out and about in the garden. Snap peas are crispy, sweet, and completely edible, pod and all. For me peas are the harbingers of spring going into summer.

This stir-fry recipe features sugar snap peas paired with tender pork, all enrobed in a Thai-style sauce that is sweet, spicy, and savory. Chicken or beef would also work wonderfully well in place of pork. To round out the dish, Jasmine rice simmered in coconut water makes a nice match. The sweetness of the coconut counterbalances the heat of the chile pepper. It's also lower in fat than coconut milk but just as flavorful. This simple and healthy stir-fry comes together in literally minutes, making it ideal for a quick meal for one hearty eater or two dainty ones.

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taco.steak_.crispy.sm_.jpgWhen ever I am asked what would my last meal be, the answer is always the same; a crispy taco.  Crispy tacos are way at the top of my list of favorites and I have absolutely no will power when it comes to ordering in a Mexican restaurant.  Intellectually, I know I should be ordering the soft tacos with grilled chicken or grilled shrimp in a Verde sauce.  But I just can’t seem to help myself.

Growing up, a typical day was swimming at the Nathan’s pool, doing some arts and crafts, and then gathering up my friends and riding our bikes to Taco Tio. Taco Tio was a typical little taco stand about 3/4 of a mile from my house. Food was ordered through a sliding mesh screen and there were a few stools that sat under the outside, very high counter.  I would order my crispy tacos, sit on those stools,  and watch the lady make and assemble my afternoon snack. When Taco Tio closed and a sub shop tooks it place, it was a sad day in the neighborhood.  And to this day, I have had a hard time replacing the taste of both their tacos or those memories.

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greeksaladThe most traditional Greek salad recipe, and the kind of Greek salad you will usually encounter in Greece, does not typically include lettuce, but is more a bowl of raw chunky vegetables with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

The flavors of this dish just get better and you can store leftovers and use with grilled meats or in sandwiches made with pita pockets.

The rich, zesty vinaigrette gets great authentic flavor from the fresh oregano, and is further enhanced by the fresh mint and parsley.

Marinating the onion and cucumber slices in the vinaigrette helps tone down the raw onion in the salad.

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