Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"African" Pineapple Peanut Stew

Stew made of pineapple, peanut butter, and Swiss chard, over basmati rice

I have Moosewood Cooks at Homeon my shelf, and I've used it over the past five years or so for exactly two recipes. The Moosewood Cafe is a cooperative restaurant in Ithaca, New York, famed for its homey, hippie, vegetarian fare (they do use fish). The recipes in the cookbook are all "inspired by," though never authentic to, the cuisines of developing nations. Many just don't sound appetizing enough to try, but I do like this stew, as well as their red, green, and yellow chili (which a friend calls Rasta chili). I was in the mood for this stew.

It's a particularly embarrassing recipe, using peanut butter. But it's delicious. The cooking times all seem off, usually too long. And the recipe calls for canned pineapple like it's 1976; I use fresh.

Brown about one cup of onions and a couple of minced garlic cloves in some vegetable oil. Then add the pineapple cut into chunks. The recipe has you add the juice from the can, so I usually add about half a cup of water, which yields a very thick stew. You could go through the trouble of buying some pineapple juice, but it's just going to add unnecessary sugar and a tiny bit of tartness. I simmer the pineapple chunks until very soft and then add one bunch of Swiss chard, chopped crosswise. I cover for about three minutes until the chard wilts, and then stir in about half a cup of peanut butter (we use Smucker's Natural, creamy), half a cup of cilantro, and salt to taste. Let this simmer a bit longer for the flavors to meld and then serve over rice, topping with chopped peanuts and scallions.

I can hear Julia Child saying, "that's not cooking, that's chopping!" Har har.

And there you have it. Just try finding another food blog that will admit to making dorky home cooking like this. That's what the blog is all about. Not my brightest moments as a home chef, not good editing, not all the splendid treats someone brings back for me from France. Just the quotidien. What I made for dinner and what I did with Jasper.

And speaking of the Mom segment of today's posting...I had a harrowing evening. Those of you who are squeamish will want to stop reading now. Jasper got filthy this afternoon playing in dirt (fine, pore-seeking dirt) at the park. So I threw him into the tub the minute we got home. It got off to a bad start. I had just leaned over to turn on the water and he tried to get in by himself. He fell head-first.

But we kept going, and I added extra bubbles. We were having a fine time, giggling, playing with the bird whistle, splashing, when I spotted something brown floating in the water. Yes, it was poo. Jasper had defecated in the tub. In fact, despite having already defecated earlier in the day he pooed a great deal. Who knows how long my hands had been in that contaminated water, how soon after I'd blown the bird whistle.

So I took him out, drained the tub, fishing out the poo with my bare hands (not having a pooper scooper handy), set the toys over to the side to disinfect later, rinsed the tub out to scrub later (thanks, Lane!), and then washed Jasper down with soap and running water. Then I decided since I was already enjoying myself I might as well wash his hair, too, which I only do once a week because he hates it and it's a huge battle. I don't get paid for this, folks. It's all volunteer work.

Anyway, that was the nadir of my day. Otherwise we enjoyed more glorious weather and Lane had a great day at the studio. Tomorrow he plays soccer with a bunch of artists (???) followed by a reception at the sponsoring gallery, so I may not be cooking.


janeannechovy said...

You mean, he's never pooed in the tub before?!?! You're lucky he waited until it was fish-out-able.

Janet M. Kincaid said...


We made this the other night for dinner with friends and it was great! I had to make a couple of modifications, though. I couldn't find swiss chard and neither Brenda nor I can eat cilantro (tastes like bleach) so I steamed some spinach and chopped up italian parsley. It was yummy! I think the next time I make it, I'm going to throw in some chicken and perhaps a little something to spice it up a bit and give it a little kick. Any suggestions? All-in-all, though, a great recipe.