All posts filed under: Gambia (The)


Monday Meal Review: The Gambia

THE SCENE I scrunched up my face, trying to remember. We were standing at the farmer’s market on opening day, people milling about us like ants, everyone grabbing at the last of the produce before the farmers packed their bags. Alexandra tucked 2 giant bunches of shiny green onions behind her stroller – only $3.00 at closing time. I’d paid $2.00 for 1 bunch an hour earlier. “Oh, yes – I can’t believe I forgot!” I said to Alexandra, “The dessert is going to be hot mangoes in custard.” I shook my head, glanced up at the sun, and shifted my feet. My face was already sunburned.  How could it be 93 degrees at 11 am in April? Where was spring? Did it totally skip over Oklahoma? And why on earth was I making a hot dessert in these conditions? Alexandra laughed. “You’re making the most awful face.” “I’m trying to remember why I decided on a recipe that involves turning on my stove. The air conditioner will never keep up.” Later, when our girls …

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West African Spinach with Groundnuts | Peanut Butter

Serves 4 I’m not sure why this idea seemed so strange to me. West Africans love greens with peanut butter (they call them groundnuts), and I should have never doubted them. The earthy peanuts stand up to the mighty bitter spinach. It balances out nicely with the sweet peppers, but spicy would work wonderfully as well. If you can pick up the spinach and onions from your farmer’s market, I highly recommend it. The fresh flavors will crunch and zip and smile inside your mouth. Ingredients: peanut oil (or regular) 3 green onions, sliced 1 lb fresh spinach 1 red bell pepper 1/4 cup natural peanut butter 1/2 cup water salt pepper or cayenne Method: I was just so happy the farmer’s market opened up for business the same day we cooked The Gambia. Look at these green onions and the healthy, sultry spinach. That’s right. I said sultry. Cook the pepper in hot peanut oil (or vegetable oil if you don’t have any) Add in peanut butter and water. Stir to combine into a …

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Lemon Ginger Tea | Gingembre

Makes about 3 cups concentrated juice Want to fall in love vigorously? Ease a nasty stomach bug immediately? Wake up cheerfully? Drink a giant glass of spicy, cold lemon ginger tea. It’s like a big punch in the face, but in a good way. This drink is so strong, you’ll do the post-whiskey-shot shudder. Our recipe is a concentrated blend – be sure to water it down to taste. Special tip for the flu season – add a splash of hot water to dilute for a great, cleansing drink. Perfect if your sinuses feel miserable. Ingredients: 1/2 cup grated ginger 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, pulp and all 2 cups water Method: Get ready to purify yourself. Get the juiciest lemons you can squeeze, the spiciest ginger on the shelf, and the sweetest sugar in your pantry. Peel and grate fresh ginger root (a bit of skin doesn’t matter as it will be strained). Add to a small pot with sugar, lemons and water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook …

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Eat a baguette like a west African

I know it’s springtime and I’m supposed to be nibbling lettuce, trying on my bathing suit five times a day, and sipping nothing but water. Life doesn’t always work out like that. Last night, for example, I was in huddled in the closet with Miss Ava. That’s right – my noisy almost-two-year-old and I were waiting out two rounds of tornado sirens. It was chaos. Fearing for my life makes me crave comfort food. If you are surviving on lettuce and water, please forgive me for this post. You might wait a day to try on your bathing suit. I thought I’d heard it all when it came to baguette sandwiches. I was wrong. Here are two West African sandwiches that I would gladly eat while hiding from a tornado: The Omelet This one is pretty straight forward, but about as decadent as it gets: a deep-fried omelet laid across a baguette. It’s sold at the tanganas, or street food shacks, that you can find along dusty dirt roads in the Gambia. For those of you …

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Mango and Ginger Cream Parfaits

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 the cream with a gallop of mangoes in the center of a small bowl for rustic appeal. Inspired by “Stewed Mangoes” in The World Cookbook for Students. Ingredients For the stewed mangoes 3-4 small mangoes, diced 1/4 cup water 1/3 cup sugar, or as needed (if your mango is ripe you may not need any sugar) For the ginger custard 1 1/2 tsp packed fresh grated ginger 2 eggs 1 cup whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup sugar Method: First for …

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Menu: The Gambia

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 Gambian menu features a special burst of fresh and local flavor – the spinach and green onions came from the very first day of the Cherry Street Farmer’s Market in Tulsa. Nothing like opening day at a farmer’s market, when all the goodies are vibrant, plump, and just waiting to be snapped, popped, and nibbled. I simply shut my eyes and imagined I was in Gambia. The temperature was about right – over 90 degrees. West African Spinach with Groundnuts …

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About the food of The Gambia

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 worm inching into the continents western coastline, divided by the Gambia river and dividing Senegal. Thanks to the river’s fresh waters, Gambia has bountiful produce and abundant fishing. Staples are fairly typical of Western Africa – peanuts, peppers, tomatoes, green onions (called mandinka) and more exotic fare like fermented locust beans (do you remember these funky, blue-cheese tasting tidbits, from when we cooked Babenda? [Recipe] Ah, memories.) Well, much like Burkina Faso, people from The Gambia also enjoy bitter greens cooked with strong flavors, especially peanut …

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