Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cooking in Zambia

Hi, Steph here. I just wanted to share a few of my cooking adventures with you all. So, if cooking doesn't interest you, now would be the best time to stop reading. Since Steve (and now Bradyn) can't eat normal store bought cookies I decided to make some gluten free cookies. I've made these many times at home, but never without my beloved Kitchen Aid. Oh, how I hope you are enjoying my Kitchen Aid Kaitie. Anyway, my Sunbeam electric mixer didn't fare too badly, I guess I will get used to it right?? They don't sell chocolate chips here so I bought a chocolate bar which I cut up for the chocolate. The girls and I were very proud of our accomplishment. The cookies are supposed to bake at 375 for 10 minutes. The oven dial only went to 260 and then it said Max so I just put it on max since 260 was about 100 degrees shy of 375. I set the timer for 9 minutes and left the kitchen. I came back in about 4 minutes to the smell of very burnt cookies. They were totally black...in only 4 minutes. It was then that I discovered that my oven is labeled in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Oops! I googled for a Celsius/Fahrenheit converter and 375 F. is only equal to 180 C and I had the oven on MAX. It was painful to throw away 12 beautiful gluten-free cookies, but they were beyond salvaging. I guess I won't ever make that mistake again...hopefully. The second batch turned out great so it wasn't a complete loss.
On a more positive note, I made my own corn tortillas on Sunday. This is a staple item for Steve (and Brady) since they can't eat bread. But, the grocery stores don't sell them. So, in the Wycliffe Cookbook they had a recipe and I tried it using the Zambian staple "Mealie Meal" and Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour. I thought they turned out pretty good. I'm sure as I do it more often they will get better. I need to figure out how to roll them thinner. If anyone has a good recipe for corn tortillas let me know. Next time I will double the recipe when I do it so the mess I make will at least produce more tortillas in the end.
It is quite a learning curve learning to prepare a meal in Zambia. I'm finding that it is taking me several hours to make our dinner every night...even if it's just leftovers. Like the other night I was making a taco soup recipe that one of the other ladies had made that we liked. I had everything in the pot and then needed to add the tomatoes. But, I forgot that first the tomatoes have to be soaked in bleach water for 20 minutes. Things just take longer. I'm sure this will get better as I go along. They also don't sell prepared spaghetti sauce and I didn't bring a recipe. I've tried to make a few but they haven't been that great! If you have a good homemade sauce recipe please send it to me.
Today, my house helper Miriam went to the market for me with my veggie list and some money. (Apparently they can get much better prices than us mzungus). She came back with a bunch of wonderful looking veggies which we then had to soak. I guess our insides are probably pretty bleached out too.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Steph. Now tell us why you have to soak the veggies for so long?

mollyllilja said...

Oh Steph I am living for your blog!!! The kids too, I don't even think the cobra story is enough to scare them away!!! I think there is a thingy that you can get that makes tortillas, it would make it so much easier. If I could find one, could I mail it to you? I am sure I have seen one before.
Love you guys,

Anonymous said...

Oh Steph! I think that when we get there we'll just have to come over to your house every night for dinner. I don't even know how I'm going to survive since 90% of my recipes involve some form of Campbell's Soup!!! ~Kerri

Anonymous said...

a spaghetti sauce recipe, i would use, water, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste (if they sell it), basil, salt, pepper to taste, garlic, oregano. let it stew for awhile on medium or low heat until the right consistentency (?).

what an adventure you are all having and doing the Lord's work.

Shannan (very old friend from Westminster Chapel, youth group)

Leon said...

hey i grew up in zambia(my parents are in mufumbwe) when i went back two years ago and visited sakeji(a school where congo zambia and angola meet)i asked for their sakeji mud recipe(a chocolate desert dish). the cook there then said it was basically the same as the one in the cook book "cooking in zambia" and wrote it out for me. well i can't find it now. my parents email is not so much right now so i would love it if you could track it down for me.(this is what came up this morning when i googled cooking in zambia.) i don't know if that book is even still around since it was for us before zambia got ingredients.
well enjoy the rains
i'll be checking your blog. i don't know why it never crossed my mind that there might be people blogging in zambia.
leon carpenter

Anonymous said...

I know most newish missionaries bleach their vegetables and I agree it is perhaps the safest route. However, I was an MK in Zambia and have lived and worked as an adult in several sub-Saharan countries and I never bleached vegetables (neither did my mom or most of the missionaries at that time. And my family all worked in medicine, nursing and public health). We also never got sick. So - perhaps keep doing it for now but realize that it might not be necessary....especially when you are cooking the tomatoes in your taco soup.
All the best. Stay healthy and enjoy beautiful Zambia and all the wonderful vegetables available!