Week 7- Africa

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I was given the opportunity to come to class a little late this week because it was Harmony’s first day of Kindergarten. Huge day. Stressful day. Mommy took two prescribed xanax first thing so I wouldn’t have a meltdown sending her off on the bus. This also made me much calmer for class, incidentally.

We had TONS of food this week. Africa was split into sections and each group had to cook North African food plus an additional section. My group had East Africa. When I prepared the recipe cards for this week, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy the foods all that much, just from the ingredients. I was wrong. I don’t think I could have been more wrong, actually.

Because I came in late, I just jumped in to help where I could. The couscous had not been started yet and I knew it needed to sit for an hour prior to cooking since I had prepared it a few weeks earlier. I got that started and then jumped on preparing the Irio.

(Eggplant Curry, top - Couscous, bottom)

Irio is simple to prepare. You basically simmer green peas, potatoes, corn, and spinach with chicken stock and then pass it through a food mill and then season with salt and pepper. This is what I would consider comfort food. It may not be unhealthy, but the end product is a hearty, pasty dip that would be best served with chips for a texture contrast, in my opinion. I would also consider serving it as a side dish as an alternative to regular mashed potatoes.

(Boiled Plantains, top - Irio, bottom)

One of the dishes that surprised me the most was the Congo Chicken “Soup”. I have soup in quotation marks because our dish turned out so thick that it wouldn’t be considered soup even in the most lax of terms. This dish has peanut butter in with the chicken which is why I was hesitant about the possibility of it. Several people ended up still not enjoying it because of the peanut butter, but I found myself returning again and again to get another taste of it. I couldn’t eat a great quantity of this and I definitely needed a palette cleanser in between bites because it was pretty thick. We eat A LOT of chicken at home throughout the week and I’ve begun to be kind of burned out on it though, so this was a nice change of pace.

(Harissa, left - Congo Chicken "Soup", right)

Another item that I REALLY enjoyed were the banana and chile fritters. I did not eat many of them because they were fried and therefore unhealthy, but the flavor was amazing, the texture was perfection, and if I wasn’t health conscious I could easily have gobbled up a plateful of these. They seemed like food you would find at a fair next to funnel cakes.

Boiled plantains were also on the menu. I’m not a huge fan of plantains so I wasn’t surprised that a dish that consisted of boiling plantains and then mashing them with salt and pepper wasn’t appetizing to me. At all.

Date cookies were also made by each team. Apparently our teams cookies came out the best. They had a good texture and nice flavor. They were sweet without being overly so. I love dates, too, so it wasn’t surprising that this was a winner in my book.

There were many other dishes prepared this week, but none of the other flavors were remarkable enough to stick in my memory, and I probably wouldn’t remember them at all if I didn’t have the pictures that I took.


jennifer said...

I would love to try the "soup". Landon loves cous cous by it self, I prefer it mixed with something like roasted tomatoes and mushrooms and shrimp.

Sparkle said...

wow everything on here looks so good. how are you able to travel so much. i cook at home :D lol check out my blog.. take care

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