Liberian’s love Cassava Leaf. While I was in Liberia one of my favorite foods was cassava leaf. Imagine my joy when I found a LaFruteria, a Mexican grocery on 89th and Commercial in Chicago that sells, in addition to Mexican foods, Caribbean and African foods!
I am a vegetarian so when I prepare cassava leaf I do not include meat; however, in Liberia it was prepared with either chicken or fish. For protein, I typically use either ground pea butter (peanut butter without sugar) or add red beans. Note of Caution: Palm oil is heavy, saturated oil. With our sedentary lifestyles, enjoy the dish, but not too often unless you are really exercising.
Because I now consider cassava leaf comfort food, it’s often a holiday treat!
Recipe for Spicy Cassava Leaf (serves 4-6)
2 -8 ounce packages of Ground Cassava Leaves
1-1 ½ cups of Red Palm Oil
2 green chopped habanero pepper (if you get the red pepper use only 1)
2-3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
½ medium sized diced onion
1 vegetarian bouillon cube (if you are not a vegetarian, use chicken or beef bouillon. A favorite is Maggi brand.)
4 tablespoons of ground pea butter stirred into several tablespoons of hot water.
2 cups of parboiled, brown or any long grained rice – prepared according to package directions
Salt – to taste
Cover the frozen cassava leaves with 4 cups of water and cook over a medium fire (watch carefully) until all the water is boiled out of the cassava. Be careful not to scorch the cassava. Add the palm oil and ground pea butter, onions, garlic, and chopped peppers. Cook until the mixture has the consistency of gravy. Options for chicken and beef – Omit the ground pea butter -Lightly brown your meat and put it to the side. Then flake it into bite size pieces and add AFTER the palm oil and other seasonings is included. Cook for a few more minutes in order to let the seasonings filter through the meat.
– Susan Peters
We were visiting the Dickens house in London many years ago and were served Smoking Bishop. We make it every year if we can. This recipe is excerpted from npr’s, Down a Mug of ‘Smoking Bishop’
1. Take six Seville oranges and bake them in a moderate oven until pale brown. If you cannot procure any bitter Seville oranges, use four regular oranges and one large grapefruit.
2. Prick each of the oranges with five whole cloves, put them into a warmed ceramic or glass vessel with one-quarter pound of sugar and a bottle of red wine, cover the vessel, and leave it in a warm place for 24 hours.
3. Take the oranges out of the mixture, cut in half and squeeze the juice, then pour the juice back into the wine.
4. Pour the mixture into a saucepan through a sieve, add a bottle of port, heat (without boiling), and serve in warmed glasses.
– Anna Lott
Since my husband, Bob, passed on Christmas Day, our family breaks tradition by making whatever we want, from any fare. We usually go Caribbean, with oxtails, rice and peas, curried cabbage, and Johnny Cakes. One year, we chucked it all and made whatever we wanted. That year we served the Cuban oxtails, with Camille’s Lasagna, collard greens, and my son, Miles, wanted Bob’s mac’ and cheese. Sounds funny, but tasted fabulous! Since the kids feel I ‘channel’ Bob with my mac’ and cheese, here’s the recipe, and it ain’t fat free!
Bob’s Mac’ and Cheese
1 bag of LARGE macaroni noodles
1 pt. heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 c half and half or milk
1 c butter, cut in pats
1 c sharp cheddar cheese + 1/2 c for topping
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese + 1/4 c for topping
1/3 c feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven at 350.
Cook the macaroni until soft. Do not drain. Let it sit in the pot. The water dissolves, as noodles expand.
In a large bowl, mix the egg, cream, half & half, and salt and pepper. (Remember the cheese is salty).
Pour the noodles in the mixture, and add the cheese. The noodles melt the cheese. Mix all.
Pour all into a casserole dish, and hide pats of butter in the noodles.
Top with cheddar and parmesan.
Place in oven and cook until cheese melts and noodles set, about 35-40 mins.
Key to moisture: Bob always made sure the noodles did not absorb the cream before he put the dish in the oven. If needed, he would drizzle a little milk to the side of the dish. EAT!