Category: Lunch

Wild Game Recipes: Smoked Panfish (Bluegill, Sunfish, Brim)

Most of my wild game recipes have something to do with the grill. I’m big on flames and wood smoke when it comes to cooking. If you haven’t tried smoking some of the fish you’re catching, then you have new culinary territory to explore. How about smoked panfish?

Combine a rod, reel, line, hook and red worms with your favorite fishing spot, and get yourself a mess of fish. Clean the fish as you normally would (remove head, fins and tail), but leave the skin and scales in place. Remove the upper and lower fins right down to the spinal column. Also, be sure to slit the skin on the top and bottom of the fish so the skin and scales on each side of the fish aren’t connected.

What You’ll Need:

  • clean charcoal grill with a top and standard wire grilling surface
  • briquettes
  • wood chips (mesquite or hickory)
  • paper towel
  • cooking oil
  • cleaned, rinsed and patted dry panfish

The Process of Smoking the Fish

While you get your grill up and running (with the grilling surface removed), soak a handful of wood chips in water. After the fire is hot, place the wire grilling surface over the fire to get that hot. Use a little oil on a paper towel to (quickly and carefully) wipe the grilling surface. This makes certain it’s clean and provides better assurance of a stick-free operation.

Drain excess water off of the wood chips and carefully move the grilling surface out of the way so you can spread the chips over the top of the coals. After you’ve spread the wood chips, replace the grilling surface and put a single layer of panfish on for cooking/smoking. Center the fish over the coals, allowing enough room to turn the fish with a flat blade BBQ spatula/turner/flipper.

Cook the fish using a low heat. Allow enough air inside the bottom of the grill to keep the fire going, but close down the top vents to keep the hot smoke in there to do its job. Slow and low is the way to allow the smoke to permeate the meat and make the wood chips last longer. Turn the fish if the skin/scales start to brown up from the heat, otherwise, leave them cook on one side for about 45 minutes before turning them over for another 45 minutes on the other side.

Check periodically to see if the fish are cooked sufficiently. Heat of the coals, length of time on the grill, and distance from the coals will all play a role in determining how long the fish can and should stay on the grill. Don’t be too concerned if some of the skin blackens as the scales and skin help protect the flesh from burning.

If your fire goes out or is too low, but you know you’ve done a good job of smoking the fish, you can finish cooking on a cookie sheet in the oven.

Your Reward

If you’ve done this right, you should have tender and moist fish with the consistency of fried fish but with a nice smoked flavor. The sides of the fish should easily fall away from the main skeletal structure with just a little effort, leaving you to pick out only the rib bones and a few stray bones from the fins that may still be in place. The meat should slide off of the skin and scales quite easily.

What Types Of Food Do You Use For Sides On Nutrisystem?

I sometimes hear from folks who are a little confused about how to add in the fresh, grocery store side items to their Nutrisystem meals. And there can be some reluctance about even bothering with the sides because no one wants to work hard on the diet only to add in food that counteracts what you are trying to do so that it thwarts your progress. I heard from someone who said “what am I supposed to add in to my Nutrisystem meals? I don’t want to eat the wrong things.” I’ll respond to this in the following article.

The Add Ins Are Broken Down Into 4 Categories. You Can Chose From Any Category Each Day: One of the real goals of Nutrisystem is that you eat a very balanced diet from all of the food groups while eating foods that are glycemic friendly. To that end, the add ins are broken down into 4 categories. as follows: smart carbs; power fuels; vegetables; and extras. Ideally, you will chose from each group each day. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. You receive a grocery add in guide with your order and they will tell you how much of each category you should have. They also give tons of examples with suggested quantities.

For example, foods under the “smart carbs” category are foods like fruits, juices, whole grains, and pastas. In a real world example, you could have one medium banana or a slice of oatmeal bread with your breakfast from your own grocery stash. Or, you could add in a half cup of pasta or beans at lunch. For dinner, you could eat strawberries on the side.

The next category that we’ll look at are the “power fuels” and this is mostly lean protein like cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, and lean meats. A real life option might be adding in Canadian bacon at breakfast, a yogurt cup at lunch or some additional lean meat at dinner. Peanut butter and nuts also counts in the “power fuel” category. Now, the “vegetable” category is reasonably self explanatory. As you might expect, there are a wide variety of vegetables on this list. In general, you are allowed an entire cup of vegetable which is quite a bit.

The “extra” category are things like condiments (mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, salad dressings, oils) and snacks like popcorn and pumpkin seeds. Don’t confuse these snack foods with the daily snacks that you eat on Nutrisystem. It works like this. On this plan, you eat three main meals (breakfast, dinner, and lunch) plus side items at every meal (choosing from the categories I just talked about.) In addition to these main meals with sides, you get to have two snacks and a dessert. These are included with your Nutrisystem package. So remember that the grocery sides are just that. They are sides to be eaten on the side of your main meals. But you also get snacks between meals to help keep you from getting as hungry.

So to answer the question posed, the choices for side items are extensive but you are given a lot of good information with your order. Basically, you can pick a side from any of those four categories, depending upon what might go nicely with your meal. So you might have some yogurt (power fuels) with your breakfast bagel, some carrots (vegetable) with your chicken salad lunch, and some pasta (smart carbs) with your steak at dinner. And you would still get an 2 additional snacks and a dessert on top of all of this.

Unusual Chili Recipes – 4 Wacky But Wonderful Chili Meals

Got a hankering for chili, but tired of the same old bean chili you’ve had countless times? Good. It’s time to shake things up a little and try something different to get your taste buds excited. Here are four unique recipes for chili that will give your chili cravings some much needed variety.

=> Pumpkin Chili Mexicana

The sweet, earthy taste of pumpkin takes this dish to a whole other level of savory goodness.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/2 cup onion, chopped, 1 cup of red or green pepper, chopped, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 1 pound of ground turkey, 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained, 1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree, 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, 1 (15-1/4 oz.) can kidney beans, drained, 1 (4 oz.) can green chilies, diced, 1/2 cup whole kernel corn, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add in the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.

Add in the turkey meat and cook until browned; drain.

Add in the tomatoes with juice, pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, beans, chilies, corn, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

=> Memphis Barbecue Shrimp Chili

Here’s a very unique chili recipe that comes straight out of the Memphis barbecue tradition. The consistency will be very soup like and is meant to be served over rice or French bread.

1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped, 1-1/2 cups of barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 lemon, sliced very thin, white rice and or French bread.

Peel and thoroughly clean the shrimp.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter and oil. Cook the garlic until it’s nice and soft.

Add in the shrimp and cook until pink.

Add in the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, liquid smoke, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and chili powder.

Simmer all for 10 minutes. Add in the parsley and lemon slices. Continue to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve chili over white rice and/or French bread.

=> Italiano Chili Con Carne

Italian meets Southwestern in this easy-to-make chili dish.

1 green pepper, 6 to 8 large onions, 1 pound ground beef, 1 medium can of tomatoes, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of spaghetti sauce.

In a skillet, cook the ground beef until brown; drain.

Dice up the green peppers and onions and add to a saucepan. Add in the cooked beef and the tomatoes. Let simmer until all ingredients are well done. Add in the beans and spaghetti sauce; heat thoroughly.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.

=> Picante Cincinnati Chili

This Cincinnati version is known as the sweet chili and is served over spaghetti noodles. The picante sauce adds a nice twist to this popular dish.

2 pounds of ground beef or pork, 2 large onions, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, 1 can picante sauce, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 to1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 2 bay leaves, 1 pound thin spaghetti, cooked.

Topping: Shredded cheddar cheese, 1 chopped onion, kidney beans, heated, Oyster crackers.

In a large Dutch oven or pot, brown the beef or pork along with the onion and garlic. Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the spaghetti and the toppings. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour; stirring occasionally.

Remove the bay leaves. Serve the chili nice and hot over the cooked spaghetti. Use toppings as desired.

Traditional Kobe Beef Recipes – Japanese Style

Everyone loves the Kobe beef. Not only because of its tenderness, it’s marbled richness, or it’s strong tangy flavour but also because of its versatility when it comes to cooking. Whether raw, sautéed, grilled, fried or what have you, the Kobe beef brings about some of the most delectable meals anyone could ever have. Even though food enthusiasts love the Kobe beef steak, popular traditional Japanese way of cooking still dominate because the special beef after all hailed from Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture Japan. The beef comes from what is called Wagyu or Japanese cattle hence it is also referred to as the Wagyu beef. The most popular Wagyu beef recipes from Japan include teppanyaki, sukiyaki, and shabu-shabu. Here’s how to prepare the softest and most succulent beef in such manner:

When making Wagyu shabu-shabu you must first slice 1 pound of Wagyu beef tenderloin or sirloin into paper thin slices. Cut one pound of Chinese cabbage, half a pound of watercress, half a pound of shirataki noodles, half a pound of enokitake mushrooms, half a pound of mushrooms, 6-8 shitake mushrooms, 1 pound of tofu, and 3 slices of kombu or seaweed into bite-sized pieces. Then you create a dip by combining 2 parts of soy sauce and only a part of lemon juice. The next step is to place all ingredients on a large platter. The Kombu slices should then be submerged in cold water then place over a stove. It should be removed right before the water boils. Once the slices are removed, keep the water boiling very gently. Now each person can cook their own meal by submerging one item into the pot at a time. The vegetables should be cooked first as the Kobe beef strips are so thin that they cook really fast.

For the Kobe teppanyaki recipe you’ll need a pound of cubed Kobe beef steak (sirloin of tenderloin), 12-18 pieces of shrimp, 2 large carrots, 2 large green peppers, 1 onion, 1 Chinese cabbage, 12 Shitake mushrooms, and Yakiniku sauce. First you must cut all ingredients into bite-sized pieces, then oil an electric pan and place the items in different sections of the pan. After cooking get a food item and dip it in the yakiniku sauce.

When making the Kobe beef sukiyaki recipe you’ll need the same amount and type of beef as the recipes above, half a pound of thinly sliced Shitake mushrooms, 2 large onions sliced thinly, 3 diagonally sliced celery stalks, cut bushel green onions, 3 cups of fresh spinach, 2 tablespoons of salad oil, and a 5-ounce can of bamboo shoots drained. For the sauce you’ll need half a cup of beef broth, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of sake, and 1/3 cup of soy sauce. Now the Wagyu beef must be cut into thin strips, about ¼ inch thick. Then heat oil in a skillet, and move meat to one side of the skillet mixing it with beef broth, soy sauce and sake sugar. Place onions, mushrooms, celery and the bamboo in separate areas or sections of the skillet then cover. Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes then add spinach and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. You may serve it over rice if desired.

Sweet Corn Fritters Are a Tasty Breakfast, Lunch, Or Dinner

Corn has existed for centuries. When the pilgrims reached the New England coast in 1620 the flour they brought with them had spoiled. Fortunately, the Indians taught the pilgrims how to grow and grind corn and these skills helped them to survive. Many historic corn recipes have survived as well and each region of the US seems to have its favorite.

In the South it is hushpuppies. In the North it is johnnycakes. In the Southwest it is tortillas. Fritters were also popular with chuckwagon cooks. The batter was easy to make on the trail and the fritters were fried in a cast iron skillet or kettle.

Corn fritters used to be a mainstay of Southern cuisine. Then, for some unknown reason, their popularity faded. But this historic recipe is making a comeback. Today, fritters are a popular side dish and may contain zucchini, green onions cilantro and and chiles. You can even find recipes for Southeast Asian fritters with soy sauce on the Internet.

Some recipes call for meat. In the first “Joy of Cooking” cookbook, authors Irma s. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker include a recipe for corn and ham fritters. Baking powder and stiffly-beaten egg whites make the fritters rise. According to the authors, the liquid (water or milk) should be added quickly to the dry ingredients and you should avoid over-mixing.

The Betty Crocker website has posted a recipe for spicy corn fritters made with the original Bisquick mix, water, canned corn, and canned chiles. But the recipe I like best is from the “Good Housekeeping Cookbook,” a wedding gift my husband and I received decades ago. It makes puffy, golden fritters which are served with maple syrup. Add crispy bacon, ham, or link sausage, fresh fruit and you have a meal.

I have changed the recipe a bit. Instead of whole milk, I use skim, and have added sugar for sweetness. Here is the makeover version of the original recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup pre-sifted regular flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon low sodium salt

2 tablespoons sugar (or Splenda blend)

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup skim milk

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 1/2 cups whole kernel corn (drained canned corn or corn cut from the cob)

Frying oil (canola or peanut)

Method

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. In a small bowl, beat eggs, milk and salad oil. Add corn. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet, making sure the corn is evenly distributed. Pour oil into a cast iron or electric skillet. Heat oil until it reaches 365 degrees. Drop tablespoons of batter into the oil (do not crowd the pan) and shallow fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with warm maple syrup or sugar-free syrup. Makes about 6 servings.

Copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson

Stuffed Flying Fish

Flying fish is a delicacy in Barbados. This recipe for stuffed flying fish is a favorite with the Food Affairs staff, presented by Chef David Watts. This dish is perfect for an elegant dinner party.

Ingredients:

10 Flying Fish filets

20 Asparagus spears (blanched)

10 thinly sliced Proscuitto or Cappocola Ham

2 cups Crabmeat mixture (see note below)

1/2 cup Parsley

2 Limes

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat oven to 400F.

Place the flying fish on a lightly greased sheet pan.

Place 2 blanched asparagus spears in the “ridges” of the flying fish; layer with a thin slice of the ham.

Top with a heaping portion of the crab mixture, pressing down to cover the filet completely; bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Squeeze lime juice over each piece and garnish with sprinkled parsley before serving.

Serve over linguine, rice, or garlic mashed potatoes. Serves 10

Crab Meat Mixture

Place 1 lb of backfin crabmeat in a bowl (pick through to remove any shells). Add 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1 egg lightly beaten, 1 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning, pinch of sugar, and 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for at leat one hour.

Nigerian Recipes

EGUSI SOUP IN OLIVE OIL

INGREDIENTS

Meat – according to your budget or if you prefer Chicken or Turkey

1 cup of shelled Egusi seeds

1 medium sized dry fish.

1 medium sized smoked fish (catfish or any suitable variety)

1 medium sized stockfish

1 large onion

6 Red Peppers (chili) – blended.

3 Large red pepper – blended

1 cup of Crayfish – blended

2 soup spoonful of Goya brand olive oil.

2 Maggi

Salt

1 bunch of Ugu

Bitterleaf (washed and bitterness completely squeezed out).

PREPARATION

All kitchen disinfection, cleansing and preparation of ingredients before cooking is duly observed. Roast Egusi seeds on a tray in an oven for about 20 mins (this helps to reduce the oily effect) and allow to cool and blend with the Rhodo, tatashe and a little bit of onion.

Heat the olive oil in a clean pot and add a cube of magi and a pinch of salt, stir to mix up and add the blended pepper mixture. Fry for a while and set aside.

In another clean pot put the washed meat, stock fish, magi and salt and a little bit of the onion, boil until meat is a little tender.

Heat up the fried pepper again, add Egusi and continue frying for about 3 mins to mix and blend.

Add the cleaned smoked fish and crayfish and cook for about 3 mins, then add the meat stock and stir thoroughly to blend (some people would remove the meat from the meat stock and add it to the soup when it is almost ready but I prefer to cook everything together so I cook only for a few mins or when a little tender and use the meat and stock during the rest of my preparation together). Add the washed bitterleaf and cook for a few mins.

Add the shredded ugu leaves and simmer for about 1 min and remove from heat. Can be served with low calorie tuber dish like amala and pounded yam.

Nigerian tuber food dishes are made by boiling the tuber food variety – Yam, Cassava, Cocoyam, Plantain or rice in water for a specific period of time and then pounding in a wooden mortar and pounded with a wooden pestle. Let me show you how to make this tuber dishes of ours that stand out everywhere. It can be eaten with a variety of soups and stews.

Now let’s make our tuber dish to go with the soup, I will prepare each listed above because they are easy and fast to prepare.

EBA (GARRI)

INGREDIENTS

Water

Cassava flour (sold as garri in the market)

PREPARATION

Depending on how many people you are making the dish for, pour a measure of water that should be enough for the number of people ( you have to be sure or if not when making the Eba don’t use up all the water if you feel its too much) into a kettle and heat up to boiling point.

Take a large bowl or container that can take the quantity of Eba you are making and pour in the measured water into the bowl.

Sprinkle the cassava flour gently into the bowl until the mixture before you is thick, take a spatula or a large wooden spoon (if you don’t have a spatula) and turn the mixture until well blended and fluffy, (you would have to turn it a number of times to get the right consistency) and “Voila” the dish is ready to go with the Egusi soup.

FUFU (AKPU – IGBO)

INGREDIENTS

Water

Cassava mixture (sold in the market as akpu) normally white and wet

Mortar

Pestle

PREPARATION 1

Fill a sauce pan with water midway and heat to boiling point

Pour the cassava mixture into the mortar and mix with water until a smooth paste is formed; break up into miniature ball using the hands to form the balls.

Drop each ball gently into the boiling water and cook for 5 mins.

Remove each ball gently from the pot into the mortar and pound using the pestle until a thick paste forms, mold into balls again and bring the pot to boil again.

Drop each ball gently into the boiling water and cook for 5 mins.

Remove from the pot and set pot aside, pound again until you get a thick paste that looks well cooked and it’s ready for eating.

PREPARATION 2

Fill a sauce pan with water and add the cassava mixture into it until you get a smooth paste, make sure that you are not using a lot of water instead start with a little at a time till you get the smooth paste.

Heat the mixture over medium heat and continue stirring periodically as the mixture thickens.

It would take a while about 25 – 30 mins for the mixture to become thoroughly cooked and throughout this period, you have to keep stirring or the mixture forms thick curds that are unpleasant and makes the final food unpalatable. You may have to bring down the pot at this stage and hold it firmly between the soles of your feet for a firm grip and stir vigorously or you may solicit the help of another to hold the pot while you stir.

The mixture will become very thick and hard as you continue stirring keep on stirring until a thick lump of consistent and thick mass is before you, then its ready.

You can find the already prepared ones in the market available for instant eating but personally, if I don’t know the seller and can’t vouch for the overall hygiene in the course of the preparation then I don’t buy. This is because most of those being sold in the market have an unpleasant smell and taste and you might be repelled but if you can manage it then its OK but then some of the are also very good and clean and moreover, it saves you a lot of time.

POUNDED YAM

INGREDIENTS

Tuber of yam

Mortar

Pestle

PREPARATION

Take the tuber of yam and cut up into small pieces, so that it would soften on time.

Cook until soft and remove from heat.

Gently one by one remove from the pot and put into the mortar with the exception of the head of the yam because it would form irritating balls in the smooth overall dough to be produced.

Pound gently and as if forms the dough or a lumpy mass that thickens as you continue to pound maintaining consistency, add a little hot water to form even dough after a while when you observe that the lump is thick and hard and we want the dish to be – smooth and consistent. Once the lump is soften and less thick, it’s ready for serving/eating.

SEMOLINA/SEMOVITA

INGREDIENTS

Semolina/semovita

Water

Spatula

PREPARATION

Pour water into a pot and place over heat and sift Semolina/Semovita to remove coarse particles.

Allow to boil and gently pour in the Semolina/Semovita into the pot using a small cup and at the same time turn the mixture as it thickens until no more Semolina/Semovita is left over low heat.

Continue stirring until the mixture to become thoroughly cooked and throughout this period, you have to keep stirring or the mixture forms thick curds that are unpleasant and makes the final food unpalatable. You may have to bring down the pot at this stage and hold it firmly between the soles of your feet for a firm grip and stir vigorously or you may solicit the help of another to hold the pot while you stir.

The mixture will become very thick and hard as you continue stirring keep on stirring until a thick lump of consistent and thick mass is before you, then its ready.

I will stop here from now until we see again. I hope you learned something today from my.

New Orleans Recipe – Red Beans and Rice

My paternal grandmother Mata used to make Red Beans and Rice at least once a week. I would always go to her house for lunch because they were always ready to eat early. My grandmother believed in getting her beans on the stove early and in a couple of hours they are ready to eat. Now my grandmother always used pickled pork. Pickled pork is always available in New Orleans but sometimes you can’t find it outside of the state. If you have trouble finding pickled pork then you will have to substitute with something like Ham or Ham Hocks.

Salt pork is not the same as pickled pork. Some people put smoked sausage in their beans also. My grandmother wouldn’t be caught dead with anything but pickled pork in her red beans, but you will have to do what you have to do to substitute. The beans will still taste good. Also, you notice she used Crisco lard which is also probably not available every where. I guess you would substitute a tablespoon of vegetable oil but my grandmother just turned over in her grave and I felt her slap me on the back of my head.

Anyway, get you a good heavy pot and she always used Magnalite pots. Also her 2 fingers of water is about 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Cooking red beans is like boiling water and just add the ingredients. One last thing that my grandmother used to do is to wash the beans in running water and let them soak in the pot for at least 30 minutes before adding ingredients putting them on the stove. You don’t need to add salt until after especially if you use pickle pork.

Bon Apetit’

RED BEANS AND RICE

1 lb. red beans

1 Tbsp. Crisco lard

2 slices pickled pork

7 or 8 toes garlic

1 large onion

Black pepper

2 c. rice

Cook red beans until tender, then add 1 tablespoon Crisco. Scald pickled pork to get some of the salt off, then add pork to beans. Chop onions and garlic and add to beans. Add pepper to taste. Will not need salt because of pickled pork. Serve over rice. To cook rice, cover with water two fingers over rice and set to boil. When water is out of rice, turn fire low and let steam with the pot covered.

My 3 Favourite Recipes From Kenya

With 52 tribes in Kenya, extending from the coast to the Rift Valley lakes to the central highlands to the northern desert, the cuisines found in this country are many and varied. There is also a strong Indian influence as the spice traders started coming to Africa centuries ago and have remained to trade in various other goods since. Here I present three dishes commonly found around Nairobi. Two – the matoke and mukimo – are traditional Kikuyu dishes from the central highlands, and the chapatti is from the coast.

Chapatti

Ingredients (makes 15-20 chapattis):

½ litre cold water

1 kg flour

Salt

Sugar

Oil

Method:

Mix water with flour, add a handful of salt, a bit of sugar and a bit of oil (the oil makes the chapatti turn golden when it cooks). Divide the mixture into balls the size of a child’s fist. Roll out each ball to a flat circle about the size of a dinner plate. Fry on a very hot, oiled chapatti pan (flat fry pan) for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Matoke

Ingredients:

Plantains (these are green bananas that are starchy and not sweet)

Tomatoes

Cooking oil

Potatoes

Water

Onions

Parsley

Capsicum

Salt

Method:

Peel the plantains and potatoes and soak for about half an hour. Meanwhile fry onions, tomatoes, parsley, capsicum and salt. Add potatoes and plantains to the fried tomato mix. Cover with water and add salt to taste (the salt also helps soften the plantains quickly). Stew over medium heat until the plantains and potatoes are cooked through.

To cook minji (peas), maharagwe (beans, usually red kidney) and njahi (black beans) follow a similar recipe. Boil the peas or beans for several hours until soft. Fry up the tomato mix described above, add potatoes and water. Finally add the peas or beans and mix together over low heat.

Mukimo

Ingredients:

Beans (red kidney beans usually)

Maize kernels

Onions

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Method:

Boil beans and maize (generally equal amounts of beans and maize) until soft, this usually takes a couple of hours. In another pot, cook onions, tomatoes and potatoes until soft. Then add the beans and maize. Now you have githeri another popular Kikuyu dish (my favourite!). However, to get to mukimo, cook the stew for another 30 minutes before mashing it all together. The maize is tough to mash so don’t worry about the kernels staying whole. The beans and potatoes will mash easily though.

Some versions of mukimo do not use beans; instead use a leafy green vegetable such as kale or spinach which mashes with the potato to make the mukimo green.

The quantities depend on your taste and how many you are cooking for. Generally for mukimo you want equal quantities of beans, maize and potatoes with the onion and tomato simply adding some taste. For matoke the plantains should be more than the potatoes, about a 2:3 ratio. Again the tomato fry mix is simply to add taste so you don’t need too much. For the chapattis the flour should be twice the amount of water with sugar and salt to taste.

I would love to hear about your experiences with Kenyan food – whether you have cooked it yourself or been cooked for. Please leave your comments below.

Home-Cooked Meals Are a Hot Investment

I married well.

After seeing a recent stat that 41% of first marriages end in divorce, I count myself lucky. I managed to find a mate who is smart, funny, responsible and compassionate.

And he loves to cook!

I picked up some basic cooking skills throughout high school and college. I can make grilled cheese, boil an egg and bake a mean chocolate cake for someone’s birthday. But I don’t stray too far from those easy recipes and skills.

On the other hand, my husband is the one in our family who makes the bulk of our meals. He’s the one who can explain the different cuts of beef at the grocery, and he’s the one who knows when to use dill and when to use rosemary. (I try to stay away from the spice rack completely.)

If food prices continue to shift the way they have over the past year, I think we will see more people like my husband cooking amazing meals at home rather than going out to eat… and that’s going to create some fantastic investment opportunities if you know where to look.

Back in the Kitchen

The government recently announced that the consumer price index (CPI) was unchanged for June, while economists were expecting inflation to tick up 0.1%. The 12-month CPI has dropped to 1.6% from 1.9% and is well off its five-year peak of 2.7% reached in February.

There’s a lot of hullabaloo going on right now about whether the Federal Reserve will lift rates yet again this year and whether the slowdown in inflation is far more than temporary, as the Fed has been claiming.

But I don’t care about the Fed right now. If the Fed is going to act, it’s unlikely to be until December, and there’s a lot of data set to come out between now and December that could sway the Fed.

If you dig a little deeper into the CPI report, there was a great nugget of data that no one is really talking about… and that creates a great opportunity for astute investors.

The government reported that grocery prices (food at home) fell in June. The price of food purchased in a grocery and prepared at home has steadily dropped since peaking in September 2015. We experienced a small run-up earlier this year, but it appears that prices are rolling over once again and headed lower.

By contrast, the price of food purchased at restaurants has steadily risen over the same time period and shows little sign of relenting.

Technology has worked to reduce costs in food production by increasing crop output. Low gas prices have cut transportation costs as well. The end result: It is now cheaper to buy food at the grocery than it was in 2015.

Meanwhile, rising labor costs and skyrocketing rents have forced many restaurants to lift their prices just to eke out a profit, making it far more expensive to eat out.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that food-at-home prices dropped 1.3% in 2016 from 2015 levels and are expected to rise between 0% and 1% in 2017. Food-at-restaurants prices jumped 2.6% in 2016 and aren’t slowing in 2017.

The Market Has Changed

The race is on to make a profit off what’s hitting your table for dinner. We’ve seen a surge over the past several years of meal-delivery services such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Plated and Home Chef. These companies are catering to families (particularly millennials) who are looking for the comfort of cooking at home while still getting a unique variety of meals – far more than my awesome grilled cheese sandwiches.

Earlier this summer, Amazon announced plans to acquire Whole Foods. Imagine if Amazon could streamline Whole Foods the way it has done its other businesses, bringing costs down and luring customers in.

And of course, we have Wal-Mart going head-to-head with Amazon, which could create a price war that works in favor of consumers.

The market has shifted in favor of the grocer over the restaurant. Prices are dropping for food in grocery stores while restaurants are raising their prices just to get above the cost of operating. Meanwhile, wages for most Americans are stagnating, making the choice an obvious one.

Investors should be wary of restaurants and take a new look at grocery stores such as Kroger or even watch for new opportunities driven by millennials.

Preheat the oven. Sharpen the knives. Bust out the cookbook. It’s time to make dinner at home.