Wednesday, June 6, 2012

third world cooking

Cooking in the third world is all about compromises.  Compromising quality and freedom.  It's about cutting off the bad spot and making something beautiful with what is left.

Cooking in the third world is all about substitution. It's about thinking outside the original recipe.  Changing ingredients out for things you have on hand or things that are available even if the end result looks nothing like you intended.  It's about creativity and taking risks to create something delicious.

Third world cooking is about setting your mind to eliminate failures in the kitchen.  Nothing fails, it just turns out "different".

This is my philosophy for cooking in Ethiopia.  Recipes are guidelines.  This is the reason I rarely describe a detailed recipe with all the measurements.  I don't cook like that.  You definitely can't cook by a recipe in the third world.

I love stuffed peppers but all the ground beef and pork I used to stuff them with made it a heavy dish.  I wanted something lighter.  I was inspired by a recipe for Greek stuffed peppers.  Here is my interpretation of the meal.

"Different" stuffed bell peppers
 Cook 1/2 cup long grain white rice until tender.  Chop one onion, zucchini, and corn on the cob (great for leftover corn).  Saute on medium heat three cloves of garlic in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add 1 cup ground beef or pork and cook until done.   Add the veggies, salt and pepper and saute for two minutes.  Add the cooked rice. In a small bowl mix 1 Tbsp cream with 1 egg.  Add this to the meet/veggie/rice mixture.  Stir quickly and turn down the heat so the egg doesn't cook too fast.  Sprinkle the mixture with a dash of Parmesan cheese. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
 Wash and prepare three bell peppers for stuffing.  Fill each pepper with a heaping amount of filling.  Pour 1 cup of water or chicken broth in the bottom of the baking pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and top each pepper with cheese.  I had Camembert cheese but Fontina, feta or grated Asiago would be lovely (I'm always dreaming about other cheese options).  Bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is all melted and gooey.
The end result was delicious.  I scooped out the middle for the girls and then sliced the bell pepper for them to eat on the side.  It was a very light meal and perfect paired with roasted broccoli.  It hardly looked like the original Greek stuffed pepper recipe but in my kitchen developing my own recipe with what I have is even more fun!  


Just US said...

That looks delicious!!!

Melinda Renee said...

Yipeeeeeeeee!!! Creative cooking is so much fun once you get comfortable experimenting! *grin* Love your fabulous photography too.

Shannon Medlin-Stein said...

I referenced this in a conversation with my school mates at Full Sail University tonight. I am enrolled in their Master of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and found this a great example of how people are focused on creativity during these times of hardship!

Keep up the great work! You are an inspiration! :)