Tag Archives: cooking

Boiled Lobster and Fish Bake

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Last Saturday, I got a special treat: Steamed lobster dripping with melted butter, and a night off from cooking. That’s right– my man made me a fancy dinner just because my weekend was busy. He and his friend Matt made an amazing seafood meal of baked fish and steamed lobster. You can make it, too!

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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 —

A Homestead/Historical Breakfast

Here’s a Foodie Tuesday from the blog Homesteading 101.

For us, history is very much a part of why we homestead. We have a strong tie to the land where we live and to the history of our ancestors who lived and worked here before us. We still do many of the things that they did during daily life. Making certain foods is obviously […]

http://homesteading101.net/2016/03/23/a-homesteadhistorical-breakfast/

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!

  

Grocery Shopping in French

“Ground beef. Like, beef– cow meat– but it’s all ground up in little bits.” I did my best unofficial international sign language to accompany my explanation.

“Ah! Bœuf haché?” The grocery store employee led me to the freezer and pointed at the package of meat, eyebrows raised. “This?” He asked. It didn’t look exactly like the ground beef at Walmart, but it appeared to be ground beef nonetheless. I smiled and thanked him, placing the package in my cart.

There are only a handful of affordable grocery stores on the island of Sint Maarten, and my options are to pay $170 a trip to shop in English or $102.75 to shop in French. I choose the language barrier and saving seventy bucks.

I spend a lot of time staring at labels, trying to make out what this can or that box holds. I’ve become pretty good at guessing, and I’ve even picked up some French in the process (although don’t ask me to try to pronounce it). Whenever I learn to speak French, I’ll have a head start. I will know the word for every single food item ever invented.

Some of the labels are easy. I babysat for a bilingual family, and their kids called milk lait at all times. The cow on the front also helps.

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Others aren’t so easy. I always thought fromage was just the word for “cheese,” but apparently it’s the word for every single dairy product on the planet.

This is not cheese. It’s yogurt. When I bought it, I needed yogurt, but it looked like it could be  cottage cheese or whipped cream. I decided that the risk was worth it. Ben hoped it would be whipped cream, so he was disappointed.

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This does not say fromage, but it IS cheese. Thank goodness this bag is see-through, or I would have been even more confused than I already was.

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The hardest products to find are the ones I don’t know the French word for, can’t see through the packaging, and don’t even recognize the packaging. It took me a few trips and some asking around to find baking soda. I was looking for the small orange box, but apparently Arm and Hammer doesn’t do French.

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I suspect the packaging issue is why I still can’t find baking powder. My friend Aqiyla went shopping with me yesterday, and she couldn’t find it either, although she speaks French. You don’t realize how powerful branding is until you’re dropped in the middle of unrecognizable foreign brands.

One thing that is not hard for me to locate, however, is Nutella! I think I have a Nutella radar built into my brain. I’m OK with becoming more European, if it involves chocolate for breakfast. Yes, please!

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I have encouraging moments, too. I’m getting to the point where I can read a lot of French words, even if I couldn’t use a single one in conversation. I can understand most French signage around town, and I can tell the difference between all-purpose flour and pastry flour. I can even scan package ingredients for allergens and be fairly confident that I won’t send anyone into anaphylactic shock.

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I never thought I’d say this, but there are days that I really miss Walmart. But at the same time, I’m glad I have the chance to make shopping a bilingual adventure. After all, I never quite know what I’m going to come home with…

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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.

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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