Category Archives: DIY

African Beef Sauce

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I need a little Africa in my life!

Last week, my friends Taylor and Bethany came to visit. While they were here, they treated Ben and I to a special dinner. Since food is expensive here, and we don’t often buy meat or certain fruits and veggies, they gave us the gift of yummy by taking me shopping and buying me groceries for an awesome meal.

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We decided to make one of Ben’s favorites: meat sauce on rice, Africa style. Well, sort of. We didn’t have any curry powder. But I improvised, and it turned out great!

You need:

  • A couple pounds of beef
  • Rice
  • Oil for frying
  • An onion
  • 4 oz of tomato sauce
  • 2 T pilau masala
  • 1 T of garlic
  • 1 t of ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Chicken broth (or bouillon cube and water)

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Prepare rice.

Cut the meat into one-inch cubes. Slice onions.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry onions until translucent. Remove from pan.

Fry meat until thoroughly cooked.

Add spices to meat and stir.

Add tomato sauce, water/broth, and onions. Allow to simmer.

Slowly whisk in corn starch until sauce is thick.

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Serve sauce over rice. Pair with tropical fruit and salad. Enjoy!

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Pastizzi from Malta

Yes, we’re talking about the Pastizzi, the small puff pastry filled with ricotta (pastizzi tal-irkotta’) or peas (pastizzi tal-piżelli’) and one of the icons of the Maltese gastronomy. Who has not tried one in the street food stalls? It is said that the best Pastizzi in Malta are served at Crystal Palace a small traditional bar in Rabat. […]

via The most famous Maltese —

East African Cooking: Chips Mayai

This is the easiest and fastest East African food I’ve found so far.
My sister, who’s a junior at Arizona Christian University, is working on a project on Burundi for her geography class. Burundi is a tiny African nation near Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It also happens to be the country where my husband, Ben, was born. Of course, she and her project partners interviewed Ben as their expert on Burundi. 

Ben being African: he climbed a tree to get this coconut and opened it with a rock.

She also asked me for a recipe to bring to class, so I sent her directions to make chapati and mandazi. However, those take a long time, so I thought I’d write up a recipe for something a little quicker: chips mayai.

  
Chips mayai is basically a french fry omelette. It’s a popular street food from Tanzania that is also easy to find in surrounding countires. You can make it from scratch, but this is the busy college student version.

You need:

-Frozen french fries

-Eggs

-Oil (palm oil is the most authentic)

Thaw your french fries.

  
Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan. Cook fries until hot. 

Beat eggs (eggs and fries should be 2:1 ratio) and add a little milk, salt, and pepper.

  
Pour eggs in pan. Allow to cook over medium-high heat until the bottom is cooked. Flip over. It’s fine if it’s messy once flipped.

  
Cook thouroughly and remove from heat. Serve with ketchup.
 
Happy Burundian!

Southwestern Venison Brats

If you’ve never had game meat before, this is a great way to try it. Make these venison bratwursts and have a taste of the wild outdoors.

  
What you need:

-Venison brats. Ours came from the deer my dad hunted last fall. You can also get them from butcher shops or order them online.

-Three bell peppers, sliced.

-One onion, sliced.

-Olive oil, 1/4 cup.

-Hotdog buns.

  
What you do:

-Prepare peppers and onions. Place in tinfoil, sprinkle with oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap and grill for half an hour.

-Grill brats for 20-30 minutes.

-Place brats in buns. Top with pepper mix. Enjoy!

  

Goodies from Secnarf’s Place

Today on Foodie Tuesdays, we are going to meet a local food wizard and learn to make sweet potato pudding.

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Meet Frances! Born and raised on St. Kitts, Frances moved to Saint Martin 30 years ago with her husband, who relocated for work. She can work wonders in the kitchen. I met Francis at a local event, where she was selling delicious meat patties, pies, puddings, and cakes.  She calls her business “Secnarf’s Place,” and you can find her at almost any public trade show or market event.

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As you can see, Frances loves to cook. Before she retired, she worked in a store nearby. Now, she spends a lot of her time in the kitchen, baking for her family or preparing for an event. She told me that she stayed up all night to make fresh-baked goodies for her booth. She doesn’t mind the work, though, because she loves what she does. “I like to use my hands,” she says, “It’s like a work of art.”

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Frances’ culinary skills aren’t limited to the oven. She also makes her own all-natural fruit and vegetable juices. All she adds is a little bit of sugar for flavor, if it’s not quite sweet enough. Passion fruit is her best seller. “It’s so much better than what you can buy in the stores,” she says. No preservatives, no shipping. Just natural goodness!

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I asked Frances what her favorite food is. She thought for a moment before answering, “Sweet potato pudding.” The pudding is actually what sparked Frances’ interest in cooking. When she was a girl, her mother would make sweet potato pudding every year as a special Christmas dessert. As she got older, Frances would help. The rest is history.

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Here is how you can make sweet potato pudding, as described on Jamaican Caribbean Favorites. You can visit their site to learn how to make many more awesome Caribbean dishes!

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Sweet Potato Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potato, grated
  • 4 green bananas, grated
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut trash
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • raisins
  • rum to taste
  • 2 oz melted butter
  • Greased 9 inch pan

Directions:

  1. Mix grated potato, banana, coconut trash, raisins, flour and baking powder.
  2. Combine coconut milk, vanilla, sugar, butter, rum, salt, nutmeg and mixed spice.
  3. Add milk mixture into potato mixture and batter until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into greased tin and let sit for 30 – 45 minutes.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Serve hot or cold.

Art in the Park and Canada!

We’re bound for Canada! But first, we’re participating in Art in the Park right here at home. One of my favorite memories of my childhood hometown is Art in the Park. Flagstaff, Arizona held it this festival annually on the lawn of the library. It’s something I missed when we moved to Phoenix. Now that we live in Sint Maarten, Art in the Park is back on the agenda!

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Some of my paintings that will be for sale at Art in the Park 

The best of SXM Art in the Park for me is that I get to be a part of a booth this time. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I volunteer with a local Little League team that incorporates academics into its daily program. This summer, we all get to take a trip to Canada to watch the Blue Jays play! The Rotary Club is sponsoring the trip, but of course we are teaching the boys responsibility by having them fund-raise as well.

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The kids have been working on their merchandise for a long time. Coach Tom and his wife, Lisa, came up with some great ideas. The team has a rock tumbler, and they’ve polished a couple hundred rocks over the last few months. We’ll put magnets on these and sell them for a few dollars. The kids are also making lanterns with a Canadian maple leaf on the front. I’ll be contributing some of my paintings to the fundraiser, as well.

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K. shows off one of her favorite rocks

Here’s how we made the rock magnets:

  1. The kids ran around the baseball field, gathering various little rocks.

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2. The first week, Tom tumbled the rocks with some abrasive. They came out clean, but still pretty rough. The kids washed all the gritty gray liquid off and Tom added new abrasive.

3. The second week and third weeks, the rocks were tumbled again.

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A. found an amethyst!

4. The fourth week was the last week of tumbling. This kids washed them off and shined them. We put a little lacquer on them to make them even prettier.

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5. Finally, we glued the magnets on the back. They’re ready to add some natural beauty to your fridge!

The older boys worked with volunteers to drill holes in coffee cans for the lanterns. Then everyone had a chance to paint the leaves Canada red.

Stacey and I are working on an informational display for the festival, too. All the kids and volunteers traced their hands on the background.

If you’re on Saint Martin, come visit us this Sunday (February 14) at Emilio Wilson Park in Cul de Sac between 10 and 4:30! Just head to Philipsburg, take the round-a-bout north instead of heading east to Cost-U-Less, and look for the park on your left a little past the baseball field. Let’s send these kids to Canada!

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One of our boys and Fred, a real, live Canadian! Also, note volunteer Andrea’s enthusiasm in the background. We have fun here.

 

 

 

Thanks to Stacey and Tom for providing the pictures for this post!

Papa Dan’s Pizza, Behind the Scenes

This is a special installment of Foodie Tuesdays! Today we are going to visit one of Sint Maarten’s best restaurants, Papa Dan’s. Come with me to discover delicious pizza flavors and the elements of business on an island.

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Papa Dan’s is located near American University of the Caribbean, between Tung Yuen Market and the coffee shop. It has been operating for nearly a decade, and has become an important part of the local community. The restaurant is hugely popular with students; at any given time, one can see AUC students walking briskly to class or study group with a pizza box in hand. It’s little wonder that the shop attracts so much local business. The surrounding neighborhood is constantly filled with the aroma of baking pizza, and once you try a Papa Dan pizza, you’re hooked. Why? Because there’s a lot more to Dan’s pizza than just pepperoni.

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I arrive at Papa Dan’s on this warm tropical morning, camera in hand. Dan Passerieu greets me at the back door and gives me a quick tour of his little kitchen. Cooled boxes of fresh toppings line one wall: cheese, veggies, meat, and tomato sauce for the traditional and barbecue sauce, jalapenos, pesto, and honey for the adventurous.

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The first thing you will notice when you visit Papa Dan’s is that the menu is no ordinary menu. Dan shows me the lists of pizzas and explains where some of the unique combinations came from.

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Student’s Special, a combination of mozzarella, Gorgonzola, pepperoni and honey, was the first special he created. Dan tells me about the history behind this pizza. Before Dan lived on Saint Martin, he ran a restaurant in Paris. He first came to Sint Maarten to visit a friend of his, who was a student at AUC. Dan fell in love with the island, and decided to stay.  His friend was a regular visitor of the shop, and always ordered the same thing- pepperoni. Finally, Dan insisted that he had to try something else, and concocted Student’s Special for his friend. Before long, Dan was getting constant requests for this pizza, so onto the menu it went.

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There are actually three other pizzas inspired by students. Dan named these pizzas after regulars from the school who ordered the same combination of toppings every day. If you visit Papa Dan’s, be creative with your toppings and tell your friends to order the same; who knows, your creation might end up on the menu!

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My personal favorite is Sugarmama, a combination of Gorgonzola, mozzarella, goat cheese, and honey. I would never have thought to put honey on a pizza, but it’s a surprisingly delicious addition.

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Making specialty pizzas on Sint Maarten is not all culinary art and creativity. Running a restaurant on an island poses special challenges. Dan’s current problem is a late shipment of mushrooms. Because everything has to be imported from the U.S. or Europe, he explains, you can’t always get what you need as soon as you want it. If a shipment is delayed, there’s nothing you can do. That’s the island life.

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I watch as Dan creates a pizza. First, he prepares fist-sized lumps of dough.

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Next, he runs the dough through a rolling machine.

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He tosses the circle of dough in the air.

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Next, Dan smooths a spoonful of sauce on the pizza.

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Finally, he adds cheese and toppings. This pizza is pepperoni. Dan’s favorite combo is mozzarella, mushroom, spinach, Gorgonzola, garlic, and honey.

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He places it in the oven. The warm scent of baking dough fills the little kitchen.

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Hot pizza, ready to eat!

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Before I leave the kitchen, Dan slides a hot pizza from the oven into a box and hands it to me. The distinctive scent of warm goat cheese floats up from the box. I smile, looking forward to the sweet-and-salty Sugarmama ambrosia that awaits me.

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Foodie Tuesdays: Bahamian Johnny Cake

Hi friends! Usually of Foodie Tuesdays, I tweak an international recipe and share it here on 3rd Culture Wife.

Today, I have glorious amounts of leftovers and absolutely refuse to cook.

We have ribs and pizza, so I doubt Ben will argue with that sentiment.

Instead of the usual, I decided to share with you my favorite Word Press baking post of the day. Incidentally, it fits in with my Caribbean theme. If you’ve ever visited the Caribbean, odds are you’ve enjoyed a nice, warm johnny cake. If you haven’t, now’s a great time to try it for yourself!

Click on the link below to visit Mandy G’s blog and learn how to make this classic Caribbean staple.

Bahamian Johnny Cake

Foodie Tuesdays: Amish Baked Oatmeal

Ben’s favorite breakfast is baked oatmeal. I usually make him something quicker, like toast or eggs, but once in a while I get up early to make this treat. It’s soft, chewey and sweet. It’s also filling and staves off the snacking.

I adapted this recipe to make ours.

Gather your ingredients:

-3 Cups Oatmeal

-1 Cup Brown Sugar

-Tablespoon cinnamon

-2 teaspoons baking powder

-1 teaspoon salt

-1 Cup Milk or Almond Milk

-2 Beaten Eggs

-1/4 Cup Melted Margerine

-4 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt

-2 teaspoons Vanilla or White Vanilla Extract

-1/2 Cup Raisins 

Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C

  
Mix together dry and wet ingredients separately.

Stir wet and dry mixtures together.

Coat a glass pan with margerine.

Pour mixture into pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. 

Yum!

  

Foodie Tuesdays: Persian in an Hour

Today’s recipe is one of one my most successful food attempts of all time. It is close-your-eyes-and-enjoy-the-moment delicious. My husband told me that this is the best way I’ve ever made chicken and that I have to make it again.

Now, that’s what I like to hear.

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I have honestly never thought of trying Persian food before yesterday. Our neighbor down the hall is leaving the island in a few months, and he offered us the spices, food, and first aid stuff he doesn’t plan to use before he leaves. Do we have the most awesome neighbors ever, or what? Some of the spices he gave us are used in Persian food. He explained their uses enough to me to be able to Google intelligently and find some yummy recipes.

Behold, zeerah polow and chicken.

Zeerah polow is rice with cumin seeds. This and the chicken should take about four hours to make the right way, but I only had an hour before dinner time, so I sped things up a bit. Here’s Zeerah Polow in cut-time.

Gather your ingredients:

  • Brown rice, 3 cups
  • Cumin seeds, 3 tablespoons
  • One chicken quarter or two breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Plain yogurt, one cup
  • Dried mint, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon
  • Black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Paprika, 1 teaspoon
  • Salt, 1/2 tablespoon
  • Flour, one cup

Rinse rice until the water is clear. Boil six cups of water and add rice. Simmer. Scoop rice from the bottom of the pan to the top every few minutes.

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Toast the cumin seeds in a pan. Set aside.

When the rice is done, drain rice and mix with cumin seeds.

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Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Cut into strips.

Mix garlic powder and yogurt. Let chicken marinate in the mixture for ten minutes.

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Mix flour and rest of spices in another bowl.

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Heat oil 1/4 inch deep in a skillet. Coat chicken in flour/spice mixture and fry in oil until the chicken is cooked and the batter is crispy.

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Serve with limes. Enjoy!

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