Recipe: Cardamom Caakiri

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There are very few things that surprise me any more. A toddler falling apart five minutes past her bedtime? Predictable. Going twice as long between mowings in the 100F-mid-July-inferno? Guaranteed. Two things that do succeed at surprising me? The last season of Lost (no spoilers please!) and using couscous to make a tangy-sweet pudding. Yes. I'm considering eating caakiri while watching Lost to see if the surprises cancel each other out. It could happen. So. Let's back up a moment and … [Read more...]

Recipe: North African Sage n’ Green Tea

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There are a few ways to keep cool in hot weather. In the west, we wear shorts, drink cold drinks, and blast the A/C. In Niger, they use a completely different set of tricks. The polar opposite, in fact. For starers, they cover up. Believe it or not, wearing long layers made of lightweight cotton keeps the sun's hot rays off your skin. The flowing movement of the fabric acts like natural air conditioning. The elephants accomplish the same thing by dusting themselves with dirt. Not quite … [Read more...]

Recipe: West African Toasted Baguette Sandwich with Spinach Scrambled Eggs

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If you're going to serve an egg sandwich, you best do it up right. Layer hot, scrambled eggs in a crusty, toasty baguette and wrap 'em up. Make sure there's something green in there to keep you strong and healthy. Tie it with a bow. Simply put: turn breakfast into a present for your belly. I learned this trick from Niger. When I dug around for traditional recipes I kept stumbling upon the same thing: eggs sandwiches sold by street vendors. Simple. Comforting. Filling. This is the … [Read more...]

Menu: Niger

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Our menu for Niger is all about familiar ingredients. This menu is full of that which is already under our noses, no matter where we live. The fun part is seeing the ingredients arranged in new ways. This time I chose street food, a comforting evening sipper, and a fun way to use up extra couscous. What sounds good to you? Toasted Baguette sandwich with Spinach Scrambled Eggs [Recipe] Inspired by the street stalls of Niger, where baguette sandwiches wrapped in newspaper are commonplace, and … [Read more...]

About the food of Niger

Dunes de Temet. Photo by Jacques Taberlet.

If Niger were a woman, her tiptoes would be in the tropics, her body in the savanna, and her hair would flow through the Sahara Desert's rolling dunes. The people living in this hot, dry country favor a combination of north African and west-central African foods. Should you happen upon a street vendor in Niger,  you might find fried doughs, various meats on sticks, and baguette sandwiches  [Recipe]. These often come piled on scraps of newspaper (or are wrapped up in it), so - if you're … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua, a.k.a. The Sweet Sea and Cocibolca Lake. Photo by Aaron Escobar.

When I say "toxic," what comes to mind? Is it a food? Is it a person in your life? Is it a lifestyle led by you or someone you know? This week we ate yucca - a tuber known to have toxic bits of cyanide if processed improperly. In the early days of this adventure, I made the mistake of grating up the tough fibers on the inside of the yucca, where these toxins are concentrated. Several hours later this novice error caused me to crash down onto the floor unconscious, only to awake with ringing … [Read more...]

Recipe: Pineapple Horchata

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This summer I've seen almost everything. Laughter in sad moments. Tears in happy moments. Life is a bumble-all-over-the place, as it should be when temperatures screech up into the 100's. What I haven't seen? Purple-feathered dancing ladies. This Pineapple Horchata is certainly the closest I'll get to this sort of carnival fun. And every summer should have a little carnival fun, don't you think? The recipe is a cooked horchata (homemade rice drink), different from the amazing no-cook … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lime & Cabbage Slaw with Yucca | Vigoron

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Today we're taking a bite of Nicaraguan sunshine. This is the kind of sunshiny soul food that satisfies cravings. Bored cravings. Excited cravings. Lonely cravings. I'm ready for winter cravings. I miss my man cravings.  I wish I could sing cravings. It's like the fairy godmother of salads. This sunshine is magic. So what is it? Vigoron. A heaping mound of comfort, nestled on top of deep green banana leaves. This is Nicaraguan street food, designed to make your mouth happy. First … [Read more...]