Wednesday, March 16, 2011

afrique, c'est chic? freak out!

whoa hiatus!
no excuses. that was a loooong break. let's just say i've been on a steady diet of cereal, crackers, and restaurant food for a while and not ask any more questions. deal? deal.

story: i have a good GREAT friend, let's call her JJ, who is going to uganda to save the world for 8 months, and in (surprise) celebration of her greatness, we threw her a little fête with african food and all.
i was not too familiar with african fare, but my buddy jimbo (shout-outs!), was fully prepared with recipes and fresh ingredients and ideas galore. some were good (tilapia), and some were great (playing the theme song from 'the lion king' as our surprised friend made her entrance).

i'll break it down for you, in case you're curious about making an african meal some day. i will warn you that it's highly starchy and visually unappealing..but also kind of tasty. i'm not really selling it so hard, am i? oh well, see for yourselves.'s alotta food.
so, here's the plate breakdown: starting in the top right hand corner is rice. yup.
moving clockwise around the plate you will find, a really tasty tilapia fillet cooked with onion and garlic, indian curry, lemon (juice and zest), and orange pepper. next is one of uganda's national dishes, called "matoke". it is a stew of plantains (those large banana-ish looking things), tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, green peppers, cilantro, and that soy 'ground meat' product you can get at the grocery store in air-tight packages (JJ is a veg). you can also use real ground beef.
over and onward is what is called (quite appropriately) "boo" but was referred to throughout the dinner as "the secret of the ooze", "the green slime", and/or, "the vegetable abortion". it was not, if you can imagine, a fan favourite. if you think it's candy (but it's not), then start by boiling water and adding a bit of baking soda, then collard greens, kale, and sliced okra (which is what gives it that slimy texture). partially drain the water and add peanut butter and sesame seeds....i know, wtf? it was interesting, but the mouth-feel was not pleasant, unless you're into that kind of stuff...
speaking of least...or last? that up there is casava root that was boiled and then cooked with beans and onions and some various spices until it kind of turned into a heavy mash. 
heavy, heavy, heavy. that's the name of THIS meal.

try it at home! it'll be a change from the ordinary...unless you're living in uganda! 
and on that note, have a great trip JJ!!