All posts filed under: Equatorial Guinea


Monday Meal Review: Equatorial Guinea

THE SCENE: A thick strand of ooze connected my spoon to the serving bowl. I wiped it up quickly, before mounding the spiced okra onto Ava’s plate. She looked at the dark green mountain. She looked at me, shook her head, and signed for more fish. This wasn’t going to be easy. “Try the okra, Ava,” I said, cloaking my desperation with a cheerful voice. “Okra. Okra.” I repeated, slowly. I pointed to the plate and smiled. “Try it!” We watched her. We waited. Ava scrunched up her nose and shook her head again. She pushed her food around a little, then squealed with delight. Goldmine! She found another piece of fish, hiding behind the okra. She popped it into her mouth and smiled. One more time I offered her a bite. Just in case. Again, she shook her head but, instead of saying no, she said – clear as day – “Okwa! Okwa. Okwa!” We applauded her new word and encouraged her to say it a few more times. She did, beaming and grinning. She was so happy …

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Hot Curried Okra

Serves 4-6 Okra amazes me. Fried, it behaves nicely. Crispy, yummy, good. When stewed okra becomes a little more… shall we say… unwieldy? Slippery? Viscous? No matter. In Equatorial Guinea they make the best of it and turn this tricky veggie into spicy and exotic side dish with a few simple spices (and one explosive habanero pepper). I avoided fire-engine heat levels by simply splitting the habanero to let a little juice out. It was more than enough heat for me. While the okra becomes characteristically gooey, the flavor is amazing – and supposedly, one of the forerunners to southern gumbo. Ingredients: 1 tsp red palm oil 1 onion, chopped 1 habenero pepper, slit 1 tsp curry 1/4 tsp chili powder 1 lb sliced okra water, to cover Method: If you can get fresh okra, fantastic. If not, thaw a bag of okra. Meanwhile, take a stroll. Wave at your neighbors and smile so big they’ll wonder what’s up your sleeve. When you get home, heat up the red palm oil in a medium pot. Add the …

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Ginger Millet Porridge

Serves 2-4 What is breakfast like at your house? Does one person eat more sugar than oatmeal? More syrup than pancake? That’s Mr. Picky. One day I fully expect him to eat a bowl of nothing but sugar. Meanwhile I just barely dust my breakfast with sweeteners. While eating, we take turns shaking our heads at each other’s crazy eating habits. Today, take your sugar out for a spin on a bowl of millet porridge, an African treat. Particularly popular in central Africa, you can make this dish as sweet as you like (although the characteristic whole grain/bitter flavor will remain strong in millet) – or you can leave it unsweetened for a more savory dish. Ingredients: 1 cup millet flour (available at African markets or some health food stores) 1/2 tsp grated ginger 1/8 cup sugar, plus extra as needed 1 cup water 1 1/2 -2 cups whole milk cinnamon for garnish, to taste Method: Good morning sleepyhead! Rub the fog from your eyes. Grating a little fresh ginger will help awaken the senses. This …

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Squirrels, Elephant Ears, and Equatorial Guinea (w/ Poll)

Tulsa seems to be channeling a little bit of Equatorial Guinea.  After record-breaking snowstorms, the sky is blue, the air is warm, love birds are chirping, and a squirrel is peering at me over a fence. He’s wondering where the 14 inches of snow went. And why the trees are budding in February. The one thing he doesn’t have to worry about, however, is being dinner. I’m not interested and my cats are way too slow. In Equatorial Guinea, Mr Squirrel might be faced with a different fate. In the countryside, anything that moves is liable to become dinner – although gorillas and monkeys are now off limits. But what about veggies? The people of Equatorial Guinea also eat their veggies. One of the more interesting is the malanga – a tuber with leafy greens that came over with Cubans. Apparently in the 19th century, when slaves and political prisoners were freed from Cuba, many landed in Equatorial Guinea. They brought their malanga with them and the rest is history. Have you heard of elephant ears? …

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Stuffed Grilled Trout

Serves 2 You’ve seen them at the fish market. Whole trout. Somewhat intimidating, but also intriguing.  Friends, if you’ve never ventured in the world of whole fish, I highly recommend it. Cooking them is beyond easy and the flavor is exceptional. Today we stuff them with peppers, onions, and fresh lemons –  flavors characteristic of Equatorial Guinea. Slightly spicy and super fresh – make this for a special occasion or just for fun. Ingredients: 2 whole trout, cleaned 1/4 cup thinly sliced poblano 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion 4 lemon slices salt pepper Method: First things first. Light a candle. The flickering light is warm and inviting, and does a great job of eating up fish smells. I burn candles daily, fish or no fish. Gather your ingredients and preheat the grill to medium. You won’t need too much onion and pepper, unless your fish are huge. Rinse and pat dry the fish. Then season the cavity with salt and pepper – preferably fresh, coarse sea salt. Add thinly sliced onions and poblanos… for a little …

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Menu: Equatorial Guinea

Yesterday you asked me if I was going to be cooking a monkey head. You asked because I shared a photo of a cooked monkey head with you. Totally understandable. To answer your question – there are two reasons why I will not be cooking a monkey head this week. And I think it’s best I leave those reasons to your imagination. Instead I’m cooking a whole fish and will include the whole head for authenticity purposes. As for the rest? Thankfully, Equatorial Guinea is full of all sorts of wonderful dishes, dishes whose ingredients are easily found in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Check it out… what sounds good to you? Millet Porridge with Ginger [Recipe] Millet flour cooked until thick with milk, fresh ginger and sugar. Finished with a dusting of cinnamon. Or sin, as mom likes to call it. Serve for breakfast. Grilled Stuffed Trout [Recipe] Whole trout stuffed with thinly sliced poblano, onion, and lemons – then grilled until flaky. Hot Curried Okra from Equatorial Guinea [Recipe] Okra cooked with curry, chili powder, and …

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About the food of Equatorial Guinea

My riding instructor invited me hunting when I was 15 years old. The thought of riding through France’s foggy woods seemed romantic, adventurous, and disarmingly elite. I desperately wanted to say yes, but I had a squeamish feeling I just couldn’t shake. Bottom line? I didn’t want to kill my dinner and I didn’t want to watch other people kill their dinner. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. I was surrounded by supermarkets, cafes, street vendors, and – just down from our house – carrot and mushroom farms. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I said no. The closest I ever got to hunting was to pluck a carrot from the farm. Illegally. It was the biggest carrot I’d ever seen but, thanks to a lack of running water and guilt, it tasted like dirt. In Equatorial Guinea, killing dinner is not always a choice. The rural people are known for hunting and fishing for their dinners because this is the cheapest and most available way to eat. Whole fish [Recipe], crustaceans, and various …

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