Sunday, May 26, 2013


They say Candy Crush is the bane of every great chef. Well, ok, no one actually said that, and since I’m not a great chef, it’s doesn’t matter, because I finally passed level 29.  I’ve been on that level for over a week. It is also the day of the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 race. And since I live in Indianapolis, it’s a pretty big deal. The whole city has been decorated in black and white checks for weeks. When I was a kid, the entire month of May was one huge festival. In fact, I used to think that the three-day weekend was for Race Day instead of Memorial Day.
This will be my breakfast tomorrow morning. Well, not this bowl. I ate it after taking the picture.  
Today’s meal from Chad was one that I was looking forward to since I gathered my recipes together.  I started out making the Saffron Sweet Potato Pudding, or Pudding de Patates douces au Safran. I used two large sweet potatoes, peeled them, cut them into small pieces, and boiled them for 25 minutes.  I then drained the potatoes and put in some milk, heavy whipping cream, sugar, saffron and cardamom. After that, I put it back on the stove and let it simmer for a little over an hour until it got to a thick puree, like the consistency of baby food. Then I garnished it with a pinch of ground cardamom. I loved this dish. I think it would make a great filler in a tart.
Explaining the scientific concept of melting. 
Then I got started on our bread.  For this, I chose a Chadian version of beignets soufflés.  I had eaten beignets at the International Fest a few years ago at a New Orleans booth, but I’ve never made them before. I started out boiling some water and putting in the salt, sugar and butter. I had my daughter doing the stirring on this one. Then I dumped in all of the flour in the mix, and it almost immediately soaked up all of the liquid. At this point we had to let it cool – I just shoved it in the refrigerator for a while. When it was finally cool, it called to add two eggs. I think I may have been able to get away with just one, because it seemed really liquidy now. But I went ahead and fried them up and topped them with powdered sugar, and they were really good. They went over well with the family.  It also helps that I have tried to hone my frying skills. I have found that not burning everything that I fry has a direct impact on my family’s well-being.
The recipe didn't yield very much. In fact, they're gone. 

And finally, I made entrée. I chose tilapia au four (baked tilapia). We love tilapia and probably have it 1-2 times a month. I like it because it doesn’t have a strong fish smell or taste. For this recipe, I rubbed chopped onions, garlic, fresh chopped parsley and olive oil onto the tilapia filets that were placed in a baking dish. Then I poured a can of diced tomatoes on top and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. I baked it for a half hour in the oven. This is definitely a dish I will repeat because it was so easy and tasted wonderful. The fresh parsley made a HUGE difference in the flavors.
There's tilapia hiding under all of those tomatoes. 
And just because I love my kids, they requested asparagus to go with it. I think they were thinking of a similar dish I made for this blog – and I forget which country it was from.  I have no idea if asparagus grows in Chad or if they even eat it at all. But here was the conversation that ensued:

                  Marisa: “Can we have asparagus with cheese on it?”
                  Me: “Well, we’re making food from Chad. I’m not sure if they even eat asparagus in 
                  Marisa: “Of course they do. I read it on the Internet. And the Internet doesn’t lie.”
                  Me: “Umm… hmmm… ok. Asparagus it is. Wait. When were you reading about  
                       Chadian cuisine online?”
                  Marisa: “Don’t ask questions.”

But instead of using farmers cheese like I did last time, I used crumbled feta cheese.  At least they’re eating vegetables, so in a way, I won.
The final product, with non-Chadian asparagus. 
I loved this meal. Everything about it. And it went over well with the family, too.  I always appreciate meals that the whole family enjoys. And now it’s time to relax, maybe catch the recast of the race, even though I already know that Tony Kanaan won. I promise I’ll look surprised, though.

Up next: Chile

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