Friday, September 28, 2012

Satisfying International Taste Buds

I love the little reminders I get of the impact living internationally has had on our kids. This week, I observed one example...

I always cook a special meal for our family birthdays. I will ask the birthday person what their special request is and go at it! My son had his 11th birthday this week and I had to chuckle with his request: Red Thai Chicken Curry. Sounded good to me! I chuckled again when I remembered that my daughter had requested Maqlubeh {her favorite Middle Eastern dish} for her birthday meal. 

Thought I'd share the recipes and you can tickle your international taste buds too!

Red Thai Chicken Curry
¼ cup oil
 1 onion, sliced
 3-4 cloves garlic
1 can coconut milk
2 TBS red curry paste
½ cup peanut butter
 1 lb chicken, cooked and cubed
 2 TBS soy sauce
½ red pepper, sliced
1 1/2 cups of broccoli, thawed
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS sugar
 2 cups rice

Heat oil in wok or large pan and add onions and garlic. Pour in 1/3 can of coconut milk. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add curry paste and peanut butter. Simmer. Add chicken and soy sauce. Simmer. Add another 1/3 can of the coconut milk, broccoli and red peppers. Let simmer 5 minutes. Add last 1/3 cup coconut milk and stir. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add sugar and lemon juice to taste. Mix well and serve over rice.

2 medium eggplants
4 potatoes
1 onion
1 lb chicken, diced
2 cups rice (uncooked)
2 TBS seven spice 
olive oil
6 oz. tomato paste

Soak rice in water. Peel & slice eggplant, salt each slice & let sit 1 hour to drain. Peel & slice potatoes and onions. Spread olive oil on large baking sheet & bake potato and onion slices for 20 min. @ 350. Bake eggplant slices for 15 min. on large baking sheet. Meanwhile, spice chicken cubes with seven spice & brown in large pot with oil, then add 1 cup chicken broth, bring to boil to cook the chicken. Remove cooked chicken from pot leaving the broth. Layer baked potato & onion slices in bottom of the pot (that has the chicken broth in it). Layer baked eggplant slices on op of potato/onion slices. Place cooked chicken on top. Drain water from rice & spread the rice on top of the chicken layer. Press all down, pour 2 cups water mixed with tomato paste over top. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer 20 min. To serve, tip pot over on large platter (in Arabic, 'maqlubeh' means 'upside down'). Serve with plain (Greek) yogurt.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flashback to 2011

Exactly 365 days ago...this was our life. Wowza. Our 12th move in 14 years of marriage.

{It is a good exercise to try to get all your worldly possessions into 17 boxes!}

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Syria Update

Roman ruins in Damascus {photo from our trip in 2004}

Some recent news from our Syrian friends... 
Today started as a terrifying day.
We woke up at 5.45 A.m. because of shooting very close to where we live, then it turned into a real battle, with heavy guns and explosions, and a very loud shouting of Allah wa Akbar – God is big! It remained like this till 9.15, then stopped till 11.00, when they resumed the fight for half an hour.
And it remained calm till now 3.30P.m without knowing the result of the fight. Few minutes ago, I went out to walk around and see what happened, nearly all streets are empty and many thieves stealing furniture of military center close to us! I wrote in the morning on Facebook: It is very unusual to have your morning tea, with the music of “normal” guns and heavy machine guns and the shouting “allah akbar”!!
Then there were many, many days before we heard from them again. We were quite worried, but relieved to hear they are okay!
After 30 days of loosing the internet connection and also the mobile coverage we are able to open the internet suddenly. Today Sunday 9 September 2012. This email is to tell you that we are safe.
And today, we received some more news from him...

During the last month, I kept writing you hoping to have chance to send my mails. Here I’ll summarize what we had in the last month.
Fighting is still strong and heavy and getting closer to our areas. More mortars fell on buildings and churches.

Daily life is getting difficult more and more: more closed streets, more dangerous streets, Bread is in better situation than before, especially if you are willing to pay more. Gasoline and Diesel and cooking gas, is the same. As well if you are willing to pay for example 5$ to 1 litter of gasoline instead of 1$, and as I told you before it is 70-100$ for cooking gas instead of 10$!
Kidnapping: it’s getting so dangerous to go out of the city are more and more, and kidnapping is a great business now, and in general, no use of paying to release the kidnapped ones, because they will return them, dead, in more than one piece, raped or they inject him by Diesel injection!

Way to the airport: two weeks ago, I went through the city to the airport, it was my first time to pass by the areas that are under the rebels, it was very sad to see the city divided, buildings destroyed, streets in big damage. On my way, there were three check points: Syrian Army, Muslim forces and Kurdish militants!
I always find the anniversary of Sept 11th very hard, as most do. It is the day my homeland was attacked 'from the outside'. I can't imagine how it must feel to be living through an attack 'from the inside' like our dear friends. 

To read the other Syria updates, go here and here