Sunday, November 20, 2016


Well, it’s been an emotional week. First, my son turned 8 years old yesterday, and we are always grateful since we almost lost him 7 years ago. Who would’ve thought seven years later, we’d be going to the Internet Cat Video Fest together? Second, the election has got me in such turmoil as to the divide and culture war we’re going through. I have my fears for the safety of whole populations of people in this country, my husband and kids included. I have my fears that we’ll encompass parts of our history that should have long been left in the history books. But we shouldn’t be silent. We have to stand up and educate. This is why we study history, so we don’t repeat the bad parts and build upon the good. This is the whole point of why I started this blog back in 2012 – because I felt the need to focus on the idea that countries are comprised of people and their arts, not governments and economies. And in that spirit, let’s talk about one of my favorite things: food.

Such a versatile bread. I may make it into mini sandwiches or something.
The bread today is Pão Moçambicano. This bread is a pretty basic bread recipe that can actually be used for a variety of purposes. I believe it has its roots in Portuguese cuisine. To begin, I mixed together a packet of dry yeast, 4 c of flour, 1 tsp salt, and enough water to bring it altogether as a sticky dough (about 2 c). (I read that there was an option to add in some vinegar, but since Mozambicans don’t really add that in, I left it out.) Once I worked my dough so that it was elastic and not too sticky, I covered it and let it rest for about an hour. Then I kneaded it a little more and let it rest for another half hour. At this time, I divided it into small balls, about the size of golf balls or so, and laid them out on a baking sheet. I took a knife and scored in a slit in the top and sprinkled it with flour. After doing this, I let it sit for another 15-20 minutes before putting it into an oven set at 425ºF for about 20-22 minutes, or until they were golden. I really liked these rolls. The outsides were crusty but the insides were soft and the crumb was fairly dense. It would be for soup or for a dip or spread. I thought they were wonderful.

I liked this, although I spent most of my dinner time trying to figure out if it was clams or oysters that pearls come from.
The main dish for today is called Matata. I started this out by sautéing some diced onion in a little olive oil in a pot. Once they started to turn translucent, I added in two cans of chopped clams, ¼ c of peanut butter, a large handful of finely crushed peanuts, 1 can of diced tomatoes, some salt, black pepper, and a couple shakes of crushed red pepper. I let this simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, before throwing in some spinach leaves (I used a 12-oz bag of frozen spinach this time). I covered this and let it cook until the leaves were wilted and could easily be stirred into the stew. I served this on steamed white rice that got burnt on the bottom. (Burning it is optional.) I thought this was really good. The original recipe called for 4 cups of clams, but I only used a little less than 1 cup. I was debating about adding in a third can of clams, but I’m glad that I only kept with the two. Otherwise, I think it would’ve been too much. Plus, I wanted to take some in my lunch tomorrow, and I didn’t want to get called out for violating the universal “don’t warm up seafood in the microwaves at work.”

I think this was clearly the winner of the evening.
To go with this, I made Salada Pera de Abacate. This easy salad consisted of placing sliced tomatoes and avocados on top of a bed of lettuce. Then I drizzled some lemon herb salad dressing on top of it. To make this easy salad dressing, I mixed together some olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and some minced garlic. After stirring it up, I poured it on top of the salad. My son, who is normally a picky eater, loved this salad. But he’s always been a salad eater and loves avocado. I’m glad, though. I really liked the subtle lemon flavor on the tomato and avocado. I would definitely do this one again.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It was healthy, flavorful, and thankfully, there are still leftovers.
As we move into the belly of the holidays with Thanksgiving this week, it makes me contemplate what I’m thankful for. I’m certainly thankful we all seem to be in good health. I have a job I like; I just got a copy of the Hamilton cast recording; I also just downloaded A Tribe Called Quest’s new album; I’m gonna make a jump on Christmas shopping this week; I know I’m loved by a few. And the weather finally turned colder, which I was unprepared to see arrive so abruptly. So, I’ll leave you with the final verse of Bob Dylan’s song, “Mozambique”:
            And when it’s time for leaving Mozambique
            To say goodbye to sand and sea
            You turn around to take a final peek
            And you see why it’s so unique to be
            Among the lovely people living free
            Upon the beach of sunny Mozambique.

Up next: Myanmar

No comments:

Post a Comment