Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Trip Down to South Africa

Last week we took a trip over to Tanzania. This week I invite you to travel 2,000 miles south with me to the country with 11 official names (one in each official language) and three capitals, none of which is the largest city. The Dutch arrived in South Africa in 1652, colonized it, and influenced the culture of the country for the past 3.5 centuries. What other African country is 10% white? This diversity has had a lot of problems in the past, but hopefully South Africans are past all their racism and has moved on to focusing more on the awesomeness of their country.You can find penguins, macadamia nuts, the second highest waterfall in the world, rhinos, and 75,000 year old artwork all wrapped up in the over 470,000 square miles that make up this amazing country. Oh yeah, and you will come across some really good food too.

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This beautiful plate is not just the rice and meatloaf that it seems to be. This meal is completely South African. (And completely delicious!) 
 
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This rice is not overly spiced, but it has the perfect amount of sweetness and flavor to make it shine. Plus, it's yellow. You can't beat that.
 
Geelrys
serves 4
1 ½  cups basmati rice
2 ½ cups water
1 ½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
salt, to taste
 
Mix all the ingredients together in a por. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until the water has all absorbed. Let the rice sit for 5 minutes covered before fluffing with a fork and serving.
 
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The first recipe for bobotie appeared a Dutch cookbook in 1609. It was brought over by the Dutch East India Company from Indonesia and then taken down to South Africa where its popularity has flourished. I don't have trouble seeing why. This spiced meat based dish with a custard topping. The bay leaves on top not only make it pretty, but also add a nice flavor. Bobotie is traditionally served beside geelrys and a bit of chutney.
 
 
 
Bobotie
serves 4
For the meat:
1 pound ground sirloin
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
1 slice of bread, cubed
1 egg
¼ cup raisins
1 tbsp apricot preserves
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp curry powder
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
salt and pepper, to tase
3 bay leaves
 
For the custard:
1 egg
½ cup milk
 
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and oil a 6X6” baking dish. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until translucent. Add the beef and crumble it up until lightly browned.
 
Soak the bread in the custard milk for 10 minutes. Squeeze the milk out of the bread, reserving it in a bowl. Add the bread to the meat mixture along with the turmeric, sugar, curry powder, salt and pepper, apricot preserves, raisins, and one egg. Mix well and spread evenly into the baking dish. Arrange the bay leaves on top and bake for 25 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, beat the milk and remaining egg together. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the bobotie and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the egg has set. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
 
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Wow. What can I say to describe the amazing flavors brought to me by South Africa. As always, I had my doubts and reservations. Sweet meatloaf with raisins and apricot preserves? More raisins in the rice along with a ton of turmeric? And as always, I learned to trust the recipes passed down through the generations and enjoy a meal from a country miles and miles and miles away. It is so cool how food can bridge the gaps between cultures. It's also so cool that a little bit of apricot preserves, curry powder, and a custard topping can make meatloaf go from bleh to SCRUMOTIOUS.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Belgian Waffles for All!

I shared a Belgian waffle recipe for one the other day. I got to thinking of how selfish that is. Making a delicious, crispy, buttery waffle just to hog it all to yourself should be illegal. I want to make amends to everyone out there who has been waffle deprived by sharing this just as awesome multiple serving Belgian waffle recipe.

And if there are any of you out there still too selfish to share, you can just freeze these and heat them up whenever you want a quick waffle treat. (But make sure you at least share one because eating all of them might just be too evil.)

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Belgian Waffles
makes 5 full waffles (20 triangles)
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
2 ½ cups milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
Combine the vinegar and milk. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla together. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes. Preheat your waffle iron, and pour 1 cup of the mixture onto the hot iron. Cook according to your preference. Serve with butter and hot maple syrup.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chicken Hummus Couscous Bowls

If cheesy, hummusy, Greeky bowls of goodness do not sound good to you, I don't know what does. I made this for my roommate tonight for dinner, and she loved it. I was a little leery since she is not a chickpea fan, but she loved it. Who wins best roomy award? (Me!)

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Chicken Hummus Couscous Bowls
serves 4
1 cup dry chickpeas, rinsed
4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups dry Israeli couscous
1- 7 ounce container of Athenos Greek style hummus
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

In a crockpot, cover the chicken and chickpeas with at least 5 cups of water. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Strain out the chicken and cooked chickpeas, reserving 2 cups of the broth.

Bring the reserved chicken broth to a boil with 1 tsp of oil. Add the couscous, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 8-10 minutes until all the moisture has absorbed. Stir in the cheese and 1/2 cup of the hummus.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Toss the zucchini and bell pepper into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the zucchini is golden brown.

In a bowl, shred up the chicken and mix it with the remaining hummus. Stir in the chickpeas. Mix this with the vegetables and couscous to serve.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peanut Butter Bread Pudding

I made this bread pudding the other day with no real intention of posting it. After one bite, I knew it was too good not to share. The texture of it is not quite that of your usual bread pudding, but the intense peanut flavor and deliciousness is irresistible.

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Peanut Butter Bread Pudding
10 slices of sandwich bread
5 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups peanut flour
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional, but recommended)
4 ripe bananas
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Spray a 9X13" baking dish with cooking spray. Blend together all the ingredients except for the bread until well mixed. Cut the bread up into cubes and scatter it around the bottom of the pan. Evenly pour on the peanut mixture, coating each bread cube in it. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, allow the pan to sit out for an hour on the counter to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Bake  for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Slice and serve.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fallish Muffins

Today was another cold day. I think I might give up on my hopes of summer coming back and embrace the oncoming fall. One nice thing about the colder weather is being able to crank up the oven and get baking!

sweet potato cornmeal muffins (6)
 
 
These muffins have a deep flavor with the sweet potatoes and cornmeal. The cornmeal gives them a nice bit of texture, and the sweet potatoes give them the perfect density. They are perfect to face any fall day with the courage that summer will return.
 

sweet potato cornmeal muffins (3)
 
Sweet Potato Cornmeal Muffins
makes 15
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup rolled oats
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup milk
1 ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter
 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a muffin pan. Using a high speed blender, blend the oats into a flour. Stir the oats, baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt, and cornmeal together in a large bowl. Use the blender again to blend together all the remaining ingredients. Add the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bring Back the Sunshine!

Today was one of those cold, yucky days that make you dread the coming winter. (Especially when you are used to it being in the 90s and then you are suddenly hit with a 60 degree day like today.) I am definitely not ready for summer to be over, so I am going to hold on to it with all my might. What better way to will the summer weather to come back than by enjoying popsicles?

Granted, a frozen popsicle is not exactly what I want to keep me warm on a cool day, but strawberries and bananas were calling my name. Any popsicle this good deserves to be eaten no matter the season. So here's to bringing the summer back for at least a little longer and enjoying the last of the strawberries this season!
 
 
Strawberry- Banana Popsicles (3)
 

 
Strawberry- Banana Popsicles
4 cups strawberries
3 large ripe bananas
½ cup honey
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup milk
Blend the ingredients together until there are no chunks. Pour the mixture into a Zoku Pop maker, and freeze for 8 minutes. Pull out your pops and enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Double the Birthday Bash!

I don't remember the last time that I posted a craft that was not Minnie Mouse thing. I love Minnie Mouse, but I'm ready to move on to something more sophisticated. (Not a 2 year old party idea, if you know what I mean.)


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Who said that more sophisticated had to be less fun?


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And just because two fronts are better than one, the card opens up again for an additional cover. (Just an extra birthday wish!)
 
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I left the inside good and empty to allow for a nice, long message. In my opinion, anyone receiving a card this cool deserves a 3 part message. Happy crafting!