“People who love to eat are always the best people.” –Julia Child
We all know the saying: “Eat, Drink and Be Merry,” but when it comes to cooking at home, and our choices are limited (as far as eating out in restaurants), it can be tricky. It’s important to cook good nutritious food that can be done pretty quickly and with as little stress as possible. Are you ready to add some exciting exotic dishes to your repertoire without the headache? Try these recipes at home!
- Middle Eastern Shish Kebabs: there’s nothing better in the summer than firing up the grill and preparing a delicious dinner for your family. The best thing about shish kebabs is that you can load them with your favorite vegetables. Add boneless meats and arrange a colorful kebab (with yellow squash, green zucchini, and bright red tomatoes). These can be plated beautifully and will literally look good enough to eat! Kebabs go perfectly with some freshly baked traditional naan (a flatbread popular the world over, especially in Western and South Asia).
- Spanish Paella: Traditionally from Valencia, Spain, this dish is literally a one-pot wonder. With enough for the entire family, not only is it simple, but it’s also delicious and filled with yummy ingredients of all sorts and a lovely mélange of spices. With rice as the main fixing, one can add whatever they like into the mix: meats (especially chorizo sausage), seafood, and vegetables. Add some shrimp, clams, mussels, crab and—if you’re feeling extra fancy and decadent—an entire lobster!
- Gazpacho: This traditional cold soup is perfect for summer. With the ripest, reddest tomatoes fresh from the garden, you and your loved ones will enjoy a sweet treat. Traditionally called “Andalusian gazpacho,” this Spanish dish is light and savory—perfect as an appetizer or even as the main course.
- Crepes: Forget the usual pancake breakfast and try crepes instead! This French staple is versatile and relatively easy to make. Thinner than traditional hotcakes, crepes are a bit eggier and have fewer calories. Kids love them because they can be savory or sweet. Fill yours with fresh strawberries, a dusting of powdered sugar, and/or Nutella for the perfect Sunday morning indulgence.
- Bouillabaisse: Speaking of delightful French dishes and exotic soups, a bouillabaisse is something that families love because, well, there are usually leftovers. It’s the perfect entrée. More of a stew than a soup, bouillabaisse is a famously fishy Provençal recipe. It’s filled with several different kinds of fish and shellfish (including rockfish, monkfish, langoustine, mussels, crab, and/or octopus). Just let it simmer and don’t forget the crusty baguette!
- Lebanese Baba Ganoush: This exotic appetizer is not only easy to make but is also delicious. A concoction of mashed eggplant (pretty much a roasted eggplant dip), seasonings of your choice, tahini, a bit of lemon juice, and a drizzling of olive oil is perfect when served with pita bread or fresh, crisp vegetables. Garnish with whatever is preferred (such as parsley, pine nuts, and even pomegranate seeds).
- Sabudana Khichdi: According to the New York Times, this is your new favorite comfort food! This Indian dish is made from tapioca pearls, peanuts, herbs, and potatoes. Customarily made during fasting rituals such as “Navrati,” it is served hot, can be plated with fresh coconut and coriander, and makes for a wonderful snack.
- Caprese Salad: Simple even for those of us who don’t cook, the Italian favorite, a Caprese salad, is a perfect appetizer, side dish, or complete entrée. The colors (green, white, and red) literally resemble the Italian flag. The fresh mozzarella with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing is the perfect pairing with sweet tomatoes, fresh basil, a pinch of salt, and, of course, olive oil.
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