All of 2012 I've featured a different country each month, except the month I was travelling in Sri Lanka. All the countries were requested by readers. We've had Croatia, Chad, Bosnia, Iran, Scotland, Cambodia, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, Indonesia and finally, in December I featured Southern American recipes.
I posted seven delicious recipes in December inspired by the Southern states of the USA. But with all my Xmas cooking and other posts, I unfortunately didn't get the time to make and share all the things that I would have liked - so I ended up posting a couple more in January. I took a month off the featured countries this month, as I fancied having a break. Infact, this blog has been a bit quieter than usual in January while I take some time to cool off (figuratively and literally - as it's been super hot here!).
Starting tomorrow - the 1st February - I'll be back on the World Food Challenge for another year. Tomorrow we'll start delving into the delights of Costa Rican cuisine! I'm very excited and I've been busy consulting people who know more about it than I do to devise a delicious array of veganised Costa Rican dishes.
But first - here is the recap of the Southern USA posts I've had over the last two months. AND two very important questions which I've love your feedback on, if you have a moment to spare.
1) Which of the 11 countries have you enjoyed the most in 2012?
2) What dish do you think looks the best from the Southern USA?
This is a dish that I had never heard of until a reader suggested that I try it for USA month. I'm so glad they did because it was wonderful and I'll definitely be making it again! It's an American "chili" style casserole - the chili is made from bulghur instead of mince meat - with delicious light and crispy cornbread baked on top. As soon as I ate it I wondered why I hadn't always been putting cornbread on my casseroles! Possiibly my favourite dish of the month (though, that is a tough call and I may change my mind later...) Check out the recipe here.
Remember that cartoon character that used to say "Sufferin' Succotash!" (I think it was Sylvester?) Well, I can't imagine how succotash could cause suffering to anybody! At first glance I thought it looked a bit plain and boring - it's just a big pot full of beans, corn and tomatoes. But I gave it a go and goodness was it good! It's lightly but perfectly spiced, and a good reminder that vegetables are simply delicious just the way they were made and stand up perfectly as the main event of a meal! The succotash was a huge hit with my dinner guests. Check out the recipe here.
|Vegan Mushroom and Bean Jambalaya|
Jambalaya is a new favourite of ours now! This jambalaya is special. It's jam packed full of flavour and you don't miss meat in it at all - why would you when you've got juicy field mushrooms, two types of beans and tasty vegetarian sausages all through it? This dish can be made with white or brown rice and tastes just as good with either! Check out the recipe here.
|Vegan "Fried Chicken" and Waffles|
This is the kind of dish I never thought I would cook! But it was very enthusiastically requested by several readers when I asked about dishes from Southern USA - so I obliged. Fried chicken on waffles is apparently a Southern American classic, and I do relish a challenge. It sure was a challenge! Once I had decided on a method to cook some tofu in the same batter and spices of Southern Fried Chicken - I then had to get my hands on a waffle maker and make up some vegan waffles. Well, mission was accomplished and it tasted great! Good news is, now I own a waffle maker - so look out for more waffle recipes coming your way! Check out the recipe here.
|Peach Bourbon Cobbler|
Cobbler is a gift from American to the rest of the world. There was no way I was going to feature USA without making a cobbler! Peach seems to be the classic cobbler fruit in the USA, so I stuck traditional but with a twist of bourbon to give it an even more American feel! Check out the recipe here.
|Pecan Pie with Whipped Pumpkin Cream|
Pecan pie was up very high on my list of things to make for December. I decided to make a slightly adult version though - using thick luscious blackstrap molasses in the place of sweeter thing like maple syrup. The result is a pecan pie which is much less sweet than usual and has the slightly adult taste of molasses. It is perfect accompanied by the spiced pumpkin whipped cream, which offsets the richness of the molasses. Combining pecans and pumpkin makes it a perfect autumn dish (or "fall" as the yanks would say), but you can enjoy this one any time of year. Check out the recipe here.
|Candied Sweet Potatoes|
I'm always keen for an excuse to try out a new cocktail, so I was excited to find several cocktails when I started to research the cuisine of the Southern USA states. The easiest one was a Mint Julep, apparently popular particularly in Kentucky, where they use spearmint. It was very refreshing served over lots of ice, perfect for a hot summer day! Check out the recipe here.
|Home Made Smoky BBQ Sauce|
Last but not least - home made BBQ sauce anyone? You won't believe how easy it is to make your own delicious BBQ sauce, free of chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavours or artificial colours. Perfect for a summer BBQ or as a marinade for just about anything. Get this stuff on your burger! Check out the recipe here.
That's all folks!
Are you ready to start 2013 with a Costa Rican bang? Well, keep your eyes on this blog and I hope ya'll like rice and beans and corn. Sleep tight and I'll see you tomorrow in Central America!