Recipes Categories

Mtuzi wa Samaki

While traveling through Africa, one must eat, mustn't one? Calvin and I searched the internet today for recipe ideas. He wanted to experience foods from two different African countries, Kenya and Egypt. We started with Kenya, because as far as our travels go we haven't made it to Egypt yet.

Calvin made our Kenyan selection, Mtuzi wa Samaki, a curried fish dish that originated in Zanzibar before becoming popular throughout the east African coast countries. It turned out to be somewhat bland, but enjoyable. 

Mtuzi wa Samaki
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  ● Oil -- 1 tablespoon
  ● Fish filets, cut into serving portions -- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
  ● Salt and pepper -- to taste
  ● Onion, chopped or sliced -- 1
  ● Red or green bell peppers, chopped or sliced -- 2
  ● Garlic, minced -- 6-8 cloves
  ● Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 1 cup
  ● Coconut milk -- 1 1/2 cups
  ● Garam masala or curry powder -- 2-3 teaspoons
  ● Tamarind paste or lemon juice -- 1-2 tablespoons
  ● Salt and pepper -- to taste
  ● Rice, ugali, potatoes, or chapatti

1. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet or pot. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Sear the fish fillets on both sides and remove to a plate. Do not cook through.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and peppers. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes more.

3. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, garam masala or curry powder, tamarind paste or lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 6-8 minutes.

4. Add the fish fillets, cover and continue to simmer until the fish is cooked through, 5-10 minutes. Serve with rice, ugali, boiled potatoes, boiled cassava or chapatti.


Oatmeal buttermilk pancakes

With cranberries! Actually, the original called for raisins but that really didn't appeal to me, so we used dried cranberries instead. These took longer to cook than I'm used to but were completely worth the work and wait—they didn't even need a topping and were deliciously crispy.

Oatmeal buttermilk pancakes

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min./ batch

  ● 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  ● 2 cups buttermilk
  ● 1/2 cup egg substitute
  ● 2 tbsp. canola oil
  ● 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  ● 2 tbsp. sugar
  ● 1 tsp. baking powder
  ● 1 tsp. baking soda
  ● 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  ● 1/4 tsp. salt
  ● 1/2 cup raisins

In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in egg substitute and oil; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the wet ingredients just until moistened; add cranberries.
Pour batter by heaping 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown. Yield: 12 pancakes.

Nutrition Facts: 2 pancakes equals 274 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 505 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fruit, 1 fat.


Enchilada Casserole

The original name for this recipe, when I found it in Healthy Cooking Magazine, was Enchilada Casser-ole!, but I could not by any means bring myself to call it that (except when teasing Jon with it). I made the usual changes, including nearly doubling the cheese (did someone say healthy? Oops), and the final product was a hit around here.

Enchilada Casserole


  ● 1 lb. lean ground beef (90% lean)
  ● 1 large onion, chopped
  ● 2 cups fresh salsa
  ● 15 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained
  ● 2 tbsp. reduced-sodium taco seasoning (I make my own)
  ● 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  ● ~4 flour tortillas (8 inches)
  ● 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  ● 1-2 cups (4-8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  ● 1 cup shredded lettuce
  ● 1 medium tomato, chopped
  ● 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


In a large skillet cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, taco seasoning and cumin. Place two tortillas in a 2-qt. baking dish. Layer with half of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts (for the smaller amount of cheese, that is): 1 piece equals 357 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 864 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 23 g protein.

I've come to the conclusion that Mexican food is not photogenic. This is the best I could do.


Fortune Cookies revisited

This isn't a new recipe—I posted it here last year when I made it for the first time—but yesterday we celebrated the Chinese New Year and I thought a revisit was worth while. Something I didn't have when last I posted this recipe was a Silpat, but now I do. I won't bake them without one again.

Fortune Cookies
Yield: ~12 cookies

  ● 2 egg whites
  ● 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  ● 1/2 cup sugar
  ● 2 tbsp water
  ● 1 tsp almond extract
  ● 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Set oven to 400F degrees.

1) Place egg whites in a bowl and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until very frothy, almost soft peaks. Add sifted flour, sugar, and extracts, and mix until combined. Add ~2 tbsp water to thin the batter

2) Prepare your baking sheet with a Siilpat, parchment paper, or just use an ungreased baking sheet. My first time through I tried the paper and the ungreased sheet but found a very lightly oiled tray to be best. The Silpat, however, beats both those.

3) Working from the center in a circular motion, spread 1 tbsp of batter into a thin 5 inch circle. Bake only two cookies at a time (that's all you'll have time to shape before they cool).

8) Bake until edges are lightly browned, ~5 minutes, but watch carefully—it happens fast! Take out of oven and immediately remove the first cookie from the pan with a very thin spatula.

9) Work quickly to shape: flip the cookie over and place fortune paper (if you made one) on top. Bring sides up and pinch together—you now have a cookie that closely resembles an upright, hard taco shell, sealed at the top. Next bend the bottom middle of the "taco-cookie" over the edge of a cup. Transfer the newly shaped cookie to a muffin tin to help hold its shape while it cooks, then quickly move on to the second one. For the shaping to work it must be completely finished before the cookie really begins to cool, which is fast because they are thin. If you don't work fast enough they will break instead of bending.


Shrimp and fingerlings

Shrimp is one of Calvin's favorites, and it's a fun shake up to our usual evening meals. This one was warming and filling on a cool winter evening. Jon says it's not at the top of his recipe list (he prefers shrimp as just shrimp) but the other thirds of us enjoyed it whole heartedly. The recipe was originally from Bon Apetit, but has since been altered.

Shrimp and fingerlings in tomato broth



  ● 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  ● 1-2 tbsp flour
  ● 2 cups finely chopped onions
  ● 1-2 tbsp. flour
  ● 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  ● 1 tbsp. paprika
  ● 1 14.5 ounce jar diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
  ● 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  ● 1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  ● 1 cup dry white wine
  ● 1 8- ounce bottle clam juice
  ● 3 cups water
  ● 8 oz. fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  ● 1 lb. peeled deveined uncooked medium American shrimp

1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until very tender and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 18 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring continuously on low heat, until browning.

2. Add garlic and paprika; stir 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and cook until very thick, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Stir in rosemary and crushed red pepper. Add wine and clam juice, then 3 cups water. Bring broth to a boil. Add potatoes; simmer until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp; simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh, warm bread.

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