193 Recipes: Guidelines for This Challenge

Yesterday, I wrote about my personal challenge to cook a dish from every country around the world. Today, I’m writing out my guidelines for this challenge. Not because I need a formal set of rules— this is a just-for-fun side project— but because I think typing out some rough guidelines before a big project like this will give me some basic structure and sanity. 
Here are my guidelines.
1.  No Particular Order
I’ll work through the countries list in no particular order. I might make a dish from a certain country when I see a good recipe, or when inspiration strikes. I might hop around a particular region of the world. I probably won’t go alphabetically, but who knows, that may happen, too. I’ll work my way through these countries and recipes in whatever order I please. Fewer rules = more fun. 
2. Representative Dishes
As I cook my way around the world, I’d like to try the most representative dishes I can find from each country. These might be everyday staple foods, or they might be fancy special occasion affairs. Whatever they are, I’ll try to find something typical of that region, or special to that nation. 
I know that most countries contain a multitude of cultures and sub-cultures, each with their own special cuisine. I won’t be able to represent every culture in every country with a dish, but I hope I will capture at least one unique and remarkable facet.
I may stray from this if the most representative dishes from a given country are things I can’t eat (guideline #3) or made with obscure ingredients and equipment I can’t find (guideline #4). In that case, I might pick a more obscure or less unique dish. 
3. Things I’ll Eat
It’s no fun cooking your way around the world if you’re only cooking things other people can eat.
I grew up vegetarian, and I still eat that way. While I’ll gladly cook meat for other people, I’m not yet comfortable eating it myself. In the spirit of only cooking things I will eat and enjoy, every recipe on this website will probably be vegetarian, unless I have an unlikely change of heart and decide I must have moqueca (Brazilian fish stew). I am otherwise a very adventurous eater, and the world is filled with plant-based foods, so I don’t think this will restrict me too much. 
4. Keep It Simple
Cooking your way around the world means exploring a variety of ingredients and cooking techniques, which is excellent. However, there are also a lot of traditional ingredients and cooking implements that will probably be out of reach to me, even in this day and age. I’ll try to choose simple, accessible recipes over complex ones that need modifications. In the event that I do need to modify a recipe, I’ll note the changes. 
Keeping it simple isn’t just about the recipes, either. Food bloggers have really ramped up in the last few years, with excellent writing, step-by-step photos, videos, etc. It’s great that the quality of content has gone up, but sometimes it can feel hard to participate if you aren’t creating magazine-quality content. So, I’m giving myself official permission to keep my posts simple. Each dish will have at least one photo, and a recipe— and that’s it for minimum requirements. 
5. Do Your Research
Any time you work with geography and national boundaries, even in the context of a cooking project, you are bound to run into issues of politics and power. Trying to go through every UN-recognized nation also means confronting your own ignorance– some of the countries on the list, I hadn’t even heard of before yesterday. Over the course of this project, I’ll do my best to stay informed and be culturally sensitive. If I’m unfamiliar with a certain place or idea, I’ll stay open minded about it and do my research. 
Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash
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193 Recipes: Cooking My Way Around the World

Cook one dish from each country around the world. 
This is my personal challenge. What better way to get to know the variety of cultures and cuisines on our planet than by cooking a dish from each country?
There are no timelines, and no target dates. This is a challenge, but it’s also meant to be fun. “Every country” is a fuzzy concept, and somewhat controversial, but I decided to use the United Nation member states list as my benchmark. I’ll update the count + link the recipes below as I work my way through this list. Here are my guidelines for the challenge. 
Current status: 0/193
193 United Nations Member States:
  1. Afghanistan
  2. Albania
  3. Algeria
  4. Andorra
  5. Angola
  6. Antigua and Barbuda
  7. Argentina
  8. Armenia
  9. Australia
  10. Austria
  11. Azerbaijan
  12. Bahamas
  13. Bahrain
  14. Bangladesh
  15. Barbados
  16. Belarus
  17. Belgium
  18. Belize
  19. Benin
  20. Bhutan
  21. Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
  22. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  23. Botswana
  24. Brazil
  25. Brunei Darussalam
  26. Bulgaria
  27. Burkina Faso
  28. Burundi
  29. Cabo Verde
  30. Cambodia
  31. Cameroon
  32. Canada
  33. Central African Republic
  34. Chad
  35. Chile
  36. China
  37. Colombia
  38. Comoros
  39. Congo
  40. Costa Rica
  41. Côte D’Ivoire
  42. Croatia
  43. Cuba
  44. Cyprus
  45. Czech Republic
  46. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  47. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  48. Denmark
  49. Djibouti
  50. Dominica
  51. Dominican Republic
  52. Ecuador
  53. Egypt
  54. El Salvador
  55. Equatorial Guinea
  56. Eritrea
  57. Estonia
  58. Ethiopia
  59. Fiji
  60. Finland
  61. France
  62. Gabon
  63. Gambia (Republic of The)
  64. Georgia
  65. Germany
  66. Ghana
  67. Greece
  68. Grenada
  69. Guatemala
  70. Guinea
  71. Guinea Bissau
  72. Guyana
  73. Haiti
  74. Honduras
  75. Hungary
  76. Iceland
  77. India
  78. Indonesia
  79. Iran (Islamic Republic of)
  80. Iraq
  81. Ireland
  82. Israel
  83. Italy
  84. Jamaica
  85. Japan
  86. Jordan
  87. Kazakhstan
  88. Kenya
  89. Kiribati
  90. Kuwait
  91. Kyrgyzstan
  92. Lao’s People’s Democratic Republic
  93. Latvia
  94. Lebanon
  95. Lesotho
  96. Liberia
  97. Libya
  98. Liechtenstein
  99. Lithuania
  100. Luxembourg
  101. Madagascar
  102. Malawi
  103. Malaysia
  104. Maldives
  105. Mali
  106. Malta
  107. Marshall Islands
  108. Mauritania
  109. Mauritius
  110. Mexico
  111. Micronesia (Federated States of)
  112. Monaco
  113. Mongolia
  114. Montenegro
  115. Morocco
  116. Mozambique
  117. Myanmar
  118. Namibia
  119. Nauru
  120. Nepal
  121. Netherlands
  122. New Zeland
  123. Nicaragua
  124. Niger
  125. Nigeria
  126. Norway
  127. Oman
  128. Pakistan
  129. Palau
  130. Panama
  131. Papua New Guinea
  132. Paraguay
  133. Peru
  134. Philippines
  135. Poland
  136. Portugal
  137. Quatar
  138. Republic of Korea
  139. Republic of Moldova
  140. Romania
  141. Russian Federation
  142. Rwanda
  143. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  144. Saint Lucia
  145. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  146. Samoa
  147. San Marino
  148. Sao Tome and Principe
  149. Saudi Arabia
  150. Senegal
  151. Serbia
  152. Seychelles
  153. Sierra Leone
  154. Singapore
  155. Slovakia
  156. Slovenia
  157. Solomon Islands
  158. Somalia
  159. South Africa
  160. South Sudan
  161. Spain
  162. Sri Lanka
  163. Sudan
  164. Suriname
  165. Swaziland
  166. Sweden
  167. Switzerland
  168. Syrian Arab Republic
  169. Tajikistan
  170. Thailand
  171. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  172. Timor-Leste
  173. Togo
  174. Tonga
  175. Trinidad and Tobago
  176. Tunisia
  177. Turkey
  178. Turkmenistan
  179. Tuvalu
  180. Uganda
  181. Ukraine
  182. United Arab Emirates
  183. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  184. United Republic of Tanzania
  185. United States of America
  186. Uruguay
  187. Uzbekistan
  188. Vanuatu
  189. Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
  190. Viet Nam
  191. Yemen
  192. Zambia
  193. Zimbabwe
P.S. This is inspired in large part by Chris Guillebeau’s “Every Country In The World” challenge. He travelled the world, and I’m cooking 193 recipes from the comfort of my own home, so his version is far more ambitious. But the spirit of adventure and enthusiasm for the world is shared.
Photo by Sara Riaño on Unsplash 
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Victuals: A review and two recipes

Above, a photo that I snapped of the inside cover of Victuals the day it arrived at my doorstep– I wanted to share the beauty of this book the minute I saw it. 

Ronnie Lundy’s Victuals (pronounced “Vittles”) is a chronicle of a 4000+ mile journey through Appalachia, a story and a history told through food. It’s part cookbook, part edible atlas. It winds its way through Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina, and pays homage to the traditions of Europe, West Africa, and the pre-colonial Americas that come together in the food of the Mountain South.  It’s a book filled with seasonal and regional recipes, but also a history of the land and the people of Appalachia. Victuals reflects a confluence of climate, culture, industry, and ethnic heritage. 

Personal history also plays a huge part in this book. Ronnie Lundy grew up in Appalachia. She vividly remembers her “summers up home” in Kentucky, and recipes like the swing shift steak come directly from her childhood.

There are recipes for every season. There are recipes for bright vegetable sides and hearty meat-centric suppers. There are recipes for sweet desserts and salty snacks alike. There’s a roasted root vegetable salad that comes dressed with bacon and orange soghum vinegar. Kale potato cakes, spring ramp pot roast, miner’s goulash, and a speckled butter bean cassoulet with rabbit confit. A simple skillet cornbread, a luscious buttermilk brown sugar pie, salty cheese nabs, and the sweet-and-savory banana pudding you’ll find below. There were also a few odd but delicious-sounding pickle recipes I put on my list for the spring– picked ramps and pickled green strawberries. 

The book is divided by key food groups and ingredients. Each section is devoted to a staple food– salt, corn, beans and apples, among others. The apple section is one of my favorites. It includes fried apples, cake, a sticky pudding, and a recipe for pork & kraut in cider gravy. 

To be honest, I had no idea the food of Appalachia was so varied. Staple foods pop up repeatedly, but there’s almost infinite variation in the preparation and addition of seasonal produce. And while this book digs deep into food traditions, the recipes are modern and fresh. 

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Matcha Ice Cream

Matcha Ice Cream

Is summer over already? It’s the first day of September and the last few weeks have flown by. I find it hard to believe— as I do at the start of every season— that it’s already time for the weather to change. Soon we’ll be trading in bathing suits for coats and sweaters, ice cream for hot cocoa. Matcha Ice Cream

But let’s not think about that just yet. September is actually the warmest month of the year in the Bay Area. The highs are in the high 70s and we’re just settling in for a long Indian summer. Today we’re making another ice cream recipe to get us through the last sweaty days of the season.

Matcha Ice Cream

This matcha ice cream is cold, creamy, and sweet.  

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Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler + Finding Your True Style

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler from Kitchen in the Hills. This is a classic southern recipe that's simple to make and perfectly delicious! #peachcobbler #summer #dessert #baking

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler from Kitchen in the Hills. This is a classic southern recipe that's simple to make and perfectly delicious!

Note: This is a recipe post, but it’s also a personal post. If you’re just looking for the recipe, you’ll find it at the bottom of the page.

For the first two years of this blog, I wrote cheerfully about healthy recipes with trendy ingredients. I tried to muster up enthusiasm for things I wasn’t really excited about making, but had convinced myself food blogging was all about. I tried very hard, but it didn’t always feel right.

I’ve done the quick-and-easy recipes. I’ve done the health-conscious recipes. But at heart, I’m all about old-fashioned comfort foods, homey recipes, bits of nostalgia we all grew up with. 

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler from Kitchen in the Hills. This is a classic southern recipe that's simple to make and perfectly delicious!

It’s the most down-home Southern food that makes my heart leap in my chest, that has me rushing to the kitchen to make it. It’s spicy Indian stews and curries, particularly South Indian, that bring back fond memories of childhood. It’s the sweet treat or the lovingly baked yeast bread that soothes me when I’m frustrated or flustered. 

Patience. Time moves more slowly in the South, and the food takes a little longer to prepare. I grew up in Florida around a lot of good food, with a family that ate home-cooked meals, together at the table, every single night. I grew up eating a lot of Indian food lovingly cooked by my Mom. I also ate a ton of hearty American fare, the stuff most American childhoods are filled with. Watermelon and french fries and Tostitos pizza rolls. And these foods I grew up eating are the ones that inspire what I cook today. Occasionally I’ll put a tropical twist on something, and that’s also deeply me– my childhood in Florida or trips overseas to visit my grandparents in the Indian tropics.  

Time to reclaim my roots. 

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Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream

Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream from Kitchen in the Hills. Made with a creamy custard base and real vanilla bean. Summertime classic. #icecream #vanilla #summer #dessert

Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream from Kitchen in the Hills. Made with a creamy custard base and real vanilla bean. Summertime classic. #homemade #icecream #vanilla #summer #dessert

This vanilla ice cream is a summertime classic. It’s simple. Made of a sweet custard base and real vanilla– vanilla bean if you have it. 

It’s creamy and sweet, rich but not cloying. 

Blue Ribbon Vanilla Ice Cream from Kitchen in the Hills. Made with a creamy custard base and real vanilla bean. Summertime classic. #homemade #icecream #vanilla #summer #dessert

I’d like to think it’s the kind of dessert that could be the blue-ribbon winner of a small town ice cream contest. It’s simple and traditional, but good ingredients and a lot of love make it award-worthy.
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Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

The solstice and the 4th of July are the two big days that mark the beginning of summer.

Now we are in the thick of it. Expect barbecues, picnics, and day trips to the beach. Pool parties if you’re lucky. 

These brownies are easy to pull together and they’re great for events. Take them anywhere. They’re delicious. They’re chocolatey from the cocoa, but they are also light enough that they won’t overwhelm everything else on the table. The frosting is thick enough that it won’t melt in the heat. I never thought I’d say that I liked a cakey brownie, but these have a lighter texture and I love them– something about them reminds me of childhood.

So bake these, share them, take them with you. 

This is definitely going to one of my go-to recipes this summer. I’ve made it once, and I can tell already.

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

Our key ingredients. Flour, sugar, cocoa.

Would you believe me if I told you this recipe only uses 10 ingredients? It’s true.

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Lemon Bars

lemon bars
It’s the tail end of winter and the lemons are everywhere. I live in an adorable neighborhood where people fill their yards with fruit trees, flowers, and crazy-looking succulents. One house a block and a half down from me has a lemon tree out front, brimming with fruit every year in late winter. Right now there are a hundred, maybe two hundred, fruits on their tree. Every time I walk by, I consider knocking on their door and asking if I can buy a bucketful. To turn into lemon bars, lemon tarts, lemon meringue pies, lemonades. 
I haven’t worked up that much neighborly courage yet. The lemons in today’s recipe aren’t from my neighbor’s tree, but even the ones from the market are amazing this time of year.
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Friday Things

friday things.

Whoa… Is it October already? The last few weeks have flown by for me. Things got so stressful and crazy so quickly! I do have a banana bread recipe that I want to share, but it isn’t quite ready yet. 

In the meanwhile, here are some of the fun links that have been serving as necessary distractions for me over the last few days! Most of them are food related, a couple of them aren’t. 

I made Joy the Baker’s One-Pot French Onion Pasta last night and it was serious comfort food. A perfect match for Thursday night homework anxiety. 

Speaking of which… Joy’s Baking Bootcamp is back! One year, four recipes, each one showcasing new techniques and ingredients from King Arthur Flour. I followed along last year and every. single. thing. was delicious– these pepperjack + green olive rolls were my favorite.  This time we begin with chocolate hazelnut rolls with quick puff pastry! 

Always charmed by Fanny’s blog, full of pretty photographs and illustrations and animated gifs. This is her ultimate kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) recipe, and I cannot wait to make it. 

Loving these 4 Cozy Recipes for October. Especially the radicchio salad. 

Navaratri Golu is coming up! It’s a Hindu holiday that marks the beginning of fall. I usually don’t celebrate it unless I’m at my parents’ place, but I loved this little explanation + guide to the festivities, and knew I had to share it. 

Considering participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2015. Give cookies, get cookies, support a good cause. Have you done it? How did it go?

(Re) Obsessed with knitting. It’s so calming, and great stress relief. Currently finishing up that scarf I started approximately five years ago. Once I’m done, I’ll move on to simple hats and this perfect blanket

This month I’m kicking off an 8+ week long project for my social media class… I’m trying to figure out what strategies work best for growing an Instagram following. Follow me on Instagram and look out for notes and insights on my personal blog (nothing on there now, but content hopefully coming soon).  

Have a lovely weekend!

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Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Spicy Harissa Tomato Sauce)


I rushed home from work on Wednesday evening to make this dish. I got to my apartment by 6 PM, and thought I’d have plenty of time to make it and photograph it in natural light. But with the strange cloudy weather and incoming fog, there was barely any light left by the time I started cooking. 

I raced to get this dish on the table. Luckily for me, it took under 15 minutes, start to finish.


Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish, with particularly popular twists found in Turkey, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. Traditionally, shakshuka is made of a base of onions, fresh peppers, and tomatoes, stewed and simmered into a sauce. Poached eggs are nestled on top. 

This version is a little simpler to make, and it’s my own take on a much-loved dish. I like the spicy peppery kick of harissa, and the extra depth of flavor from the tomato paste. Green onions replace regular ones for flavor and simplicity– they’re milder, but they also function as both base and garnish. 

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