Welcome!

We live in a multicultural society where everyone has unique and interesting backgrounds.
Including in these is FOOD, which plays an important role in our lives.
Like everything else, food varies from one culture to the other. For example, it is found that eating pork
is perfectly normal in one country and prohibited in another.


We are a group of students from Vanier College in Montreal, Canada. As a school project
for our humanities class World Views on Food Production, each one of us had to come up with a special recipe.
This recipe had to either be a tradition that has been present in our family for many years or
have a symbolic meaning/historical background attached to it, which is part of our culture.


Because we didn't want to keep them only to ourselves, we created this blog to share with you our recipes!
Among these recipes, you will find appetizers, main dishes and desserts.


In this blog, you'll be transported from North and South America all the way to Europe and Asia passing by Africa.
Enjoy as you discover new delicious foods from around the world!

ARMENIA: Choereg

By: Angelique Ghazarian



Is there one special meal or dessert that you prepare for a certain occasion every year? In my family, there is. It’s called the “choereg” which we make every Easter. This delicious Armenian pastry is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. Every Armenian knows what choereg is. If not, then they probably aren’t fully into their culture. In English, choereg could be translated to “Armenian Easter bread”. The most important ingredient found in this pastry is the “mahleb”. This is what gives it its distinctive flavour and aroma. It can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, such as Adonis, in the spices section. The beautiful aspect of this dessert is the way it’s prepared: the dough is in fact braided. I remember as a child, I would always want to help my mother braid the dough. Although it's not such a hard process, I was never able to get a good looking braid like my mom did. As the years passed by, I improved, and today, I am much better at braiding the choereg.

There are several traditions that Armenians follow when preparing choereg. Some of them put red painted eggs in the dough while braiding it to give a pretty allure. However, in my family, we put a one dollar coin in the dough before baking it, and whoever gets the piece of this sweet bread with the coin is said to be the lucky one and that he/she will encounter something special. Even though the ways to prepare it might be slightly different, the choereg is considered to be one of the most popular Armenian desserts. It has been a tradition for Armenian families, and I definitely believe it will stay one in the years to come.

Next time you meet an Armenian, ask them what’s the dessert they prepare during Easter time. Chances are “choereg” will be their response!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup margarine
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 2 (¼ ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
- 5 eggs
- 6 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground mahleb
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)


Procedure:
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, butter and margarine. Heat until butter and margarine are melted, but do not let it boil. Stir in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons of sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface, and let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.

3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and stir a little to break up the yolks. Slowly pour in the heated milk mixture while whisking constantly, so as to temper the eggs and not cook them.

4. Add the yeast mixture, and stir just until blended.

5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, mahleb and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the wet mixture. Stir until it forms a sticky dough. Pour onto a floured surface and knead in additional flour as needed to make a more substantial dough. Knead for about 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, and set in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

6. When the dough has doubled, punch down again, and let rise until doubled. It will only take about half as long this time.

7. Separate the dough into 5 even portions, then separate each of those into thirds. Roll each of those into ropes about 12 inches long. Braid sets of three ropes together, pinching the ends to seal, and tucking them under for a better presentation. Place the loaves onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Loaves should be spaced 4 inches apart. Set in a warm place to rise until your finger leaves an impression behind when you poke the loaf gently.

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush the loaves with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

9. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely golden brown all over.

Anoush ella!

ARMENIA: Sou Boereg

By: Taline Naim


Part of every Armenian celebration, is a rich table covered with delicious food. Sou (water) Boreg, like so many other Armenian dishes, is the masterpiece that many people talk about eating, but would never attempt to make themselves. For most Armenians, cheese boeregs are considered an enjoyable appetizer. This delicious plate, although extremely complicated, is a savoury pie made with homemade phyllo pastry and stuffed cheese or spinach. This is one of those dishes that unite women together in the kitchen today as well as in the old days. This boereg would bring women together for they would make it in mass quantities, helping each other out. One of the biggest reasons why you don’t see this made more often is because it is such a time consuming process.

I remember when I was younger, during Christmas time, all the women in my family would gather at my house to prepare this plate from scratch. And every year, my sisters and I would sit around the table just to watch them make it. We always asked if we could help, but my grandmother always told us: “You are too young, maybe next year”. The kitchen became a well-orchestrated symphony. We were amazed at how each one of the women had a specific task to complete. A group would prepare the dough, another would make the filling and my grandmother, the maestro, was in charge of putting it all together, thus completing this delicious plate. Although the day would be long, and the noise level high in the kitchen, the outcome was always the same; beautiful memories and a scrumptious meal.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
Filling
- 1 lb Feta
- ½ lb Mozzarella

Dough
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 ½ tablespoons of salt
- 2 ½ cups of flour


Procedure:
1. Break 6 eggs, mix it with salt, water and flour.
2. Let the dough sit for thirty minutes.
3. Grate the feta and mozzarella cheese.
4. Melt the butter.
5. After thirty minutes, separate the dough in ten equal balls.
6. Spread each ball into thin and equal rectangle.
7. Place them one by one in boiling water containing a bit of salt for half a minute each.
8. Then quickly put them each in icy water to stop the cooking, for half a minute.
9. Next, carefully dry them on a cloth.
10. Take a big Pyrex, butter it.
11. Place the first sheet in the platter and brush a good amount of butter on each. Repeat this step for the next four sheets.
12. Add the cheese and the repeat step 11.
13. Spread the rest of the melted butter on the last sheet.
14. Put in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 45 minutes until golden.
15. Cut with a sharp knife, and enjoy.

BRAZIL: Chicken with Coconut Milk

By: Dina Kossivas


Brazilian food has been inspired by many different influences including Asian, Middle Eastern, Portuguese, Amerindian and West African cuisines. Common dishes include sweet potatoes, hearts of palm, corn, fish, peppers, coconut milk, etc.

In 1815, Brazil became a United Kingdom with Portugal. Brazil is the largest country in South America, and also the only country where almost 100% of the population speaks Portuguese. The minority groups who do not speak the language are immigrants and Amerindian groups.

Brazil has a wide variation of different ethnic groups and races such as Germans, Italians, Spanish, African American, Arab, Japanese and Amerindian. This allows the country to be very diverse. Due to the different races and ethnicities, Brazil has a lot of intermarried couples. It is almost impossible to find somebody who does not have a combination of European, African or indigenous ancestry.

The recipe I have chosen is very important to me because it is a dish that my grandmother often makes for special occasions. It is one of my favorite meals to eat. It is one of our family traditions, and, soon enough, I will learn how to make this delicious meal to pass it on to my family. The Brazilian chicken with coconut milk is often served over some white rice with beans. There are no specific types of beans that should be mixed into the rice; it all depends on someone’s preferable taste. Usually, my family enjoys this meal with potato salad. The chicken is not too difficult to make and it can be eaten with anything of your choice if potato salad or rice does not interest you.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
- 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley


Procedure:
1. In a medium bowl, mix the cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and coriander. Place the chicken in the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and rub on all sides with the spice mixture.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken in the skillet. Cook 10 to 15 minutes on each side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet. Cook and stir the onion, ginger, jalapeno peppers, and garlic 5 minutes, or until tender. Mix in the tomatoes and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. Serve over the chicken. Garnish with the parsley.

Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Brazilian-Chicken-with-Coconut-Milk/Detail.aspx

CANADA (QUEBEC): Tourtière

By: Jessica Saunders


In my family, a traditional meal around Christmas time is Tourtière, a French-Canadian recipe. It is also known as meat pie. I decided to contribute this recipe to the class’s recipe book because it is my all-time favourite meal. Many years ago, my mother watched her mother make Tourtières “au pif”, in other words, by guesswork or by eye, and also learned how to make it herself. I have yet to do so.

Once my mother caught on to the way my grandmother made Tourtière, she started making them for my Dad and me. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Tourtière as one of the main courses at the dinner table. My English side of the family has also caught on to this tradition. My aunt on my Dad’s side of the family also makes Tourtière, but it is slightly different than my Mom’s. I’d like to show you both of them, but I’ve chosen to write about my mother’s recipe because it is the one I’ve grown up with.

It was quite difficult to get down the proper measurements for this recipe because, as I mentioned before, my mother has gotten into the habit of making it “au pif”. So I apologize in advance if the measurements are not as precise as they should be. The blend of beef, pork, soda crackers, onions and spices is magnificent in its simplicity. The filling combined with the crust fit perfectly together. I highly recommend you try this recipe. You will not be disappointed, I can guarantee it!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
Pie Pastry (CRISCO® method):
- 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¾ cup CRISCO® All-Vegetable shortening
- 4-8 tbsp. ice cold water

Filling:
- 2 lb. medium ground pork
- ½ lb. lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped in small pieces
- Begin with 1 cup water, add more water until it tops up over the meat in the saucepan
- ½ tsp. of salt
- ¼ tsp. of pepper (add more later if necessary)
- ¼ tsp. of ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. of cinnamon
- a dash of nutmeg
- ½ box to 1 box of crushed soda crackers


Procedure:
Preparing the pastry/pie crust (directly from CRISCO® box)
1. Blend flour and salt in medium mixing bowl. Cut 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) cubes of chilled shortening into flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces remaining.

2. Sprinkle 4 tbsp. of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top; press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, mixing until dough holds together.

3. Divide dough in two, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten ball into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) thick round disks, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

4. Place larger disk of dough on lightly floured work surface. With floured rolling pin, roll dough outward from center into circle 1 inch (2.5cm) wider than pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate without stretching and trim evenly around plate.

5. Roll top pie crust; lift onto filled pie. Trim dough to ¾ inch (2 cm) overhang; fold top crust under bottom dough edge. Press edges together and flute. Cut slits in top crust.


Making the filling and the Tourtère
1. Begin by preparing the pastry/pie crust before starting the filling. After the pie crusts are made begin preparation of the filling.

2. In a fairly large saucepan bring pork, beef and one cup of water to a boil and add finely chopped onions, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium. Once meat is cooked, add the ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. *Be cautious with the nutmeg: do NOT add too much.

3. Once this is complete, begin by adding soda crackers. Add crackers depending on how much meat juice is present in the saucepan. Simmer slowly and stir occasionally until desired thickness is reached. Once there is no meat juice left, do not continue adding more soda crackers.

4. While the filling has been cooking, the pastry should have been prepared ahead of time. Fill meat mixture in the bottom crust and place top crust over the filling. Seal the edges of the two crusts together then in the centre of the top crust cut 2 or 3 slits.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place pie in oven for approximately 10 minutes to avoid burning the crust. Reduce the ovens heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake pie for another 30 minutes or until crust is brown and the pie is slightly bubbling.

6. Let pie stand for about 10-15 minutes before cutting it into slices.

CHINA: Beef Chow Mein

By: Stephen Chow


I chose this recipe to share with the World Views class because this is one of my favourite dishes and I wanted others to experience it. This is a traditional meal in Chinese culture and has become extremely popular in North America. This recipe belongs to my grandmother, but was passed down to her from her mother when she passed away.

My grandmother came here from China twenty years ago, and each time she prepares it, it is something special. It is only on Chinese New Year that my grandmother prepares this meal because for her, this dish represents “family”. When my grandmother was a little girl, her mother only prepared it on Chinese New Year, and when she asked why, her mother responded, “because to me this is a celebration of a family”.

Chinese New Year is the most important date on our calendar because this is the only time when all our family members come together and celebrate the New Year. This family tradition is something I have looked forward to each year since I was five because all the kids get to help prepare this meal, and it always brings a smile to my grandmother’s face. The smile that she has is priceless because she is expressing her happiness that everyone is together, and for this to happen, it is very difficult as each family has its own busy schedule.

The Chinese culture values family like any other culture, and for us to celebrate Chinese New Year with this Beef Chow Mein as a family each year is something wonderful and something that I will always remember.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 6 ounces flank steak
- 3 ounces broccoli florets
- 3 ounces cauliflower
- 1 ounce carrot, sliced (optional)
- 5 sugar peas, cut into pieces
- 2 stalks celery
- ¼ onion, shredded
- 8 ounces Fresh chow mein noodles (look for them in the cooler section of the supermarket, next to the tofu)
- 1 cup canned chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon chinese cooking wine

Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon chicken broth mix
- ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 drops sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon oil (added last)

Sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 dash white pepper
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 drops sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon chicken broth mix
- ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water


Procedure:
1. Mix together the seasoning ingredients, except for the oil. Cut flank steak into thin slices at a slant against the grain, and stir with the seasoning to coat. Add the oil and stir. Let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the sauce in a bowl, and set aside.

3. Cut the vegetables into bite size.

4. Boil 3 cups of water. Add ¼ tsp. salt. Add egg noodles for 30 seconds, and drain.

5. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan. Pan fry the noodles on medium heat. Fry both sides until crispy. Place noodles into a shallow serving dish and set aside.

6. While noodles are frying, boil 4 cups of water in a large saucepan, and add ½ tsp. (3 ml) salt.

7. Add the vegetables, blanch them for a few seconds, and drain.

8. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a deep skillet or wok, and fry steak until medium. Set the steak to one side of the pan, and stir-fry the onions and garlic on the other side until the onions are soft.

9. Add the vegetables and sprinkle with the cooking wine. Pour in chicken sauce. Bring to a boil, and add the sauce to thicken.

10. Top the noodles with the beef and vegetable mixture, and serve!

CHINA: Char Siu

By: Hugo Choi


As a child, I always enjoyed going to restaurants with my parents. They would take me out every couple of weeks and we would spend some time together, of course with my sisters as well. Usually, we would go to a Chinese restaurant. Whenever I went to a Chinese restaurant, I would always order some sort of rotisserie. There were usually three kinds that were very common. The first is duck, the second is roasted pork and the third is barbecue pork.

Now that I’m older, I don’t go out with my parents as much. As a matter of fact, I would rather not go out with my parents. However I would still love to enjoy these delectable dishes whenever I get the chance. It is much more difficult to roast a duck or pork in a normal kitchen since the kitchens at the restaurant are higher powered. The good news is the following: making barbecue pork is much simpler. So I decided to ask my mother to teach me how to make this meal, which I really enjoy. Usually, this would be served with rice and some vegetables. All you have to do is bake it. It is an easy, simple meal and it is delicious at the very same time. Here is how you can learn to do the same.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- Char Siu sauce
- 454g of pork


Procedure:
1. First, you must purchase some Char Siu sauce made by Lee Kum Kee. You can find this at any Chinese grocery store or potentially at your local super market. Also you must have a slab of pork, preferably with as little bone as possible.

2. Marinate the pork using the Char Siu sauce for at least two hours. For every 454g of pork, use 5 tbsp of the barbecue sauce. Then bake it in the oven at 180˚C for approximately 30 minutes.

3. While it is baking, frequently brush the Char Siu sauce onto the pork and turning it as well. This will allow the meat to be especially tender and juicy. Enjoy!

CHINA: Tangyuan (汤圆)

By: Wenyu Qi


Tangyuan is a Chinese food made of glutinous rice. It can either be served in a soup or just eaten plain. It can be sweet or salty, small or big, and filled or unfilled. Tangyuan is eaten all year long, because it is sold as a frozen food in many Asian supermarkets. But most of the time, it is eaten during Lantern Festival and Chinese New Year. I chose this food, because it is one of my favourites. Before, I only ate them during Chinese New Year, but now I can eat them whenever I want, because they are sold already frozen, all I need to do is boil them.

History of Tangyuan
In China, there are two different versions of the legend of where Tangyuan comes from. In the northern China, the legend comes from the Yongle era of the Ming dynasty. At that time, Tangyuan was called ‘Yuanxiao’ (元宵), and was derived from Yuanxiao festival, also known as the Lantern Festival. Yuanxiao means ‘first evening’ which is the first full moon after Chinese New Year and it is always a new moon. In southern China, Tangyuan is also called ‘Yuanxiao’ (元宵). But since 1912, when Yuan Shikai (袁世凯) became the first president of the Republic of China, the name was changed. Yuan Shikai always wanted to become an emperor, but he was scared that the people of the Republic of China would oppose him. Yuan Shikai was scared of the people because Yuan (袁) from his name and Yuan (元) from the food Yuanxiao have the same pronunciation. Also, xiao (宵) from the food and the xiao (消) as in ‘xiaomie’ (消灭), meaning ‘eradicate’, have the same pronunciation.

Therefore, Yuanxiao (元宵) the food, made Yuan Shikai think that the people of Republic of China were thinking of Yuanxiao (袁消), meaning to remove Yuan Shikai from the president’s place. In 1913, before Yuanxiao festival (Lantern Festival), Yuan Shikai decided to change the name Yuanxiao (元宵) to Tangyuan (汤圆). From then on, Tangyuan has become the official name of this food.


THE RECIPE:

Ingredients:
- 4 cups of glutinous rice (sticky rice) flour
- 220 ml of warm water
- 200 ml of cold water
- 14 tablespoons of black sesame powder
- 14 tablespoons of sugar
- 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Procedure:
1. Mixed the black sesame powder and the sugar together. Melt the unsalted butter and add the black sesame powder mixture together (filling part).
2. Make the mixture into small round shapes, place them with spaces between each other to make sure they don’t stick together and then put them into the fridge to make the mixture hardens to make the following steps easier.
3. To make sure that the outside paste doesn’t become hard, use only half of the ingredients first and then make the other half.
4. Take 2 cups of the glutinous rice flour add 110 ml of warm water and mix with chopsticks, make sure all the flour is well mixed and then add 100 ml of cold water to make the paste stick altogether (outside paste).
5. Take small parts of the paste and flatten them with the palm of your hand. Put the filling in the paste and then close it into a ball. Lightly roll it into a ball shape using both palms, this step must be very gently and delicate. Set aside and let it cold down a bit before putting into the water to boil.
6. Heat up a pot of boiling water (around 4-5 cups), and then drop the balls into the hot boiling water. As soon as they float to the top, they are ready to eat.

Tips:
1. When boiling, gently stir from time to time to make sure the balls don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
2. The Tangyuan are really hot in the middle when it just comes out of the water.
3. Tangyuan can be served with the water from the boiling pot, because the Tangyuan can be very sticky.
4. 1 cup = 240 ml
5. The filling of the Tangyuan can be changed to white sesame powder, red bean powder, green bean powder, and sweet almond powder and even crushed peanuts. All the ingredients can be bought in Asian supermarkets (Kim Phat, few Loblaws, most of the supermarkets in Chinatown)

Sources: http://baike.baidu.com/view/73688.htm

CHINA: "Zong Zi" or Chinese Rice Dumplings

By: Xianggaoyuan Fu


The Zong Zi (Chinese: 粽子) is a traditional dish made with glutinous rice wrapped in leaves with quite a story behind it. In fact, there’s a festival that involves this dish. It’s called the Dragon Boat Festival or DuanWu Jie (端午节).

The story behind it occurred more than 2000 years ago, before China was one unified country. It was a period called the “Warring States Period” or the “Period of Spring and Fall” (春秋时代). China was divided into many states and they fought many bloody battles. In one of these states, the kingdom of Chu (楚), there lived a poet of great renown, his name was Qu Yuan (屈原)]. He was a great patriot and pushed for an alliance with the states surrounding Chu to deal with what he perceived as a great threat, the state of Qin (秦) (he was right; the state of Qin unified China and created the first Dynasty: the Qin Dynasty. They were also the ones who built the first Great Wall of China.) Unfortunately, he had many enemies in the court and they made his comments look pessimistic and unpatriotic and exiled him. The capital of Chu, Ying (郢) was then taken by the Qin army. After penning what is arguably his greatest work, Lament for Ying (哀郢), he committed ritual suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo river (汨罗江).

He was well loved by the people, so they went out on fast boats to dredge his corpse. While they dredged, they beat drums to scare the fish away and threw rice wrapped with leaves to feed the fish so they wouldn’t eat his corpse. His patriotism and skill in poetry is still celebrated in China with dragon boat races and eating rice dumplings. I remember that when I was small we would make zong zi and watch the dragon boat races on TV (we lived too far north for there to be any races where I was.)


THE RECIPE

Difficult Version
WARNING:
this is the hard recipe, try at your own risk. The ingredients are hard to find and harder to put together (if you’re not Chinese) but the end product (if you manage to do it correctly) will be delicious. Side effects may include frustration, anger and rice all over the place. Easier version is available below the hard one but it won’t taste as good.

Ingredients:
(Makes 20 dumplings)
- 40 large dried bamboo leaves or other broad leaf (2 for each zongzi)
- 20 long strings (for binding leaves)
- 1 kg (2.2 Ib) long grain sticky rice
- 2 kg (4.4 Ib) pork belly, sliced into 3 cm (1") cubes
- 10 salted duck's egg yolks
- 40 small dried shittake (black) mushrooms
- 20 dried, shelled chestnuts
- 10 spring onions, cut up into 1 cm (1/2") lengths
- 500 g (18 oz) dried radish
- 100 g (3.5 oz) very small dried shrimp
- 200 g (7 oz) raw, shelled peanuts (with skins)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- vegetable oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 star anise
- 1 teaspoon five spice powder


Procedure:
1. Soak rice in water for three hours, drain.

2. Stir-fry pork for a few minutes. Add chestnuts, soy sauce, rice wine, ground pepper, 1 teaspoon of sugar, star anise and five spice powder, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove pork and chestnuts from liquid and set aside.

3. Boil peanuts until tender (30 minutes to 1 hour).

4. Soak mushrooms until soft. Clean and trim stalks. Cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Stir-fry with a little liquid from pork stew.

5. Halve duck egg yolks.

6. Chop up dried radish finely and stir-fry with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and garlic.

7. Stir-fry spring onions until fragrant.

8. Stir-fry shrimp for a few minutes.

9. To a large wok or bowl, add rice, peanuts, radish, shrimp, spring onions, a little liquid from the stew mixture and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix well.

Wrap zongzi
1. Soak bamboo leaves in warm water for 5 minutes to tenderise, before washing thoroughly in cold water.

2. Wet strings to make them more pliable.

3. Take 2 leaves with leaf stem or spine facing out. Overlap them lengthwise in inverse directions (pointed end of one leaf facing the rounded end of the other).

4. With both hands hold leaves about 2/3rds of the way along their length. At that point bend them so that they are parallel lengthwise and also overlap. This should produce a leaf pouch that you cup firmly in 1 hand.

5. Add a small amount of rice mixture, compressing with a spoon.

6. Add 1 piece of each pork, chestnut, mushroom and duck egg yoke.

7. Add more rice until you have nearly a full pouch. Compress firmly with a spoon.

8. Fold leaves over the open top of zongzi, then around to side until zongzi is firmly wrapped. Zongzi should be pyramid shaped with sharp edges and pointed ends. Trim off any excess leaf with scissors.

9. Tie up zongzi tightly just like shoes laces with a double knot. Normally they are tied to a bunch of zongzi.

10. Steam for 1 hour, unwrap and serve.

Note: Chinese groceries should stock most of these ingredients. They will almost certainly have the wrappers and strings in the lead up to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Eat zongzi plain or with a sauce of your choice. Wrapped tightly in plastic, zongzi freeze well. To reheat, thaw, and without removing the bamboo leaves, steam (best option), or microwave. Before microwaving, poke a very small hole in the wrapping and pour in 1/4 of a teaspoon of water to help prevent the zongzi drying out. To test for doneness, plunge a sharp fork into the centre of the zongzi. If the fork is hot, so is your snack. Different leaves used to wrap the dumpling will give it different flavors.
Source: www.eatingchina.com/recipes/zongzi.htm


Easy version

Ingredients:
(Makes 10 dumplings)
- 20 large sheets of bamboo or reed leaves
- Glutinous rice (1 kilogram)
- Chinese dates (250 grams) can also be same amount of sweetened bean paste, chestnuts, lotus seeds, Chinese sausage, split and hulled mung bean, salted pork, Chinese black mushrooms, peanuts, taro and yolk of salted duck egg.

Procedure:
1. Soak the rice and the dates 12 hours or more till they are soaked thoroughly.
2. Wash the leaves.
3. A chopping board is necessary for laying out the leaves.
4. Fold the leaves flat at the leafstalk to make a sheet.
5. Hold the sheet, fold it round in the middle and make a funnel till both ends are laid over each other in one direction.
6. About 1/10 kg. of rice and 6 dates used for each dumpling. The dates must be covered by rice so that they won't lose too much syrup in cooking.
7. Fold the leaves up to seal the open side of the funnel and tie the bundle with a band made of twisted leaves. Make sure that the bundle is tied neither too tight nor too loose so that the ingredients are well cooked.
8. Put the dumplings in a pot with water over and make sure they are pressed and kept still while being boiled.
9. Cooking time: 40 minutes in a pressure cooker; 2 hours in an ordinary pot.

Source: Ronghe Yu.

CHINA: "Zhong" (粽)

By: Kenny Tran


Long ago, somewhere in China, a man was once born. At that time there were a lot of unkind officers who used their power to illegally acquire money. The man had a lot of pride. He studied hard to become an advisor to the king, so that he could earn a lot of money to feed his family and help the unfortunate. He wanted to bring peace to the villagers, since the king had other things to do. His effort indeed paid off, because he passed the test that occurs every four years. This test is the only path for an ordinary peasant to become an officer who serves the king. It took this man many years to rise to the top. He later earned the king’s trust and became his main advisor.

During his rise to power, he did many good deeds, which built him a good reputation. All peasants loved him. However, his rise would mean a downfall for others; therefore, other officers hated him. Soon enough, they started gossiping, creating false rumors about him. Passing from mouths to ears, the rumors became as bad as they could be. They turned out to be something like: “he is betraying the king or now that he got so much power, he will make a revolution to take over the kingdom”. It didn’t take very long for some of these stories to reach the king’s ears. Full of anger, he condemned the man to death. The man didn’t want to lose his pride by being beheaded, so, on May 5th of the Chinese calendar, he jumped into a river and drowned himself. His beloved peasants wanted him to have a full body on his road to heaven. So they threw a mixture of food wrapped in what we call, “Zhong” (粽), in the river. The mixture is a made of rice, beans, pork meat, eggs, sausages, peanuts, bamboo leaves and strings to keep it in one piece, so the fishes would eat the food and not the man’s body.

Now, we don’t throw food into the river, but we eat this particular food to remember that man. My parents make these on May 5th of the Chinese calendar. I’ve been eating this for 18 years. The bamboo leaves can be found in Asian market such as, Kim Phat near Jarry, and groceries stores in China Town.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cup rice
- ¼ cup green beans
- pork
- sausage
- 4-5 bamboo leaves
- 1 egg
- peanuts
- 1 meter of string

Procedure:
1. Wash the rice.
2. Leave the rice with water overnight.
3. Wash the green beans.
4. Leave the green beans with water overnight.
5. Take out the rice and pour some salt on it.
6. Do the same thing with the green beans.
7. Cook the pork with hot water.
8. Cut the pork into small pieces.
9. Slice the sausage into slices.
10. Wash the bamboo leaves.
11. Put some rice on a bamboo leaf.
12. Add a little bit of the meats and beans in it.
13. Add another layer of rice on top.
14. Close the package with another leaf.
15. Seal the package with the string.
16. Put it in a hot pot to cook for around 4 hours.

COLOMBIA: Chicken with rice

By: Felipe Munoz


Colombian Chicken Rice is one of the most famous Colombian recipes ever. Not only is it tasty and fresh, but also easy and fast to make. This fabulous plate is mainly common in hot regions such as Colombia’s second largest city, Cali. “Arroz con Pollo”, as it’s called in Spanish, is part of every “Caleño”’s life. It is mostly served at lunchtime and it is eaten at anytime of the year.

This acclaimed plate is offered in many restaurants all around the city and it can be accompanied with avocado, tomatoes or “arepa”(corn griddle-cake). Some people enjoy adding some ketchup or spicy sauce and it can be decorated with parsley. My family and I eat it very frequently, and sometimes, my mother makes it for a special occasion. The plate represents the diversity of Colombian cuisine, and the warm and friendly culture. You can try to cook this magnificent plate that will delight you and your guests in no time.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 large chicken or boneless breasts
- 1 kg of rice
- 500 g of green beans
- 500 g of carrots
- 250 g of peas
- 500 g of sausage (optional)
- 1 large red pepper (optional)
- 1 pinch of cumin
- ketchup
- 1 clove garlic


Procedure:
1. Boil the chicken for 10 minutes in plenty of water, 1 garlic and cumin. Remove chicken and with the same broth cook the rice.

2. Cook the vegetables in salted water, dice carrots, beans and green peas; cut and stir-fry the sausages in a skillet. Once the vegetables are ready mix them with the sausages.

3. Bone the chicken, pull it apart or separate it with the hands and add it into the mix of vegetables and sausages. After 1 or 2 minutes, add the mix with all the ingredients to the rice, stir well and finally add ketchup, if wanted.

4. Serve in dishes on lettuce leaves accompanied by sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt

Tip to make it even tastier: add three tablespoons of butter when all ingredients are already mixed. Then, stir everything and leave on at low temperature for a few minutes.

Buen Provecho!

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Fufu

By: Wendy Kadianda Muswam


For several centuries, fufu has been in the Congolese culture. The fufu is a dish that is very important to Congolese because it is a staple food. This dish is composed of water and corn flour, sometimes mixed with cassava flour. It contains iron, calcium, and vitamin A, as it is a very substantial meal. Fufu is not only eaten in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but it is eaten in other countries in Africa. However, in some African countries, the fufu is made with water mixed with plantain, cocoyam, maize, rice, instant potatoes flakes, or yams. Furthermore, the Congolese eat fufu at least once a day. It is usually eaten at noon and if they have to eat it a second time during the day, it would be for supper. They eat it with vegetables, meat, fish or pepper. For example, my mom would cook it with chicken and cooked cassava leaves mixed with other vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini and several other vegetables.

My parents cannot pass a day without eating fufu, even though it has been decades since they left Congo. In addition, the fufu is a dish that is easily digested if it is prepared with corn flour because cassava flour contains starch. Fufu has been, and will remain, in the Congolese culture for years.


THE RECIPE
(Fufu made with corn flour)


Ingredients:
- 500 mL water
- 1/3 cup of corn flour

Procedure:
1. Pour the water into the pan and boil it.
2. When it is boiled, add 100g of corn flour.
3. Simmer for a few second and then stir.
4. When the dough begins to be thick, add the remaining flour and mix until dough is thick, but soft.
5. Now the fufu is ready to be served.

GREECE: Pastitsio

By: Dino Rovolis


There are many delicious foods in my Greek culture, but the one that I consider my favorite is the well known “pastitsio” (Greek: παστίτσιο), especially the way my mom makes it…it’s so good that she has to make it in a big casserole dish so we can all be satisfied. Food is a very big part of our culture, if ever you have the chance to go to a Greek family’s house for dinner or so, even if you’d get stuffed, make sure to have some more space left for another dish because we all know that Greek mothers don’t take no for an answer, and when you ask for a small piece, it’s always a big one! My favorite thing about Greek food is the huge variety and creativity of it. When I eat delicious Greek food, it always reminds me of being in Greece, like in a beautiful island or even at a Greek party, with lots of dancing and music!

Now for pastitsio, throughout Greece or many Greek restaurants you’ll find this delight, but personalized in ingredients. Basically, it’s a dish made of pasta, meat sauce, and a custard or béchamel sauce. As seen in the picture above, there are three layers meaning three steps in order to make the pastitsio just right:


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 6 ounces or ½ cup bucatini pasta noodles
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup milk
- 1lb ground beef
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper

Béchamel sauce:
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese


Pasta noodles and ground beef
1. Cook the bucatini pasta noodles until done and drain them. Add the egg, the Parmesan cheese, and the milk. Mix all ingredients together and set it aside for now.

2. Cook the ground beef and the chopped onion in skillet until brown and drain the fat. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, as well as the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Then set all that aside.

Béchamel sauce
1. Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan.
2. Add the flour and salt.
3. Add the milk slowly, cook and stir until it thickens.
4. Remove it from heat and stir in a small amount of the hot mixture into one beaten egg, then return that mixture to the rest of the sauce in the pan.
5. Add the Parmesan cheese.


Procedure
Making the lasagna
To assemble it, put half the macaroni mixture into an 8X8 inch square casserole dish, layer the meat onto it, then add the remaining macaroni mixture. Finally, add the sauce on top and you can also cover it with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 min and let it stand 10 min before serving.

Enjoy!

HAITI: Griot

By: Pierre-Carlyn Merceus


I am of Haitian descent and for that reason I shall introduce you to a typical Haitian meal called “griot”, but first, I will tell you a little bit about my food culture. Haitian food is a perfect representation of how a multitude of influences can affect a country’s. Indeed, Haitian food is a mix of African, American, Arabic and French food and most of these influences come from the time Haiti was colonized. Furthermore, because of Haiti’s hot climate, its foods include a diversity of tropical fruits and vegetables. A noteworthy aspect of Haitian diet is that there is a high dose of carbohydrates and fat.

A contrast between North Americans and Haitians is that in North America, the largest meal is served during the evening at supper, but in Haiti, the lunch break at noon is the most important part of the day. Another way in which Haitian food culture is different from North American is in the importance Haitians give to a healthy breakfast. In Haiti, breakfasts are small and sometimes skipped and one of its typical components is coffee (even children are allowed to drink it). In my family, as in most Haitian families, eating right means maintaining a hefty bodyweight and slimness for them is a sign of illness. This is why older Haitian males and females tend to be overweight when they reach adulthood. But some of these beliefs get somewhat lost when Haitian-born people immigrate to more modernized countries and I am the perfect example of that.

I chose griot because it is the most popular Haitian dish there is and most Non-Haitians associate our food culture with this dish. It is fried marinated pork with hot spices.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 2 pounds of pork, cut in cubes
- 1 cup of chopped onions
- ¼ cup of chives, chopped
- ½ cup of lime juice
- pinch of thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Procedure:
1. Mix all the ingredients in bowl for a few hours.

2. Heat some oil, brown meat, then add marinade and simmer over low heat 30 minutes covered.

3. Remove lid and increase heat to eliminate any liquid. Serve hot.

ISRAEL/MOROCCO: Dafina (Sabbath Stew)

By: Eva Kakone-Pioger


Dafina: “daf” (Arabic word for "covered"), "skhina" (from an Arabic word meaning "hot") and "frackh" (Arabic word for "happiness").

When the Sephardic Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492, they took with them, from North Africa, the tradition of making Dafina for the Shabbat. We cooked our overnight stew in the same way, however we used neighbourhood ingredients and flavours.

Dafina was created to avoid violating the Shabbat laws that prohibit lighting flames, and doing any form of work. Therefore, we created the Dafina which is cooked on Friday afternoon and cooks uninterrupted until served as a midday meal on the Sabbath. The Dafina is made in a crock-pot or marmite (a covered pot). It is then baked overnight and retrieved for lunch on the way home from synagogue on Saturday.

Every family seems to have its own version of Dafina. In my family, the recipe goes as follows:


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 8 ounces (about 1¼ cups) dried chick-peas
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 whole cloves garlic
- 1 pound beef or veal marrow bones
- 3 pounds beef brisket, short ribs, or chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces
- 12 medium potatoes (4 to 5 pounds), peeled, and a few sweet potatoes
- 5 pitted dates or 3 tablespoons honey (up to 6)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ ground tumeric or 6 saffron threads, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons salt and pepper if wanted
- 1 cup barley raw (put in plastic bag with water before placing into the pot/marmite)
- 1 cup rice raw (put in plastic bag with water and then place it into the marmite)
- 6 large eggs, in shell (always have to be impaired for kosher reasons)


Procedure:
1. Add, without mixing, the chickpeas, garlic, bones, meat, potatoes sweet potatoes, bag of rice, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric or saffron, salt, and pepper in the pot/ marmite. Place the eggs around it (so they don’t break). Add enough water to cover everything and put it in the oven at a low heat Friday before sunset.

2. Dafina is traditionally separated into different dishes before serving: the chickpeas and cooking liquid in one bowl, the eggs in a second, the potatoes in a third, the meat in a fourth.

3. Eat up! Saturday at lunchtime, when you take it out of the oven, it is usually in the form of caramel since it has been cooking for 24 hours.

ISRAEL/MOROCCO: The Dafina

By: Stephane Levy


The dafina is the main course during Sabbath, which takes a whole night to cook. Its recipe is practiced by a large majority of the Jewish Moroccan population. The dafina is considered to be a very important meal with a powerful meaning to it, from what I understand it is said “the presence of holiness is presented to he who eats the dafina during sabbath”. It's a large meal with a variety of foods such as eggs, meat, rice, sometimes lamb and potatoes. There are many different recipes for making dafinas, so the ingredients vary from time to time.

It is said that in Morocco, if you are not able to make a dafina then you cannot properly celebrate the Sabbath. In Morocco, there used to be a kind of public oven where the citizens were allowed to come the day before Sabbath to cook their dafina in it, along with bread and cakes. This was many years ago, but we, along with many Jewish Moroccans, kept its tradition and we now sit every Friday along with our family and we eat this large meal together. As for me, I don't like every ingredient in the dafina so I pick what I want. Such as the rice, the eggs and some meat, but the majority of my family takes a little bit of everything. As I said before, there are many different recipes for making a dafina, so here is one of them.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 1/2kg of small potatoes
- 1kg of meat
- 3 big onions
- 4 to 6 eggs
- ½ a spoon of curcuma
- 5 to 6 cups of water
- 1 spoon of black pepper
- salt, if desired


Procedure:
1. Start off by peeling and rinsing the potatoes (do not cut them in pieces), fry them and place them in a big pot.

2. Roll the meat into a piece of gauze and add it to the pot.

3. Rinse the onions but not peel them, cut them in 4 pieces and place them between the eggs. Place the pot on the stove and cover it with a piece of cloth. This meal is normally cooked over night from 5pm to 1pm the next day at 250-275 degrees.

4. The dafina will end up being all golden (the onion's skin contributes to that). This dafina is the kind we prepare for Pessah.

ITALY: Cannoli

By: Melissa Savegnago


Cannolis are a staple pastry dessert in the Italian culture. They are simply delicious. Cannolis are not too sweet, filled with a smooth creamy filling and crunchy on the outside. Cannolis were first made in Sicily, but have now spread over not only many parts of Italy, but also all over North America.

Traditionally, the filling used inside the cannoli is made with ricotta cheese, but there are other versions that you can find in bakeries. There are some canolli that are filled with a cream filling and even some filled with a vanilla or chocolate custard. They are all worth a try in my opinion.

The reason I chose this recipe specifically is because they have a significant meaning to my family and I. Basically, they are a dessert that we eat together, and it always brings a smile to everyone’s face. We don’t have this great treat very often; in fact it is only once a year. My grandmother is the one who makes them and it is always during the Christmas holidays. When we sit down to eat cannoli, it is always after a huge Christmas meal and right before we open our presents. When I think of cannoli, I think of that wonderful time of year. Cannoli brings back many great memories, and always reminds me of my grandmother and her great Italian cooking.

Of course because this dessert is so delicious, we can’t wait for that one time of year that they are made from scratch; therefore, we buy them from the Italian bakery. It’s very funny because we always buy a mix of pastries and my uncle always says, “I call a cannoli.” Cannolis aren’t the easiest recipe to try, but if you succeed you won’t regret it!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
Shells:
- 3 cups of flour
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 3 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoon of firm butter cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup of a good Marsala wine
- 1-2 egg whites, whisked slightly

Filling:
- 2 cups fresh ricotta
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced candied orange peel
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips


Procedure:
1. To drain the ricotta cheese, put the cheese into a cheese cloth and let it sit over night. This is so that the cloth soaks up all the water. Take the ricotta cheese that has been drained and put it into a bowl. You begin to work the cheese for a couple of minutes so it softens, and then mix it with the confectioners’ sugar. You then fold in the chocolate chips, cinnamon, and candied orange peel. This will then be the filling that you use for the shells.

2. For the shells you sift the flour, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar. Then mix in the butter and eggs with a fork. You will then slowly add in the Marsala wine until the dough comes together. Then form it into a large ball and let it rise for 15 minutes. You will then need a cutting board, which has been dusted with flour. Roll out the dough until it is ¼ of an inch thick. You then need a 3-½ inch round cutter that will be used to cut circles out of the dough. Roll out this dough and fold it into the shape of a cannoli shell. You then use the egg whites as a glue to hold the shell together. Have about 3 cups of oil slightly boiling at 350 degrees. Fry the shells one at a time for about one minute. Then lightly remove them using tongs and let them sit.

3. Once the shells are prepared, you can begin to fill them by putting the filling into a baking bag. Make sure to cut a hole that it one inch away from the narrow end of the bag. After you have done this, you can squeeze the filling into your shells and enjoy!

ITALY: Gnocchi

By: Carlo Mignacca


Gnocchi, an Italian specialty, is a very simple dish to make, although it takes a lot of time and patience to do so. The word “Gnocchi” is the Italian name for a variety of soft, thick noodles. It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. It was introduced by the Roman Legions during the expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent.

Gnocchi can be made from different ingredients such as semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs and my family’s favorite, ricotta cheese. The ingredients vary from different regions in Italy. There are different sauces to add flavor to the gnocchi as well. These include pesto, melted butter with cheese and also tomato sauce. My family prefers this dish topped with homemade tomato sauce. Gnocchi recipes have been documented since the 1300’s. It is a dish that is more common in the Northern regions of Italy, although the recipe was passed on to the rest of Italy as well.

This recipe has become part of our family tradition. My mother and I often spend Sunday mornings preparing gnocchi for our weekly family “Sunday Lunch”. I hope that this recipe is enjoyed by all who attempt it, just as much as we do!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 1 container of ricotta cheese (475 g.)


Procedure:
1. Beat egg

2. Add ricotta + pinch of salt

3. Using a wooden spatula, add flour

4. Mix all the ingredients together

5. Knead for 10 -15 minutes or until the dough has a smooth texture

6. After the dough has been kneaded, separate small amounts at a time and roll them out into long strands, half inch in diameter. Once you have these long strands of dough that are half inch in diameter, you want to cut these up into half inch squares.

7. After you have cut them into half inch squares, you have to individually take the small squares and use a fork to engrave little lines in each Gnocchi. These lines will make the cooking process much better and this will give the sauce a surface to cling to when being eaten. Once you have done this to all the gnocchi, spread them out evenly on a floured cooking tray.

8. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt to the water. Once the water is boiling, gently place the gnocchi’s into the pot. You know they are cooked when they float on the surface of the water.

ITALY: Lasagna

By: Ashley Merone


Italian lasagna is a very important recipe in my family because it is a main dish that represents our culture. It is a food that every Italian has in common and can enjoy together even if they do not know each other. Many people all around the world know that Italians make the best lasagna and they’re right! Lasagna is a delicious meal and really not that hard to make. The most difficult part of the recipe is the preparation time since you have to prepare many of the ingredients that go into the lasagna beforehand.

I chose this recipe not only because it tastes good, but also because it has some significance. Since lasagna is a meal that in my culture you do not make very often because it takes time to prepare and get ready, it becomes more of a special meal. It is special because it is enjoyed more when family members come over rather than a type of meal made every week. My Nonna always cooks it, and I’m always there by her side trying to help crush the meatballs or the eggs. Even though it takes a long time to make, it gives us a chance to bond and have a good time together.

Whenever I eat lasagna anywhere else or see it, the thought of my Nonna always comes to my mind. This meal also brings family together. Once it is cooked, everyone is sitting around the dining room table waiting for their plate. The fact that we have the opportunity to eat great food, laugh, and be around family is the greatest part. These are the reasons why the recipe for lasagna is very important.


THE RECIPE

(The tomato sauce)


Ingredients:
- 2 660mL jars of tomato sauce
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- garlic
- onion
- half a cup of water
- oregano
- olive oil
- pinch of sugar

Procedure:
1. Start your lasagna by making the tomato sauce.
2. In a large pot add your 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, chop your onions and garlic then add them to the pot.
3. Lightly sauté until tender and then add your 2 jars of tomato sauce. Next add all your spices: parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. The amount of spices you put will be up to your taste buds.
4. Now add half a cup to a cup of water and cook for an hour at low heat. In addition put a pinch of sugar into the sauce to cut down on the acidity. Stir every once in a while.


(The meatballs)

Ingredients:
- package of mince meat (enough to make over 10 meatballs)
- salt and pepper
- breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- garlic

Procedure
1. To make the meatballs, start off with beating two eggs in a bowl.
2. Add your garlic, then put in your meat and mix it together.
3. Add salt, pepper and breadcrumbs and mix it together to make your meatballs.
4. In a frying pan, lightly brown the meatballs and then put them in the cooking tomato sauce to finish cooking.

IN ADDITION: boil seven eggs. When cold, mash the eggs and set aside. As well, cut eight mushrooms, slice, sauté and set aside. In addition use 250-500g of shredded Mozzarella. Use as much of the shredded mozzarella as you wish.


Making the Lasagna

Procedure:
1. When the sauce is ready, remove the meatballs and mash them up.

2. Get your lasagna pan ready and pour a layer of sauce at the bottom.

3. Cook your pasta and put your first layer of pasta on top then alternate between the mushrooms, the eggs, the cheese and the meatballs.

4. After this, cover with more sauce and add another layer of pasta and repeat. Put a last layer of pasta and cover it with a lot of sauce and cheese.

5. Cover the pan with foil and put in the oven for an hour at a heat of 350 degrees.

6. After an hour take it out and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Bon Appétit!

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lasagna.png

ITALY: Tiramisu

By: Nadia Funaro


For every Italian family, food is very important. Every celebration and family get-together is incomplete without a table filled with bread, cold cuts, cheese, pizza, pasta, pastries and cakes. The Italian dessert that ends up on the table at every family occasion is Tiramisu. It is also one of Italy’s many famous desserts. Tiramisu translated into English means “pick me up”. It is a very uplifting cake that is to be served at happy occasions. The origin of this cake is unknown for certain, but for now, people are settling with the idea that it comes from a town called Treviso which is located in Veneto. Whatever its real origin, we all know that this cool, refreshing cake is always “buonissimo”!

Growing up in my large Italian family, my relatives were very determined to get me to learn my family’s way of making their famous Tiramisu. This recipe is very special because it has been passed down from generation to generation. It holds a special place in my heart and kitchen because I can remember my grandmother and mother singing Italian songs while preparing it, as I would watch in awe. It is nice to see how much of my family’s culture from Italy was expressed in my food.

I now display the recipe with hopes that it will bring you the joy that I have when I make it as well as eat it!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 500g of Mascarpone
- 1 ½ cups espresso, cooled
- 6 eggs
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 packages of Lady Fingers
- 2 oz of Rum
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

Preparation:
1. In a large bowl, separate egg yolks from egg whites.

2. Beat egg yolks with sugar until creamy and smooth.

3. Add mascarpone.

4. Beat egg whites until firm and fluffy and then fold into mascarpone mixture.

5. Mix rum and cooled coffee in a separate bowl.

6. Dip Lady Fingers into coffee (don’t keep too long or they will become soggy. 2 seconds on each side will do).

7. Layer the bottom of a pan with dipped Lady Fingers.

8. Cover with mascarpone mixture.

9. Repeat biscuits and mascarpone mixture layers.

10. Sprinkle with semi-sweet chocolate shavings or cocoa.

11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

12. Serve and enjoy!

Buon Appetito

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/tiramisu-recipe/index.html

ITALY: Tiramisu

By: Jennifer Rainone

It is not only cake; it is heaven in your mouth!


The reason why I chose the recipe of Tiramisu cake is because it has been in my family ever since I can remember. We usually have it every New Years Day because on New Year’s Day, my family and I go to my grandparents’ house for my cousin’s birthday and to celebrate the New Year. Every year, my cousin and I ask our grandmother to bake Tiramisu cake. It has been my cousin’s birthday cake for a while now, and I cannot remember when she ever had a regular birthday cake. It is one of our favorite desserts, and it is an Italian classic! My grandmother bakes it because it is a tradition in our family.

I live in an Italian home, my whole family is Italian, and so we are always surrounded by good food. Whenever I go to my grandparents’ house, my grandmother always tells me to “mangia, mangia”, meaning, “eat, eat”. She thinks that not eating a lot makes someone unhealthy because in Italy, it is very different from Montreal; they always have full course meals. I also chose Tiramisu because I remember not liking it at one point when I was younger. Just that taste of espresso coffee wasn’t very appetizing. But as I grew older, my grandmother kept baking it for every different occasion, and I started tasting it more and more until I finally grew to like it. Now, I cannot wait until the next time I eat Tiramisu cake!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup of sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar/ or a few drops of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of cream
- 500g mascarpone cheese
- 6 cups of espresso coffee
- 4 tbsp coffee liqueur, Kailua, or brandy
- 20 savoiardi biscuits
- ¼ cup cocoa powder

Procedure:
1. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until the mixture is thickened and light lemon color.
2. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix thoroughly.
3. In a medium bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the cheese mixture.
4. Dip the Savoiardi in espresso and line a 9 by 13 inch pan with them.
5. Pour in half the cheese mixture and smooth.
6. Add another layer of the Savoiardi dipped in espresso.
7. Pour the remaining cheese mixture on top and smooth.
8. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours and dust with cocoa powder before serving.

ENJOY THE TIRAMISU!

LATVIA: Homemade perogies

By: Katharyn Chaks


My Grandfather is Latvian and he used to always tell us about the “old country”. He grew up on a farm where the men did the work in the field and the women stayed home and cooked and cleaned. When I was younger, he took our family to a Latvian community in old Montreal. It was around Christmas time and it was an early celebration. The foods were vast and all homemade by the older Latvian ladies. They told us about growing up in Latvia just as my grandfather had done. They told us about making their own food from scratch and how different things were in America compared to Latvia.

There was one hors d’oeuvre that my sister and I absolutely adored. It was a type of bread pastry that was wrapped around finely chopped bacon. The ladies that had made it said that it took them hours to make the bread, cook the bacon and chop it so finely. They also said they felt as though they were back in Latvia since they hadn’t made something from scratch in a long time. They said that they were called “perogies”. There were different types of them. Some with just fresh bread wrapped around and others were boiled for the pastry to become softer.

We began making perogies a lot at home, but of course it will never be as good as how the Latvian ladies had made them. Living in a place where you can get crescent rolls all ready to put what you’d like in them, we began using those. This is the same concept but it will never be the same as something made from scratch.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 8 cups of all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 container of sour cream
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- warm water
- cooked bacon chopped up to your desire

Procedure:
1. In one large bowl, beat eggs together with sour cream and salt. Add in flour and warm water. At warm water until dough feels like velvet. Once that’s done have a cutting board lightly floured and knead until smooth.

2. Roll out till about 1/8 to ¼ inch thickness. Use a glass or circle cookie cutter to cut out circles. (Be sure to cover them with waxed paper if not using them right away to fill so that they don’t dry out.)

3. Place as much bacon as you like into the circle but be sure you can close them. Once the filling is placed, fold over and seal by pressing down with a fork around the edges so it doesn’t open.

4. Get a large pot of boiling water, place perogies into the water, and wait until they float to the surface. Take them out and enjoy.

LEBANON: Hummus

By: Matthew Asfour


Hummus is an Arabic dip or spread, made from cooked chickpeas, blended with Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is a very popular dish in the Middle East; from Lebanon, my hometown, to as far as Egypt where they all love the presence of this dish.

Once upon a time, when I was a very young boy, I would be awoken by the smell of cooked chickpeas in my house. I could distinguish this smell from a mile away; the smell of homemade Hummus spread through every room in my home. This smell was so good that I rushed to get ready, brush my teeth and take my shower so that I could have the chance to eat the Hummus fresh with warm pita bread; this was my ideal Saturday morning breakfast. As the years went by, there was not one Saturday where my mom didn’t wake up at 8:00 am to prepare this dip for us. My father, my brother and I adore Hummus and every time it’s on the table it’s like a holiday in the house. “Dad! Come here, Ma made Hummus”, I yelled from the kitchen so my dad could hear me clearly and join me to eat some of the Hummus. This was very rare for me to do though because when my mother made Hummus I wanted it all to myself because it was so good. Chickpeas blended with lemon and garlic is the perfect mix for any dip. To this day, my mother wakes up every Saturday morning to prepare this amazing dish for the family. I could easily say that Hummus became part of the family tradition and will probably stay for another 100 years.

Hummus is served in a flat dish and decorated with parsley leafs and drizzled with good quality olive oil and served with a fresh warm pita bread for everyone to enjoy.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
(Serves 3 – 4 people)
- 2 cups dry chickpeas (to be rinsed and drained before use) soaked in water
- ½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda overnight
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- ½ cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- salt & pepper


Procedure:
1. Soak the chickpeas: Take a large bowl and put in the chickpeas. Then, pour over enough water to cover the chickpeas. Leave to soak overnight. In the morning, they will look plump and swollen.

2. Cook the chickpeas: Place a saucepan on the stove and add the chickpeas with the water. Turn on to a high heat. As the chickpeas begin to simmer, foam will rise to the top. Skim off this foam. Then, turn down the heat to a very slow simmer and cover with the pan lid. Cook for an hour and a half, adding more water through out the cooking if needed. Once cooked, the chickpeas should be plump and soft. You should be able to squash them.

3. Make the hummus: Place two spoonfuls of the chickpeas into a bowl and set aside. Then, spoon the remaining chickpeas into a blender. Put the lid on and purée until it becomes a fairly smooth paste. Repeat the process until all the chickpeas are used. Spoon the blended paste into a bowl.

4. Finish the hummus: Take the juice from the squeezed lemon and add it to the bowl of blended chickpea paste. Add in the tahini, season with salt stir well. Then, add a little water to moisten the mixture. Stir again until it is all well combined. Check that the amounts of salt and lemon juice are to your liking.

5. Make the chickpea garnish: Add the paprika to the bowl with the reserved chickpeas. Follow with the cumin, the tablespoon of lemon juice, olive oil, chopped green chili, chopped parsley and some salt. Mix it all together.

6. Serve and enjoy: Place two big spoonfuls of hummus onto a serving plate. Then, using the back of the spoon spread the humus around in swirls creating a hollow in the middle. Place the chickpea garnish in the center and enjoy!

LEBANON: Tabuli

By: Tania El-Bacha


Tabouli is a very popular salad originally from the Middle East. This salad was mostly popular in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon until its popularity grew and it found itself on tables all around the world in countries such as America, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and in many more cultures who have adopted our famous foods.

In some parts of the Arab world tabouli is served as an appetizer with romaine lettuce, cabbage or pita. In other places, tabouli is the main dish. Some vegetable lovers have it on their table every day. This salad has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. Like most Lebanese families we eat tabouli often enough. Middle Eastern people are thought to always make more food than needed. As we see it, having extra food is always better than not having enough. Our foods are often made in abundance to be eye filling as well as stomach filling which is why tabouli earned records many times but has been updated recently in the Guinness World Record book for the biggest dish who weighed 3557 kilograms on October 24, 2009 in Beirut Lebanon!

This Mediterranean salad is a very healthy choice and a significant source of good carbohydrates, which can be eaten on a daily basis as well as on special occasions. Tabouli has been a part of the Middle East for centuries and still has a growing popularity because of its original flavour and seasoning.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
(Makes about 8 servings)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fine cracked wheat
- 1 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup minced fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cucumbers, seeded and diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
- 1 teaspoons sea salt


Procedure:
1. In a large mixing bowl, pour the water over the cracked wheat and cover, let stand about 20 minutes until wheat is tender and water is absorbed.

2. Add the chopped herbs and vegetables and toss with the mix.

3. Combine the oil, lemon juice, and salt in a separate bowl.

4. Add to wheat mixture and mix well. Chill.

5. Serve and enjoy.

PHILIPPINES: Pinakbet Ilocano

By: Sierra Acosta


I was born and raised in the National Capital Region of the Philippines, Manila. My mother always prepares food that is delectable as well as convenient. Having said that, red meat, chicken or pork is usually the meal’s entrée. My father, on the other hand, is a rural person at heart. He was born in the Northeastern part of Luzon with mountains and farms around. That explains why when he is in charge of the kitchen he often prepares vegetable dishes instead of meat. Pinakbet Ilocano is one of them.

Children loathe vegetables – that’s a fact. The first time I tried this dish was when I was about 10 years old, when we once visited my dad’s province. I didn’t know that Pinakbet was a vegetable. My parents wouldn’t let us know that it’s a vegetable because they knew for sure that we would not eat it. However, I still liked it, but I had to put a few veggies aside.

When I think of Pinakbet, the first thing that comes to my mind is my father and the second thing is the simplicity of rural life. When I’m eating this dish, I remember how my relatives gathered together at one big table, ate with their hands, and talked in a dialect I could hardly understand, but I knew that what they were talking about was something happy just by looking at the way they would smile.
I find this dish to be a must whenever we visit my dad’s province. It’s not an expensive food: as I said it’s almost mainly vegetables that you can grow or get pretty much anywhere.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ¼ kilo pork, thinly diced
- 7 small tomatoes, cubed
- 4 tbsp. bagoong (fish sauce)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 medium sized eggplants, sliced
- 1 medium sized Ampalaya (bittermelon)
- 5 medium sized okra (ladies fingers)

Procedure:
1. Heat Oil in a saucepan and saute garlic and onions.
2. Add pork and half a cup of warm water. Stir and cook until meat is soft.
3. Add ginger and tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the bagoong and remaining half-cup water. Bring to boil.
5. Mix in the Amplaya, eggplants and okra.
6. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve immediately over rice.

PHILIPPINES: Puto

By: Tanja-Liisa Trost


Coming from two different backgrounds, Filipino and European (Croatian, Italian and German), it is always hard for me to choose something specific from my mixed culture. Despite this, the special food that comes to mind is from my Filipino side: puto. Puto is a steamed rice cake that is very popular in the Philippines and is sometimes made with flour. There are different variations to this recipe; sometimes, we would add bits of cheese for a softer and saltier effect. Other puto recipes are made with rice.

I chose this recipe because it is an important part of my family's holiday celebration. Puto is a very popular Filipino dessert, which is eaten throughout the year. However, my family only eats it on special occasions. Every year, my mother and I would make this dessert on Christmas morning and on New Year's Day to eat with the day's meals. Although we usually just make these during the holidays, we would sometimes make them for other special occasions such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Easter. To me, this dessert is the ultimate food because it is perfect to eat on it's own, for breakfast or as an accompaniment with a main dish. Along with puto, we usually eat foods from my alter-background. This exact recipe is the recipe my mother has been using since her childhood days in the Philippines. It is a good substitute for the traditional “North American” cake and is eaten without added toppings like frostings, etc.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup melted butter

Procedure:
1. Boil water in a steamer.
2. Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer.
3. Pour into puto molds/cups*, full.
* These cups must be plastic. Small plastic containers/tupperware can be used as well.
4. Place 4 at a time.
5. Remove from steamer when the putos are firm.
6. Insert a toothpick to make sure the inside is not gooey.

ROMANIA: Cozonac

By: Veronica Moldovan


Every year around the month of December, my grandmother always prepares my favourite dessert: “cozonac”. It is a Romanian dessert that looks like bread, but is considered a cake (it is also a Bulgarian traditional cake; they call it “kozunak”). A similar, but different cake is the panettone (Italian Christmas cake).

There is no special occasion without cozonac in Romanian culture, and you are sure to see a lot more around the holidays. It is a traditional cake. You need to have a lot of patience and know how to prepare this cake. It takes some time. It is made with flour, milk, sugar, eggs, salt, and butter. There are many shapes of cozonac; they can be rectangular, round, simple or interlaced, but the dough is the same. You can either fill it with nuts, chocolate, walnuts, raisins, Turkish delight, sweet cheese, marmalade, sweet dried fruits or all of those ingredients mixed together. From a personal point of view, it is better with nuts or walnuts only.

What I love about cozonac is that you can eat it with any meal; for breakfast and dessert, for lunch and/or supper or just as a snack - a very delicious one. It has a great smell and an amazing taste. There’s nothing better than a hot slice of cozonac and milk.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1½ cup of sugar
- 5 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 6 eggs
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¾ cups of butter
- 2-3 tablespoons of oil

Nut filling:
- 2 cups of walnuts
- ½ cup of rum flavouring
- ¾ cup of milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 cup of sugar


Procedure:
The dough: First separate the eggs, keeping the egg yolks and whites in two separate bowls. Warm the milk in a small pan over medium heat. When warm, take out 3 tablespoons of milk and leave the rest heating up. Put 3 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl or container. Add the yeast, a tablespoon of sugar and a little amount of flour. Mix everything until it becomes a thick cream to proof the yeast. Cover the bowl of dough and set it aside for 5 minutes.

When the milk starts to boil, remove it from the stove. Add vanilla and mix it well. Put it aside. In a large bowl, add the sugar, egg yolks and salt, and mix everything together. While stirring, add the warm milk to the large bowl mixing it well. Then stir in the yeast mixture and add 3 egg whites. Gradually add the rest of the flour until it forms a dough, using all the flour.

Take the dough and put it on a lightly floured surface and knead. Put the stove at a medium flame and in a small pan, start melting the butter and stirring the oil together. Once it is melted, remove the butter mixture from the stove. Slowly add the mixture of warm butter and oil to the dough until it starts forming bubbles and comes off the hands easily (this will take around 30 minutes). Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a place where there will be no current of air and where it is warm until it has doubled or tripled in bulk.

Grease a loaf or baking pan(s). When the dough has risen, after 1 to 2 hours, form the dough to the shape of the loaf pan (If desired, you may add a filling-see the nut filling below. You must add the filing before putting in the oven). Let the dough rise for at least 30 minutes. Before baking, use a brush and add the remaining egg white to the top of the dough (if you have none left you can beat an extra egg and add it to the top of the dough). Set the oven at a medium to high temperature (350-400°F). Let it bake for 30 to 45 minutes. When cooked, take out the cozonac from the oven and pan, let it cool down on the counter.


Nut filling: Begin by crushing the walnuts into small pieces. Heat the sugar, milk and vanilla over a medium flame, in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved. Add the nuts while mixing (mix well so that the nuts won’t stick to the bottom of the pan). Let the mixture boil for 1 minute, stirring it constantly. The consistency should feel like a paste. Remove the pan from the stove. Add the rum flavouring to the mixture. Once it has cooled down, roll out the cozonac dough and spread the nut mixture over the surface. Roll the dough back up and shape it to the size of the baking pan.

Sadly, we had trouble translating this recipe into English. My aunt and I found this recipe at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=286579 which is very similar to the one she has.

RWANDA: Sombé

By: Christian Bamatembera


Manioc, also known as cassava, is originated in South America. Due to its amazingly enduring nature and ability to grow in poor soils, and with little care, it spread all over the tropics, and then to all of tropical Africa. The sombé is a traditional African vegetable. It is made from manioc (cassava) leaves, and is commonly eaten in Burundi, Rwanda, Congo (RDC), and other African countries too.

The leaves have high amounts of Vitamins A and C; half a cup of cooked sombé provides half of the daily Vitamin A requirements of a young child. Manioc leaves also contain iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

There are several ways to cook sombé. Some African countries put meat in it, and others don’t. Since it takes time to cook sombé, most Africans cook it during special occasions. In my family, we cook it very often: at least once a week. To cook sombé, you have to first pound the cassava leaves. To do so, there is a traditional way and a “modern” way. With the traditional way, you pound fresh leaves in a wooden mortar. With the modern way, you use a food processor, or you buy cassava leaves, which are already pounded and frozen. Sombé is typically served with rice and beef, chicken, or goat meat.


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:
- 1 kg young (less than 2 months) manioc leaves coarsely chopped
- 10 oz of spinach (1 of the spinach bags found in the grocery stores)
- 2 branches of celery
- 2 leeks, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup finely ground dry peanuts – optional (you can use peanut butter instead)
- 3 T palm oil
- salt & pepper, to taste

Procedure:
1. Clean manioc leaves and remove them from the stocks.
2. Pound manioc leaves and leek in a mortar until completely broken down (can use a food processor).
3. Put in a large casserole & cover with water.
4. Cook for about 40 minutes.
5. Add oil.
6. Add more water to cover, if necessary.
7. Continue cooking for about 1 hour.
8. Add peanut.
9. Cook for about 2 minutes then turn off the oven.
10. Add salt and pepper to taste.