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World Supper Adventure

Inviting myself to dinner, around the world, to bring recipes and tales of great hospitality home to you.

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Wow, 100 days to go.  I feel like I should make one of those charts where you rip a number off every day.  I’ve always wanted an excuse to make one of those.  I actually can’t believe it took me 30 years to have a reason to make one, but better late than never!

Really now, go HERE from now on.  I’m not going to write here anymore.

Peace out!


P.S.- I still need you to get people to Kickstarter!  Help!

The Kickstarter campaign is doing pretty well so far, we even got on the “Staff Recommendations” page!  But if you could take a few minutes today to make an affordable donation, and pass on the information to your friends, it would be doing much better.  It doesn’t have to be much, just the price of a movie ticket will do!  And don’t forget, certain donation amounts get fun rewards like a book, t-shirt, fun ingredient sent to you from abroad, and much more!

Thanks everyone! Just click here and you’re on your way to doing a very nice thing.

Hey guys, it’s time for a fundraiser!  I’m very excited to announce that World Supper Adventure is now on Kickstarter.

If you can afford it (no amount is too small…or too big 🙂 ),  a donation will be greatly appreciated.  You’ll get a fun reward and will be helping this project flourish.  But please, whether you give or not, spread the word.  Forward that link to every friend, family member, and co-worker you know and encourage them to give to this awesome, amazing, fun, and wonderful project.

I will love you forever. Thank you!

Breaking news!  I have a pretty neat website now where I’ll post my blog and where other fun things will happen.  So please come HERE from now on.

Go ahead, do some exploring, work can wait.

It’s time for a recipe, I know it and I have not forgotten.

I’m not going to lie to you, I really wanted to buy hammour during my visit, it’s a fish native to the region that happens to be very delicious. But as you know, if you paid attention in part 1, it’s on the over-fished list, so no hammour for me. What do you do if you can’t have your first choice? You remember how much you love the classic french dish Skate Meunière and you buy a skate wing!

First things first, of course. Skate are cartilaginous fish (they have skeletons made of cartilage, not bone). They’re related to rays, which is obvious just by looking at them, and sharks, which is obvious when you touch their skin. They’re kite-shaped flat fish with large wings; these wings are the edible part. Saltwater anglers catch tons of skate when they’ve intended to catch other fish and are often, unfortunately, referred to as “garbage fish”. But they’re VERY tasty.

Skate is a delicious, mild, slightly sweet fish that isn’t at all fishy (when it’s fresh, of course). Not to mention it has a very unique muscle structure that looks very pretty on your plate; kind of like corduroy.

If you do find skate already filleted, lucky you. Lazy you, but lucky you non-the-less. Dealing with countless pieces of cartilage in non-filleted pieces of skate can be a real pain. But, challenges are fun, aren’t they?

Skate Belly!

Slicing off my Wing

My skate wing filleting experience (well, the gentlemen who filleted the skate wing for me’s experience) was gruesome, bloody, and awkward.  It was a first time for all,  so I’m going to spare you my own personal photos.  This guy‘s the one to follow for this step, he seems to know what he’s doing.  Do what he does.  Be careful, though, they don’t have the fish skin you’re used to, it’s tough like a shark.

I wanted to prepare the skate fillets in a classic french style, but it turns out Dubai hates capers, I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I chopped up some nice salty green olives into caper-sized pieces.  It was just as, if not more, delicious, so you pick what you’d like to do.  If you’ve had this dish before, maybe you should try it with olives.  If this is your first time, though, stick with the classic I suppose? You definitely won’t be disappointed either way, so don’t stress out over the decision, that would be ridiculous.

Skate Meunière (Skate with Browned Butter and Capers)
(Serves 4)

Preheat your oven to 200ºFCut your (filleted) skate into 4 equal 1/2 pound piecesSeason 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper and dredge* both sides of each fillet, shaking off the excess.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium flame.  Add 1 TB each of olive oil and butter, swirling to mix as the butter melts. Place 2 skate fillets in your pan (all four if they fit, but please don’t crowd them. To say the least, that would just be inconsiderate…and make for difficult flipping) and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Turn carefully  (here’s where you’ll be glad you didn’t crowd your pan) with a wide spatula and cook on the second side until just cooked through.  About 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer fillets to an oven-safe plate and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining two fillets.  Add more oil and butter to the skillet, if necessary. Transfer your second batch of fillets to the oven also.

Wipe (don’t wash) your skillet clean and return to the flame.  Melt 4 TB of butter (unsalted is best here, you’ll get your salt from the capers) in the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, plate your skate fillets. Add the juice and zest* of  1 lemon, 3 TB capers (or chopped olives), and 1 (generous) TB parsley to the skillet and keep stirring. Brace yourself! The lemon juice will make the pan spatter like crazy. That’s supposed to happen, just be careful.  Only keep this on the heat for a few seconds.

You’re finished!  Turn off the heat and spoon the sauce over the plated fillets. Serve immediately.  I think you’ll like this so much.  It might just be my mood today, but this dish would be great with a side of roasted potatoes and asparagus.  You’ve probably earned the right to make that decision for yourself, I’m sure.

Thanks for sticking by my side through that trilogy!  I think it made for a fun ride.


I’m so glad you’ve decided to do some shopping at the fish market!  Now, whether you know exactly what you want, or you’d rather shop around, you’re going to want to make sure what you’re buying is fresh.  Although, yes, you’ll find your freshest options here,  but of course there are exceptions.  Be on your toes, here’s what to look for when you want to eat…

Actually, before I start with the tips, I’m going to give you a list of fish not to buy.  Not until I say it’s okay, anyway.  Not because they aren’t delicious or nutritious, they’re both of those thing.  Because they’re being over-fished and need some time to rest and re-populate.

  • Bluefin Tuna (albacore troll- or poll-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia is fine)
  • Chilean Sea Bass
  • Grouper
  • Monkfish
  • Orange Roughy
  • Farmed Salmon (wild-caught Alaskan is fine)
  • Hammour

Ok, here you go:

Whole Fish

  • Bright & clear eyes:

    Clear Eyes

    This is the first sign of a truly fresh fish.  The eyes start fading into murkiness when they’ve been sitting around.  They could still be safe to eat, but you could do better.

  • Shiny Skin:

    Shiny Skin

    Does the skin glisten with clean, metallic beauty?  Be ware of dull skin with discolored patches.

  • Fresh Smell:

    See, no stink lines.

    A fresh fish should smell like clean water.  A bit briny if it came from the ocean, or even (bear with me here) a bit like cucumbers. Never buy a fish that smells gross, cooking it won’t improve anything no matter how you season it.

  • Red Gills:

    Red Gills

    They should be bright, rich red. An old fish’s gills will fade and resemble a dull brickish color.

Fish Fillets

  • Bright Flesh: All fish fade as they age. If the fillet still has skin, that skin should look as pristine as the skin on an equally good whole fish – shiny and metallic.
  • Fresh Smell: Same as with a whole fish…nothing stinky, you get it.
  • Clear Liquid: If the fillet is sitting in liquid, it should be clear. Milky liquid on a fillet is the first stage of rot.
  • Springy: Press the meet with your finger if you’re allowed. Your indentation should spring back,  if your fingerprint lingers, keep looking.


Make sure they’re alive:

Not just alive, but alive and kickin’.  Is your crab or lobster scampering around like a school child, or skulking in the corner like a creep?  Shellfish are sold alive, so they should react to you.  Oysters are a little tough to tell, but your clam or mussel should react to you.  They should have a tight shell to begin with, but put them on the countertop and back away for a moment. Then tap the shell: It should close tighter than it was. You can also tell a dead shellfish after you’ve cooked them all. Dead ones do not open after being cooked. Do not eat them.


Scallops are special, you’ll almost always find them shucked already.  If they’re bathing in milky yuckiness, don’t buy them.


If you’re lucky enough to be near a good shrimping area or have access to truly fresh shrimp, go ahead and buy them. Head on if possible, they’ll stay more moist that way.

If you’re not near good fresh shrimp, buy them whole and frozen. Whole means the shell protected them while being frozen and they didn’t lose as much moisture.  If they’re frozen they haven’t had a chance to start rotting…shrimp rot quickly.

Rules for Crawfish are the same as shrimp if frozen.  Same as  lobsters and crabs if fresh.

Squid or Octopus

Again, if you can buy squid and octopus fresh, do it! They are rare to find, even at great markets, so take advantage. Like finned fish, look at their eyes first, which should be clean and bright.

Now you’re good, no one will call you a fool at the fish market, go get ’em!  And if you happen to have chosen skate at your market then you’re in luck!  But you’ll have to wait.  To be continued…

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Oh! What a day you have when you start your day at a fish market!

I lived in NYC for nearly 8 years before moving to Dubai and never took the opportunity to go to the Fulton Fish Market…this became a mega-obvious mistake after visiting the Dubai Fish Market.

A lot happens around you and there’s a lot to take in.  Yelling, thousands of beautiful fish, pinchy claws, shiny shells, horrible smells, gutters flowing from stall to stall full of guts and blood, Arabic-speakers trying to talk to you in Russian for some reason, wheelbarrow dodging, amazing photo ops…this could be a very long sentence if I let it be.  Moment to moment, it’s hard to decide what to let your senses focus on, but there was one little thing about this day that I’m going to call my favorite. “Take my picture!”  A tap on the shoulder and you turn to find a man holding up his fish, ready for his shot.  I love those mongers and their fish pride…

I think I’ll go ahead and just jump right into some tips, I’ve no concern for segues today.

Now, admittedly, some of these stem from mistakes I made on this trip, but I’m glad to save you from them.  I think these suggestions will probably apply to any fish market you decide to visit:

  1. Don’t sleep late, like I did,  and stroll in at 5am.  I thought this would be early enough to catch the auction between the fishermen and the mongers, but sadly it wasn’t.  I was excited about seeing that and I missed it.  Be an early bird.  If I have the chance to go again, I’m getting there at 3am.
  2. Wear something you don’t mind getting blood and guts on.  There is blood and guts EVERYWHERE!  My pretty little romper still kinda smells, and I’ve washed it a bunch.
  3. On a similar note, don’t wear sandals.  There is blood and guts EVERYWHERE!
  4. Be prepared to buy.  Why wouldn’t you buy?  It’s a fun thing to just see, but if you want to buy fish anywhere, you want to buy it here, fresh off the boat.  It’ll be the best you’ll be able to find around town,  wherever you are.
  5. Don’t be afraid to talk your monger down.  It’s not rude to try and get a cheaper price, it’s customary.  The basic rule for this game (it does start feeling like a game after you get over the discomfort) is to decide what you want to pay and say you’ll pay half your secret price.  You’ll be laughed at in a “you’ve got to be kidding” kind of way, but then you’ll compromise until everyone’s happy.

To be continued…


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Welcome to World Supper Adventure!  I’m glad you made it here and I’m very excited to get started.  If you’ve already taken the time to read “What I’m Doing” to your right, then you already know what this blog is all about, but I’ll go ahead and recap and give you some details about what else is going to happen here.

Basically, I’m traveling and collecting recipes from home cooks around the world.  Finding families, or anyone really, to take me in, take me to the market, and teach me how to make their favorite meals.  If you think you or someone you know would like to take part, please let me know.  Still in touch with your distant relatives in Turkey?  Awesome!  Studied abroad and know a great family in China?  Super! Have a pen pal in South Africa?  I love it!  I’d love to hear your recommendations on who to visit and where to go, so please email them to me.

There it is.  So, the big blog entries will be the stories, photos, and recipes of my family stays, but what else?   Obviously, between the big stuff, I’ll need something to post about to keep World Supper Adventure active, and that’s where “Food Finds” will come in.  I’ll post the neat, new ingredients I find in the markets wherever I happen to be at the moment.  A photo, a brief history of the item, how it’s most commonly used, and a simple recipe you can try (if it’s an ingredient you can find, of course).

I really can’t express enough how excited I am about this project, and how much more excited I get every day.   I’d love for you to follow the adventure.  Please pass it on and please comment as much as you like.  Encouragement, criticism, and advice are all welcome.

See you later!