Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cameroon

Background: Formerly two separate entities called French Cameroon and British Cameroon
Location: Western Africa, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria
Area: Over 475,000 sq km; 54th largest in the world
          Slightly larger than California
Population: Almost 19.75 million; 58th largest in the world
Capital: Yaounde
Noun: Cameroonian
Religion: 40% follow indigenous beliefs (CIA Factbook)  Wikipedia claims differently...
Cuisine: Varied, due to their "crossroads" location
Economy:
Because of its modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems confronting other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnant per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, endemic corruption, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise.
Source:  CIA Factbook

Cameroon was one of those countries that I did not know much about.  I wasn't sure where it was, or what the situation there was like.  From what I had read, they have stability that some of their neighbors don't, but still lack infrastructure.  The things you can learn from the Factbook are really quite interesting.

The national dish of Cameroon is Ndole, which uses a bitter leaf that is indigenous to the area.  Peanuts were a prominent ingredient, so it was immediately eliminated.  Kevin wanted to try Suya, minus the peanuts.  That would have altered it more than I wanted though, so we ended up agreeing on Brochettes a la Camerounaise.  No new ingredients, but I don't normally cook "kebab's."

Being me, I didn't notice until I went to cook that there were no amounts in the recipe.  How do I miss such things?  And no picture meant I didn't know what the consistency should be either.  Watery?  Chunky?  Dry?  Time to make it all up!

I made the marinade early and let the beef sit overnight.
That seems like a goodly amount of onion, right?
I thought I had fresh ginger, but I was mistaken.  I had to use powdered.
Full up.
As you can see, using a mortar and pestle was not going to work.  Time for my handy dandy food processor.  The solver of all problems.
I guess this amount means I went with a tomato-based sauce

It looks a little more like a slushy than I would like.
That's that, really.  I added the meat to marinate overnight and then went on with my day.  Simple, yet frustrating in the lack of direction.

The next day I just had to make the skewers and broil them.  For an unspecified amount of time.  Luckily the internet helped with that.  15 minutes total, turning and basting in the middle.
We bought the skewers for when we went camping.  It was good to actually have the equipment.
Post-marinated beef.
I went with green peppers, because that seems to be our staple.
Half-way done, adding more tomato slush.
Not sure if you can see the steam, but these were HOT when they came out.
It was a really nice day out, especially for August in DC, so we decided to eat outside.  It was a nice change.

Yes, our plants are dying.  After you leave them alone for a week and a half in July to go on vacation it is hard for them to recover.
We realized there was one main thing missing, so Kevin took care of that.

Much better!
The food was...meh.  The marinade didn't have much flavor in it.  We both ended up adding more spices.  It is entirely possible I was supposed to add twice and much of that stuff, or maybe half as much vegetables.  No idea.  I don't really know what else to say.  It wasn't that great, but I have no idea if it was even close to being right.  *Shrug*

You'll just have to wait until next time for something more exciting.  Except cats!
Curie is always excited about the outside, so we decided to give her a look.
She wouldn't sit still, so we put her back in very quickly.
Tesla will run out the front door every chance he gets, but is wary of the back door.  He did not come out.
Next time: Canada

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