Sunday, January 1, 2017


Happy New Year! We can finally say that 2016 is behind us. We spent New Years Eve like we do every year: sitting at home, having a good meal (except this year, we didn’t do Brazilian feijoada since I’m cooking food from Nauru today), playing board games or card games, chilling, getting my drink on, and then we turn the TV on a little before midnight so that we can watch the giant ball drop in New York. This year, I tried some alcoholic strawberry crème that I sipped on all evening, so by the time midnight came along, I was pretty much ready to go to sleep. 

A bread to beat all bread.
And did I sleep in? Of course not. I woke up at 8am. Probably couldn’t wait to cook from Nauru today. The first thing I started out with was Banana Pineapple Bread. In a large bowl, I mixed together ½ c coconut oil, ¼ c sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, 1 c granulated (white) sugar, and ¼ c light brown sugar. I mixed it until everything was smooth. Then I put all my other dry ingredients in a different bowl: 2 c white flour (I used all-purpose), 1 tsp each of baking soda and baking powder, ½ tsp nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. I stirred this to mix it together and then poured it into my other bowl, stirring everything until it just comes together. This is where I folded in my 3 mashed bananas and 1 c of frozen diced pineapple. After making sure everything was mixed together well, I poured the batter into a greased loaf pan and baked this at 350ºF for 30 minutes. I lowered the temperature to 325ºF for 15 minutes before realizing that I was using a larger loaf pan instead of the two minipans the recipe suggested. So, I turned it back up to 350ºF for another 25 minutes until it was baked through, taking it out to cool. This was so good — of all the banana bread recipes I have come across, I liked this one the best so far. The pineapple was a wonderful addition to this tropical classic.

You know what? This would make some great fish tacos.
My main dish for today is Coconut Crusted Fish. Although the recipe suggested either Pacific Ocean Rockfish or Pacific Ocean Perch, I went with some Flounder filets that I found at Aldi. In a bowl, I mixed together the shredded coconut flakes and breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, I whisked my eggs until they were frothy (sort of). Once my filets were thawed, I sprinkled salt and pepper on both sides of them. I dipped both sides of the fish in the egg and then dipped them into the breadcrumb mix (making sure to coat it on there). Once I’ve got the filets nicely coated, I fried it in my skillet of hot coconut oil for about 3 minutes on both sides until the coating is golden. I enjoyed this very much. The fish cooked up well, and the coconut flavor really came through, but it wasn’t completely overpowering. I’ll have to repeat this one: it makes for a lighter meal, even though it was fried.

The best way to eat Spam.
To go with the fish, I made Spam Fried Rice. I read that Spam is weirdly popular in many of the island countries of the South Pacific. To be honest, I haven’t had Spam since I was a kid. It’s kind of got a reputation for being one of the ultimate “processed” mystery foods out there. I read through the ingredients, and it seems no different than a hot dog, I guess. (And there’s no MSG, oddly enough.) The first thing I did was cook the rice and set to the side when it was done. Then I scrambled 2 eggs and removed them to cool, and I fried some minced garlic and diced Spam in the same skillet until it looked golden brown. Once the meat was browned, I added in a cup of frozen peas & carrots along with a ½ c of frozen corn, stirring for a couple of minutes until the vegetables were soft and tender. At this point, I threw in my cooked rice into the skillet with the meat and veggies and stirred everything together. I added in a little sesame oil, soy sauce, and pepper. (I left out the fish sauce. It smells like hot booty, and I threw out the entire bottle just because of that.) Lastly, I added the eggs back in along with some chopped green onions. Next time, I want to add some sriracha sauce on top. My son loved this. I thought it went well with the fish. The Spam actually wasn’t so bad when it was fried up and included in the fried rice. In fact, I liked it this better way.

A surprising flavorful, most fabulous meal to start off my 2017.
Overall, this meal was an A+. Everything turned out delicious, and I actually didn’t screw up cooking it. And for such a tiny country I’ve barely heard of, I’ve learned a lot about it. With each country I cover, I learn a little more world history and piece it together with the history of the other countries I’ve covered. I feel that I missed out on whole segments of history when I was in school. Granted, world history is a vast subject, but I feel I could’ve used more than one year of it as a high school student and a couple years in middle school. Regardless, my hope from this blog is that more people are aware that tiny countries like Nauru even exist and learn something about it — and there are more countries out there waiting to be explored.

Up next: Nepal

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