One of my favorite dishes is veggies and rice … or veggies and cheese … or veggies and eggs … or just plain veggies.
For those of you for whom gardening is like breathing; walking outside and picking a clean dishpan full of onions, peppers, okra, corn and tomatoes is the first step in preparing any summertime meal.
Unfortunately, I am not a particularly successful gardener, but I have been spoiled by the bounty of – and learned many lessons from – gardens tended and loved by Aunt Betty, Isabelle and of course, Mona.
As I wash the radishes and slice the onions, I revisit those fragrant gardens of the women who guided me; who shared their quiet strength and immeasurable beauty through their actions; who loved me and taught me and rolled their eyes when I pulled up perfectly good plants, mistaking those oval leaves for mere weeds –again.
If you have a gardener’s soul, know that you are treasured by those of us who cannot grow a vegetable garden so lovely it becomes a wonderland of color and flavor and scent.
With a dash of cornmeal and a splash of water, you can enjoy the flavor of South Africa.
This simple recipe is known by many names depending up where you might be at mealtime, but in Kenya, ugali is the familiar name of this staple.
As you will learn from the following links, the cooked cornmeal is supposed to have a stiff, almost putty-like consistency:
Unfortunately, I had far less cornmeal on hand than needed, so ended up with a porridge rather than a dough suitable for scooping some stew or picking up meat from a dish. I’ve opted to share my attempt with you anyway.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup cornmeal.
Stir constantly to avoid lumps. I used a whisk vigorously, but still had some lumps.
I spooned the thick porridge into bowls, knowing that it should have been much more dense and malleable when cooked.
Although I didn’t quite succeed at making ugali, I have learned about a basic food that might be new to me, but has been a part of countless meals for many generations.
I plan to try this recipe again and will share my (hopefully) much improved results with you then!
Fresh eggs – the stuff of meringue, omelets. souffles. The stuff of culinary adventure.
The art of boiling eggs is debated in some kitchens …
Boil too long – an unattractive green ring appears around the yolk.
Ice down too soon – gooey yuck instead of cooked yolk.
Some people in some kitchens claim it is all in the careful timing – 3 minutes, I think.
Some people are probably right.
Scrambled, fried, poached, boiled … within a few minutes, everyone at the breakfast table can be happy.
Even the eggs!