Brazil – Feijoada

brazilMy sister’s boyfriend is Brazilian, and I was fortunate enough to meet his lovely parents this weekend. The timing was perfect for this country’s cuisine. They recommended I make “feijoada” a robust meat and black bean stew. His mom even texted me tips while I spent my Sunday cooking this time consuming dish (while watching the final match of the World Cup taking place in Brazil). Let me tell you, it was completely worth all the work! Plus, even the true Brazilian loved it; although, he said it needed more beans so I have adjusted the recipe accordingly.

Named for feijão, the Portuguese word for beans, this rich dish incorporates an assortment of beans and pork meat, cooked low and slow until so tender it melts in your mouth. I used bacon, pork shoulder, pork loins, and chorizo but you can mix it up and try any cut of meat that stands up well to slow cooking. Additionally, please try and purchase high quality, sustainably sourced meats. It will make this delicious stew ever so much better!


For the meat and bean stew:

  • 2 pounds dried black beans, soaked overnight (and save the water!)
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, bone in is fine
  • ½ pound pork chops (smoked if you can find them)
  • ½ pound chorizo sausage
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups brown jasmine rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the collards:

  • 20 collard green leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salsa vinaigrette:

  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings:

  • Orange slices
  • Farofa, a common Brazilian topping that I would describe as similar to bread crumbs. We had leftover true Farofa from a meal on Saturday so I did not make any, however, it is commonly used for this dish. There are many recipes available online, I recommend using the true arinha de mandioca which is a much courser and less starchy manioc flour than regular tapioca flour which many recipes recommend.



  1. Soak the beans overnight for best results. You can also do a quick soak if in a hurry by booing them. Save the water you soak them in which will be used in the stew.
  2. Chop all the meat for the beans into similar sized pieces, about 2 inches each.
  3. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rest of the meat and let brown for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic, bay leaves, beans and the reserved water from the beans and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the stew is thick and the meat falls off the bone (if you used any bones). Before serving, remove any bones and the bay leaves.
  4. While the stew is cooking, make the rice. In a large pot, sauté the garlic in the oil. Add the rice, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  5. Prep the ingredients for the collard greens. De-stem the collard greens by slicing around them as shown in the picture above. Then roll the leaves in a bundle and slice thinly. Slice the onion and red pepper thinly as well. Mince the garlic and chop the bacon into pieces.
  6. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chopped bacon. Add the collards, pepper, onion, garlic, and a spoonful of liquid from the bean and meat stew. Cook until the collards are wilted, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Finally, make the vinaigrette. Finely dice the tomato, pepper, onion, and parsley and put into a large bowl. Add the juice of 2 limes, vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  8. To serve the feijoada, layer the rice with the collards and bean and meat stew. Top with the vinaigrette, oranges, and farofa.


Chile – Pebre Sauce


A typical Chilean asado (or barbecue) is never complete without some spicy pebre sauce. However, unlike the chimichurri of Argentina, Chileans serve their sauce on toasted bread or salads instead of meat. Cilantro is the predominant ingredient in pebre, but it can be adapted to individual tastes by varying the proportions of the ingredients. Use the Sriracha based on the heat of the peppers, as sometimes you get a really hot pepper and sometimes the peppers are just plain janes which can affect the heat of your recipe!

Chile – Pebre Sauce


  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 green aji chili pepper (or a jalapeño)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sriracha sauce to taste for added heat



  • I used a food processor for the whole process but you could also do by hand. Just chop everything very finely and mix together .
  • Peel the onion and cut into quarters. Wash the tomatoes (I leave the seeds in but you can remove them if you like), cut in halves. Wash the cilantro and chops off the stems. Wash and seed the aji or jalapeño pepper. Add the red wine vinegar and pulse all in food processor until finely diced, scraping the sides as needed.
  • Transfer to a bowl, season to taste with salt, pepper, and Sriracha depending on how spicy you want it. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.


Netherlands – Broodje Haring

netherlandsLeftover herring, what to do with you!? Oh yes, herring is commonly eaten in the Netherlands! In fact, the national dish of the Netherlands is broodje haring, a raw-herring sandwich. The herring is actually preserved through salt curing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the typical raw herring from the Netherlands; instead, I used up my leftover smoked herring. Also, while the broodje haring is typically eaten cold, heating it up is also quite tasty. The saltiness of the pickles and tartness of the onions help balance the flavors of the fish in this simple and odd yet delicious sandwich.

Netherlands – Broodje Haring


  • 1/4 cup chopped smoked herring
  • 1/4 white onion, diced or sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup pickles
  • 2 soft rolls or buns


  1. This is easy as 1, 2, 3. First, prep your herring and onion
  2. Slice open your buns.
  3. Top each bun with the herring, onion, and pickles, and eat it up!


France – Crêpes


In May, I also traveled to France for the first time and was able to enjoy authentic French crêpes! My roommate has also always enjoyed these delectables little pancakes so it only seemed like a perfect dessert for me to make for us. We kept them simple, just sprinkling a little cinnamon and sugar on top; however, crêpes are so versatile. You can easily make the savory by adding some sautéed vegetables or keep them sweet and tangy with fruit such as strawberries or blueberries. I bet my fruit compote would have gone well on these, will have to try that next time!

France – Crêpes

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • butter for pan
  • cinnamon and sugar for dusting afterwards
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients except the butter, until there are no lumps and the batter is well combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for at least one hour or in the refrigerator over night.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Melt a little bit of butter in the pan, just enough to lightly coat it. Using a ladle, pour the batter into center of pan. Lift and swirl the batter until you’ve created an even sized circle.
  3. Cook the crepe for 2 minutes, carefully flip over, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully remove the crepe from the pan with a spatula, set aside and continue making crepes until all batter has been used up. Every couple crepes, add a little more butter to the pan.
  4. We lightly buttered them and sprinkled a little cinnamon and sugar on top but you can also make them savory by filling with sautéed vegetables, cheese, or whatever leftovers you’ve got. Crepes are so versatile!

Spain – Tortilla de Patatas

spainThankfully I have a friend who lived in Spain and when I asked, “What do I make for Spain?” The answer immediately was “Tortilla de Patatas!” This tortilla is very different than the typical tortilla you think of, it’s really like a giant omelet! It’s full of flavor and almost melts in your mouth! Delicioso!


Spain – Tortilla de Patatas


  • 3 medium-sized potatoes (I used a combination of Yukon Gold and red potatoes)
  • 1 medium-sized white onion
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes and onion and carefully slice them thinly with a mandolin slicer or by hand. They don’t need to be perfect as they all get mashed up anyway!
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet, ideally nonstick, over medium-high heat until very hot. Add potatoes and onions in even layers and reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle with a little salt. Flip the potatoes and onions ever so often to help them cook evenly and prevent them from browning too much on any one side. Let them cook for about 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes and onions are tender and you can chop them up with your spatula. You can also leave them in slices if you prefer.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add a sprinkle of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  4. Drain the cooked potatoes and onions, reserving the oil.
  5. Add the cooked potatoes and onions to the eggs and mix together.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil to your pan and heat back up to medium. Add the egg/potato mixture to the pan and shake the pan to flatten it out.
  7. Let the tortilla cook until the top is wet but not very runny, and it is golden underneath. Loosen the tortilla with a spatula and then flip it over onto a dinner plate. Then gently slide the tortilla from the plate back into the pan with the uncooked side down. Shake the skillet to straighten the tortilla and use a spatula to gently tuck the edges back under, if needed.
  8. Let cook for another 4 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry. Slice onto a plate and serve in wedges. I enjoyed it hot with a dollop of Chilean Pebre sauce! However, it’s commonly eaten at room temperature or even cold.


Italy – Herring Blood Orange Salad


I was fortunate enough to have traveled to Italy in May of this year with my father and good friend. We floated from Milan to Florence to Rome and enjoyed numerous Italian delicacies along the way! While I enjoyed a majority of the food we experienced, one meal stuck out in particular. We went to a restaurant called Relazioni Culinarie and ate up every last bite of food they served us! The first thing we ate was a delicious appetizer made of blood oranges, red onion, smoked herring, and capers. I decided to try and recreate this simple but delectable dish; unfortunately, I have no idea what they called it!  The smokiness of the herring, the sweetness of the orange, the saltiness of the capers, and the tartness of the red onion blend together perfectly though!

Italy – Herring Blood Orange Salad


  • 1 blood orange (or a regular orange also works)
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 smoked herring filet
  • 1 tablespoon capers


  1. Cut off the skin of the orange and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Thinly slice the red onion. Chop the herring into chunks.
  3. Lay the orange slices on a plate and top each slice with a bit of red onion, a few chunks of herring, and a few capers. Let chill in the fridge for a half hour if your orange wasn’t already cold and enjoy!


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Belgium – Waffles

belgiumWhen you hear Belgium, waffles are definitely the first food that comes to mind. However, after some research, I found that what we know as Belgian Waffles here in the United States are not true Belgian Waffles in Belgium. In Belgium, they enjoy a super sweet and chewy version called Liège waffles, Liège waffles are rumored to have been invented during the 18th century by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège. The dough is similar to brioche bread dough, featuring chunks of sugar which caramelize on the outside of the waffle when cooked. Typically they use pearl sugar; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any in time to make those so I came up with a modification to make my own sugar pearls. These waffles are so decadent that they really classify more as a dessert than a breakfast food!

Belgium – Waffles


For waffles:

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Non-stick spray


  1. Warm your milk to about 90 to 100 degrees F. If it is too hot, the yeast will be killed and won’t “awaken.”  Sprinkle the yeast and white sugar over the warmed milk in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam.
  2. Meanwhile, take the regular sugar and maple syrup and mix together on a plate or flat tray. Spread out over the plate and place in your freezer until you need it for the recipe.
  3. After the yeast has foamed for 15 minutes, whisk the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract into the yeast mixture until evenly blended.
  4. In a separate large bowl, stir together the flour and salt and make a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well, then stir in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in volume.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in volume, gently add in your maple sugar crystals. If you’re not afraid of raw eggs, try the dough. It’s delicious!
  6. Preheat a waffle iron, doesn’t have to be actually Belgian style which typically has larger wells, American style is just fine too. 
  7. Lightly spray the waffle iron with a coat of non-stick spray (this gets messy). Place a fist-sized amount of dough on the preheated waffle iron and shut. Cook waffles until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. Serve with a fruit compote (like the one I made for the scones), whip cream, banana “ice cream” or just eat as is!