Category Archives: Everything Else

Matu Munchies: Pineapple Salsa

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To kickoff the Matu Munchies ‘series,’ I chose one of my very favorite recipes that I made up and have made over and over again since arriving at site: pineapple salsa.

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Once or twice a week we make it down to our bigger market in Mapinhane. Sometimes we find gems here that we can’t find at the market closer to our house: carrots, couve (like kale), lettuce, and potatoes. There is a man that sometimes sits outside of this market area, under a tree, selling pineapples that are laid out on a tarp. They cost 40 metacais, a bit less than one dollar.

And somehow, over the past three months in Mapinhane, pineapples have come to signify salsa.

For this simple salsa, I use:

2 parts tomato to 1 part pineapple. I use about 3-4 Roma-type tomatoes to 5 large chunks of pineapple

1 small green pepper, if I can find one

1/4 of an onion

1 clove of garlic

Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper flakes or hot sauce or hot peppers to taste

Because the pineapple is so juicy, I recommend de-seeding the tomatoes before chopping them so that the salsa will be slightly less liquidy. Then, dice up the pineapple chunks, green pepper, onion and garlic. Sprinkle the spices on top.

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Our wonderful foody PCV predecessor left behind an immersion blender, this magnificently handy tool that I had never once used before coming to Mozambique, oddly enough. I use this to blend our salsa, leaving it slightly chunky. A blender, food processor, or manual food processor will work too, of course. And if you live without that ‘energia’ and without any of these handy gadgets, dice everything real small, mix and enjoy as is!

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Check back soon for The Sarahs’ Homemade Tortilla Chips recipe!

Small-Batch, Home-Smooshed: How to Make Your Own Delicious Peanut Butter

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Vocabulary from my Colorado roots:

small-batch.

home-brewed.

At least the last time I checked. The more intimate an alcohol, the better.

Vocabulary from my Mozambican kitchen:

small-batch.

home-smooshed.

The more intimate the peanut butter, the better.

Peanuts here in Mozambique are an abundant resource, a nutritional powerhouse that is common in mashambas, or home gardens. You may remember this story, that I posted last Spring, about writing, but in reference to the power of peanut butter for HIV/AIDs patients in Mozambique.

We can always find peanuts in our market;  women here use peanuts mainly to make peanut flour that they add to various sauces. We use peanuts to roast, and make the most hearty, fresh, delicious, nutritious peanut butter that we have ever put into our mouths. In my experience in Mapinhane, the women do not seem to use peanuts to make peanut butter and they aren’t familiar with the process. But when we tell them that’s why we are buying a plethora of peanuts, they ask to try our finished product.

Although the process for making peanut butter here is done with a pilão (giant wooden mortar and pestle) and a whole lot of força (good ole strength), if you are reading this from America, I must tell you that you should stop buying peanut butter and start making it. In your beautiful, electric food processor.

Once you go small-batch, home-smooshed you’ll never go back.

 

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Raw peanuts to roasted.

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We dry-roast our peanuts on the stove, keeping them moving at all times. You do not need to put anything in this pan except for your raw peanuts. When the skins come off easily between your fingers, the peanuts are sufficiently roasted. Roasting the peanuts allows them to release their oils when smooshed; this is what turns them into peanut butter. Unroasted, smooshed peanuts will turn into peanut flour.

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After the peanuts are roasted, let them cool until you can touch them comfortably. Then the most laborious part of the process begins: taking the skins off of the peanuts. We have heard that you can make peanut butter without taking the skins off, but we have yet to try it.

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The roasted, de-skinned peanuts are then put into our little pilão for smooshing!

 

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Let the força begin! Smoosh, smoosh, smoosh the peanuts until they turn into peanut butter. Or put them in your food processor…if you don’t want to have any fun. Just kidding…I would use one if I had one…

 

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Our finished product.

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As much fun as it was to make daily rations of peanut butter in our baby pilão, thanks to this very Mozambican birthday gift from Alex, we can now make a whole week’s worth of peanut butter in our mama pilão

 

Happy Smooshing!

Mud Season Mudslides

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The ski resort is closed, things are melting, afternoon rainstorms are replacing snow, and there are approximately 5 cars in the grocery store parking lot at any given time.

It’s officially mud season in Fraser.

This is the season in the mountains that falls between ski season and hiking season. I hesitate to even call seasons by their real names anymore, as the above seem to be more fitting. Mud season generally comes with increased inactivity and melancholy; gloomy skies that Coloradans aren’t used to, coupled with muddy trails means that we find ourselves staying in a bit more, being lazy, cooking and eating and drinking, and trying to enjoy this season of down time.

So, in the true spirit of mud season boredom, we were driven to inventiveness in the kitchen this weekend, which resulted in Mud Season Mudslides.

Instead of using vanilla ice cream and vodka paired with Kahlua, Bailey’s, and cream, we picked ingredients for a dairy-free (Cece approved!) mudslide, and used cafe latte-flavored ice cream for an extra coffee-flavor kick. Here’s what we did:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIngredients:

6 ice cubes

6 scoops of coffee-flavored ice cream (we used Cocunut Dream Cafe Latte)

2 cups almond milk

3 shots Kahlua

2 shots white rum

1 square dark chocolate, grated or shaved

Makes 2 Mud Season Mudslides

Step 1: Blend all ingredients. Top with shaved chocolate and enjoy!

Apple and Oat Crumble with Maple Streusel

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For some strange reason, I was awake at 4a.m. on Sunday (as in, I had long ago gone to sleep and re-awoken…not that I was still awake 🙂 ) I lay in bed, tossing and turning and thinking. What was I thinking about?

Food.

In my delirious state, I thought up what I wanted to make for breakfast, and almost got up to make it at 4a.m. Luckily, I eventually fell back to sleep for a few hours, and got to work on my dreamt-up breakfast once I got up.

Although it’s Spring, I enjoyed the Fall flavors of this recipe: apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple. I have quite a sweet tooth when it comes to breakfast food, and this treat satisfied that without being too heavy or too sweet.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 and 1/2 cups of Old Fashioned Oats

1/4 cup of chopped almonds

5 Tbsp. oil (I used olive oil)

1/2 tsp. of cinnamon

For the topping: 

2 apples,thinly sliced (I used Gala)

2 cups water

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pure maple syrup

For the Streusel:

2 Tbsp. butter, or vegan buttery sticks, like Earth Balance

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

Enough flour to make the mixture crumbly, about 5 Tbsp.

First: Preheat the oven to 325. While the oven preheats, mix the ingredients for the crust. Press firmly into a lightly greased 9 inch pie pan. The more firmly you press this mixture, the more it will resemble a pie crust in the end, instead of a crumble. Your choice! When the oven is ready, put the crust in and bake, checking at 15 minute increments until it is as crispy as you want it. A crispier crust will be more like a pie in the end. I baked mine for 25 minutes; I based this recipe off of a recipe found here, and she recommended 15 minutes of baking time. My crust was nowhere near crispy enough after 15 minutes, even for a crumble. This may also have been because she used butter and I used olive oil.

Second: While the crust bakes, slice the apples. Boil 1/2 cup water in a skillet, add apples, spices, and maple syrup. Cover and reduce to simmer. Keep a close watch as the water runs out, and add more as needed until the apples are soft.

Third: While the apples cook, mix the ingredients for the streusel. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.

Fourth: Once the crust is done, top with apples and streusel. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cookies ‘N Cream Christmas Truffles

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P1110836Simple enough for a Saturday afternoon. Tasty enough to trick people into thinking it took forever. Just four simple ingredients, and about an hour of your time and you’ll be bringing the tastiest treat to any holiday party. I made these truffles last year for a Christmas party, and I honestly cannot remember where I got the recipe. I know it was a word-of-mouth thing, though I am sure there are similar recipes out there. When I first made these I just winged it on the amount of each ingredient I used, and got the truffles to the right consistency by trial and error. This year, I kept track of what worked so I could share it with you!

 

 

Ingredients

2 cups milk chocolate chips

30 chocolate sandwich cookies, like Oreos

8 oz. of cream cheese, softened to room temperature

holiday sprinkles (optional)

Makes about 18-20 truffles

What to do:

Step 1: Use your hands to crush cookies into pebble-sized piece in a mixing bowl.

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Step 2: Use a wooden spoon to mix in the softened cream cheese.

The cookie/cream cheese mixture in step 2.

The cookie/cream cheese mixture in step 2.

Step 3: Form the cookie/cream cheese mixture into ping-pong-sized balls and put them on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Place this in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, or until the balls set up.

Step 4: Fill the bottom of a saucepan with 1-2 inches of water. Put the chocolate chips into a bowl. Nest the bowl in the saucepan. Put the saucepan on the stove over medium heat and the steam will smoothly melt the chocolate chips in the nested bowl. Stir the chocolate chips frequently as they melt.

Instead of using the microwave or a lone saucepan when melting chocolate chips, I nest a large cereal bowl into a small saucepan that has about 1-2 inches of water in it. This way, the steam from the water melts the chocolate chips above, making for a much smoother final product.

Instead of using the microwave or a lone saucepan when melting chocolate chips, I nest a large cereal bowl into a small saucepan that has about 1-2 inches of water in it. This way, the steam from the water melts the chocolate chips above, making for a much smoother final product.

Step 5: Once the chocolate chips are melted smooth, use a spoon to quickly roll the cookie/cream cheese balls in the chocolate one at a time. Place each back on the wax paper cookie sheet.

Step 6: When finished, sprinkle with holiday sprinkles.

Step 7: Put the truffles in the refrigerator for at least 35 minutes so the chocolate can harden.

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WARNING: YOU MIGHT GET MESSY DURING THIS PROCESS!!

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Mom’s Easy Pizza Dough

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When I was growing up, my mom always made pizza dough from scratch. I am one of those people who likes to eat even the most plain dough and batter raw, so every time my mom was making pizza dough I would sneak bits out of the bowl and inevitably receive a joking scolding from her. Now that I have my own kitchen, I use this dough all the time for pizza and nibble freely in the process of making it!

Ingredients

1 pkg (or 2 1/4 tsp.) yeast

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

1 cup warm water

2 ¼- 2 ½ cups whole wheat or white flour

Makes: 1 pizza or 4 pitas

Step 1: Combine the yeast and warm water in a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir, and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it gets foamy.

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and knead the dough until just smooth. Be careful not to overwork it or it will be hard to roll out

Step 3: Cover the dough with a warm dish towel and put it in the microwave or unheated oven and let it rise for at least 15 minutes.

Step 4: Roll the dough out on a pizza stone or cookie sheet.

Step 5: Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add toppings and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes.

Note: if split into 4 pieces and baked this dough can be made into a kind of ‘pita bread’ creation