Month: July 2010


Cornmeal Pap

Serves 2-4 In Botswana, Cornmeal Pap is eaten with the fingers, dipped into stews to pick up additional flavor. Like soft polenta, Cornmeal Pap goes well with any stewed meat or vegetable. The mixture stiffens up quickly, however, so serve immediately after cooking. NOTE: Please use white cornmeal for authentic pap. (I had to substitute yellow) Ingredients: 1 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind is best) 1 quart broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef) salt pepper Method: 1. In a medium pot, bring stock to a boil. 2. Stream in cornmeal slowly. Whisk continually to keep mixture from lumping. 3. As mixture thickens, you may need to switch to a wooden spoon. Allow to simmer gently until cooked to desired consistency, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (Pap stiffens up considerably as it cools). Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe In Botswana, Cornmeal Pap is eaten with the fingers, dipped into stews to pick up additional flavor. Like soft polenta, Cornmeal Pap goes well with any stewed meat or …

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Stewed Beef | Seswaa

Serves 2-4 Seswaa is traditionally highly salted. In fact, the simplest renditions of this yummy dish are made with nothing more than beef, salt, and water. Our version includes onion and minimal salt, since I was serving it to my daughter. The thickened juices become rich from long, slow simmering. Something between gravy and pulled pork in texture, this dish would be wonderful poured over biscuits. Ingredients: 1 1/2 lbs beef, cubed (I used chuck) 1 large onion, chopped water 2-4 Tbsp flour salt pepper Method: 1. Place all ingredients in a medium pot, except flour. The water should just cover the top of the beef. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours. NOTE: Skim the fat every 20 minutes or so for a lighter flavor. 2. Using an immersion blender (or a mallet) break up some of the meat into small pieces. 3. Make a flour slurry (mix a little water with flour until it forms a glue-like consistency). Add to stew. Cook a few additional minutes, until the flour thickens …

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Bostwanan Stewed Spinach Greens

Serves 2-4 I love this easy, no-nonsense, super healthy side dish from Botswana.  Simply steam spinach in its own juices until all the vegetables are soft. If you’d like to leave the tomatoes a little firmer, add them half way through cooking. Ingredients: 1 lb baby spinach 1 large onion, sliced thinly 2 tomatoes, chopped 1 green pepper, sliced thinly oil salt pepper Method: 1. Add all ingredients to  a large skillet or wok. Cover and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until all vegetables are soft. Serve hot. The thinner the onion, the quicker it will cook and become tender. Look how pretty – you can see the knife through the onion! 🙂 ‘ Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe I love this easy, no-nonsense, super healthy side dish from Botswana. Simply steam spinach in its own juices until all the vegetables are soft. If you’d like to leave the tomatoes a little firmer, add them half way through cooking.Bostwanan Stewed Spinach Greens CourseSides & …

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Photo Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Botswana: Land of the Loofah (with poll)

Aren’t Friday’s are just … the best? A day of completion – the week’s end – on the eve of renewal! I hope your Friday is wonderful. For a little entertainment, check out these factoids about Botswana… On the dry side… Two thirds of Botswana is covered by the sands of the Kalahari desert. In these parched areas, a variety of wild melon supply water and nutrition to inhabitants. Vegetables are often salted and dried for preservation. The marama bean, encased in a hard shell and high in protein and oil, is one of the most important sources of nutrition in the Kalahari. When roasted the rich, soft, nutty flavor is a cross between cashew and chestnut. On the wet side… Botswana is home to the sprawling Okavango Delta (also nicknamed the Okavango Swamp), the largest inland delta in the world (17,000 square miles). This area is a critical supplier of water to Botswana and neighboring countries. Okavango is home to big game safaris, where visitors can observe zebras, buffalo, giraffe, lions, and wildebeest. I love …

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Photo by Qurren

How to prepare and eat Loofah

Yes, you read that right… loofah. I had no idea that when I began eating food from all around the world, I would end up running across loofah. Turns out, in Botswana, as well as many, many other countries, Loofah is common eats. The more I read about it, the more I realize that Loofah is not so “exotic” as I originally thought. Whoa, now. Before you run off to your bathroom to slice and dice and cook up your loofah, let me explain. When I say loofah is common eats, I don’t mean the dry, hay colored, scratchy, back and callous scrubber… like the one you have next to your bathtub: I don’t think any amount of steaming, boiling, frying, or beating could make those loofahs tender. They come from the old, crusty loofah plant, the one that’s toughened up with age. What they actually eat is the tender, young loofah. When picked fresh, the green loofah plant is slightly softer than a cucumber and slightly crispier than a zucchini. When cooked, the flavor is mild …

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Menu: Botswana

Although simple in preparation, our Botswana Global Table relies on the freshest produce and meat, as well as gentle, slow cooking for fantastic depth of flavor. PS. Ava turned one on the 4th! Happy Birthday, Ava! Stewed Beef (Seswaa) [Recipe] Slow-cooked beef with just water, onion, salt, and pepper. The meat is often pounded to make a fine texture and flour can be added to thicken the stew into a gravy. Stewed Spinach Greens [Recipe] Spinach cooked slowly with onion, tomato, bell pepper, and water. Cornmeal Pap [Recipe] Cornmeal pap reminds me of soft polenta. This African staple is eaten with most meals in Botswana. Watermelon Slices Watermelon is thought to have originated in Botswana, in the Kalahari Desert. Rooibos Tea This popular tea is enjoyed throughout southern Africa. Serve with fresh lemon slices and honey. NOTE: I found several brands of Rooibos Tea at my local Whole Foods.

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Falkirks (pots) used for special occasion stews. Photo by

About the Food of Botswana

Today is a great day. While learning about the food of Botswana, I raised my eyebrows at least five times. I love days like that. Plus, I almost convinced my husband we were going to be eating worms. That’s right. Worms. You should have seen his face. The people of Botswana prize Mopane worms as a national specialty. This unusual delicacy is actually a caterpillar who earned its name by feeding on the local Mopane tree. The worms are eaten fresh, dried, or canned with tomato sauce or hot sauce. Most families are able to harvest them from the trees near their homes. Luckily we don’t have any Mopane worms in our backyard, so we won’t be eating any for this week’s Global Table. Keith is relieved, to say the least. I hope you’re not disappointed. Speaking of points… take a look at this thing! In general, meat is saved for special occasions, including beef, goat, and chicken. Preparation is simple – pieces of meat are slowly simmered with onion until very soft, then pounded into small …

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Monday Meal Review: Bosnia and Herzegovina

This is meal #22 as I cook and eat food from all around the world. This weekend’s Global Table Adventure brought us to our knees. The incredible flavors of Bosnia and Herzegovina will suit those who enjoy the bright, bold flavors of Mediterranean and Eastern European foods. While nothing is incredibly complicated, the entire meal flows together like a happy love song. Chopped Salad (Sopska Salata) [Recipe] What I liked most about this dish: A refreshing accompaniment to grilled meat, Sopska Salata is a delightful summertime salad. There’s no denying it. Tomato, pepper, red onion, and feta were made to go together.  I could eat this salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, I did just that with the leftovers! Please tell me I’m not alone – surely someone else eats leftover salad for breakast? Someone? Anyone?! Anyway, you can add lettuce if you want to stretch this recipe to feed more people. What I liked least about this dish: I only have one regret – I could not use my own produce in this …

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Bosnian Finger Sausages | Cevapi

Makes about 16 finger sausages Cevapi, pronounced cheh-VAH-pee, are highly addictive mini sausages served in a special Bosnian pita bread called Somun. You may substitute either naan or other thick, doughy bread. Some Bosnians swear by quickly dipping the bread in beef broth and heating for a minute over a hot grill. The hot, slightly brothy bread with Cevapi is a bite of heaven. Simply inspired! Although this recipe contains pork, you may also make it with equal parts lamb and beef. NOTE: Pljeskavice (pronounced PLYEH-skah-vee-tseh) are made the same way, but you add finely diced onion & green pepper to the mixture.  Then form them into little patties, about 3″ diameter.  Serve the same way. UPDATE: A reader sent in the following comment, which may be useful to you in your stovetop travels: In Bosnia they are not made with pork. It is good to mix the meats, but pork is not used because of the high percentage of Muslim population in the country. Part of the country might use it, but again their most …

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Balkan Baked Beans | Prebranac

Serves 2-4 Prebranac is rich, comforting, and tasty. This baked bean dish is like a warm hug from Bosnia, the “Heart of Europe.” The key is to slowly cook the onion until the golden, sweetness develops. I will be making Prebranac over and over again. I suggest you do the same! 🙂 Ingredients: 1 cup dry Lima beans, cooked (or 2 cans, drained) 2 medium onions, chopped 1/8 cup olive oil 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 Tbsp paprika seasoning salt pepper 1 Tbsp of flour Method: 1. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat up olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden. 2. Add garlic, paprika, flour, salt, and pepper. Cook a few minutes until spices are fragrant and flour is moistened. 3. Add beans and stir to combine. 4. Pour into a casserole and bake until crusty on top, about 15 minutes. Enjoy hot! Just look at all those ooey-gooey, sweet onions! Awesome. Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Prebranac is rich, comforting, and tasty. This baked bean dish is like a …

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Shopska Salad | Shopska Salata

Serves 2-4 Can a salad be seductive? Maybe not. But a salad definitely can be charming and fun, like the boy next door. That’s exactly how I feel about Shopska Salad. Like a school girl, I crushed on this happy combination of crunchy peppers, farmer’s market tomatoes, and red onion. To make the salad even better, I tossed “Barrel-Aged Feta” in the mix. This cheese is just like regular feta with a tad stronger – and a “hair” funkier – flavor. In fact, Barrel-Aged Feta is a great “first” funky cheese for those of you trying to convince a family member to “go funky.” Ingredients 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced 2 tomatoes, chopped 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced olive oil red wine vinegar 2 oz feta cheese (plain or aged), crumbled salt pepper Method: 1. Combine the pepper, tomato, and onion. Sprinkle with oil and vinegar, top with parsley and season. Add the cheese and serve. You could serve this salad unmixed, and let everyone take the pieces they want. As an option, mix in …

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