Linda McElroy
8
Nov

The Proven Platter – December 2018, Around the World Appetizer Party

Hello Diners!

I can’t believe it’s December already! We’re taking on India this month!

Usually, I like to do an “Around the World Appetizer Party” for my last post in December. I think we need to keep things simple in December since we’re all so busy. It feels right for appetizers instead of a full meal. I’ve got some ideas for you, but I also think it’s a great time for you to try out any new appetizer ideas on your friends and get great feedback before the holidays. Details

10
Oct

The Proven Platter – Kenya, November 2018

Hello Diners!

Kenya calls us to come for a visit this month! And since it’s November, it’s definitely time to think about a warming beef stew, epic comfort food at this time of year. Kenyan Beef Stew is not all that different from our American version. It contains meat, potatoes, and carrots. I find that the difference is in the spices used and the inclusion of tomatoes and plantains. Details

4
Sep

The Proven Platter – Afghanistan, October 2018

Hello Diners!

This month we are traveling to Afghanistan. Naan, a type of flatbread, is the most widely consumed bread in Afghanistan. But for something more interesting I discovered the Afghan “bolani,” or filled turnover. The most common filling includes mashed potatoes and lots and lots of green onions. For a very earthy flavor, try a Swiss chard filling. Fried or baked, cut into wedges, they make a delicious appetizer. Details

2
Aug

The Proven Platter – September 2018, Malawi

Hello Diners!

This month our good works take us to Malawi. I think we’ve been there a few times before! I picked up one of my go-to African cookbooks, “Zainabu’s African Cookbook,” for inspiration this month. I found a recipe for Beef with Butternut Squash that sounded promising. When I read the recipe, I realized it is very similar to something I’ve made in the past that I’ve really enjoyed. Details

24
May

The Proven Platter, Haiti, June 2018

Hello Diners!

We’re going to Haiti this month. Can you say “pork griot” (gree-oh)? It is one of the most popular dishes you will find there. Chunks of pork are marinated, then simmered until tender and succulent, then fried until caramelized and crispy. You’ll always find it accompanied by “pikliz” (pik-lees), a spicy, vinegared cabbage and carrot relish. The spicy relish makes the perfect complement to the rich and fatty pork. Details

11
Apr

The Proven Platter – Benin, May 2018

Hello Diners!

This month we are traveling to Benin (Beh-NEEN). It is just a tiny slip of a country in West Africa. It runs the long way south to north, and it is surrounded by Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. The official language is French; however, many indigenous languages are still spoken.

Peanut- and tomato-based sauces are commonly prepared and served over couscous, rice and beans. Yams are a main staple in the north; meats such as beef and pork are used sparingly. In the south, the most common ingredient used is corn, with fish and chicken being the most commonly consumed meats. Details

7
Feb

The Proven Platter – Guatemala, March 2018

Hello Diners!

I am pretty excited about what I’ve got planned for you this month. The country of Guatemala is on the docket. We’ll start out with some guacamole and chips, Guatemalan style, just to whet our appetites. Then it’s on to the main course, Fiambre Rojo. Think of an enormous Italian antipasto platter and you’ll get the idea of what fiambre is all about. And for dessert, how about some dark chocolate crepes filled with a dreamy dulce de leche filling? Yes, please! Details

8
Jan

The Proven Platter – Peru, February 2018

Hello Diners!

Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa, or rotisserie chicken, is perhaps one of the most well-known Peruvian dishes here in the U.S. due to the many take-out joints around the country (depending on where you live!). It is also one of the most consumed dishes in Peru. A whole chicken is marinated overnight in a combination of garlic, herbs, soy and vinegar, and then roasted whole on a spit, often over a charcoal fire. The chicken is always served with creamy, mayonnaise-type sauces, typically bright with aji amarillo chile pepper. Very often it is accompanied by French fries and salad with ranch dressing. My kind of yum! Details

9
Oct

Proven Platter – The Gambia November 2017

Hello Diners!  

This month we are traveling to a place we haven’t visited yet, The Gambia. You might wonder, why I’ve referred to it as The Gambia, instead of just Gambia. Well, the official name is the Republic of The Gambia, and it is referred to as The Gambia for short. It is just a tiny slip of a country, completely surrounded by Senegal, except for the coastline on the Atlantic Ocean at the western end.   Details

13
Sep

The Proven Platter, Afghanistan, October 2017

Hello Diners!

Afghanistan is the faraway land calling to us to come visit this month!

I’m really excited about the menu I’ve prepared and tested for you. We’ll start with Afghan “Nachos,” for a quick and easy appetizer, followed by the most delicious lamb dish ever, Lamb Kebab with Cinnamon, accompanied by Afghan Flat Bread. Ridiculously easy Afghan Butter Cookies round out the meal. Details

6
Apr

The Proven Platter, Mali – May 2017

Hello Diners!

We are traveling to Mali this month. I think we were just there! For this month’s Proven Platter recipe, I decided to see what was already on the site, and choose a recipe to put through my testing process. The result is that I’ve revamped and replaced the recipe for West African Peanut Soup (Tigua Dege Ne). Details

13
Feb

The Proven Platter, Mali

Hello Diners!

We may not be physically traveling to Mali this month, but we are still able to taste and participate in the local cuisine right here at our own dining tables.

Here is a wonderful recipe that is representative of a typical meal. My husband stood at the stove, eating right out of the pot, and was already telling me that I had to make this again! This dish should please anyone with dietary requirements, as it is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Details

9
Dec

The Proven Platter – Cambodia

Hello Diners!

This month we’ll be paying a visit to Cambodia and cooking up some breakfast. Breakfast for dinner, you ask? What is Linda thinking? Well, I’m thinking that Bai Sach Chrouk (grilled pork served with pickled vegetables and rice) sounds like a mighty fine dinner to me. Although, in Cambodia, this is a very popular breakfast, served up on the streets of the capital, and it’s hard to find this dish past 9 o’clock in the morning. Details

8
Nov

The Proven Platter – Chad

Hello Diners!

The Republic of Chad, located in northern Central Africa, is the subject of our focus and our dining destination this month.

Okra is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables there. It is used both to thicken sauces and as a vegetable used in preparation of soups and stews. I suppose you either love okra or hate it, but as it happens, I love it! And since I’ve yet to post a recipe calling for okra, I think okra’s time in the spotlight has come. Details

7
Oct

The Proven Platter — Holiday Appetizer Party

Hello Diners!

I’ve got lots of good recipes coming your way this month. I thought I’d share with you a tradition that we have started with my group. Every year in either November or December, depending on what month we are meeting, we plan what we call our “holiday appetizer party.” Initially the idea was to bring a favorite appetizer, or bring an appetizer that you were thinking of trying out for the holidays. There is no better audience for feedback than our enthusiastic DFW members!

It has proved to be really successful and fun. There’s less emphasis on planning a meal and the meeting is a little more casual. We pretty much snack and talk and discuss the whole evening.

Of course, you can bring any type of appetizer you like. But I thought it would be fun, and in keeping with our world mission to plan an “Around the World Appetizer Party!” Details

12
Sep

The Proven Platter – Mali

Hello Diners!

We are off to Mali this month, located in West Africa, in support of the Tandana Foundation. Their Women LEAP program provides literacy and numeracy training, as well as democratic governance and leadership skills.

Often, the program we are supporting will send us recipes that are rooted in their culture. This month we received a very detailed recipe called “Recipe for Toh, (Oro Dja), Traditional Food of the Dogon People,” by Jemima Tembiné. She started learning to cook when she was about 10 years old and has been preparing Toh since she was 15 years old. Near as I can tell, Toh is a dish of millet dough that has been pounded, and served along with different sauces made out of various leaves, dried fish and dried vegetables. Details

11
Aug

The Proven Platter – Bolivia

Hello Diners!

This month we get to travel somewhere new, Cochabamba, Bolivia. And we are making one of Bolivia’s most beloved dishes, “Pique Macho.”

Bolivians consider Pique Macho the world’s greatest expression of meat and potatoes!

The dish is a sultry combination of perfectly seasoned beef cubes and sliced hotdogs. It is served over a bed of crispy potato fries and finished with julienned vegetables and multiple garnishes. Hot sauce is an integral part of this dish. Bolivians use a fiery hot sauce that they make from their local locoto peppers, but you can use your own favorite hot sauce. Details

8
Jul

The Proven Platter – India

Hello Diners!

Welcome to India. We’ve traveled there before. Flavors from exotic spices perfume every dish.  Garlic, ginger and chiles add heat. If you love Indian food but are intimidated by long lists of ingredients and techniques, well, I’ve got your back. I’ve taken my inspiration for our recipes this month from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking” and “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.” Both of these books are devoted to recipes in the under 30 minutes or less category. You’ll need to purchase some spices (the bulk spice aisle is your friend here), but other than that most of the ingredients are commonly found. Details

10
Jun

The Proven Platter – Uganda

Hello Diners!

We are going to Uganda this month in support of DIG, Development in Gardening. DIG provides experiential training in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and improved cooking practices, along with developing 400 women-led home gardens.

It is July, it’s hot, and I’m hoping that you’ll be able to do some grilling. I’ve got Beef Skewers in Green Masala on the menu, although you could certainly use chicken or pork if you prefer. A Cabbage Salad with Pineapple presents a fresh new take on coleslaw with an African twist. And for dessert, we have a stunning Mango Coulis with Tapioca. Details

14
Mar

The Proven Platter – Nepal

Hello Diners!

We are off to Kathmandu this month. I’ve always wanted to go there. Since I’m stuck in Seattle in front of my computer though, I will have to find another way to experience Nepal. That’s one of the great benefits about being a Dining for Women member: armchair travel, through our monthly grantees and exploring the cuisine of different countries feels like I’m there – almost. So let’s go! Details

13
Jan

The Proven Platter | A Vegetarian Thali Platter

Hello Diners!

This month our culinary journey takes us to India, specifically the Maharashtra state in Western India. I got a little ambitious this month though, and rather than present you with one “proven platter” dish, I constructed an entire thali platter just for you! I had a lot of fun working on this project, and even more fun eating the leftovers for days!

Details

14
Dec

The Proven Platter: Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Hello Diners!

Are you familiar with amaranth? We’re going to go all amaranth this month! Perhaps you’ve used it in breakfast porridge, or granola, maybe even a smoothie. Puente a la Salud Comunitaria is a grass-roots organization working primarily in the indigenous state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Its focus is on farming, consumption and commercialization of amaranth.

Details

11
Oct

The Proven Platter—Togo, November 2015

Hello Diners!

This month we visit the small West African country of Togo. Sandwiched between Ghana on the west and Benin on the east, the southern end of Togo sits at the Gulf of Guinea, where plenty of access to fresh fish helps to round out the cuisine. While fish is an important source of protein, bush meat is also often consumed. The most well-liked bush meat is the giant rat. I think we’ll skip that and make a delicious beef stew instead!

Details