Food makes a great present

We have solved the mystery of the name of this Middle Eastern dessert. Kristen was right, this is Kunafi. It is also called Kutaifi. So, if you were curious about the shredded wheat on top of custard dessert we had at our break fast meal, it is called Kunafi.

I was going through all of my photos and I realized that I never shared this picture I took at 35,000 feet of my meal on the flight back to the US. The options were chicken and pork, and I obviously did not call ahead to ask if a vegetarian meal was possible, so this was what the flight attendant did for me. This is a double portion of (almost) everything else. There was a very interesting corn, kidney bean, garbanzo bean, pasta and black olive salad. I also had crackers, fruit, rolls and laughing cow cheese, and some kind of custard tart. It wasn't too bad and munched on this over the course of the flight. They also passed out pretzels and oreo cookies along the way.

Ok, now let's jump back to the present. Yesterday morning I woke up and I was very thirsty. I headed to my mom's garage to grab something to drink. You can see below why I had a hard decision to make early in the morning. I only wanted water, but my mother has the party fridge in the garage with every kind of beverage you could imagine.

In the end, I still went with a bottle of water. That has always been my favorite.

Speaking of favorites, I wanted to bring my family some of my favorite foods for the Azores and some that just looked really good while I was at the local grocery store. Here are some of the great and tasty gifts I brought home.

These bars are my favorite mid-morning snack. 57 cals per bar and there are 3 bars in each individually wrapped package. This is the apple flavor, and it also comes in berry. I like the apple best.
These are fitness bars. I actually buy this brand in the breakfast cereal flakes. I thought the focus on women was interesting and on the cereal box this is a huge silhouette of a women. I see that are advertising to women's health specifically. I still had Ryan eat some of it!
These just looked really good so I bought these. They are a little spicy, but I really like them.
Who could resist a candy bar?
These looked good too, and I will admit I have not tried one yet. I also bought a package of these to give to my sister's friends.
These are banana and cinnamon cookies. Looking forward to trying these too.
Then there were these tartletes. The Continente brand is the generic grocery brand sold at Modelo, which is the closet thing we have to a Wal-mart, but really it is mostly a grocery store with some household goods. I love Modelo!

My mom did try these and she said they were really good. I will try to some myself. These were from the aisle I avoid when shopping since

a) I could spend all day exploring the cookies
b) I would buy things that I don't need on a regular basis in our house

so I was happy to have an excuse to visit the cookie aisle.
So that was it for my food presents. I hope my family enjoys all of the local snacks i brought home as gifts.

Hey, look what I found in my mom's fridge. That's right, they have Chobani!
This was breakfast yesterday. Leftovers from breaking the fast. I couldn't find the lox, so it was just a poppy seed bagel (which is my favorite bagel of all time) with lite cream cheese, tomato and muenster cheese.

After a morning of grading papers and relaxing at my mom's house, my sister and I went out shopping. After a few stores we decided to stop for coffee. This would be my first time buying coffee in the US. We stopped at Baltimore Coffee and Tea, which is the place where my dad bought espresso ground beans for us and we use this for our coffee on the island.

I ordered a latte, which is the same as a meia da leite in Portugal. I added 4 splendas and it was still super bitter. I had a hard time stirring it up. It was wierd, I did not like it as much as the ones I make in my home with the same beans. My stepdad (Joe) said it might be the water used.
Here is my sister's coffee. She told me what she ordered, but my day was so long, so let's see if I can remember. This was coffee, with a little steamed soy milk and sweet-n-low.
After the caffeine recharge, we continued on with our shopping before meeting up with our parents for dinner. My sister selected this Afghan restaurant located in downtown Baltimore. This is The Helmand. I will apologize for the quality of the pictures from the meal. The lighting was too dim, but the food looked so good.
This is the bread.

For an appetizer we ordered this dish. It is called Kaddo Borawni, which is pan-fried and baked pumpkin seasoned with sugar. This was delicious and I think my sister for sharing it with me.
Here's a better picture of this.
My mom and Joe ordered a few appetizers to start and then had salads for their meal. This salad is called Shornakhod and has potatoes and chick peas.
This salad was just like a house salad with mixed veggies.
For entrees, my sister and I split 2 vegan dishes. This dish is called Mushroom Lawand. this was whole mushrooms sauteed in a tomato, corn and green pea sauce, with spices. This had a great flavor and I would recommend this dish.
It was served with spinach
and of course there was rice.
The other dish we split was a vegetarian korma. I would recommend this too. I loved the combination of the spices and the great flavor of this cuisine.
This was not my first time eating Afghan cuisine, but it has been a while. I was happy to eat there last night and would go back there again. So if you are ever in Baltimore and looking for some good Afghan food, try The Helmand !

QUESTIONS: What was the last food gift you gave someone? Have you been to an Afghani restaurant before?


kristen :) said...

Cool! I guess it was right, that stuff is so good :) Such yummy food presents, I love getting food presents!!! I used to always send my mom items from TJ's when they didn't have one. I also like to give out a bunch of baked goodies for the holidays :) I've never been to an Afghan restaurant, but I would love to try it.

Unknown said...

mmm, i do love The Helmand, so YES, I have been to an Afghani restaurant :)
I don't really gift food...maybe Edible Arrangenents? People get htem @ my office and they are really good fruit!
PS - I like your dodfish head beer! LOL!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I have never been to an Afghani restaurant, but the food all looks and sounds so unique and delicious. I love trying new foods, but Nick isn't too keen on it. I usually do the food exploring on nights out with my girlfriends.

I noticed your parent's have some Dogfish Head beer in their fridge! That's some amazing beer, if you like pale ales you should give it a try!

The last time I gave food as a gift was...well..just about every gift I give! Since food is cheap, and I love to make food for other people, I usually give it as a gift (since I've been in school and make no money). I give food, OR a good beer, or a botle of wine. It's my "go-to" gift. This Christmas, however, I plan on giving actualy gifts, since I have a job! OF course I will still cook and give out food :) Healthy food though, always!

Anonymous said...

Yes, food does make a great present! I love all the things you brought back for your family...

While I'm not a great baker, I have a few cookie and cake recipes that usually turn out well, and I like to make them and give them as gifts. I think the last food gift I gave were walnut chocolate chip cookies.

I have never been to an Afghan restaurant, but one of my students once brought some homemade Afghan food. I don't remember what it was, but it was delicious.

P.S.: The rainbow cake from yesterday's post makes me drool... ;)

Emily said...

Looks like you're having such a great time at home with your family and enjoying some delicious eats.

I think the last food present was probably something I baked...VeggieGirl's blondies! :-)

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

I've been to an Afghan restaurant back in India. I'm quite surprised that they have such a wide range of vegetarian foods-cause back in India the menu had mostly chicken/lamb dishes :)

Astra Libris said...

Oh my goodness, what a small world! :-) My parents live just outside of Baltimore! :-) I've always wanted to go to the Helmand - thank you for the virtual tour! :-) Also, thank you so much for visiting my blog, and for your incredibly sweet comment! :-)

The treats you brought for your family all look incredible! Your bagel sandwich sounds incredibly scrumptious, too... :-) There's something so incredibly delicious about tomato on a bagel... :-)

Hmmm, the last food gift I most recently gave was definitely the batch of brownies I baked for my fiance, Zach, last week! :-) Food gifts are the best... :-)

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