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World Food & Appetizers: How to Travel the World One Bite at a Time

Oregano, garlic, fresh basil, these are the tastes of Italy. Cardomon, curry, and exotic spices conjure visions of street markets in India. Creamy hummus, stuffed grape leaves bursting with flavor, succulent juicy olives, transport you to the middle east. Do you like traveling as much as I do? Sadly, I worry I will never get to all the exciting places on my bucket list. I am afraid I will miss out on all of that good food. What if I told you that I figured out a way to experience this world food at home? I will share with you how.

We had so much fun putting together our European Meat and Cheese Boards and previous World Appetizers that we decide to continue the platter theme with more world food. Even though these don’t match up with Rick Steves Monday Night Travel, they are fun platters to watch with other travel shows on Public Television.

World Food Italian Style

world foods from Italy: Italian grilled cheese, zucchini salad, sliced sausage, mixed seafood salad, served on a platter
Italian grilled cheese, zucchini ensalata, seafood salad, Italian sausage

For this Italian platter we created Italian grilled cheese, Zucchini Ensalata, Mixed Seafood Salad, and sliced some Italian sausage. For the grilled cheese we sliced a loaf of Italian bread and brushed each slice with olive oil and Italian seasonings. Then we topped them with chopped cherry tomatoes and shredded mozzerella cheese. After that we placed the slices in a convection oven at 350F for about 10 minutes, until cheese melted. Boil the sausage ahead of time and slice it. Then serve it either hot or cold.

World Food Recipe: Mixed Seafood Salad

  • Bag of frozen mixed seafood prepared according to package directions
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Of course, this is best made with fresh seafood. However, when making a platter we find the frozen seafood saves time. Mix all ingredients together and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

World Food Recipe: Zucchini Ensalata

  • 10 chopped sundried tomatoes drained
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 lbs. zucchini sliced
  • 4 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste

I always make this ahead of time and serve cold as a vegetable salad. Begin by heating the oil in a large pan over medium heat and cooking the onion. When the onion is translucent add zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are tender adding some oil from the sun dried tomatoes if necessary for more liquid. Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Travel to India for World Food

World food from India: vegetable samosas, potato patties, plantain chips, shrimp cakes
Vegetable samosas, potato cakes, plantain chips, shrimp cakes with lemon pickle

We cheated a bit here and bought the Vegetable Samosas. However, we did make the rest. Of course it is probably easier just to buy plantain chips so I am not including that recipe in this post. We made this lemon pickle, but you can buy lime pickle or various chutneys in your local Indian market.

World Food: Indian Potato Cakes

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled, chopped, and cooked
  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1 finely chopped chili pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • oil for frying

Begin by mashing potatoes with tapioca. Then add remaining ingredients. Let the mixture sit for about 45 minutes until tapioca absorbs excess potato moisture and a thick dough has formed. With wet hands roll dough into walnut size balls. Flatten them into patties and fry until golden brown on both sizes in oil heated to 350F. Each patty should be browned after cooking 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels after removing with a slotted spoon.

World Food Recipe: Indian Shrimp Cakes

  • 1 1/2 lbs. peeled shrimp
  • 1 chopped chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 egg, beaten

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Refrigerate 6-8 hours or until ready to use. Then form patties approximately 2 inches in diameter and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. After that, brush lightly with oil and bake in a 400 F oven for about 12-15 minutes.

I included these sponsored links to aid in preparing these platters:

Travel to the Middle East

world food platter from the middle east: dates, Kalamata olives, hummus with raw vegetables, ricotta dip, pita chips, and stuffed grape leaves
Stuffed dates, feta spread, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, kalamata olives

Middle Eastern food is similar to Mediterranean and Greek food. To create this platter we served raw vegetables with hummus which we bought from the local market. We also made a feta dip to go with the vegetables and pita chips. In addition we made our favorite stuffed grape leaves. And of course for something salty, we had to include pitted Kalamata olives. Then for something sweet we served pitted dates stuffed with cream cheese.

Check out these affiliate links if you need serving platters:

Vegetarian Style

vegetarian platter: risotto cakes, chili bean cakes, mango avocado salsa, and red grapes
Risotto cakes, chili bean cakes, mango avocado salsa

We have been making a lot of meatless meals lately. Since they were so tasty we decided to make some vegetarian appetizers. The risotto cakes were a bit bland and were a bit hard too cook as they were too moist. However, we did like the chili bean cakes so I have included the recipe here. The salsa was a basic salsa recipe, but I added a chopped mango and a chopped avocado that I had on my counter for additional flavor. Of course we included blackberries and grapes for something sweet.

Ingredients for Chili Bean Cakes

  • 2 oz. slivered almonds, toasted
  • 15ox. can pinto or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • fresh jalepeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Begin by mashing the beans in a bowl with a fork. Then add the onion, ketchup, jalepeno, nuts, egg, cilantro and half the bread crumbs. After mixing well form into flat cakes. Coat with remaining bread crumbs and refrigerate for about an hour before cooking. However, if the mixture is too moist, you can add additional bread crumbs. I usually place the cakes on a parchment lined baking pan to refrigerate. When you are ready to cook them heat a few tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes on each side until crisp. Once they are cooked, drain on paper towels. Serve with salsa.

World Food U.S.A., Eclectic Platter

Eclectic platter: caprese, whole grain crackers with mini bell pepper rings, green olives, sliced oranges, cashews, and avocado toasts
Caprese, crackers with cream cheese and peppers, cashews, orange slices, and avocado toasts

Sometimes we end up throwing together platters from what we have in our refrigerator. On the left, we took whole grain crackers, spread them with ricotta spread, and then placed sliced mini bell peppers on top. Simple, but looks decorative, and they have a good crunch. We made the ricotta spread by mixing ricotta cheese with fresh squeezed lemon juice from one lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. We also made our old standby, Caprese. Sadly, our tomato crop is done for the year so we had to buy tomatoes. If you don’t grown your own, I recommend buying Campari tomatoes. They are the right size and they have a good flavor for store bought tomatoes. In addition, we added a bowl of green olives for something salty.

On the right, we have cashews for protein, sliced oranges for sweetness, and avocado toasts. For the avocado spread mash a ripe avocado and mix it with a little vinegar, salt, and 1/4 cup chopped green onions. We added fresh chopped cilantro because we love the taste! In addition, you can add salt and pepper to taste. We prefer cayenne pepper which gives this spread an extra kick. Avocados have a tendency to turn brown quickly so mix in about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lime juice to prevent this.

shows some lightly breaded pan fried fish
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3 thoughts on “World Food & Appetizers: How to Travel the World One Bite at a Time

  1. Your post made me very hungry. I could imagine myself moving from one appetizer platter to the next. Or taking one nibble off each and moving on. I love the variety in the platters. Every one has something to please even the picky eaters.

  2. This is such a lovely idea. As a matter of fact, those plates can be put together with foods from every corner of the world. Especially now as travel is still limited, this is an alternative – especially with some background music from the particular area. Also great for guests when showing your pix from your latest trip 😉

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