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Wonders of the World

Wonders of the World: the podcast that visits the great places on Earth to tell the story of our people, our civilization, and our planet.
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Now displaying: April, 2018

Please visit the show's official page at wonderspodcast.com

Apr 25, 2018

You shouldn’t need a recipe for bruschetta. It’s so simple, after all.  And yet, you’ve had bad bruschetta.  We all have.  The bread isn’t crisp enough or maybe too crisp.  There’s too much topping or it’s too wet.  And so, as a public service, I give you SIX EASY TRICKS to PERFECT BRUSCHETTA.

#1. The bread:  Use good crusty Italian bread.  Day old is preferable.  Slice to about half an inch thick.  Grill it if you can, toasting is an acceptable alternative.

#2. The tomatoes:  fresh, ripe, local is best.  Peel and seed before chopping.  Most people miss this step and it makes for a less pleasant experience.  Peeled and seeded tomatoes will melt in your mouth.

#3. The garlic: Slice a clove in half width-wise, squeeze the half a little bit and rub it on the top of the toast.

#4. The olive oil:  Use good Italian olive oil, extra virgin, unfiltered if available. Aim towards a fruity variety, rather than a more bitter variety.

#5. The salt:  Kosher salt only please, or sea salt with largish crystals.

#6. The basil:  Fresh and bright. The best is the kind you grow yourself.  In fact, if you live in an apartment or house or anywhere, and have a southern exposure that gets sunlight, you can grow basil.  It’s worth it to do - you can use it on all sorts of things and it’s so wonderful when you pick it yourself.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 half-inch (1 cm) thick slices of crusty bread
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced width-wise
  • 4 whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Handful of basil leaves, sliced into small pieces
  • Fresh ground black pepper (finely ground)

STEPS

  1. Grill the bread slices over a moderately hot fire until they are nicely toasted on both sides, turning to ensure even browning. Be careful not to burn them; older bread is drier and will cook quickly.
  2. Take a half garlic clove and rub each slice of bread while it is still hot with the exposed inside of the clove, squeezing the garlic between your fingers to release its juices into the bread.  The more you rub, the garlickier it will be.
  3. Drizzle the bread lightly with the olive oil, since you’ll be including olive oil in the pomodoro mixture. Salt the slices very lightly as well.
  4. Toss the tomatoes, basil, a splash of olive oil, a little extra salt, and a twist of pepper.
  5. Top each slice with the tomato mixture.
  6. Serve and enjoy the happy faces.

Recipe adapted from http://memoriediangelina.com/2013/08/04/bruschetta

Apr 17, 2018

Let's take a break from Roman history and see what's happening in the Western Hemisphere. Ana from the History of Small Things takes us to her hometown of Mexico City to talk about ancient Mexican history.  The standout wonders this episode are the great pyramids of Teotihuacan, started in 100 CE in a city which rivaled Rome in size and artistry.

But that's just the start. We talk about the first Americans, the earliest Mexican civilizations, and stories of human sacrifice, wars, and mayhem. 

Mexico City is one of the world's great cities, and we talk about two of its most magnificent sights: the National Anthropology Museum and the Zocalo.  Plus street food, tacos, tamales, and huaraches.

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