Tag Archives: spices

Liberia…

Monday, November 25 –

One more for today, because I’m trying to get caught up before more holiday craziness hits.photo 2 (2)

This one was just Husband and me. And I didn’t quite stay true to the recipe, but it turned out delicious.

We cooked 3 slices of bacon, cut into little pieces. Then I cooked the onion and green bell pepper in the bacon fat. Then I pushed the veggies over and cooked the cut up chicken breasts in the bacon fat and veggie juices. Once the chicken was almost done, I added the spices, asking Husband “Can I burn your face off tonight? Just a little bit?” And because he’s the best Husband ever, he said yes. So half tsp of ginger, whole tsp of salt, half tsp of pepper and thyme, and about 2 tsps of crushed red pepper. Once that was mixed in I dumped in a can of whole tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste. I put the lid on a let it simmer for a few minutes. Then we served it dumped over rice.

Tomato-y, filling, yummy food that was perfect for leftovers the next day too.

Liberia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://liberianforum.com)

Jollof Rice

Directions:

In a 10-inch skillet:

Saute: 2 Ibs. COOKED MEATS (such as chicken, bacon, shrimp, smoked pork) cut in 1-inch chunks in 1/2 cup VEGETABLE OIL until slightly brown.

In a 4-quart kettle:

Saute:
1/2 cup YELLOW ONIONS, finely chopped
1/2 cup GREEN PEPPERS, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. GROUND GINGER (optional), in
1/4 cup VEGETABLE OIL until onions are soft.
Add 1 16-oz. can WHOLE TOMATOES (2 cups).

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add:
2 6-oz. cans TOMATO PASTE
2 quarts WATER
1 Tbs. SALT
1/2 tsp. BLACK PEPPER
1/2 tsp. THYME
1 tsp. CRUSHED RED PEPPER.
Add the cooked meat and simmer 20 minutes longer.

In a 2 quart saucepan:

Cook: 2 cups WHITE RICE in 5 cups CHICKEN STOCK or WATER until tender.

Correct the Seasonings with salt, pepper, etc. Combine the sauce of the meat with the rice. Pour the Jollof Rice in a deep bowl, arranging the meat in the center.

Note: Jollof Rice is served with variations in many countries of West Africa. In Liberia pigs’ feet are used with salt pork and bacon as well as with chicken. This dish may be made from scratch with fresh chicken pieces, alone or in combination, but it is also an excellent dish for leftover chicken, veal, turkey, tongue, ham, bacon, etc.


Iraq…

Friday, April 26 –

This dinner was almost perfectly made for four people. We had WingWoman, LightsOn, BestestFianceEver, and yours truly.

I started by chopping the prunes and apricots up, putting them in a bowl, covering them with water, and leaving them on the counter for about three hours. Then I took chicken thighs, removed the skin, and fried photo(3)them in hot oil until they were browned on both sides. Then I put the drained prunes and apricots in a glass baking dish and pushed them to the sides. I added the chicken thighs in the middle. Then I fried the onion and garlic in the leftover oil and chicken bits, adding the spices, broth, honey, and cornstarch/lemon juice mixture after the onions were soft and brown. Stirring well to mix in the cornstarch and to scrape off the last chicken bits, I let the liquid boil for a few minutes. After I was sure it was all hot and mixed together I poured the liquid and onions over the top of the chicken, apricots, and prunes. Covered with foil and into a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkled with sliced almonds and served for dinner.

LightsOn made the filling for a dish that is lamb, onion, and spices cooked until done and then shoved into hand-rolled pockets of rice-dough stuff. Then we fried the rice pockets. It was extremely sticky/messy/hilarious. But the recipe we used didn’t have much flavor to it, so it turned into a way to soak up the sauce from the tagine.

Iraq
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.epicurious.com)

Chicken and Prune Tagine

  • 4 oz Prunes
  • 4 oz Dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup Toasted split almonds
  • 3 tbl Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 Portions chicken
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 20 Grinds black pepper
  • 1 lrg Onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cup Chicken stock or half stock, half white wine
  • 1 tbl Honey
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice or water

Cooking Instructions:  Several hours in advance or overnight, soak the dried fruit in water to cover. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fry the almonds in the hot oil over moderate heat until golden brown, then drain on paper towels and reserve. Remove the skin and any visible fat from the chicken portions, thoroughly dry them, then season with the salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until rich brown on all sides, then lift out and drain on paper towels to remove any surplus fat. Lay the pieces side by side in a lidded casserole and surround with the drained fruit. In the same oil gently sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic until they turn a rich golden brown (keep the pan lid on for 5 minutes to soften them in the steam, and then remove it to finish the browning). Add the spices and stock and honey. Stir well to release any crispy bits adhering to the base of the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixed with the lemon juice (or water, if wine has been used). Pour over the chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Do not overcook as the chicken will soften during the reheating. Garnish the dish with the fried almonds.


India… {Potluck!}

Saturday, April 6 –

There was SO MUCH FOOD. Oh my gosh. We had lamb korma, two types of chicken tikka, matar paneer, raita, gluten-free naan, gluten-free onion fritters, mango lassi, rice, gulab jamun, chutney, samosas, and a potato dish photo(8)that I missed the name of. There was a ton of people and we all ate so well there was much groaning and belly patting. I can’t even tell you how much fun it was to have so many cooks participate. Thank you, again, to everyone that cooked, ate, drank, and participated in the India potluck. Thank you to RubsWithLove and SirVJ for hosting this dinner!

Let me admit that this dinner was hard for me because I was having an allergy attack so bad that I couldn’t smell or taste anything. Ugh. I don’t recommend it. Four allergy pills and an air purifier later, I finally enjoyed the dinner.

I made the matar paneer recipe as it was written (however, I did not really measure the spices very well at all) but when I was all done it just didn’t look like the matar paneer that I was used to at restaurants. So I added coconut milk to it. But that watered down the flavor so much that it didn’t taste like anything other than coconut milk and a spicy-heat punch to the tongue. Not so good. So I kept adding the spices that the recipe called for trying to fix it. That worked… a little bit. I ended up dumping in curry powder and it fixed it just fine. I know I probably shouldn’t have messed with it, but it did not look like the photo – not one bit! In the end it turned out ok. Not my favorite, but ok.

The raita was easy to make and pretty much vanished because of how many spicy dishes we had. I am super glad that I made a double batch. Everything else was so good that I wanted to eat seconds (I didn’t, but I wanted to!). I definitely recommend Indian food as a great potluck idea for parties! Just make sure to have mints on hand after everyone is done eating.

India
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at:  www.sailusfood.com and www.epicurious.com)

Matar Paneer Recipe

  • 1/4 kg paneer – cube and saute in a tsp of ghee till lightly browned
  • small cup fresh green peas
  • 1 large onion, finely chop
  • ginger-green chilli paste (1″ ginger piece+3 green chillis)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli pwd
  • pinch of turmeric pwd
  • 1 1/4 tsps coriander pwd
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • pinch of garam masala pwd
  • 1 tsp Kitchen King masala pwd
  • 1 tsp malai, top of milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

1 Heat oil in a cooking vessel, add the onions and sauté, approx 4-5 mts. Add ginger-green chilli paste, coriander pwd, turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd and combine. Add few tbsps water and saute for a mt.
2 Add tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mts. Turn off heat and cool. Make a coarse paste.
3 Return this paste to the vessel, add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame, add the green peas and cook for 6 mts. Add the paneer and malai and simmer for 7-8 mts. Add salt. Simmer for a few more mts.
4 Stir in malai, garam masala pwd, Kitchen King masala and kasuri methi and combine, cook for a mt. Turn off flame.
5 Let it sit for a while before serving. The gravy thickens, so at the time of serving, add a little milk and combine. Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Traditional Indian Raita

  •     1/2 cup plain yogurt
  •     1/2 cup chopped seeded English hothouse cucumber
  •     2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  •     2 teaspoons chopped green onions
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preparation: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.


Haiti…

Sunday, March 10 –

I’m not entirely sure why I got so lazy with this dinner, maybe because it was just the two of us, but because of my corner-cutting it turned out… well… strong. And salty. Very, very, very, very, very salty. photo(11)

Bestest fiance ever started the bacon cooking (three sliced, chopped into large-ish bits) and when they were mostly crispy I put the onion and a half cup of canned kidney beans in the pan with the bacon and drippings. I let that cook until the onion was starting to soften and then I added the cloves, garlic, pepper, cubes, and salt. Because I used canned beans I only had a little bit of the liquid it comes in, so I decided to top the rest off with vegetable broth. Because I used the bacon fat, I didn’t need the vegetable oil. And because I didn’t read the directions all the way down, I chopped the habanero up and threw that in as well. On top went the rice. I let that come up to a boil, put the lid on, and turned it down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes. After tasting the resulting rice dish, which honestly had great flavor as long as you don’t mind that your mouth almost imploded with saltiness. Really, I should have known that broth plus bouillon cubes plus bacon plus salt would be too much, I just didn’t think that far ahead. But I will totally keep this on my list to make again, minus the crazy amount of salt that I unknowingly subjected us to.

The salmon, on the other hand, was simple and delicious. I got one 3/4 pound filet, put it in a baking dish and poured on a mix of the lemon juice, wine, and onion dressing (about a quarter cup of each). I sliced some red onion and red bell pepper and put them in the baking dish as well. Put it into the 375* oven and baked it for 20 minutes. It came out flavorful (and not salty at all, which totally saved our dinner) and delicious. The onion dressing was a neat way of cheating to get those flavors together, but I honestly prefer using spices and minced onion instead.

All in all, it was pretty ok. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to use the rice for leftovers, but I will try!

Haiti
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.everythinghaitian.com)

Riz National (Rice and Beans)

  • 2 cups Long Grain Rice
  • 1/2 cup Dried Red Kidney Beans
  • 3 cups Water kidney beans was boiled in
  • 1/4 lb Salt Pork or Bacon
  • 2 Chicken bouillon cubes (Maggi)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 6-8 Whole Cloves
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Finely Diced White Onion
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Whole Habanero or Scotch Bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 3 cloves     Garlic, peeled and crushed

Instructions: Bring dried beans to boil in 8 cups of water. Cook until tender, but shape remains. Do not overcook. Strain beans and put bean water aside. Sauté salt pork or bacon, spices, and beans in oil, until beans are crispy. Add salt, cloves, and black pepper. Add 3 cups of bean water and heat to boiling. Add rice, bouillon cubes, and hot pepper to boiling liquid. Once water has evaporated, remove whole pepper and mix in 1 Tbsp of butter. Cover pot tightly and continue cooking on low heat ( approx. 20 minutes) until done.

Saumon Grille (Grilled Salmon)

  • 3 Lbs. Fresh Salmon Steaks
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup White Wine
  • 4 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Vidalia Onion Dressing
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, Julienne
  • To taste Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Instructions:  Place Salmon Steaks in a large bowl, and pour lemon juice. Clean Salmon thoroughly and rinse in cold water. Place clean Salmon in an oven, proof dish.  Add Wine, Vidalia Onion Dressing, and black pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Pour 1/2 of melted butter on Salmon Steaks. Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn them over and pour remaining butter, bake until golden brown. Add Onion and Red Bell Pepper and mix.


Guinea-Bissau…

Sunday, February 17 –

Last night’s dinner was a good jump-start to my love for this project. Thank you to my friends that continue to support this effort. We had BestestFianceEver, WingWoman (Jollof), ChinUp (Frango de Churrasco de photo(9)Guiné), and MyBuddy – with LightsOn showing up to hang out right at the very end of the evening.

I took one look at the name of this dish, and knew I had to make it. BestestFianceEver LOVES split pea soup, so it was a no-brainer to pick it. I did, however, change the recipe to this one instead – knowing that the flavor of boiling meat is just not my favorite. So I followed the new recipe to the letter except I used bacon fat to cook the onions and celery, and used the cooked bacon in the soup instead of ham. So I pretty much kept with the spirit of the soup, but didn’t stick with the cooking method. Figures, at the rate I’m going, right? Also, I didn’t measure any of the spices I put in (tumeric, thyme, basil, black pepper, salt, cayenne, 2 bay leaves), I just kept shaking until it looked spicy enough for an entire pot of soup.

The soup was thick and very potato-y, but the spices and heat were incredible. I will definitely keep this recipe around, just take out about half of the potatoes. The jollof was a perfect combination of rice and cabbage, and was also a great compliment to the chicken, which was lemony, spicy, goodness. Of all of the plain meals we have had for African countries, this was definitely not one of them. Huge success all the way around.

Can’t wait to move on to the H countries – with more potlucks coming up in the I countries. Exciting!

Guinea-Bissau
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.celtnet.org.uk)

Pea Soup and Meat

  • 900g neck of mutton or lamb, sliced
  • 1 small pork shank
  • 4 strips bacon, cut lengthways into strips
  • 450g split dried peas
  • 100g rice
  • 2 large celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, coarsely grated
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method: Place all the ingredients (except peas and rice) into a large cast iron casserole pot. Add 2l water, cover and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours. Towards the end of cooking you will need to stir frequently to prevent burning. Add the peas and rice to the pot along with 2.5l water. Season to taste, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Again, stir frequently as the soup thickens to prevent burning. Serve immediately either as a soup, ladled into bowls, or as a stew with rice.


Guinea…

Wednesday, February 13 –

Sometimes I take a look at recipes and all I see are the ingredients – and thinking “gosh, that sounds good!” I decide to make it. Then, when the day comes to actually make it, I look at how it is made and I decide to photo(8)change some of the directions. Or, you know, all of them. This dinner was one of those “let’s change it all but keep the ingredients” days.

I took two chicken breasts, plain, and put them onto a hot pan. I cooked them about 2 minutes or so on each side so that there was good brown color, but the meat was definitely not cooked through. While that was happening I chopped up a half an onion in to fairly big pieces. I added the juice of two lemons, some salt, some pepper, some cayenne, and some chopped garlic. I didn’t measure any of these things, I just added until it looked right. I mixed this all together and then set it aside until the chicken was brown. Once the chicken was done I put them into a baking dish, poured the onions and juice over the top, and put the dish into a 450* oven for about 15 minutes (uncovered).

While the chicken was baking I made some veggie Rice-a-Roni and BestestFianceEver made a couple of small salads. Once everything was done cooking it all went onto the plate and dinner was served!

The chicken was spicy, garlicky, lemony, and delicious. With a scoop of rice, a bite of chicken, a chunk of onion, and plenty of sauce – each bite bit back. And it was great. So I might not have made it the way the recipe was written, but it was pretty darn delicious.

Guinea
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.friendsofguinea.org)

Poulet Yassa

  • 3-4 pounds chicken
  • 6 lemons, squeezed.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 onions, sliced in rounds
  • 1 or 2 red peppers, or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 4-6 tbsp oil
  • bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • rice to serve

Wash and dry chicken and cut into pieces.  Marinate chicken in mixture of lemon juice, onions, garlic, and 2-3 tbsp of the oil for several hours, turning occasionally as that all parts are covered.  Remove chicken and grill, broil, or braise until all pieces are lightly browned on all sides.  Drain onions and garlic, but retain the marinade.  Use a heavy casserole, Dutch Oven, or fry chicken; saute onions and garlic in the remaining oil until soft.  Add chicken, bay leaf, peppers or cayenne, salt and pepper.  Simmer until chicken is tender (1 – 1 1/2 hours) or bake covered in medium (325 degree) oven.  Add marinade now and then so mixture remains moist.  Serve over rice.


Guernsey…

Friday, February 8 –

For some reason, I keep on cooking but I forget to write it up. It’s not that I’m not interested in cooking, but my drive for this blog might be dwindling a little. But I’m so far into it now that I can’t give it up! Cheer me on, whoever is reading this…

Guernsey started off with me picking a fish and potato pie recipe that sounded good at the time. Then I got to the day-of and decided that recipe wasn’t so great sounding after all. Which left me with only a little photo(7)while to look for new recipes, and magically I stumbled onto this crab cake recipe. Any excuse to make crab cakes, in my books, is a good one.

This recipe, however, is just a little bit strange. Good, in the end, but strange. Boiled new potatoes (I removed the skins to keep the creamy texture) mixed with crab, ketchup, and spices? Hm, ok. A sauce made out of sugar and vinegar? Yeah, maybe. So I made the recipe as it is written, using good quality lump crab meat instead of the brown and white that’s listed below. Then I smooshed it altogether, made crab cakes, and fried them in butter. Served with a salad, dinner was ready!

The crab flavor, unfortunately, got completely covered up by the potato flavor. It was sad, really. I happen to love the flavor of crab, so I kind of picked out the crab chunks and then ate the potato mash separate. The sauce that got drizzled on top was a wonderful compliment to the crab flavor, and so I highly recommend keeping that part of the recipe. I also loved the blend of herbs that I used – it made the whole dish bright and flavorful.

Hopefully my drive for this project will pick back up again with the spring and the sunshine. I’m just really dragging my feet on it lately. If you are still in love with it, take a look at the country list and let me know which ones you want to come to. Having other people love it might help me find the love again in this dark, rainy season. Thanks, friends!

Guernsey
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://blog.visitguernsey.com)

Guernsey Chancre Crab and Fresh Guernsey Herb Cakes
For the cakes

  • 400g new potatoes (0.88 lb)
  • 250g white crab meat (0.55 lb)
  • 200g brown crab meat (0.44 lb)
  • 15g chopped parsley (1 tbl)
  • 15g chopped chive (1 tbl)
  • 30g chopped coriander (2 tbl)
  • 30g chopped basil (2 tbl)
  • 10g tomato ketchup (2/3 tbl)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g breadcrumbs (0.43 cup)
  • 100g plain flour (0.43 cup)
  • 250ml Guernsey milk (1.05 cup)
  • 1 free range egg

For the dressing:

  • 1 fresh chilli pepper
  • 375ml rice vinegar (1.58 cup)
  • 125g granulated sugar (0.53 cup)
  • Juice of one lime

Method

1) Wash the new potatoes and simmer gently in seasoned water until tender. Remove from the heat and refresh under cold water, drain the potatoes well and lightly crush with a fork, set aside.
2) Pass the brown crab meat through a fine mesh sieve to remove any traces of shell. Pick through the white crab meat to ensure all traces of shell are removed.
3) Bind together the crushed new potatoes, brown and white crab meat, tomato ketchup and chopped fresh Guernsey herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste.
4) Divide the mixture into eight Pattie shapes or spoon into a 7cm diameter pastry ring and repeat until all the mixture is used.
5) Place in a refrigerator until firm. Once the crab cakes are firm, coat them with seasoned plain flour, followed by dipping each one in a mixture of beaten egg and milk. Finally roll in fine breadcrumbs, re-shape with a palette knife to make the cakes all uniform.
6) Gently fry each cake in a generous amount of Guernsey butter, turning each over as necessary. Heat through in a moderate oven before serving with chilli dressing and a salad of Fresh Guernsey Herbs.

For the chilli dressing:
Finely chop the chilli pepper and place with the rice vinegar and sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 15 minutes or until mixture
has reduced to thin syrup, remove from heat and add lime juice.

Serve with a salad of fresh Guernsey herbs.