Sunday, March 3, 2013


Making this meal came at the will of sheer determination. Last week, I’ve become highly allergic to something in my house that’s not affecting anyone else but me. (It might be dust mites or this cat, but who really knows? I do know it’s driving me crazy.) But because my desire for an awesome meal far surpasses my desire for personal comfort, it was not a difficult decision to make at all.

Now, the bread recipe I chose was anise bread, something I’ve been waiting for for almost two weeks. Anise tastes/smells a little like licorice and is the flavoring in some kinds of root beer, as well as one of my husband’s favorites: Jägermeister. It’s also found in absinthe as well as other alcoholic drinks. Anise has some other health benefits as well, such as helping with menstrual cramps and combatting flatulence. The essential oil has been used as an insecticide against head-lice and mites (which I may try to come up with some kind of concoction out of utter desperation.) And I just really had to laugh at the Latin scientific name of anise: pimpinella anisum (ok, I’ll stop acting like I’m 16.)  The anise bread starts out with a sponge: a mix of yeast, sugar, and water, and a cup of flour, then let it rest to rise. You add this to the dough and then let it rest some more. After dividing it into six pieces, it’s brushed with an egg yolk and rests a little more before baking it in the oven. When it came out, it was so delicious, with only a hint of anise taste. Definitely pairs well with a meal.  

I know what my breakfast is tomorrow. 
The main dish I chose was called “Grilled Tuna with Herbed Aioli” which I neither used tuna, nor did I grill it. I chose salmon steaks, and I baked them. But I did make the herbed aioli, which is a mix of mayonnaise (I always choose Miracle Whip – real mayonnaise is disgusting, a debate my sister and I have had since we were in high school) and red wine vinegar (which I used white wine vinegar), fresh basil, fresh thyme, dried tarragon (a first for me!), olive oil, and minced garlic. All of the ingredients sans the mayo are drizzled on it prior to baking/grilling, and the aioli tops the fish before serving.

Not the most attractive picture, but my stomach had  a different opinion. This is minus the aioli.
To go with it, I made ibiharage. It’s a rather simple side dish full of flavor. I started with sautéing minced garlic and onions and then adding a can of navy beans. I seasoned it with a little bit of salt, pepper, and some chili powder. And just to add a little bit of heat, I threw in a small bit of Jamaican jerk spice. It was so good; if my mom had made this when I was a kid, perhaps I would’ve liked navy beans more.

Navy beans. Maybe I can give this recipe to my mom. 
The meal was really good, in my opinion. The herbed aioli was something of a bother to my 4-year old son. I think the point is to introduce new flavors and flavor combinations to them. You never know what might become your next favorite. (I know the anise bread is mine.) And, with this, I’ve finally come to the last of the B countries. A little bittersweet – there were a lot of good meals from countries that start with B, and a lot of new favorite meals, and some I just archived.  And you know what? I bet there’s a sequel for the countries that start with C.

The final product. It didn't make my allergy to whatever-it-is go away, but at least I'm full. 

Up next: Cambodia

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