Sunday, February 17, 2013


I’ve learned my lesson. Ok, probably not. But I did find out the hard way that grocery shopping on a Saturday night is the worst time if you’re aiming at getting decent fresh vegetables.  The only eggplants and sweet potatoes left to choose from were the miscreants of the produce world. But I gathered up what ones there were and whipped them into shape in the only way I knew how. I went at their worst parts with a sharpened knife. (It’s starting to sound like a bad horror film. Hey, producers of Saw, call me.)  But it was all worth it on this one-year anniversary of the first meal I made for this blog. When we sat down for food from Afghanistan, I knew this was going to be an addictive project.

The first recipe I made today was called Munyu Caf Couscous. It’s a stew of “assorted meats” (I chose chicken and thick-cut bacon), onion, tomato, peanut butter, shredded cabbage (I cheated and found a bag of cole slaw mix that was just green cabbage), and aubergines (which I found was another word for eggplant, and I went with baby eggplants which are supposed to be milder). I mixed everything in a skillet and left it to simmer for an hour. I should’ve stirred it a few times because the bottom got a little scorched, but sometimes I kind of like it like that. It all goes on top of couscous. I just bought a box of ready-made couscous and made it like the box said. It was so good together; it was practically perfect.

Not the most flattering picture, but my mouth thought it was more awesome than finding my favorite beer on sale. 
To go with it, I made krakro (or, sweet potato fritters). My husband thought I was making sweet potato pone, but when I told him there wasn’t sugar in the recipe, he went straight to the cabinet and added a ton of sugar to it. So, ok, it wasn’t authentic, but it did taste good. The recipe called to mash the sweet potatoes, dip them in egg, then in breadcrumbs and fry it. But it just wasn’t setting up.  It’s kind of hard to fry something that’s the consistency of paste.  So, I skipped on the egg, and it seemed to work better. I also tried not to flip them too soon, but I still don’t think it ended up like how it was supposed to. However, the taste was really good! So, it wasn’t all bad.

It had so much potential. I still liked it though. Some mess-ups aren't that bad. 
Finally, after we ate the meal, I made the bread. For this, I chose the Banfora Welshcakes. It called for butter to be cut into the flour with a little salt and a half-cup of sugar. Although it called for a little bit of diced dried pineapple, I read someone’s blog who made this that it probably wasn’t the best option. So, I went with an 8 oz can of crushed pineapple (and probably way more than I needed). The recipe called for it to be rolled out and circles to be cut out of it, but it was way too moist and sticky for that. I just dropped it in the hot oil almost like a drop cookie. It actually turned out more like small pancakes. The flavor was really good, although some of them were a little on the thick side and was still gooey in the middle (although I wasn’t sure if it was the pineapple or that the dough wasn’t cooked through).  The best part – of course – was the powdered sugar topping.

I might try to make these with bananas too. Because... why not?
I really enjoyed this meal. But then again, I really enjoy West African food in general. And my husband’s birthday is tomorrow (even though he's not acknowledging it because he doesn't want to get another year older), so this was sort of his birthday dinner (who else cooks a Burkinabé meal for their husband? This girl does.).  I also couldn’t help but thinking of how I’ve been doing this blog for a year now. It’s not my first blog, though. My first blog was for some site (I forget the name) where I was blogging about my city of Indianapolis. Then I had a blog that lasted for about five posts that was about places in Indiana. I had to leave that one alone because I realized I never had enough money to travel around, even if it was traveling around my state. So then last year, as I was driving to work, I lamented to my husband that there wasn’t a bread store that made breads from all over the world, because I would want to try a different one each time I visited. He suggested that I do it myself and write about it, even though I made amateur chefs/bakers seem like professionals compared to my kitchen skills. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past year. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly learned a lot, and this has definitely opened my eyes to a lot of world history, culture, and the influences and impacts on global cuisine. And yes, I’m making my way around a kitchen a little easier, and like tonight, making really awesome meals as well.

Krakro and munyu caf couscous. My husband's non-acknowledged-birthday birthday dinner. 

Up next: Burundi

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