Monday, August 22, 2016

Being an Expat is a humbling experience...

Today I was laughed at by the deli counter clerk. That's right, the "trained chef" who supposedly is proficient in German totally messed it all up by the numbers. And the associate at the grocery store certainly didn't let me slide!

Toasted Ham Sandwich
with Onion Mayo Spread and Arugula Salad
I'm trying to tell myself this sort of thing comes with the territory of being an expat, particularly when you first move to your new host country. A learning experience, but none the less humbling! A healthy dose of humility is good for everyone though...fortunately this lifestyle isn't short on those types of experiences. Living in a foreign country isn't for sissies!

I found myself in this situation because tonight we're having a couple folks from work over and I thought I'd do a French inspired light meal....turkey sandwiches with an onion/mayo/cheese spread, cream of roasted tomato soup and arugula/lentil/radish salad.  One of my mom's go-to hors d'oeuvres recipe is her Onion Canapés, which I have made many times for my own guests and even prepared on-air for Good Morning Connecticut back in 2009. It's always a huge very simple, quick, but amazingly yummy. Kyle came up with the idea a while ago that I should make the deliciousness into a sandwich (brilliant!) but I hadn't gotten around to it until I tasted something very similar at Le Madeleine right before we left Virginia. So tonight's the night I'm trying it out as a sandwich, but naturally roasted turkey is just not something that's readily available in the deli counters around Germany. They've got any type of pork you want, but no turkey. Pork it is!

I found a beautiful looking piece of roasted meat in the case at my local supermarket, Rewe, and thought to myself, well, it looks like roasted pork loin to I quickly looked up pork loin in my English-->German iPhone app and quite confidently asked for the "gebratene Schweinelende, bitte" and all I got back was a look of confusion. Harumph. There goes the 30 weeks I spent learning German....we were reduced to pointing...and once she figured out what I wanted, she let out a hearty laugh and said something along the lines of "Wow, that sure would be a huge pork loin!"  Sigh. So much for my confidence...bring on the humility! I guess maybe she's never seen huge American pork loins...or at least that's what I'll tell myself. Turns out it was simply "Backschinken" or ham, but obviously herb-roasted ham. Next time I'll ask for the "Krauter gebratene Backschinken". I'll let you know how it goes....

If you want to give this meal a shot on your own, get some roasted turkey (not cold-cuts, the real stuff), thick cut ham, or use some leftover pork loin (try out this recipe one night, and use the leftovers for the sandwiches) and go to town!

Toasted Turkey/Ham Sandwiches with Onion Mayo Spread
Serves 4

1 onion, small dice
1 C mayonnaise
3/4 C finely grated mimolette cheese (or just use Parmigiano reggiano, parmesano, aged asiago or Grano padano cheese)
1-2 baguettes, cut cross-wise into 4-5 inch lengths or 1 boule crusty bread, sliced (at least 8 slices)
1 green apple, thinly sliced (optional)
4-8 slices of roasted turkey, ham, or pork loin (sliced to your liking, but not too thin)

Mix onion, mayonnaise and cheese together well. Spread a generous amount on each slice of bread (but not all the way to the edges to allow for spreading) and toast in the oven at 400 degrees F until starting to brown and bubble, about 10 minutes. Heat slices of meat in oven for the last five minutes or so, just to warm up. Assemble sandwiches with two slices of bread with spread, sliced apples (if using) and your meat. Cut diagonally and serve immediately with soup and/or salad (or both!).

My favorite Roasted Cream of Tomato Soup recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. Just click on the link to find it if you're a subscriber, or Google it.

To make my arugula salad, I just toss arugula and perhaps some romaine or red leaf lettuce together, and top with tomatoes, cooked French lentils, quartered radishes a nice Dijon vinaigrette. Yum!

Bon appetít!

Here's a more German way to use up those thick slices of ham...Brötchen mit Backschinken und Sauerkraut...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wilkommen! Gute Nachrichten!

Exciting news! New country, new food, new drinks, new fun! We've relocated to Frankfurt, Germany so you can expect a whole new flair here at The Global Fork. While I'm still totally focused on eating and cooking, I'll probably get the whim to post on here about life in Frankfurt and a few of our adventures. Hope you guys enjoy it! As always, please feel free to share with me your reactions and results, and keep the questions coming!

Danke schön!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jugo Verde

I like to tell people that Jugo Verde saved my life.  This is absolutely true, although you should know
I am prone to hyperbole!  In all seriousness, I am not a breakfast person even though I know it's the most important meal of the day.  I absolutely must have my coffee, but little appeals to me to eat before 10am.  However, by the time I get back to the house after dropping the kids off at school or by the time I get to my first activity of the day, I'm about to bite someone's head off from hunger and low blood sugar.  There had to be a solution, and jugo verde was it.  It's a really simple blended drink that I can throw together in literally a couple of minutes, and it fuels me for a couple of hours until I'm able to stomach more food.  Not to mention the additional health benefits and the freshness of the ingredients that I can find here in Mexico City!

I write a lot about the mercados in Mexico City.  One of my absolute favorite things to make after a trip to the market is jugo verde.  You actually can get it pre-made at all supermarkets and restaurants, but every version is different.  There are so many different recipes (just do a search on the internet!) that essentially there is no standard and any juice that's green qualifies as jugo verde.  This is generally considered a health drink, but as with everything you can't know that you're eating healthy unless you know exactly what's in it.  That's why making it on your own with fresh ingredients from the mercado is probably your best bet, to ensure there's no added sugar and that you're packing as much punch as possible.

Here's what I like to include and a quick overview of the ingredients' major health benefits:
  • Fresh-squeezed orange juice - contains only natural sugars (which still should be eaten in moderation), calcium, thiamin, folate, flavonoids and antioxidants
  • Nopal - low calorie vegetable that provides dietary/soluble fiber and calcium, along with mucilage (that sticky lowers your LDL cholesterol and aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients), Vitamin A and ß-carotene
  • Raw Spinach - fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, carotenoids/antioxidants and folate
  • Parsley - folic acid, antioxidants, Vitamins K and C, volatile oils and flavonoids
  • Celery - magnesium, insoluble fiber (to aid in digestion), butylphthalide (to lower LDL cholesterol) and flavonoids
  • Chia - Omega-3s, fiber and protein, mucilage
  • Flax Seed - fiber, antioxidants and Omega-3s, mucilage

Jugo Verde
2 Servings

  • 2 Cups Orange Juice (preferably fresh-squeezed)
  • 1/4 C nopal, small dice (about 35g or one small pad/nopalito)
  • 1/2 C spinach, packed (about 22g)
  • 2 sprigs parsley, leaves and thin stems
  • 1 rib celery, coarsly chopped with leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground flaxseed
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until completely smooth, about a minute (which helps to completely incorporate the chia and flax seeds).  Enjoy!

Alternative Ingredients:
Grapefruit or Pineapple Juice, Apple, Pineapple, Chard, Kale, Cucumber, Lime, Ginger, Spirulina, Protein Powder, etc.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mercados across Mexico City - A Map!

As a board member of the Newcomer's Club of Mexico City, I was lucky enough recently to be asked to do a short presentation on eating healthy in Mexico City.  What an honor!  I don't, however, consider myself any sort of expert on healthy eating...I was, after all, trained in restaurants where butter and salt are the dirty little secrets! But when I think about eating healthy, I think about one of my favorite authors, Michael Pollen, and his mantra on food: 

"Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

In preparing, I thought about this guideline, along with Michael's assertion that "food" is WHOLE foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. that aren't processed or are minimally processed...what your great grandma would recognize as food).  I realized one thing I do know about eating healthy in Mexico City is where to get the freshest, most nutritious whole foods.  We are so lucky to have "mercados" (traditional markets, many outdoors) all over the city and on every day of the week.  Interestingly, mercados here are very different than the farmers' markets we're used to in the States.  The produce is generally the same as what's available in the supermarkets (with some exceptions, like specialty markets), except that is fresher and cheaper.  What a deal!  And we all know that fresher food tastes better, and is also more nutritious.

So that's what I focused on for my presentation to club members, along with some of my favorite recipes to make from what I buy at the mercado (stay tuned for my next post on Jugo Verde!).  I created a map using GoogleMaps, mapping the sites of 21 different mercados throughout the city (by zone), held on various days of the week, along with a little information about each.  I hope that all of you can use this to find a mercado that is closest or most convenient for you, and take advantage of this wonderful aspect of life in D.F. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cranberries at City Market

If you're looking for fresh cranberries they are now at City Market!! Get 'em while they last! (Remember to buy enough for Christmas, too...they freeze beautifully!)