African Peanut Soup

Several years ago after a long day of snowboarding in crazy wind I happened upon an African Peanut Soup courtesy of Mcmenamins. It was different and became one of those items one watches for, but for some reason not something I tried to recreate for quite awhile. Since then I’ve eaten a good number of bowls from a handful of restaurants and I think my favorite is actually the one from Portland based grocery store New Seasons. It has the write hint of spicy to peanut-y with a few sweet potatoes mixed in.

I came across this recipe in Courtney Allison’s: The Soup Club Cookbook : Feed Your Friends, Feed Your Family, Feed Yourself.” The recipe itself comes from a soup club based at the Unity Church in Salem, Oregon. I was pleasantly surprised with the original, but couldn’t resist editing it a decent amount the second time around; primarily adding more vegetables and stepping up the spices. This would do well with some sweet potatoes tossed in as well, but I’m rather picky about them and only like the white, less sweet (at least to me) variety, which I haven’t come across recently. i also modified this for the crockpot, since I use mine as much as possible and particularly for soups.

Somehow it seems almost cheating to call this a soup. Up until you add the rice and then peanut butter it looks like a perfect brothy soup, bubbly happily away. But then something magic happens with the rice and the peanut butter melding to form a rich, creamy, hearty almost stew. I don’t add meat, but my husband usually tosses in chunks of cooked chicken breast in with his.

African Peanut Soup

3 TB coconut or decent olive oil
Dash of sesame oil
1 large onion chopped (I almost always use sweet onions)
1 green pepper chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped (feel free to sub with more green pepper, orange, the small sweet peppers, etc)
4 garlic cloves chopped
4 medium carrots sliced
4 cups chicken stock (I make mine and it’s actually been turkey stock lately)
2 cups water
2 cans (14 or 15 oz) diced tomatoes in their liquid
1 TB rounded curry powder (I’ve been using Penzey’s)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
2/3 cup all natural creamy peanut butter

Heat the oils over medium heat and cook onion, peppers and garlic until translucent. Meanwhile, add carrots, tomatoes, stock, water & spices to your crockpot (curry, salt, pepper & pepper flakes). Add onions & peppers when they are cooked. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high ~4. About 30 minutes prior to serving add rice. Ten minutes before serving add peanut butter and stir well to combine. Allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Add additional spices as desired. We’ve eaten as is or with lime and a spoonful of Greek yogurt stirred in.

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Books of November

Bit delayed on this one, but it was still a good month for books. Or I read several at least. The no gainful employment definitely helps with that and the number is higher for November also because I picked up a lot of fiction fun/easy reads as a break from some of my other normal topics.

Seven total and in no particular order here they are.

  • “Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family and Forgiveness” – Sasha Martin: I enjoyed this one. It was an easy to engage with personal story. The author cooks a meal from each country of the world over a few years and both blogs about the experience and works in bits of her own history and journey. I saved a couple of the recipes and look forward to trying them.
  • “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home” – Rhoda Janzen: In case you hadn’t noticed I gravitate towards memoirs sometimes. I like peoples stories. This was just ok. It was a quick easy read with a few good moments, but nothing overly remarkable that pulled me in.
  • “While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change” – M. Jackson: Yet another sort of memoir. This one by the friend of a friend who researches glaciers and leads National Geographic excursions. This is an excellent and captivating memoir that links the author’s experience of loss alongside her research and love for glaciers. It is heavier on the memoir/personal dimension of the story then it is on the science, but I think that’s ok and also what makes the book so readable and accessible. Thoroughly enjoyed this one and finished it in just a few days. READ this one.
  • “Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women” – Sarah Bessey: This didn’t dive as deep as I had hoped it would and at points was slow to get through, but I still enjoyed it. For much of my life Christian and Feminist seemed like terms in direct conflict and contrast to one another. Over the past few years I’ve found myself claiming both and sorting through a bit of what that means. This also led to a couple good conversations with my husband and a discussion of why the word Feminist is feared and the importance of not giving up on the word, but of reclaiming it for what it really means — the women are humans as well. And the importance of the feminist movement having space for global feminist women, not just a western vision of what that looks like.
  • “Paper Towns” – John Green: We listened to this on a road trip to visit our families. It was meant as a light easy road trip listen several people had recommended and it lived up to that expectation. It had a few insightful moments and kept us interested throughout.
  • “An Abundance of Katherines” – John Green: We picked this one up as another road trip listen after enjoying “Paper Towns.” It was less engaging and more formulaic, but still entertaining.
  • “This is What Happy Looks Like” – Jennifer E. Smith: I was looking for a light engaging easy to read story and this fit the bill. I enjoyed the author’s “The Geography of You and Me” and the way she story tells in that one. This was less engaging and just ok, but I still finished and sped through it.

 

Apparently I’m a coffee drinker now. Once again at my favorite coffee shop enjoying the most likely numbered days I have left to enjoy their coffee and atmosphere. A Burundi single origin that’s one of my favorite’s and rarely in their rotation.