Oh my goodness! It is time for another FoodBuzz 24, 24, 24 challenge.
I know you know how this works. You come up with an idea for a meal, or a party or some sort of food related event. Then (if you are lucky) you get asked to bring your concept to life and have all the other FoodBuzzers out there judge you. Only they call it "Buzzing". Which is just a nice way for your peers to separate the winners from the losers! I know, it’s like we are caught in the perpetual popularity Merry-Go-Round from high school. Only it never ends. I mean I know how the world works. I was not born yesterday.
Which is why to me, these challenges are just another excuse to get all in your face and competitive. I guess it’s all just another chance to try and prove Sister Mary Margaret from 1st grade wrong, wrong, WRONG!
Not that I’d ever admit that. Or rather not that I’d ever admit it except under the direst of circumstances.
Well you guessed it. I have come across the direst of circumstances.
My idea for this challenge was to cook a dinner featuring foods and ingredients from all 7 of the world’s continents!
I mean I knew Visa Signature was sponsoring this event. And I still chuckle when I think back to their ad campaign from a few (quite a few??) years back. "Visa Don’t Leave Home With Out It".
Because, I have a few traveler stories that illustrate that exact point oh so well. But let’s just say I always end up looking like a fool in these stories. So we’ll go ahead and leave the details to your imaginations.
Back to the "journey" at hand. Seven Foods Seven Continents…
I was going to cook quite an extravagant meal. I wanted to have 10 or 12 good friends over and we’d all experience a few exciting new taste sensations together. Then I’d chat about it here. It sounds oh so civilized. Oui?
But then I guess I left home with out my Visa card. Because when I was in Sonoma a few weeks ago, I busted my jaw.
That is not just an expression either. I mean I broke it into two pieces! You know how they fix that? Well, it involves screws and bolts and wires. And it takes 6 weeks of a diet limited to Ensure and Jamba Juice. Eventually I will graduate to oatmeal and scrambled eggs. But that is still a few days a way!
The other thing about these 24, 24, 24 challenges is you can’t just say, "Oh I changed my mind. Now I want to do Seven Flavors of Ensure over 7 Hours"!
That’s just not cool! I mean our buddies at FoodBuzz put time and effort into choosing just the right balance of bloggers to present this to all of you. If I waxed on about the ugly (bowel related) details of too much protein powder in your diet, I am sure nobody would appreciate it too much!
So. I was adamant. Seven Continents it was and would remain. But I figure I still had a little leeway. Right?
I mean if I could not cook my way through Seven Continents. At least I could buy my way through Seven Continents!
But where to do it? This is of course Los Angeles. You can get anything you want here. I mean anything!
Still, I did not want to spend all day stuck in traffic driving from Hawthorn the Redondo. Hitting all the very best ethnic markets and restaurants for everything I would need. Besides. If you have ever spent an afternoon traversing LA by automobile then you know my stipend would get used up pretty quickly on gas alone.
No I needed someplace with one stop parking! But can that be possible? I mean Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America…and …and …isn’t there one more? Oh yeah. ANTARTICA!!!
But you know what? It’s like I said, this is Los Angeles. This was a feat that could be done. And I knew just the place. The Original Farmers Market. Now this is different than the Hollywood Farmers Market that I love so much. It’s not anywhere near the world famous Santa Monica Farmers Market either. Those are stalls that get set up one day, then move on to another location on another day.
No, The Original Farmers Market is a permanent structure. It is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Sure it is a tourist trap in some ways. But it is also a beloved LA institution. And a great place to get everything I needed.
I thought I’d start the meal with a stop into Moishe’s Village and get a terrific Middle Eastern specialty. Some call it a borek, some call it pedeh, or pide. I have even heard it called a Turkish pizza. But it is basically a flatbread topped with a wonderful selection of ingredients. I decided to pick 6 or 7 of these and serve them as an Asian appetizer at a mid-day pool party. Don’t forget Asia is an extremely diverse continent so Middle Eastern fare is decidedly Asian.
There are plenty of places in the market to get liquor. I decided to let the Aussies handle the booze at this party. I mean I hate to throw around clichÃ©s, but those blokes down-under know their way around a bottle. So I picked up a selection of Australian wine and a couple 6 packs of Foster’s.
With the drinks and appetizers decided. I turned my attention to the main menu. I was having an afternoon pool party. So I decided on corn on the cob. Sure I could have let that be my North American selction. After all North America gave corn to the world and was an important food staple to the Native American. But that seemed too easy. So I marched myself into Light My Fire. All they sell is hot sauce. Ranging from mild and amusing to spicy enough to curl your eyebrows, the selection here is immense. They have hot sauce from all over the globe, but I set my sights on Africa. I picked up a trio of bottles covering the full gamut of heat. I would wrap my corn in foil then add a few shakes of this sauce with some butter and spices. Then I could throw them on the grill to get a bit charred and I know it will be a crowd pleaser.
For the main course I knew I could cover two continents with one dish. I decided on a taco with international flair. I went over to Pampas ChurrascarÃa. If you are unfamiliar with a Brazilian Churrascaria, let me enlighten you. It’s meat, meat and more meat. Seasoned and set a turnin’ on a rotisserie. Beef, Lamb, Pork and Chicken. It’s all represented here. You just tell them how much and what varieties and they slice you up a big bunch to take home. WOW.
I took some of each and I also made a stop at Loteria! for some handmade fresh tortillas. They churn these out all day, so you are assured of getting them with in minutes of being prepared. This North American specialty from south of the border would cradle my South American meats in a mighty fine way.
To finish off these international tacos I made a slaw very reminiscent of the creamy mustard based slaws you find at good Memphis BBQ joints in the southern USA. That slaw was so good I am giving it a post of it’s own on Tuesday. So check back for the recipe and the details then.
There are more choices than you can imagine for dessert at The Original Farmers Market. There are stalls and booths and carts devoted to every sweet concoction you can imagine. But I needed something from the European continent. I went straight away off to Monsieur Marcel. Needless to say it is "oh so French" and a great place to get all kinds of Parisian specialties.
I chose the macaroon. Look how beautiful these things are too. These are the true Parisian macaroons. A fine pastry and a work of art! I was sure they were too pretty to eat. But I was wrong. Every single one of them was devoured by my crazy food obsessed friends.
If I had just said I would do food from 6 continents I would be finished now. But no, I had to say 7. Which (of course) leaves me with Antartica. I thought about doing a snow cone. Get it "snow"? But that felt like a cop out to me. I mean I figured you would probably guess that I did not really get the snow from Antartica. It just might seem too preposterous to pretend I had.
So I decided to do some research. What I found out was very disheartening to someone as food centric as I am. Because I found out there are no indigenous people of Antarctica. None. That means there are no native food traditions. Because there are no natives. Except well, penguins. Penguins live in Antarctica…
That got me thinking. Penguins must eat something…but what? That’s when it hit me. Penguins eat sushi! I could serve my guests penguin food!
Penguin food? Could I really do that? It would be the highlight of the party! Can’t you just see me tossing some of that bait into the pool and watching my friends clap their hands in joy, plopping belly first into the pool for each fishy tid-bit!
This would almost make breaking my jaw worth it. But penguin food? Did I really? Well, I won’t say whether I did or I didn’t. But I will say nobody left the pool hungry!
SERIOUS FUN FOOD