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Roasted okra ‘fries’

25 Oct

Husband and toddler tested… approved! Okra is very nutritious, and roasting is so much easier and better for you than frying it. Score.

500g okra
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Rinse the okra then let dry. Trim away the stem ends and the very tips, then place the okra in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil until coated.

Place on a baking sheet in one layer. Roast in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan every five minutes.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve hot.


Val’s limeade

29 Sep

1. It’s really, really hot.

2. Limes are cheap this time of year (I pay 500 cfa/kilo) and very juicy.

These factors combined make it a great time for fresh limeade.

I usually buy at least a kilo of limes at a time, which has made me quite famous in the market since locals only by them by the handful. A kilo will yield up to 3 cups of juice before straining.

Wash the outside of the limes well, even though you are only using the inside, because whatever is on the outside will inevitably get into the juice.

Press down on the limes with your palm and roll them around the counter a bit to make juicing easier. I’ve also heard that microwaving them or soaking them in hot water helps.

Cut all the limes in half (or save one for garnishing) and squeeze the juice out with a citrus juicer or just by hand. (Great time to get your janq / bonne / house-helper to help).

We like ours pulpy so I just strain it through a regular colander which gets the seeds out, but lets most of the pulp pass through. If you want it pulp free, strain through a fine sieve.

I freeze the juice by the cup in ziploc bags or plastic containers.

For 1 gallon of limeade:
1 cup juice
2 cups sugar
water and ice to equal a gallon

I have found that 2 cups sugar is just right for most Americans. If you are serving to Senegalese friends you should use at least 3 cups of sugar to the gallon. Stir and enjoy!

Try these fun variations:
* for a tarter limeade, add a tsp of lemon zest
* for a little kick, some finely sliced fresh ginger
* add fresh basil, thyme or mint leaves

Limeade syrup recipe
You can also make a syrup by mixing 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup lemon juice, heat and stir till sugar is totally incorporated. Keep in the fridge. Add to taste to a glass of cold, fresh, water for single servings. (2 Tbsp is about right for most people.)

Lime slushies – Our favorite!
Fill a 2-qt blender pitcher with ice. Pour in 1/2 cup of lime juice, 1 cup sugar and water to the halfway mark. Blend and enjoy icy cold lime slushies!

This post came from my friend Val. Her kitchen is famous and her recipes are highly sought after.

Overnight French toast (with mango!)

18 Aug

Unbelievably simple, and unbelievably good.

1 loaf going-stale-French-bread
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
fresh fruit (mango!)

Slice half the bread into rounds. Tear the other half into bite-sized pieces. Place in glass or other heavy baking dish. Bread should almost fill it, but not overflow.

Beat eggs, then add milk, cinnamon and and sugar. Pour over the bread and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let sit overnight.

In the morning, bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes or until browned on top and feels spongy (not gooey or crispy) to touch in the center. Serve immediately (as if you could wait!) with fruit a

Espresso buttercream frosting

13 Aug

One time, I made something so yummy that I blurted out, “This is delicious!” right as everyone was eating it. Yeah. It was this frosting.

1 1/2 Tbsp instant espresso or coffee granules (Via!)
1 1/2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 c unsalted butter (I used Bocage!), softened
3 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Combine water, coffee granules, vanilla extract and almond extract in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve coffee. Set aside.

Beat butter in bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for a few seconds between each addition. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes. Add the coffee mixture and milk. Beat on low speed to combine. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Frosts 18 cupcakes. (Or one awesome monkey cake.)

Summer slaw with tomatoes, cilantro and lime

28 Jun

Sooo good with grilled fish!

2 cups chopped cabbage
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 lg bunch cilantro, chopped

Mix slaw ingredients in a bowl.


1/2 cup mayonnaise (OR 1/4 cup mayonnaise + 1/4 cup lait caillé)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pickle, chopped (dill or cornichons)
Zest of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Pour over slaw mix and stir well. Chill before serving.

Iced chai

25 Jun

My substitute for hot coffee during hot season!

1/2 cup powdered milk
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4-5 cloves
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water
4-5 tea bags

In a pitcher, mix together the powdered milk, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Pour in the cold water and stir until milk is dissolved. Add the hot water and tea bags and let steep 10 mins. Remove tea bags, then add ice and water to fill pitcher.

How to roast peanuts

14 Sep
One word: Don’t.

Spend the extra money to buy them already roasted and shelled.

Trust me.