Cold Food

Right now I am camped out in my mothers living room.Watching our big screen TV and am currently surrounded by my own army of dirty tissues.For the first time five months I get to come home to Michigan and see my family, and of course, I have a cold.

Thankfully, I got through our family Christmas without coughing and sneezing left and right.But, now I have the pleasure of waiting it out.

Comfort Food
So, now that I am sick, there are always a few things that make me feel better.Of course there are the usual remedies such a apple juice, saltine crackers, and of course; chicken soup.While my moms delicious chicken soup always makes me feel better, I think back about a lecture I recently had in class about comfort foods from around the world.

Italy
Pasta e Fagioli is a perfect example of Sicilian comfort food because it is warm and hearty. Italian for "pasta and beans," this is a filling soup of pasta, beans, vegetables and sometimes pork. As with many Southern Italian dishes, this soup is flavored with onions and garlic, with a tomato-based broth.

Pasta e Fagioli

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp parsley, dried
1 tsp Italian seasonings (mixture of dried basil, thyme, etc.)
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped*
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup uncooked pasta (ziti, penne or even bowtie)

1 15 ounce can cannelloni beans, with liquid
Parmesan cheese, fresh is best, not canned

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook onion, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes until onion is translucent. Add chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender. Add beans with liquid and stir well. Heat through, season to taste, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Serve with crusty bread.

England
Like any other country, traditional foods of England vary greatly by region. Surrounding countries and those countries historically under British rule have influenced the cuisine of today's England. For example, French-inspired dishes are more popular in the south, whereas large metropolitan areas such as London are a smorgasbord of international blends. British food is known for being heavy and boring, but the classic dishes from the United Kingdom can be surprisingly flavorful, filling and, of course, comforting.

Bangers and mash

4-6 thick, good quality pork sausages
4 medium-size starchy potatoes, such as Russet or Idaho
1 stick butter
¼ -3/4 cup cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small pot, cover the sausages with cold water. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes or until sausages are cooked through.

Peel and quarter potatoes. In a pot, cover with cold water; bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender. Remove potatoes from water and mash with butter and warm cream. Add small amounts of the starchy cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, and brown sausages. Serve with potatoes and gravy if desired.

Mushy peas

2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 pound frozen peas, thawed
4 tbsp butter, cold
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sweat for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the peas and cover, allowing to steam for 3 minutes. Put contents of pan into food processor, and pulse until smooth. Add butter, pulse until incorporated, and season with salt and pepper.

Pakistan
The cuisine of Pakistan has been influenced by India, South and Central Asia and the Middle East. Dishes and ingredients vary depending on the region of Pakistan, but overall, the cuisine is rich and spicy. Meat is consumed three times as much in Pakistan as in India, due to Islam being the dominant religion as opposed to India's vegetarian Hindu. Most of the Pakistani meats are beef, goat and chicken.

Aloo Gosht

½ cup vegetable oil
2 pounds lamb, goat, or beef, cubed
1 onion, small dice
1 green chili, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp cumin, ground
2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
1 ½ pounds potato, cut into large chunks
3 cups water

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear meat on all sides. Remove meat, and set aside. Cook onions and chili until slightly browned, and add garlic. Add spices and cook until aromatic. Add meat back in, as well as tomatoes, and cook on high for 15 minutes, until sauce is thick and oil begins to separate. Add potatoes and water. Cover pot and simmer for at least an hour or until meat is tender and sauce is thick.

Serve with Basmati rice.

So, the next time your not feeling well and would like some comfort food.Try one of these regional foods and hopefully they will make you feel better!

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