Food Snob Chronicles — Review: Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates

If you’ve ever seen the quirky film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, you might be able to envision the travels you’ll take with Dr. Alice Phillips, author of Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates. There are a couple of major differences though. For one, Ally brings back delicious evidence of her globetrotting, and her fantastical travels include no misfits — only smiles and real memories.

Yep. Ally Phillips has taken me to Africa with Warm Spiced Garbanzo Beans & Mint. Mmm.

Yep. Ally has taken me to Africa with
Warm Spiced Garbanzo Beans & Mint.

While one might think of the Passport as Ally’s own license to cross borders, it’s really ours. Truth is, most of us don’t travel far from familiar territory. But Ally’s territory is pretty much everywhere that gravity exists. And that’s great for us, as passengers on her magic carpet ride.

Sure, plenty of cookbooks take us to faraway places, but Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates makes us feel comfortable about the whole experience. Her stories offer us a glimpse of cultures far and wide, while her recipes are an invitation into the homes of our neighbors around the globe.

The real beauty about it all is that you don’t have to travel far to travel afar. Ally Phillips, our virtual tour guide, takes care of that for us too with easy-to-follow recipes that include easy-to-find ingredients. And she includes plenty of anecdotes with each carefully crafted word … so you actually feel like you’ve been along for the ride.

And then there was the Middle East 'Rock the' Kasbah Chicken Skewers.

Then there are the Middle East ‘Rock the’ Kasbah Chicken Skewers. In besiar khoshmazeh ast!

Perhaps you didn’t know you were supposed to crave food from oft-overlooked continents and countries. Ally brings you into the cultural fold, as a seasoned tour guide should. And she ensures that your passport is deliciously stamped with gorgeous photography, detailed recipe instructions and extra anecdotes that just add to the exotic flavors.

If you buy one cookbook this year — and you truly consider yourself a cook — this is the one that should grace your kitchen bookshelf. Sure, you’re nervous about the whole harissa and berbere, but no worries. Ally’s got you covered with little more than a trip to your local market and a couple of minutes with your favorite blender.

AllysKitchenPhillips’ cookbook is available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble — or at your favorite bookseller in person.

A little about the author:
Dr. Alice D’Antoni Phillips ~ school psychologist, actress, businesswoman, wife, mother, grandmother, awarded home chef, and prolific blogger ~ is the founder of Ally’s Kitchen and her trademarked culinary style, Bohemian®. A Top 100 contestant in MasterChef Season 2 and winner of the 2013 Dole California Cook-Off, Ally revels in rocking the food and dining frontiers with authentic creations inspired from her life, travel, and adventures. Ally continues to create and share the magic from her nomadic bohemian kitchens on the coast of South Carolina and in the Colorado Rockies. Want to get to know Ally Phillips for yourself? Pay her a visit at her home on the Web.

Want to receive notifications of my Confessions, Chronicles and recipes in your email? Just click here. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook (click the ‘like’ button), Pinterest and Google+. Why not witness some of my Instagram antics too?

Galbi ~ Korean Short Ribs

Galbi ~ Korean Short Ribs from Ally's Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates

Galbi ~ Korean Short Ribs from Ally’s Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous Palates

As with any trip through a cultural culinary potpourri, I tend to take my time in the Asia section. In Ally Phillips’ cookbook chapter Exploring Exotic Asia, I became stuck on Galbi ~ Korean Short Ribs. Sure, beef is the answer to almost all of life’s problems, but it was the description of this dish from Ally’s inspiration that hooked me. Wouldn’t you be hooked if you read “The meat is beautifully marbled, and when it hits the grill, the combination of the galbi marinade and fat caramelize like beef candy?” Now that you’re hooked too, hop on Ally’s magic carpet and let her take you to the faraway land of beef candy bliss.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Galbi - Korean Short Ribs
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 6
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup puréed apples (or first-stage baby food)
  • ¼ cup puréed pears (or first-stage baby food)
  • ¼ cup minced white onion
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 lbs. Korean or flank beef short ribs
  • cooked white rice
  • 2 green onions, sliced (for garnish)
  • 1 TB sesame seeds (for garnish)
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large zipper bag, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, apple purée, pear purée, onions, water, garlic, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes, ginger powder, and sesame oil. Add the short ribs and marinate for at least an hour. For even more intense flavor, let them steep in the marinade in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Remove ribs from marinade and place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour marinade over the ribs. Bake 20 minutes. (Per Christie, the inspiration of this recipe, everything can be done up to 3 days ahead at this point; simply cool and refrigerate the baked ribs until ready to grill.) When ready for dinner, heat up your grill to high. Grill the ribs 3-5 minutes per side and serve with hot cooked white rice garnished with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
Instead of making homemade apple and pear purée, use baby food to save time. It adds a smooth sweetness that contrasts with the vinegar and soy.



  1. I’d have hung around the Asian section too, though that chicken looks awfully amazing. I’d probably love this cookbook, Adam. I’m thrilled with Food & Wine this month because offers up a world tour of recipes as well. Thanks for the review and introduction!

  2. Great job, Adam!

  3. Hi, Adam! I love the “comfort” aspect that you assigned to Ally’s easy-going manner with recipes, instructions, and such — yup, definitely a “tour guide” I’d want heading my flavor explorations. Thanks for your stellar review… clever, candid, and clearly a fan!

    • P.S. Still drooling over your Galbi Korean short ribs! Texans sure know how to barbeque!!! 🙂

      • adamjholland says:

        In Texas, that’s not barbecue. It’s grilling. 😛 All kidding aside though, Ally’s “beef candy” recipe was loved by all. We were a little nervous about venturing out with the garbanzos, but you know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained. (We’ve served them three more times since that photo was shot just more than a week ago!)

        • I stand corrected on BBQ vs. grilling, Adam! 😉 Thanks for that… I’m doing a “grilled” recipe for my post next week, even though it’s brushed with “sort of” a barbeque sauce,” LOL! I learn new things every day and I especially appreciate learning them from experts like YOU! (I also gotta make those beans!!!)

          • adamjholland says:

            I couldn’t help myself, Kim. (And the 10 non-Texans among my 12 total followers are saying ‘Whaaat?’)

    • adamjholland says:

      This one was easy, Kim, because the cookbook is a real keeper. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.

  4. How do I even start to say thank you??? Your word art pulled me on to a magical carpet that I’m already on and YOU made it feel all new and exciting! Your wordsmith skills enchant but your knowledge of food, cooking and culinary artistry endear, me and so many others! Thank you, my rowdy and always loving, Texas cowboy… always your ally luv!!

    • adamjholland says:

      Words are easy when the subject matter is that interesting. When are you going to start working on cookbook No. 2? 😉

  5. Well you’ve certainly inspired and sold me on buying this cookbook. But my goodness…what an accomplished woman this Ally is. Are you sure she’s just one person?
    Excellent write up Adam and that beef looks exquisite. How can you go wrong with beef candy?

    • adamjholland says:

      She’s real, Diane. Christopher met her in California this past summer during the big Dole Cookoff event. Of course, I only saw the picture and he’s been known to fib (like his dad). Seriously though, this is a fun cookbook. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Kasma Loha-unchit’s It Rains Fishes meets Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Recipe meets Pascale de Draoulec’s American Pie. (Have I mentioned that I have at least a few cookbooks?)

      • I do believe you’ve mentioned that you have a few cookbooks…was there not some mention of a shed?

        • adamjholland says:

          There may well have been, but I’m pleased to say that our kitchen overhaul is 98 percent complete (a little caulking here and there and some straightening of handles/knobs still required) and I have storage for most of them. The remainder are in a mini-library (just constructed) outside of my studio, man cave or whatever you want to call it (also just constructed). My collection will continue to grow, and I might be forced to go digital on a few of them and give them to someone who’s starting a collection of their own.

  6. You did a magnificent job describing both Ally and her cookbook. It is truly a work of art! “Beef Candy?” okay I am so making this one… how could I not now?? Thanks for the drool worthy pictures!

  7. My goodness! You are such a great writer – really making me want to go out and buy the book. The short ribs also – as always – look great!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Kelli, for your kind words. Wish I could take credit for this recipe because it really is outstanding.

  8. Yep, I want this book (and some of those minty chick peas!)

  9. Taking a peek at other bloggers who made recipes from Ally’s book, and I love that you went for those short ribs. The pureed apples and pears for the marinade were a great idea on her part.

    • adamjholland says:

      Absolutely! Glad you stopped by! I’ve made several recipes from her cookbook and … dang! I feel like a world traveler all of a sudden!

  10. I love to travel and I love to cook and eat. Though I hate living vicariously through other,s sometimes it just has to do! Great review.

    • adamjholland says:

      Me too, Abbe! Ally’s a globetrotter for sure, and I just happen to be deathly afraid of hopping on an airplane. Needless to say, I’m happy she decided to make these treks. 😉 Buy the cookbook. You’ll thank me.


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