Cleaning, cooking, inspiration and Africa

We are doing spring cleaning over at our house. As I was going through my cookbooks and wondering why I have so many when I got rid of my cookbooks years ago, I found an old favorite of mine: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant by the Moosewood Collective.

Moosewood is a small, casual, collectively owned and operated restaurant in downtown Ithaca, a small city in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Our town is more international than most communities of its size, perhaps because Cornell University and Ithaca College are here. At Moosewood, we’ve never been interested in following stylish trends; our focus has always been on carefully prepared, artfully presented foods with a healthful, vegetarian emphasis. (excerpt from General Introduction)

This was published in 1990 and features international cuisines. In my last purge of cookbooks, I had given this book to my mom.20130528_133849 After she died, four years ago, I reclaimed it. However, now it is in a sorry state. I tried to save it by placing individual chapters in plastic bindings. But it’s just unsightly. So, Eureka, I thought I would go through the book trying out the recipes before dumping it in the recycle bin.

For those of you who don’t know, before I was a mom I was an ESL teacher. I became an ESL teacher because I have a passion for travel and exploring foreign cultures. When working to save up money and then quitting to go to Europe was becoming too taxing financially and physically, I decided to get a degree in TESOL. Unfortunately, I never did get to explore the world. Yet, I did get to explore myself and my own world which has been quite a journey in and of itself.

The book begins with Africa South of the Sahara. And that too is where I shall begin.

Tonight’s menu:

Cape Verde Vegetable Soup

Tofu Bobotie

Brown Rice

Apricot Chutney

Mint-Cucumber refresher

crisp bread and fruit

recipe for Cape Verde Vegetable Soup
recipe for Cape Verde Vegetable Soup
recipe for Tofu Bobotie pt. 1
recipe for Tofu Bobotie pt. 1
recipe for tofu bobotie pt. 2
recipe for tofu bobotie pt. 2

20130603_174343As an added bonus my husband came home and was willing to help. To set the mood we put on the Cesaria Evora cd Sao Vicente.  It is so great to have a sous chef who will do all the chopping and save me from butchering myself. As he chopped the vegetables, I read through the directions. Forethought and preparation are not my strong suits, which is a deficit in the kitchen and the classroom as well. I had a principal who always stated, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well, I guess I plan to fail. Not really though, my ADD brain lacks what they are calling Executive Functions now. I just plan to take it as it comes these days. Make lemonade from lemons….ok, enough cliches.

I commented we should go upstate and visit the restaurant sometime. My husband commented that this was more work than Greek Cuisine. It was a lot of chopping. I just threw things in the pot and stirred.

everything cooking up on the stove
everything cooking up on the stove

I halved both recipes since they served 6 and we are only 3. I did cheat on the last part of the Tofu bobotie where it said to put everything in a baking dish and bake in the oven. I just threw it all in my dutch oven and put that in the oven to bake up. The custard didn’t pouf up very well because of that, however it was all delicious!

cilantro fresh from my herb garden!
cilantro fresh from my herb garden!


My son didn’t even complain. He didn’t eat much more than bread and bananas, but he didn’t vocally complain.



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