Tuesday, June 29, 2010

snack time (aka- tunisian fried heaven)

i’m not sure how we avoided it up to now, but we finally had the national snack of tunisia, the brik a l’oeuf…

simple enough ingredients- egg, capers, cheese and fresh herbs wrapped in an incredibly thin pastry and then fried. they’re really delicious and probably the best truly local food i’ve tried. the tricky part is not getting the still runny yolk on your clothes…

they also like to stuff them with tuna. tunisians really love canned tuna. it comes atop just about any salad you order, on top of harissa or on top of pizza. again, they love their tuna.

i actually only had a few bites of the wife’s brik since i had chosen to have a fricassee. i was too busy eating to take a photo, but the fricassee is a small sandwich consisting of a fried bun filled with mashed potatoes, tuna (of course), boiled egg, olives and a healthy serving of a spicy harissa based sauce.

i had been craving one since frenchie and i came across a little shop frying them up near our hotel. we had spotted a couple walking with giant donuts covered in sugar and immediately started looking around for where they could have scored them.

more of an alcove than restaurant this little shop fries up one amazing donut. it actually tastes a lot more like a funnel cake just with granulated sugar instead of powdered. *hello* heaven.

anyway, while we were waiting on our donuts to be made we watched them serve up about a million of those little sandwiches and i had to have one. but, at the time i had to have the donut more.

thankfully i was able to have one in sousse and i’m thinking it would probably be a good idea to hit up the nearby shop one last time before we leave. maybe even tonight…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

tea time

i’m southern and therefore like my tea sweet and over ice. being american, i like my coffee nice and weak. even our strongest brews are nothing compared to the motor oil the rest of the world enjoys. my only salvation has been in latin america where they at least drink their crude with lots of hot milk.

due to my inability to digest castrol gtx i’ve become quite the hot tea drinker on the road.

here in tunisia they like to finish off meals with a delightful mint tea. they serve it hot and very sweet, always garnishing with fresh mint and sometimes pine nuts. which is actually quite nice.

i know the last thing i would normally want in the summer is a hot drink, but it’s really rather refreshing...

want to make some?

2 tea bags
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
toasted pine nuts and mint sprigs for garnish

1. place tea bags and mint leaves in teapot. fill teapot with 5 cups boiling water, cover and let steep 5 minutes.

2. pour brewed tea into individual glasses or cups. float a few toasted pine nuts in each glass and garnish with a mint sprig. sweeten to your desire.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

tips for the cold stuff this summer...

DO as tunisians and take advantage of some of the season's yummiest harvest and make some delicious fig ice cream...

DON'T do as the turks and use orchid tubers in your recipe. you'll end up with a very elastic textured mixture. who wants to literally bite their ice cream?

please note fake smile and actual bite mark on ice cream- not a turkish delight.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

le south

I know I’ve said before I wasn’t too fond of French cuisine (see here), but maybe it was just being in Paris and all the heavy sauces and “to-do” that can be made with French food. All I can say is the food in the south of France, particularly those made by the sweet and gracious family of a friend not only fed my body, but also my soul.

Our first meal we both had the traditional bouillabaisse which is a regional specialty. It’s a fish soup served with toasted bread that you slather with a spicy spread and top with grated cheese. You then float these little boats of deliciousness in your soup. This is the one we had the first night. Frenchie’s mom made us a much better one the next night…

We also had one of my faves by the harbor in Cassis for lunch, mulles frites…

And of course the veggies we had, most from our friend’s family farm were to die for fresh and delicious. Even the olive oil that dressed the salads and used in the dishes was from their own olive trees. And the cheese...don't even get me started on the cheese. We were in heaven!

Seems we are true Southerners no matter what country we are actually in.