Your senses tingle as the rich aromas send you into orbit.
Imagine that first bite touching your lips. Your mouth explodes in jubilation.
The flavors are spectacular.
Our food memories are powerful.
They’re something to celebrate…
Seeing a Weber grill, fishing pole or simmering pot of soup can take you right back to the first bite of one of your favorite comfort foods.
Imagine going to Maine for summer vacation. The daily adventure down to the docks to get lobster or longneck clams was amazing and unforgettable.
Every day you ate what the fisherman brought to the dock.
Until, you finally begged for McDonalds.
You were seven years old.
Remembering the very best part of a vacation is often centered around the meals you savored.
The delectable fragrances and flavors of foods from around the world are softly seated in your memory.
I’ve spent 41 months, in 16 countries on five continents tasting my way through some amazing, local delicacies.
Kangaroo carpaccio in Melbourne, Australia was an unexpected surprise.
The aroma of simmering New Zealand Green Lip Mussel soup is intoxicating.
The sound of the crashing waves while gathering Caracoles in Vieques, Puerto Rico is forever etched in my mind.
The staggering amount of street food vendors lining the streets of Bangkok, Thailand are a visual few forget.
Here are a few recipes to help you recreate a few of my favorite dishes.
This kangaroo dish was served with caper berries, shallots, a quail egg and toasted sourdough.
Here is a great recipe if you’re not in Australia!
10 very thin slices of Filet mignon. (Ask your local butcher for a fresh cut filet.)
1Tb drained capers
1 shallot, sliced thin, lightly sautéed in 1Tb olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 quail egg
4 thin slices toasted sourdough
Arrange sliced beef. Finish with sautéed shallots and top with capers.
Lastly, cook the quail egg sunny side up. Place next to the meat.
Serve with sourdough toast.
New Zealand Green Lip Mussel Soup
3+lbs New Zealand Green Lip Mussels
4 medium potatoes chopped
2 medium onions chopped
12 cloves of garlic chopped
2 cups low salt chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 can coconut milk
Salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste
Wash mussels and put in large pot and just cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until mussels start to open.
Remove mussels and set aside.
I find it easier to remove the beards from the mussels after they cook. Set aside 3 mussels still in their shells for each bowl you’re serving.
Chop remaining mussels in large chunks. Set aside.
Add potatoes, onion, garlic, white wine, coconut milk, butter and chicken broth.
Simmer for 20min.
Add remaining mussels and simmer for 10 more minutes.
Serve with toasted sourdough.
Caracoles (or Clams) in White Wine Broth
(Caracoles can be eaten raw on the beach. Smash one open, clean out the stomach and foot and pop it in your mouth. If that pushes your foodie envelope too far, take them back to your kitchen and try this simple recipe.)
3lbs of caracoles (or clams)
8 cloves of garlic minced
1.5 cups of white wine
4Tb. of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil caracoles for about 15 minutes.
(If using clams reduce the cooking time to just when the clams are starting to open. Remove clams but leave in shells.)
Remove shellfish and discard all but about a cup of the water.
To remove the caracoles meat I bent the tong of a fork to pry the meat out.
Clean the stomach and foot off the meat. (It’s easy to tell which is which.)
Add white wine, garlic and butter to the pot and simmer 10 minutes.
Add the caracoles (or clams) and simmer briefly to coat.
Serve with toasted sourdough bread.
In Bangkok, the sounds and smells of street food being prepared before your eyes is mind boggling.
Abundant stalls line the streets of Bangkok. Each with it’s own fragrance. More foods than you can identify are imbedded in that sweet spot in your brain.
The most identifiable food I saw resembled Vietnamese spring rolls.
If you want to recreate these at home, try this recipe.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
12 Large shrimp, cleaned cooked and split lengthwise.
1 package rice paper wraps.
About a ¼ of 1 package of vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and drained (available at Asian markets).
Package of match stick cut carrots
1 English cucumber cut into match sticks
1 bunch each: mint, basil and cilantro cleaned, chopped and mixed together.
Peanut sauce for dipping
Buy or make this loosely measured peanut sauce:
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup ground fresh chili paste (to taste)
¼ cup Hoisin sauce
½ cup+ of water to thin to desired consistency
After all your ingredients are prepared, take a damp, clean kitchen cloth and lay it on the counter.
Run 1 rice paper wrap under water for a few seconds. Lay it on the damp towel. The rice paper should still feel a bit stiff.
Working quickly, lay a few shrimp pieces about a third from the bottom of the wrap.
Top with about ¼ cup of cooked noodles, carrots, cucumber and the herbs.
Start rolling from the bottom, folding the sides in and roll it up.
The tricky part is not getting the wrapper too wet. They get sticky and hard to deal with but don’t get discouraged. Once you master this, you’ll have a great appetizer everyone loves.
Serve with warm peanut sauce.
Each dish that tickles your palette when you travel leaves an indelible mark on your memory.
Recreating those dishes can be challenging.
Taking the time to develop a close second is worth the time and effort.
Bringing awe inspiring memories back to your own kitchen and sharing delectable food with those near and dear to you is time well spent.
Now you have several dishes that are worthy of sharing.