Sarkozy. When we were in France, lots of people we spoke to at shows were seriously freaked out about the possibility of a Sarkozy presidency. A few were determined to leave the country if he won. Where would you go, we asked. "Belgium" was almost always the answer, which makes pretty good sense considering the absence of Christian Democrats in their recent political history. Anyway, it's depressing to see people continuing to sacrifice themselves like this, feeling like they have no political or social choice but to not be there anymore, an emotion I'm rather in touch with.


Participation in Klary's newest eG foodblog has precipitated an evening of Caribbean cooking on Tuesday, with some unprecedented attempts at Aruban recipes featuring prominently on the menu. It's a style of cooking that I've been attracted to for years, but my actual cooking experience has historically been limited by access to authentic ingredients (beyond Jamaican jerk). This is a problem that we no longer have, as Amsterdam is crammed full of tokos that carry all of the exotic greenery, tubers, and grains required, so it'll be interesting to finally dig in, and specifically into the Antillean side of things for a change.

Another obstacle: it's very hard to find good English versions of the recipes that feature the ingredients that we have access to here. The following black bean variation is adapted and translated (by me) from the Rotterdams Kookboek by Linda Roodenburg. I just made this last week for the first time, and the recipe called for cubing the bacon and leaving it in there...I just found that a little too fatty when combined with the coconut milk. So now I'm treating the smoked pork element more like a ham hock: cook it in the pot but don't serve it. In fact a ham hock might work better than the bacon.

aruban stewed black beans.
500 gr dried black beans
100 gr salt pork or bacon, in one piece
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp fresh celery leaves (selderij), chopped
4 cloves
2 tsp adobo seasoning
1 madame jeanet or adjoema pepper, whole
1 tom yam bouillion cube or 1 tbsp tom yam or even tom kha soup paste
freshly ground black pepper

Soak the beans overnight, if desired. Rinse the beans, put them in fresh water to cover by an inch or so. In a frying pan, add a tbsp of olive oil and saute the bacon with the onion for 5-7 minutes until browned nicely, add the garlic, and saute for a minute or two. Add this mixture to the beans, along with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook until beans are tender, checking every 30 minutes or so to make sure you've got enough liquid. When beans are done, remove the bacon and pepper and serve.

No comments: