Summer Pasta

DSC_0901

Last summer I shared a garden with my sister.  It was a bit undermanaged. Mostly because we were living in community with 4 kids under age 5… so weeding the garden did not always happen.  But it still produced a lot of good veggies. Part way through the season we realized our squash plants were diseased.  So I decided to harvest a bunch of squash blossoms since they would not be turning into squash anyway.

DSC_0889

The thing about picking squash blossoms is that bees love them. On a few occasions I picked a blossom and was surprised by bee inside. After a while I learned to shake the blossom first and listen for a bee.

I experimented with the squash blossoms using different recipes. Our favorites were battered squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta (labor intensive) and pasta with squash blossoms (much easier).

DSC_0893

I was delighted to find squash blossoms here in Burkina. A woman with a produce stand near our house had some baby zucchini set out with little blossoms attached.  I went to buy some and she started pulling off the blossoms and discarding them for me.  She was surprised when I told her I wanted the blossoms but more than happy to give them to me.

DSC_0902

With the blossoms I decided to make a pasta.  Soren and Anya helped me make the lunch.  Their little fingers are really great for peeling garlic…and it keeps them occupied for a long time.  Although, Anya kept getting confused and throwing the garlic out rather than the skins.  Once we got that sorted out we were on our way.  I added some red peppers which are a rare find here and the saffron my in-laws gave me. The pasta was delicious.

DSC_0913

Summer Pasta

8-10 Zucchini

A pile of squash blossoms

3-4 red peppers

8 garlic cloves

6-8 slices of bacon or proscutto thinly sliced

4 tbl butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken broth

Tagliatelle pasta cooked in salted water

¼ cup parmesan cheese for topping

2 pinches of saffron

Salt to taste

Slice zucchini and peppers into thin 2inch long strips.  Slice garlic length wise into thin strips.  Chiffonade zucchini blossoms.  Brown zucchini, red pepper, and garlic in butter.  Add bacon or prosciutto and cook until crispy.  Add chicken broth, deglaze pan, and cook down until ½ liquid.  Add zucchini flowers.  Cook 1 minutes.  Add heavy cream and saffron.  Simmer for 3 minutes.  Toss with cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.

DSC_0917

 

guinea fowl eggs

DSC_0792

Last week I traveled to visit a partner a few hours south of our city.  On the way home I saw lots of people standing by the road selling eggs.  This surprised me because we recently had an avian flu sweep through and eggs have been a bit more difficult to find.  Turns out the eggs I saw were guinea fowl eggs.  And it is the season for guinea fowl eggs.  Of course I wanted to try them.

art credit: Soren WL
art credit: Soren WL

Guinea fowl are native to Africa.  We see them here roaming around in Burkina pretty often.  They are quite beautiful.  Black feathers and white dots.  At preschool Soren made a lovely rendition.

DSC_0841
guinea fowl egg next to a coin the size of a quarter (didn’t have a quarter)

So I bought a bunch of guinea fowl eggs to try.  Turns out they are really rich and creamy and delicious!  I read online that people are breeding them in North America and selling them in farmers markets.  The eggs are slightly smaller than chicken eggs, about 2/3 the size.  They are harder than chicken eggs…you gotta give them a good whack to crack them.  The yolks are custardy yellow- a darker shade than most chicken eggs.  We had some great omelettes this week.  I thought I would include one of our favorite egg recipes that is packed with summer time veggies:

Greek Scramblette (adapted from the Floridian restaurant)

Serves 2

6 eggs (guinea fowl or another avian variety)

½ cup diced red onion

¼ halved Kalamata olives

1/3 cup thinly sliced spinach

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil (reserve some for topping)

¼ cup diced peppers (red, yellow, green)

½ cup diced tomato

1 garlic clove minced

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve a few bits to sprinkle on top)

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tbs heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté until browned.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and then pour into the sauté pan with the onion and garlic. Cook until the egg is cooked through.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and basil.

And if you are looking for something even heartier check out this delicious Caramelized Garlic Spinach Cheddar Tart

Mango Tree

DSC_0741

I used to say Mangoes were my favorite fruit.  After spending time in Tanzania during Mango season I learned that Mangoes in the States taste very different from a Mango fresh off a tree.  Kinda like the difference between a store-bought tomato and a garden grown tomato that is picked when ripe.  Fresh mangoes are amazing.

So I was overjoyed to find that our home in Burkina has a Mango tree!

DSC_0729

 

 

Recently we harvested mangoes from our tree.Our friend Harouna helped us get the mangoes from the tree.  He threw bunches down at a time and Barry attempted to catch them.  After missing a few mangoes Barry got a bucket to catch them.

 

There was lots of rejoicing and dancing to celebrate the giant pile of mangoes we got.

mangos

Then we enjoyed eating them.  Oh, and Anya supervised the whole event from the ground.

DSC_0788