This past week had a couple of very pleasant food surprises - both involving stews of one kind or another.
Peanut lamb stew
We went to African and American Best Food - a little restaurant around the corner that has always intrigued me mainly because of the clientele and only secondarily the smells. The people working in this bare yet somehow cheery establishment with lots of West African decor and a big Barack Obama poster on the back wall were some of the friendliest in New York. Just lovely, big smiling people - gave us a taste test of two stews: one peaunt-based and another tomato-based. The tomato had more spice and complexity, but I was in the mood for peanut... we ended up with a lovely chicken shish kebab with a great mustard sauce and a peanut-lamb stew that had spinach and carrot as part of the base. The sweet plantains were Erin's favorite, of course, and the whole experience was very welcoming and happy - we'll be back.
Shrimp and sweet potato stew with a carrot and turnip salad
- This was the first meal that we had after Erin's trip to Texas... I thought a stew sounded good and Erin loves shrimp and sweet potatoes, so I gave it a go. Turned out good I think although I would probably add more spice and make it more saucy with less chunks next time. Erin hated the salad - she apparently can't stand turnips (I parboiled the turnips and carrots, thinly sliced with a mustard vinagrette and still no luck). I will make the stew again though:
- 2/3 lb shrimp
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 5 new potatoes
- tomato sauce
Basically boil the potatoes for 5-10mins, when done add to the pan with garlic, add sauce and fresh tomatoes, cumin, cayenne and finish with the shrimp for 5 minutes just before serving and the cilantro the same.
Otherwise, this weekend was perfect: we put together some baby stuff finally getting rid of the pile of boxes that was crowding everything. The 90 year old woman on the first floor who alternately calls me 'baby' or 'sampson' receives all of our packages out of the goodness of her heart and then I lug them up the stairs. It's a pretty good deal actually.
I biked around Manhattan (a 32 mile trip) in a little less than 2 hrs one morning. I tried to bet Erin the rights to give our son his middle name if I did it in less than 2 hrs - she claims that bet was never confirmed.