Month: October 2014

#5 – Moi-Moi

Moi-Moi is one of Nigeria’s most popular dishes and after finally making it I can see why.  I say finally because I bought it’s main ingredient, bean flour, several months ago after getting motivated to give it a try.

bflour

However, sometime between ringing it up at the cash register and when I intended to make it, the motivation departed and it was just sitting in my cupboard since then.  This happens often with me; just one of my unique idiosyncrasies I suppose.  If I remember correctly it was likely the time involved in making it which dissuaded me – one hour cooking time + prep time – along with a loss of appetite for West Africa eats.

Well the motivation returned a few days ago and I wound up wishing that it did sooner because the end product was delicious… delicious while also being unusual made me feel quite inclined to share it with friends so after the small piece I took to confirm how it tasted, I decided to take the rest to a potluck.  Like the sauerkraut though (https://worldveganizer.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/3-sauerkraut/), there were some people at the potluck whom prejudged and kept their distance from it… this time not because of the reputed taste, but rather appearance and unfamiliarity.  Yet also like the sauerkraut, I wasn’t really upset about this because it just equated to more for me.  I only wish I had some fried plantains to go with it on the side… but that just serves as a reason to make it again soon.  Here is how:

Ingredients:

1 cup bean flour

1 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup red pepper

1/2 cup onion

2 TBS seaweed (I used dulse)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 TBS hot pepper

1 TBS sea salt

Prep time couldn’t be easier; starting with liquids & ending with flour, toss everything into a blender and run until it is all mixed well (20 seconds to 1 minute depending on how strong your blender is).  It could be more difficult though – using the bean flour is a major shortcut in making this.  The long version requires soaking and skinning black-eye peas instead of the flour.  I may try this method one day also just so I can compare tastes.  To add some varying texture to the mix people sometimes add hard boiled eggs, corned beef, tuna, or shrimp after getting it out of the blender but since I don’t eat any of these my equivalent was to toss in a chopped gluten sausage.

The way to cook it is via steaming.  I used my bamboo steamer on top of a regular pot.

steamer

The one hour cook time of doing so is if you are using single serving size containers.  I however used an 8 inch cake pan so the cook time was just about doubled… luckily I didn’t really have any other plans afterwards that day but lesson learned.  If you don’t have a an actual steamer of some kind you can improvise by making some sort of “stand” to put in a regular pot and place the container(s) of moi-moi on top of it.  A few crumpled pieces of aluminum foil might be one of the easiest ways to do this.  You will need to make sure you have some on hand anyway because the containers must be covered so no water gets in.  Here is the outcome:

moi moi

moislice

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#4 – Fruit Fascination: Paw-Paw

I showed some gratitude to my mother in a previous post so I can’t let too much time pass without doing the same for my father because as a team I think they did a decent job with escorting me into adulthood.  In thinking about “back in the day” to the present, daddy always kept himself in pretty good condition… not the best by far, but still considerably better than many of not only his peers, but mine as well when he was their age.  Every so often there would be a person who would confirm this, asking him what his secret was and one of the main responses I remember he would (and probably still does) give them is “I eat a lot of fruits”.  In terms of amount, “a lot” = making sure our fruit basket was filled about twice per month, however “a lot” also regarded variety because beyond the selection one may find at the average Mid-Atlantic supermarket, being from the Caribbean there would often be a need to have fruits grown in a tropical habitat (besides bananas) for a nostalgia fix and daddy wouldn’t mind the slight inconvenience to get it.

It can be said that I not only inherited all this, but thanks to also getting influenced from fellow vegans, I have at least tripled it – I now regularly buy fruits by the case, order exotic ones through the mail a few times per year I either can’t find locally or have never tried, and I have driven up to about 2 hours away to get something special.  The most recent something special I got was paw-paws.

pawpaws

These in the photo are all fully ripe, but when you get them before this stage they would be totally green.  Anyone not familiar may mistake it for a mango but they look rather different on the inside.

pawpaw

It has about 10 fingernail size seeds in it versus a mango which has one big seed.  At $5.00 per pound, I can imagine many people being discouraged from getting any, but whereas they are only available for about one month per year, locally grown & originated, and one of the most delicious fruits in existence (in my opinion) I think it is worth a little splurging.  Additionally, for me those certain fruits which are advised to wait until they get soft before eating seem have a bit of an aphrodisiac effect and this is one of them.  A brief article was written about them in the Washington Post a few days ago –    http://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2014/10/03/where-to-find-pawpaws-north-americas-largest-edible-native-fruit/ – which besides word-of-mouth will hopefully assist them gain popularity because that will mean more places growing them and eventually lower prices.

The name paw-paw may be confusing for some people from the Caribbean because there in many sectors paw-paw is also a nickname for papaya which I eat often too.  Doing so along with any others fruits one can think of I can already see and feel the effects of following my father’s footsteps.

#3 – Sauerkraut

There are a few foods that I have become more open to ever since becoming vegan and sauerkraut is one of them.  To assist the development of my kitchen skills I took a class a few years ago where among other things we were taught how to make it and I then learned that what I disliked about sauerkraut wasn’t the dish as a whole, but rather the certain spice commonly used in it in Germany and other European countries where making it is like second nature.  That spice is caraway (also commonly used in rye bread and which thus is also not on my list of favourite eats) and now omitting it from my mix, I find the dish to be quite yummy.

I think when most people hear the word “pickle” their first thoughts are of cucumbers but “pickle” is also a verb.  So, “pickles” are pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut is pickled cabbage; whereas they are made the same way, their taste isn’t that much different.  Also because of how they are made, they both have health benefits mostly in the form of assisting digestion.

There are 3 general ways of pickling – brine method (water + salt), vinegar method, or self-contained juice extraction method.  This recipe is for the latter-most:

2 pounds shredded cabbage (if you don’t already have one, a food processor would be a good investment for this, otherwise you will be doing alot of chopping and/or grating).

4 garlic cloves diced

1 apple peeled and shredded

1 TBS sea salt

Toss everything into a bowl and mix well.  The salt will induce the juice extraction but to speed up the process squeeze the mixture in your hand for a few minutes.  Squeeze it very hard too with all your wrist strength.  Once you start to see juices flow out your hand when you squeeze it is ready to go into the pickling vessel which can be just about any ceramic, glass, or plastic (recommended in that order) container.  I used my crockpot.  After putting the mix into it, it needs to be double-covered – one cover to make sure the mixture remains submerged in it’s fluid and another to keep fruit flies out.  For the first cover, some sort of weight is usually used.  My method was to take 2 gallon size ziplock bags, place one on the mixture and fill the other with rice and put that on top.

photo 1 (1)

(forgot to get photo with the rice in there; oops)

coverpot

The 2nd cover can be just whatever lid the container came with.  Now just put it somewhere for one week and then it’s ready.  If your container is not opaque, make sure the somewhere you put it is dark.  Here is the final look:

photo 2 (2)

Place into jars and refrigerate.  I took this batch to a potluck recently and some of the attendees weren’t as willing to try it; I think also because of the caraway issue because I got compliments on it from everyone who did.

#2 – Basic Bread Loaf

I’m sure there will be very few days in the future when I do 2 posts in one day but today is a special occassion so I thought I’d make the effort to do so, and in keeping with that specialness, my first food display will be one taught to me by my mother.  Before she did I had seen photos and read recipes on how to make bread but it always seemed like to be successful at it required hands-on training for me due to the feel of the dough needing to be a certain way for the end result to turn out right.  The traditional Trinidadian version (where the parents are from) calls for dairy milk, butter, and sometimes eggs thrown into the mix but here is my veganized version:

All ingredient amounts are approximate; I’m not a measuring cup/spoon user:

4 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups lukewarm water

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 TBS sea salt

1 TSP yeast

Directions – mix sea salt into flour then add oil and mix again.  In separate bowl stir sugar and yeast into lukewarm water until dissolved.  When water starts to bubble add to flour, mix and knead into soft dough then allow to rise which may take 2 – 4 hours.  After it has risen punch it down, reknead, and separate into 2 loafs.  Place in loaf pans (or you can freeze one for later) and allow to raise again one more hour.  This is how mine looked at this point:

unbread

Bake at 350F for 15 – 20 minutes or until light brown.  Here is the final product:

donebread

Be sure to take it out of the bread pan when you get it from the oven or else it may sweat.  Also for a creamy flavour you can use almond milk instead of or in addition to the water when mixing.

 

#1 – A Gift to…

From 2009 – 2013 I had a blog on ning.com in which I did a monthly post on veganism.  Today is the anniversary of my leaving my mother’s womb and as a gift to myself I decided to reestablish the blog here.  It happens to also be http://worldvegetarianday.org/ so it seems fitting.

WVDhome_msthd

At least one way I plan to have the blog be “new & improved” from how it was before is to actually alert people of it’s existence beyond those who happened to be in that ning community or anyone that may have stumbled upon it via whatever other means.  The number of people I know who are having health problems which I think vegan insight may be helpful seems to be increasing and in this sense I’m hoping it can be a gift to them as well.