Sunday, July 3, 2016


Well, luck of all luck, I got me a JOB. Yes, I must’ve done well at my interview, and I accepted a position in advertising sales for a large media company. So, at least my blog will go on, and all my bills will get paid up (eventually). We might even be able to take one those–what do you call it–a vacation? Anyway, it’s also Independence Day weekend here in the US, or in other words, celebrating our own Brexit. But it’s rainy and cool, so there are probably not going to be any fireworks displays going on. Bummer. 

Although it looks kind of yellowish in this photo, it actually is a light green color. It's rather tasty.
But to make it all better, I’m making food from Mauritania today. The first thing I made today was Pudim d’Avocat, or avocado pudding. I used two ripe avocados (mine were slightly over ripe, but the other two I bought weren’t ripe enough), and mixed it with 2 c of milk and 3 Tbsp of sugar. Then I took a small bag of slivered almonds (the package said it equaled ½ c) and ground them up, adding them to the avocado mixture. When I picked this recipe, I forgot that my blender went kaput, so I pulled out my hand mixer and mixed it in the bowl. It took a while for it to thicken, but it did eventually start to thicken up. A little. It still wasn’t quite as thick as I would’ve liked it, but it thickened slightly as it chilled. I really liked the flavor of this. It was smooth and light, although there were a few fragments of almonds that didn’t ground up all the way. Definitely good for summer, though. I think it would be good with some added blueberries maybe? Or maybe garnished with a dollop of lemon curd? Hmm, I’ll work on this. I think this recipe is easily adjustable to make a smoothie out of this. 

Must be good. I caught the cat sniffing at the skillet. Although I really should start reading my directions better. 
This meal has two stews today. The first one is called Leksour. It’s supposed to be made with lamb, but since money is tight right now, I made it with stew beef instead. I browned my beef, and then added in some chopped carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers. I accidentally left out the diced tomatoes here. But my husband has a hard time with tomatoes, so I’m sure he appreciated at least one non-tomato dish. Then I covered it with 4 c of water, added a little salt and pepper, and let it simmer for an hour. 

Quite a surprise. The wheat/all-purpose/millet combination was actually pretty good.
To go with the Leksour, it’s supposed to be served on top of pancakes. However, it’s not like pancakes Americans are used to. These pancakes were made using 2 c of wheat flour (or in my case, 1 ½ c white wheat flour, and ½ c of all-purpose), 1 c millet flour (which I was so grateful I had exactly 1 c left over from the last time I used millet flour), and 5 pinches of salt. Then I used about 2 c of water to make it a fluid batter and let it sit for about 30 minutes. When it came time to cook them, I added another 2 Tbsp of water since it looked like it had started to thicken up again. I heated up a griddle with oil and made pancakes like I normally do. The flavor was good, not too earthy, albeit slightly tough. (Probably user error.) I served the Leksour stew on top of the pancakes. Together, even without the tomatoes, it was quite tasty. At first, it did seem like it was lacking in something (um, most definitely the tomatoes as I discovered later), but I liked how it tasted with the pancakes overall. 

Quite a surprise. My son said he might eat it if I added some sriracha in it. Whatever it takes, little dude.
The second stew I made is often considered their national dish: Thieboudiene (pronounced che-boo-jen, or something like that). My directions weren’t the greatest, but I didn’t realize that until I got started. So, I had to make up some of the amounts. It all worked out, though. I started off by mixing 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp dried parsley, and 1 Tbsp diced onion in a bowl and pounded it with a pestle. Then I rubbed this mix on some whiting filets (not sure what kind of fish is actually used, but whiting is what I had in the freezer) and adding it to my pot to fry. When they had fried up, I took out the fish and put it on a plate. Then I mixed a little bit of water with about 3 Tbsp of tomato paste and put this in the same pot that I just took the fish out of. While heating this up, I added in some diced potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and some shredded cabbage (I just bought a bag of angel hair cole slaw mix). I put about 4 c of water in the pot and let it simmer for a while. At this time, I got my rice started and cooked it like I normally cook rice. Once that was set, I added my fish back in, laying it in with the simmering vegetables. I added in 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp black pepper, about a ¼ c of onion, a little bit of chicken broth, and let it simmer. When the rice was done, I added it into the pot as well, stirring it in to mix well. I don’t think this is exactly how it’s done, but it worked out well for me. I just made sure the fish was on top when I served it. This was a very good dish. The fish wasn’t overpowering and mixed in quite well. Whether the rice was supposed be added to the entire dish or not, it was still rather tasty. My daughter thought it was the best dish I made today. My son, of course, didn’t like anything I made. 

This was quite a tasty dinner. And for the most part, none of it was quite that difficult to make.
I have to say that I learned so much about Mauritania that I didn’t know before, which wasn’t much before I started this I hate to admit. But now maybe others know more as well. There are so many unique things about this country that made me smile and some that made me sad. The food was good, different than what I expected. I expected more spices, but it tended to be simply spiced, yet it was flavorful. Maybe that’s Mauritania’s secret: it doesn’t need a lot to be wonderful. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. From some of the stories I’ve read, they are an incredibly resourceful people, perhaps out of the necessity that comes with high rates of abject poverty, but there’s a certain respect for their surroundings because of it as well. There is more than one lesson to be learned here.

Up next: Mauritius

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