Egusi for Ghana


Happy Ghanaian independence day! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the excited declarations of “It’s 6th March!” or the sense of celebration that day during my time in Ghana.

Just in time for the 52nd anniversaryof the country’s independence from Britain and the eighth anniversary of my being there, I discovered Obeng. Yesterday, I was only three cat calls into my travels along Morse Street NE, headed toward the Asian grocery supplier that’s my favorite source of inexpensive coconut milk and dried shiitake mushrooms, when I spotted it. Or rather, I spotted the part of its sign that said “retail.”  (I’d been aware of an African food warehouse there, but always assumed I’d need a wholesaler license to get in). 

(Recipe after the jump) Continue reading

Brunch recipes

yum - apples!Featuring… local foods! The following are two recipes supplied by Abby D. and Brooke B., guests at last week’s brunch. One features apples (which are still abundant from local farmers) and spinach (which is grown locally in green houses, and I’m sure you could use other greens, too). The other features butternut squash. You could substitute any number of other squashes or even sweet potatoes. As an alternative to peeling, cubing, and boiling the squash, you could also halve it, scoop out the seeds, and roast at 350 F for 30-60 minutes. Then just scoop out the flesh and proceed with the recipe. Continue reading

Full on passion

Maybe a peck on the cheek is good enough for some people, but why not go full on? Butter is okay, people. And instead of an extract, go ahead and use whole nuts. That’s the new news from the food gurus. Low fat? That’s so Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition!

To show you how it’s done, here’s JoC’s reduced fat, middle-school-slow-dance thumbprint cookie ingredients, followed my a more… R-rated version.

Thumbprint Cookies

Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies

JoC ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt Continue reading

Rejuvenating holiday dregs


Not everyone suffers from this problem, but I personally have leftover holiday candy. Mine is a half bag of Sunspire chocolate drops, which I bought as dreidel game gelt. It turns out you don’t need an entire 10-ounce bag of M&M wannabes to play a good game of dreidel, and being one of the only women on the planet who does not require a daily intake of chocolate (some kind of hormonal imbalance, I’m sure), I had these things sitting around for the past two weeks.

Then last night, I hit on a way to use the candy — and any other holiday chocolate dregs you may have lying around. It’s hot chocolate! Considering how Starbucks, ACKC, and even the wacky frozen yogurt people over at Mr. Yogato are getting into it, I’m shocked that I didn’t think of it sooner. Maybe it took walking by Max Brenner’s in NYC, which set my mind on the lava-like hot chocolate I tried at their Herzaliya branch. Yes indeed.

While I’m not that into crunching down on pure sugar candy shells and the room temperature chocolate inside, I can definitely get down with a hot and chocolately beverage — especially if I can add a few embellishments. Continue reading

Butter, sugar, spices, rum

Turns out what you see in the title is all there is to it when it comes to making hot buttered rum, a popular drink this time of year. Plus a little hot water or apple cider. I haven’t tried it yet, and admit I’m a little resistant (A sort of butter tea? Oil and water? It seems unnatural) but I hope to soon. You should, too!

Emeril has a good recipe that cooks saturated with positive reviews. My favorite:

“Whoa, mamma!! This was better than the flu shot. I got the flu anyway but after sipping on this, I didn’t care…”

-Marilyn, Jacksonville, FL

Here’s one that uses ice cream. Nummers!

What do you think of buttered rum?

Image from Diana’s Desserts.

The renaissance pastry blender

patry blender

I’ve always detested chopping up eggs for egg salad. There’s something tedious and unsatisfying about slicing into egg after egg, getting the powdery yellow yolk on your knife, wiping it off, starting again. So I was thrilled yesterday when I came across a solution! The key is a pastry blender. You know ’em if you’ve got one — a horseshoe-shaped implement with wires and a handle. I use mine to cut butter into a flour mixture for baked goods. But now I’ll be taking it out of the cabinet more often to slice up my eggs! Continue reading

Split pea soup the George and Martha series? And that one about the split pea soup? Of course that’s the one I recall best–I was a foodie even before I could make sense of the print in the story book. This tale depicts the hippo couple (“friends,” the book series insists, though I’m convinced they’ve worked in some benefits) facing an existential question: How much can you really like split pea soup?

George assumes Martha likes to make the stuff, while Martha thinks George just adores eating it. So Martha cooks up batch after batch and George good-naturedly puts it away. Each thinks they’re doing the other a big favor. Continue reading

Eating your way through history (or: Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!)

stuffed squashFor as long as I can remember, people have been taking bites out of the notion that Christopher Columbus was a hero. Maybe it was just my liberal New York upbringing, but I just cannot recall a lesson or discussion about the guy without a crack about how mistaken he was and what a terrible thing Americans did trying to say he discovered our country.

Even my grandmother got into it, and was fond of reciting the following poem about him:

In 1492, what did Columbus do?

He sat on the grass

And scratched his ass

In 1492

So yes, it’s not new to me to prod that gallant story with a sharp-tined fork. But still I will offer a little suggestion for how to celebrate this Columbus Day–a.k.a. Indigenous Peoples Day–in politically-correct foodie style. Continue reading