Foreign Food and Film

I enjoy foreign films and shows. It isn’t particularly highbrow material, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.  My favorite foreign films are those centered on food, like That Is Not What I Expected. It’s a subpar Chinese romantic comedy, but I came for the food. The film follows a quirky chef, a severe businessman, and their shared one of kind experiences with food.  Here is one of my favorite scenes from the film where the businessman goes through great lengths to make his instant ramen perfection.

You can see the clip here:

Where was I going with this? Oh yes. As I watch these films, I notice the stark contrasts between American cuisine and other countries. Our meals tend to focus more on meat and starches, especially at breakfast. We serve waffles, pancakes, cereal, biscuits, bacon, sausage patties or links, etc. I admit that these all taste great, but often it feels too heavy. I find myself seeking more out of my experience of breaking the fast. Our American breakfasts are mostly varying shades of brown. Of course, an egg adds a pop of yellow, but it’s hardly distinguishable from the subtle golden color of the waffles.

For breakfast, I want to eat something more vivid and nutritional, and there are only so many variations on sweet potato and kale. As I considered various international cuisines, I recalled my 8th grade earth science teacher, who often shared memories with us of her life in Turkey.  I grabbed my laptop, pulled up Pinterest, and searched “Turkish breakfast”. Menemen showed up repeatedly, and then I saw it. It was a vision to behold: Gimme Some Oven’s Menemen, accompanied with crusty bread.

I tossed some in some kale and mushrooms to up the vegetable content for the family and it was a success.

I also got to use my pizza stone for the first time, thanks to Ciao Florentina’s excellent recipe for Rustic Italian Crusty Bread. It was perfectly crusty and chewy.

The combination of texture and flavors between the menemen and the bread provided just the breakfast experience I’d been craving. It was as magnificent as I’d imagined.

Have you tried any new recipes? What do you have for breakfast? I’d love to hear what you are cooking up.

Carrot Coconut Pecan Muffin

On Saturday mornings, I get a chance to flex my culinary creativity when breaking the fast. During the week, I eat breakfast to survive but, on weekends, it’s more of an epicurean experience. Recently, I woke up with a hankering for muffins, but not of the same old, tired blueberry or banana varieties.

I looked through the refrigerators to see what was on hand and stumbled across carrots and pineapple tidbits. I rummaged through the pantry and found pecans and shredded coconut. While assessing the ingredients, a light bulb went off. This combination of ingredients was reminiscent of a Hummingbird cake, one of my favorite cakes.

In our house we love flour, sugar and butter but we try to keep usage of the bleached, over-processed varieties to a minimum. So I opted for almond flour.  

This muffin is so moist, sweet, and amazing!

  • 4 c almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ c coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • ½ c unsweetened coconut
  • ½ c pecans halves, chopped
  • 1 c  carrot, grated
  • Couple of tablespoons of pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and coconut sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until well incorporated.

Fold in coconut, pecans and carrots.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Serve with some fresh fruit to start your day off right!