Recipe: Mango and Ginger Cream Parfaits

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Serves 8 (really this depends on the size of your mangoes) What would you make if you had milk and ginger root, but no refrigeration? What if you had mangoes but no ice cream machine or blender? You'd use up that milk as fast as possible - whip it up into a ginger custard and toss it with stewed mangoes! This is a high class treat in The Gambia, where real milk is far less common than imported powdered milk. As for the parfait glasses? Totally a Sasha-spin. Feel free to just dollop … [Read more...]

Menu: The Gambia

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Can anyone look at these babies and not smile? I mean, really. I love, love, love the joy pouring out of their faces. This picture could be used to replace depression medicine. And I just know it can help you do your taxes. That's right. For anyone in the USA who has yet to file their taxes, take a moment to look at these babies, absorb the joy and peace. You'll be calmer, nicer, and your brain won't feel as much like scrambled jelly over the next 72 hours. That has to count for something. Our … [Read more...]

About the food of The Gambia

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This week we're cooking The Gambia. Not Gambia. The Gambia. I like that. It has presence. Has power. Did you know Facebook was originally The Facebook? It's true. I saw it in the movie "Social Network." Edited to add: It's THE Social Network. I sort of love that I made this error while writing about THE Gambia. So, back to The Gambia. Despite her grandiose name, this country is teeny tiny - the smallest country in Africa - 30 miles wide at it's widest. She looks rather like a wiggly … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Gabon

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THE SCENE Like cold mercury in a hot thermometer, I quickly moved out of my comfort zone. Failure flushed my cheeks. I felt sun burnt from standing over hot flames. I was stifled. Mad. In order to save any semblance of a sane human being, I sat for a good twenty minutes by myself. I could have made 13.3 omelets in that time. Rather, I should have been able to. But I was out of eggs. I was out of eggs because I broke them all. The counters were littered with mistakes. Eggs that browned … [Read more...]

Recipe: French Omelet

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Makes 1 omelet I cracked a mighty big smile when I read that omelets are all over Africa, especially in former French colonies. When I attended the Culinary Institute of America I learned from our Drill-Sargent chef how to make a perfect French omelet, as tidy as a neatly folded blanket. For my final exam I had to make one in less than 90 seconds. In fact, I had to plate it and walk it across the kitchen to the chef in less than 90 seconds. As if that wasn't hard enough, we lost marks if the … [Read more...]

Recipe: Starfruit Curd with Tropical Fruit

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Makes about 1 1/4 cups of curd Read this recipe at your own peril. Inspired by the bountiful tropical fruit of Gabon, you'll be inevitably faced with a choice. Spend an extravagant $12 dollars on 2 star fruit to make this simple treat, or live a life untouched by the smiles this dessert could bestow upon you. While Gabon certainly grows mangoes, bananas and starfruit - and most likely serves up a great fruit curd in the capital (they were a French colony after all) - this particular recipe is … [Read more...]

Crazy for the Pangolin

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Ever think to your hungry self "I could really go for a giant, roly-poly, tree-climbing, toothless anteater with scales, right about now?" Me neither. But in Gabon it happens. Meet the pangolin. In the old days, before extinction was a very real threat, pangolin was considered top notch bush meat - great for beefing up stews and slathering with spicy sauces. The only catch is, once this delightful animal rolls up into a ball, even lions cannot break through the scales to get a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Hickory Smoked Flank Steak Sandwiches (Coupé coupé)

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Serves 4 Barbecue, called coupé coupé, is all over Africa. This sandwich is inspired by Gabonese love for smoked meats piled into crusty baguettes.  I posted this recipe in diary format because, well, it was a little bit of an Adventure. Ingredients: 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1 1/2 tsp powdered chicken bouillon 1/4 tsp cayenne salt pepper 1 1/2 lbs flank steak grilled poblano peppers, skinned and cut into strips 1 onion, sliced and grilled (I grilled in foil with olive oil) 1 … [Read more...]