Please keep buying FIRSTHAND copies of THE COOKING GENE from HarperCollins, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Sales of firsthand retail copies fund culinary trips to West Africa for people who can’t afford to go on their own dime. So far sales of the Cooking Gene have sent five people to West Africa in two years!! When you buy firsthand it helps authors build the kind of self sufficiency where we can help others. I appreciate you!
I was going to do a chicken and apples recipe but naw….Joan Nathan got that down.
I wanted to make a brisket for the holiday but I wanted it to be unique. Yes to green salad, roasted fall veggies, peach kugel (secret ingredient frosted flakes), matzoh ball soup. I’m exhausted so I gotta make this work. I was thinking of something I haven’t done Koshersoul style….high holidays apple barbecue sauce.
APPLE BARBECUE SAUCE.
put it on chicken or salmon or sliced pot roast or lamb, brisket or eat it with spicy roasted vegetables…
Sauté together in a large saucepan:
1/2 cup of chopped Vidalia onion or any sweet onion
1/4 cup of minced celery
1/4 cup of minced carrot
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of crushed minced ginger.
Let’s put it in a teaspoon or so of kosher or sea salt.
2 tablespoons of the pareve oil of your choice…
Sauté over medium-low heat until onion and celery are translucent. Be attentive! Don’t let it burn.
Add to saucepan:
3/4 cup of tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup of apple juice or apple cider
1/2 cup of grated Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apple or 1/2 cup of applesauce (unpretty apples are great for this!)
A DNA culinary connection to my African Roots by Michael W. Twitty: author of The Cooking Gene James Beard Award Winner for Best Food Writing and Book of the Year, 2018.
Because of AncestryDNA I was able to trace my ancestry back through West Africa to the people’s of Ghana. An old family story linked us to Ghana but Ancestry contributed to confirming that we had roots on what used to be called The Gold Coast. 32% of my pie chart represents affinities with people living today who are from Ghana. Because of this strong connection through oral history and historical research along with genetic genealogy I was inspired to help bring four other African American chefs with the help of Roots to Glory Tours to Ghana last March on a first ever culinary tour of West Africa. As an author and blogger here at Afroculinaria, I wrote about my journey in The Cooking Gene, now in paperback from HarperCollins. I’d like to share with you a recipe inspired by my visit to Ghana, Domedu. It’s usually made from pork but this is a beef version I hope you will enjoy. I encourage everyone to find out more about their roots and enjoy all the flavors of your heritage.
Ghanaian roasts produce a lovely jus and gravy that is awesome paired with a dark leafy green mixed salad with scallions and bell peppers and sesame and basmati rice, millet, couscous or mashed tropical yam.
4 pound boneless beef chuck roast.
1 large red onion, washed, peeled and quartered
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 inch knob of ginger, skinned
1 very small fresh hot red pepper
1 ground up Maggi cube or two teaspoons of powdered broth.
1 tsp of seasoned salt of your choice
1 tsp of ground cardamom
1 tsp of coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Pat roast dry. Cover in tiny slits and set aside. Take all the above seasonings and place in a blender or chopper until liquefied/ well chopped. Place in a dish, spread over roast and marinade several hours to overnight. Turn frequently.
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
(You’ll need a large oven-friendly (no plastic) Dutch oven.
2 tablespoons of palm or vegetable oil
1 cup of thinly sliced red onion
1 cup of orange, red and yellow bell peppers.
2 large chopped tomatoes or one 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of low sodium vegetable or beef broth
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of thyme
Sea salt and black pepper
In a large Dutch oven take two tablespoons of oil and add onions and bell peppers and sauté on a medium-low heat until soft, fragrant and translucent then add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a little liquid from the broth if it starts to brown too much.
Add the remainder of the vegetable or beef broth, a few sprigs of thyme and 2-3 bay leaves. Cook on a low and slow simmer for 15 minutes. Place marinated meat on top of vegetables, cover the top pot with aluminum foil and cover with lid and place in oven for 3.5 hours or until fork tender.
Gently remove the roast. Let it rest in one piece for ten minutes.
Separate the vegetables using a mesh strainer…do not throw them out. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Strain the liquid and separate the fat from the juices. Place the juices and the vegetables in a blender for two minutes. Place in a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer and reduce for about ten minutes or a medium heat stirring frequently. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper and add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to finish.
Serve with fufu or over cooked rice. Serves 4-6 or 2 Ghanaians.
Have a nosh and have a listen! I sit down with the team at the hit podcast “Unorthodox,” to talk about Jewish stuff, The Cooking Gene and all things food in between. I also give a few hints about what my next project, Kosher Soul is all about. I hope you enjoy. Happy National Soul Food Month!
We love the supporters of http://www.Afroculinaria.com. The support for The Cooking Gene has been immense and I am beyond grateful. We are more than just people with a common interest and passion, we have become a community. I am blessed and feel happy to be a part of a new path in African American food culture.
We do a lot here….me and my small…and I do mean small….army of volunteers. We research, we help folks get to Africa for the first time, we making naming ceremonies happen, we get things done without having a formal office or institution to work from.
We always love and need your financial support. Our annual budget of copies, research trips and free programs for youth and more is around 2,500. Not a lot of cabbage but this year has already been busy. We do a lot with 2500 bucks. It keeps the bills paid and site maintenance going.
One of the programs we will be doing every year is a The Cooking Gene Culinary Tour. In 2018 we went to Ghana, next year are headed to Benin.
Without a staff or office and with minimal support equipment this gets rough fast. Everything else comes out of my pockets. To keep these trips annual and affordable it’s going to take some work. However, given how wonderful my own experiences in the South and West Africa have been, I want more of our chefs to get to visit their ancestral homeland.
Photocopies, faxes, research trips, tour organization… It’s doable. We just need a little bit of help. If only a handful of our social media followers pitch in, we got this.
In Honor of National Soul Food Month please consider making a 5-10-18$ donation to http://www.Afroculinaria.com through our PayPal.com account (firstname.lastname@example.org) or see our PayPal button. We appreciate your annual kindness and hope you will continue to learn and grow as we take over the world with love and fellowship, one plate at a time.
Andrea we met through your work with the Washington Revels, tell us more about that….
The Washington Revels Jubilee Voices is an ensemble working to preserve African American history and traditions through a cappella music, drama, and dance. With the help of Washington Revels, a Silver Spring, MD based performing arts organization, I founded the group in 2010. We were formed specifically for performing during the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, but demand for the group’s performances have allowed us to continue beyond that commemoration, and we’ve been performing regularly at heritage sites throughout the Washington DC area, singing, sharing, and learning the stories of the people in those communities.
Our performances are often done in period dress, singing traditional music, along with spoken word, historic narratives, storytelling, and audience participation. We perform and teach these songs, spirituals, ring shouts, and other traditional materials so that folks can share them, and learn why music was such an important factor in the lives of our people. Recently, we’ve been branching out beyond the Civil War era, to include the Colonial period and the Civil Rights Movement, to show the continuum throughout history.
This music helped our ancestors to survive through times of struggle and pain; it helped sustain them as they sought freedom and helped build a movement for justice. And now, more than ever, it’s important to keep sharing that tradition. The music of our ancestors–whether they toiled on the fields in the antebellum South or marched on Washington with Dr. King–was integral to their spirit, strength and survival. Sharing the history, songs and traditions gives us an ancestral “care package,” — a source of pride, affirmation, and sustenance — as we struggle with the not-so-new obstacles we face today.
Why go vegan?
At first, I decided to go vegan for health–I’m getting older, and I just got tired…tired of eating the same old stuff, tired of feeling tired, tired of seeing people in our community getting old before their time and dying of preventable disease. I began to lose my enthusiasm for dining out. I needed to shake things up. Around the same time, I got sick with a virus that left me with vertigo for weeks. It was during recovering from that where I became extremely aware of the connection between eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and getting exercise in. If I don’t get one of those things on a regular basis, everything else goes out of whack. Through eating vegan, I’ve become more aware of my body, what goes on with it, and how best to fuel it.
But “going vegan” is more than just diet. Veganism is a lifestyle that rejects anything that has resulted from animal suffering, death or exploitation. It’s a commitment to give up meat, honey, eggs, dairy, wool, fur, leather, and so on. There is also the matter of social justice. Veganism compels one to consider the plight of all living things, and in my opinion, that includes that of our human family, and our planet. Veganism has made me mindful of injustices and oppression, and motivates me to be part of the solution. As civil rights activist Ella Baker said, “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.”Thinking about it this way helps me to stay committed, and is helping me to take the steps from “eating vegan” to “being vegan.” For me, I’m working on slowly getting rid of animal products from my closet (leather and wool–I don’t wear fur), using stuff until it wears out, or purchasing thrifted or vintage items and buying things made of alternative materials to replace them. I am doing what works for me–it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I’ve only been at this for six months…there is still a lot for me to learn, and I find it exciting.
What do you miss?
CHEESE. In transitioning, I tapered off it gradually, which helped. Do I miss cheese? Yes, but there are enough good vegan substitutes where I can satisfy the cravings. But you have to be careful with that, too. Many of these vegan “treats” can be very processed, so it’s best to make your own at home. You can actually make a pretty amazing vegan “cheese” sauce with potatoes and carrots as the main ingredients. I kid you not.
Andrea’s Vegan Paella
Another challenge? You have to plan your meals and you have to cook. I prepare food during the weekend for the upcoming week–a couple of heavy dishes, like veggie lasagna or a hearty stew–along with prepped materials for making quick meals (diced onions, a pot of greens, roasted veggies, rice, roasted sweet potatoes, etc.) during the week. And I keep snacks in my desk at work. If I’m going out, I have an app on my phone (Happy Cow) that shows me restaurants with vegetarian/vegan options so I can plan. Most restaurants are getting on board, however, and if you explain that you’re vegan, they will work with you.
Andrea’s homemade pulled bbq tacos made with oyster mushrooms
The funny thing is that I thought I’d really, really miss meat. I don’t. I have really enjoyed discovering new flavors, playing with seasonings (my spice drawers are overflowing these days) and I’ve been cooking up a storm.
Sometime within the last three months, I’ve really hit my stride, but it is a process. I’m still learning. I am blessed to have a supportive, wonderful husband (who still eats meat, but eats mostly plant-based foods now.) My family has been VERY supportive. And many of my friends have begun eating more plant-based foods, which is terrific. I have brought home made vegan appetizers and dishes to parties and watch with utter amusement as folks start out with skepticism, then end up eating it all.
How does your new eating practice make you feel?
In eating this way, I feel that I’m really getting reconnected with the ancestors–whose diets were founded on plants. They used meat like a condiment–for seasoning, and it’s been relatively easy to find healthier, non-animal replacements. Eating this way has been a revelation for me, as I find new and wonderful things to cook, and it helps me to understand the struggle, sacrifice and creativity our forebears used to sustain themselves.
Six months down the line, I’ve dropped a little weight; I’m sleeping a lot better, and I don’t feel as loaded down when I eat a meal. Just saw one of my doctors, who is very happy with the results!
What are your go to resources?
Anything and everything written by Bryant Terry (Vegan Soul Kitchen and Afro-Vegan); great vegan cooks/chefs on YouTube such as blogger Jenne Claiborne(SweetPotatoSoul), who has quick and easy meals and prep tips, and Gaz Oakley(Avant Garde Vegan) who produces some gorgeous food with complex flavors. Another go-to is the Afro Vegan Society, which is a clearinghouse of information, recipes, a directory of black-owned vegan restaurants, essays, and more. And a great read is Tracye McQuirter’s book, By Any Greens Necessary. Check it out!
Any favorite new recipes?
So many! I love making vegan sushi; chicken-fried cauliflower is a special Sunday treat in our house, along with vegan mac and cheese and collard greens, is a favorite. We also enjoy portabello mushroom “steak” (it’s basically seared mushrooms coated with steak spices and covered in a lovely vegan gravy). You can find many of these recipes on YouTube.
Jubilee Voices is just one of several vocal ensembles; there are wonderful activities for folks of any age, ranging from monthly community sings to educational programs for kids. There is also a signature event, “The Christmas Revels,” that celebrates holiday and turning of the year traditions from different cultures. There’s something for everyone!