A Taste for Adventure

by Mary Beth Wallace

Have you ever had a meal so memorable, so iconic, that you ventured to recreate it from your own kitchen? For these locals, that meal was discovered abroad – while honeymooning in Ireland, taking cooking classes in Italy, or exploring the markets in Central America. Here, they share with us their favorite international recipes and the adventures that inspired them.
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During his travels through Central America, Paulo Hutson was mesmerized by the vibrant, rich, and exciting diversity of the Costa Rican culture. This dish, boasting traditional, savory flavors infused with a bold, island-like coconut taste, is a fitting representation of that culture. ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy!)


Paulo Hutson

Pollo Caribeño with Rice and Beans / Costa Rica



For pollo caribeño:

  • 4-6 chicken thighs with skin on
  • Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
  • Olive oil for pan
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 habanero peppers, whole
  • 6-10 sprigs of thyme

For rice and beans:

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 3 habanero peppers, whole
  • Cilantro to taste, chopped
  • 6-10 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt to taste

Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cover a pan with oil, and sear the chicken on both sides. Add a can of coconut milk to the pan along with the peppers and thyme. Cook on medium-low heat until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 165°. Using a separate pan, toast the long grain rice with the diced onion and bell pepper. Add the coconut milk, black beans, habanero peppers, cilantro, thyme, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir until the rice and beans are thoroughly mixed, and cover until ready to serve. Serve with patacones (smashed plantains) and pico de gallo. 

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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The Morales family shares a love of Italian food, and their recent trip to Italy was filled with gourmet pizza pies, freshly rolled pasta, and melt-in-your-mouth desserts. While in Bologna, Leslie and Bria bonded over a three-hour cooking class, where they prepared a full Italian meal featuring ingredients from the outdoor markets. It was here that they received their favorite souvenir: the Morales tiramisu!


Leslie and Bria Morales

Tiramisu / Italy


  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 3 oz. dark rum
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 16 to 24 (4-inch) ladyfingers
  • 1 1/2 cups brewed espresso (or 3/4 cup American coffee and 3/4 cup espresso),
    room temperature
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until pale and doubled in volume (the mixture will maintain a “ribbon” when folded over itself), 3-5 minutes. Add the mascarpone in two or three additions, whisking well to combine. Add 1 oz. of the liquor and whisk to combine. (Then do a taste test to see if you would like to add more liquor.)

In a clean bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and remaining sugar to soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture in two or three additions.

In a roughly 6×9-inch casserole or plate with a border, spread about one-third of the mascarpone mixture into an even layer. Soak each individual cookie in the coffee and remaining liquor, making sure to squeeze the cookie to rid it of excess liquid, and arrange them very tightly on top until the mixture is completely covered. Spoon the remaining mixture over the cookies, spreading it into an even layer. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to two days to set the mixture. Just before serving, dust the top with cocoa powder.

(above) photos by Karen Culp

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Having visited 71 countries, Gary Klein knows a good dish when he meets one. He first tasted this traditional soup on a trip to Thailand, and the experience brought tears to his eyes – from the heat of the Thai chilis. Although a language barrier prevented him from acquiring the recipe that day, Gary later met with a Thai chef who shared the essence of tom yum goong. Featuring fresh ingredients (and a little heat), it’s been a favorite ever since. 


Gary Klein

Tom Yum Goong / Thailand


  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled
  • 6 fresh Thai chilis
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the lemongrass and lime leaves and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until fragrant – approximately 5 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and return the heat to medium. Add the shrimp, chilis, and mushrooms to the broth. Cook until shrimp is done – approximately 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and remove from heat. Add the fish sauce and lime juice to the soup and stir to blend well. Top with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Mission work brought Mike Talley and his wife, Pam, to the beautiful country of South Africa – where they discovered this hearty, Afrikaans one-pot meal for the first time. Mike points out that while lamb is often used, potjiekos is traditionally made with whatever meat the hunter has available, including beef, pork, or fowl. Grab your potjie (pot), and get cooking! 


Mike Talley

Potjiekos / South Africa


  • Cooking oil to cover the bottom of the pot
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
  • 2-2 1/2 lbs. lamb, on the bone (could also use beef)
  • 1 tsp. ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can beef stock and/or red wine
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 12 baby potatoes
  • 2-3 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3-4 baby zucchini, cut into large slices
  • Handful of green beans
  • 8 oz. mushrooms (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Place the pot on the fire and heat oil. Add the onions and celery, and fry until soft and translucent. Add the lamb, ginger, and garlic, and brown meat on all sides. If the pot is too warm and the meat is burning, add a little wine, stock, or water. Season with salt and pepper. When the meat is browned, add the diced tomatoes and bay leaves. Put the lid on the pot, and gently simmer for 1 hour. Add the potatoes and carrots, cooking for 30-40 minutes, before adding the zucchini and green beans. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add pepper flakes here if desired. Don’t stir the pot, but gently shake to ensure that there is enough liquid in the bottom and that it’s not burning. If unsure, add a bit more wine, stock, or water. Add the mushrooms at this point if using. Recover and simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the fire and serve hot with rice.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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A lifelong traveler, Emily Evitt and her husband, Dr. Wilson Clements, fell in love with the cliffs of Ireland while on their 10-day honeymoon in 2017. While they often reminisce about the country’s natural beauty and romantic ruins, the Irish pub experience is one they won’t soon forget. Now Emily’s go-to comfort food, this easy Guinness® stew is sure to transport you across miles of ocean to the Emerald Isle.


Dr. Emily Evitt

Guinness® Stew / Ireland


  • 1 Ib. stewing diced beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large parsnip, diced
  • 8 oz. Guinness® Foreign Extra Stout
  • 32 oz. thick beef stock
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Creamed potatoes, Irish butter, and chopped green onions for serving

Stir fry the beef, add the diced vegetables, and cook until tender. Pour the Guinness® into the pot and reduce by half. Then add the beef stock and herbs, and simmer very slowly for an hour and a half. Ladle into bowls. Top with creamed potatoes and a large pat of butter, then sprinkle with green onions.

(above) photos by Karen Culp

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On her most recent trip to India, Sharan Chapin spent time with relatives (and enjoyed delicious North Indian cuisine) in New Delhi before traveling south. This curry dish was served at a Bangalore restaurant specializing in Andhra-style biryani and curries; with its exotic, aromatic spices and fresh herbs, the flavor-packed curry became the inspiration for Sharan’s tasty homemade version. 


Sharan Chapin

Andhra-Inspired Chicken Curry / India


  • 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp. ghee
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 whole green cardamom
  • 1-inch stick of Ceylon cinnamon
  • 2-3 Thai green chilies (optional)
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped (more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Ib. bone-in chicken (drumsticks or thighs work great)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water

In a heavy saucepan on medium-high heat, heat ghee until sizzling hot. Add the cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon, and sauté for 1 minute. Add in the green chilies and sauté for no more than a minute, then add in the onion and sauté until translucent. Toss in the ginger and garlic and sauté for about a minute – the raw smell should be gone. Add in tomatoes and cilantro, and sauté until soft. Stir in the chili powder, coriander, and salt, and sauté until the ghee begins to separate. Add the chicken and bay leaf and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add the coconut milk and water. Place a tight lid on top of the pan and cook on medium-high for 5 minutes. Stir once and replace the lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Serve over rice garnished with chopped cilantro.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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