All posts filed under: Ghana

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Monday Meal Review: Ghana

THE SCENE While I’m usually a pretty casual gal, I adore setting the table for a dinner party. Hours before dinner I begin. First, I put out water glasses and wine glasses. I listen, as with a seashell, for the chitter chatter of a hundred dinner parties in the sparkling glass. Soft, cotton napkins are next – each one tucked inside a beaded stone ring which rustles when you lift it. The tough cloth comforts nervous guests. It doesn’t rip, like paper. The kids can tell. Something special is happening. For this particular dinner – our Ghanaian Global Table – wide soup bowls gleamed on top of honey-colored bamboo mats. Small, mismatched finger bowls were next, for the Red Red. A pitcher of rosy Watermelon Lemonade went out at the last minute. The table was so crammed, I had to choose between the food and flowers for the center piece. Food won. Is it odd to set the table so elegantly for a rustic meal? I’ve seen jeans at weddings and sweat pants at the …

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Black eyed peas in red sauce | Red Red

Serves 4-6 Have you always wanted to dye your hair red, but have never had the courage? Do the next best thing – cozy up to a bowl of west-African “Red Red.” Ginger people look dull in comparison to this electric one pot wonder. The bright red color comes from the addition of shockingly excessive amounts of red palm oil – up to one cup for three cups of beans in some recipes. Traditional recipes include so much oil that a red ring forms around the base of the beans. I’ve been fairly modest with my addition for health reasons and because I find the flavor of red palm oil quite strong. Play around with it – start with 1/8 cup, and add more at the end of cooking until you like the taste. Ingredients: 1/4 cup red palm oil (or more to taste) 1 small onion, chopped 1 poblano, chopped (or your favorite hot pepper) 5 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed 1 tsp curry powder 2 15 oz cans black eyed peas , drained 1 …

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West-African Inspired Watermelon Lemonade

Makes 1.5 quarts Gulp, gulp, slurp. A quart and half of homemade Watermelon Lemonade lasts 13.3 minutes in this house. When served out of half a melon? It’s gone quicker than a cat’s meow. As the pitcher empties, our bellies swell – Mr. Picky’s most of all. He loves the stuff. He’s been known to drink an entire cup in one long draw, his eyes grinning over the rim. Today’s recipe is inspired by the flavors of Ghana, where heavy watermelons pile up in the markets all summer long. This sweet/tart drink uses up the juicy fruit up quickly – perfect if there’s a lack of refrigeration (or – ahem – if there’s no room in the refrigerator for a half-eaten watermelon). So, scoop up your leftover watermelon for a pitcher of this rosy drink – you’ll be sitting pretty when the mid-summer sun tries to beat you down. Ingredients: 1 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 large lemons) 6 cups scooped watermelon, blended (3.5 cups after blending) 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste) 1/4 cup …

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How to dress like the Asante people of Ghana (Adinkra)

My sister, Elisa, has one of the coolest jobs in the world. She’s an art teacher. In the days when I was languishing at my desk job, I dreamed of being in her shoes – inspiring children, encouraging creativity, playing with paint, and being called “Ms. Foppiano.” (That’s my maiden name. I really like it, although I don’t miss spelling it for people: “F as in Frank, O, double P as in Paul, I, A, N as in Nancy, O.” What a drag.) Today, I simply dream of Elisa taking over as Ava’s personal finger paint instructor. Oh, the fun they would have. Elisa recently did a Ghanaian art project with her students. Adinkra, or pattern stamping, is traditional with the Asante people of Ghana. They stamp patterns on cloth with a calabash shell and then wear the special cloth for different occasions. If the cloth is black or red, the adinkra is worn at funerals and big departures. If the cloth is brightly colored, the adinkra can be worn any time, but most commonly on Sunday …

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Spicy Chicken Peanut Soup | Groundnut Soup

Serves 4 I can’t begin to explain why or how this recipe works, but it does. Of the four adults who sampled the soup, every single person had thirds. Thirds. Epic. Groundnut soup is your passport to west Africa. In less than an hour, you’ll be spooning a delicate blend of fresh ginger, garlic, tomato and groundnuts (a.k.a. peanut butter), with bites of browned chicken and bits of hot peppers. And you’ll be mourning the time you lived without this soup. Special thanks to Ghana and the rest of West Africa for sharing this gem of a recipe with the world. Variations include a perfectly smooth soup (the ingredients can either be pureed or simply mashed together), as well as prepared with fish or beef instead of chicken. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make an even more authentic version of Groundnut Soup by substituting fish stock instead of chicken stock and garnishing with crushed, dried shrimp. The spice level of this soup is mild-medium. You can add more heat with ground cayenne pepper, if desired. Ingredients: …

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Menu: Ghana

I’m starting to think my closet will never be cleansed of my wooly, winter-wear. Sure, the sun is trickling down through the leaves, but the heater is on full blast. The last few days have dipped into the thirties overnight. Sunday afternoon we even brought my sad lemon tree back inside, straining to pull the giant bushy tree back over the threshold to prevent more leaves from dropping 0r, worse, yet, to avoid losing the baby lemons. Even my once-happy tomato plants are complaining of frost damage. To think – just last month it was 93F. What can I say. That’s Oklahoma weather for ya. The good news is our Ghanaian menu is great for all weather conditions. Indeed, many Africans eat spicy, hot food, even in the summer. The logic? Spices and warm food in hot weather induces heavy sweating; when your forehead breaks out into a sweat, the droplets catch a breeze and cool you down. Brilliant. Of course, it helps that many Ghanaians cook in outdoor kitchens. What sounds good to you? Red …

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About the food of Ghana

I sipped my wine, listening to his travel tales. Here’s my favorite one: After several days of eating like a Ghanaian, Ryan feels a bit homesick and pops into a pizzeria. He orders a pie with his favorite topping – bell peppers, hoping to get a taste of “home.” The waiter delivers the pizza, piping hot, covered with dozens of neatly sliced pepper rings. The only problem? They were habeneros. Wow. When he calls for the waiter, the staff merely chuckle, stating the Indian tourists love their pizzas that way. Even after he picking the peppers off the pizza, each bite remained screaming hot, thanks to the juices that dripped down from the roasted habeneros. Amazing. Needless to say, the pizza didn’t taste of “home.” Ryan later sampled a more tame Ghanaian dish called Red Red – black eyed peas stewed with spices, peppers, onions, and a layer of red palm oil so thick it leaves a red ring around the plate (hence the name) [Recipe]. This would be a fun one to try on New …