It's easier than ever for a home cook to attempt a vast repertoire of international cuisine, says cookbook author David Joachim.
Flash back to 1967, the year Joachim was born. Craig Claiborne wrote a recipe in the New York Times for "Mediterranean fish," which called for tahini. Not a big deal? Not today. But in those days, only two small shops in America's largest city stocked it.
Today, "we have all these great flavors under your nose," says Joachim, newly out with Global Kitchen, a collection of 150 international recipes. About 120 were culled from the archives of Cooking Light; he developed the remainder."
Global Kitchen is a "greatest hits album" from around the world. In all cases, the dishes are nationally eaten. "It's not a book of culinary mashups," he says.
Fresh spring rolls, vegetable samosas, bibimbap ... masaman curry, coconut-marinated pork, chicken larb ... empanadas, Ecuadorian potato and cheese patties, Peruvian sarsa salad ... beef bourguignon, Polish cabbage rolls, Hungarian goulash.
The chopped fennel fronds for the Fennel-Cured Halibut Gravlax? Not a huge problem to obtain in 2014.
Joachim, who lives in the Lehigh Valley, says he bought every single item in his local market, at Wegmans or Whole Foods. Nothing over the Internet.
"You go to the supermarket. Any supermarket. There's a whole aisle of Greek yogurt! Do something with it," says Joachim, who has written or contributed to 40 cookbooks over the years, including those by Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud.
"My goal was to basically get people out of the cooking rut," Joachim says.
Here are two recipeas from Global Kitchen.
Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone
Hands-On Time: 47 min. Total Time: 1 hr. 17 min.
In Italy, wild mushrooms are so cherished that you need a mushroom hunting license to forage for them. Porcinis are king. These stout-stemmed beauties have fat brown caps, a persistent woodsy aroma, and a meaty yet silky texture. Dried porcinis make this rice dish easy to make, but if you’re lucky enough to have some fresh porcinis, sauté them and mix them into the risotto near the end of cooking.
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 ounce)
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce mascarpone cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
1. Combine 2 cups boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 11/2 cups soaking liquid; chop mushrooms.
2. Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.
3. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).
4. Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped thyme, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese melts. Spoon 1 cup risotto into each of 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon mascarpone and thyme leaves, if desired. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 cup)
Hands-On Time: 27 min. Total Time: 27 min.
Also known as lap and lahb, larb is a minced meat salad and the national dish of Laos. Some Lao and Thai versions include fish sauce and some favor mint over cilantro (some use both), but the core of the dish remains a chopped salad of lightly spiced pork, beef, chicken, or duck brightened with fresh herbs. It’s great for potlucks because you serve it at room temperature.
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup chopped English cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 cabbage leaves
Thai chile paste (optional)
1. Place curry paste, chicken, and salt in a food processor; process until smooth. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Remove pan from heat; stir in cucumber and next 3 ingredients (through juice). Place 2 cabbage leaves on each of 4 plates; divide chicken mixture evenly among leaves. Serve with chile paste, if desired. Serves 4 (serving size: 2 filled cabbage leaves)