Sooooo…..oops, still. I owe y’all like, 20 gazillion recipe posts. But probably the most offensive is that I STILL owe you one gloriously long, well-documented, beautiful post from our time taking a cooking tour in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa with our W&M colleagues. Like, whoa. It’s bad that hasn’t hit the internet yet. It’s been two months since our adventure concluded and unless you’re my Facebook friend (and even if you are), you have not been inundated with the entire story and experience. And an experience it was. We had the privilege of not only taking a tour of the historic neighborhood and learning more about a specific population within South African culture, but more importantly we were able to visit a family’s home to learn to cook a few traditional Cape Malay dishes. As a group, this was an awesome experience……and I’ll leave it there, so there’s some anticipation to read more when I get around to posting it!

I made a thing and the thing was really really good. I love being able to say that on this blog!! Y’all know how rare it is for me to be the head chef, but a few weeks ago Will was really stressed with schoolwork, so I had to take the reins on the cooking train. Each time I share a new recipe that I’ve made with you lovely people, it reminds me why I started this blog AND shows me how far I’ve come, personally, in the last three years. Particularly if that recipe is as wonderfully delightful as this one was. There is a certain satisfaction from making something so tasty that you are happy to eat it for days and days, and to even pull it back out of the freezer to eat a couple weeks later. And who knew that type of recipe would have collard greens hiding in it? Even I cast a light of doubt on the poor greens, hesitating about their contribution to this recipe. However, fear not, for this recipe will complete you, particularly if you are of the vegetarian or vegan variety and cannot partake in its very friendly counterpart, African Beef Stew.

Will was out of town for a few days, so obviously I was left alone to cook. However, I have to say that I am quite proud of myself for selecting recipes that a) I could handle and b) were delicious! The first of that series of recipes is this Tanzanian Milk Beans recipe. Similar to Tanzanian Chick Peas in Coconut Milk (and actually off the same page in the same cookbook), this was ready in about 20 minutes and apparently foolproof enough for me to cook! I even managed to get my rice to cook in a timely and proper manner AND cut half an onion with (too much) crying. So basically this recipe was a huge success for me and the best part was having the leftovers long enough for Will to taste and be impressed by!

If there ever was a meal that we cooked that tasted so significantly better the second day, this is it. The first night we made this, I was in a rush, so I inhaled mine before it should have even been done simmering for the full 20 minutes. I knew it wasn’t going to be at its prime but it was enough to feed me before running off to a rehearsal, but I knew when we had leftovers the next night, it would be better. The thing is, I didn’t realize how much better it would be. I can’t even do justice to this dish trying to explain it. The coconut milk absorbs all the spices, which causes the clove and turmeric to pop out in a fulfilling food experience. And the sweetness of coconut milk always makes any dish its in taste better. This would be a great recipe to use for dinner (like we did), but I think it would also make a fantastic lunch dish because I would imagine its pretty good chilled as well. The sauce is so thick and creamy that it douses the chickpeas and rice in a crazy amount of flavor.

We left our more comfortable food areas of the Mediterranean and Middle East and delved into some African food. Will saw an African Beef and Peanut Stew on The Kitchn and just couldn’t resist and after eating it, I don’t blame him. He’s got a really good eye for selecting recipes and food for us to eat.  He also has a ton of patience to handle pulling together labor-intensive, longer-cooking meals, much moreso than I do. I basically had no part in this meal other than to roll out the Chapati bread and throw it on the skillet, which was about all I felt like doing on a Monday night anyways. Luckily, Will gets off work around 4 and apparently started this meal after getting home around 4:30. We ate close to 9 if that gives you any idea how long it takes.