Monday, October 24, 2011

Creative Cooking in Bots

I was never much of a cook at home. I had a few things that I made fairly well and the rest I left up to more experienced folks that always produced delicious meals or to the professionals at restaurants. (After all, I love food so eating well was more of a priority to me!) Unfortunately, neither of these options are readily available to me in Botswana so it's been left up to me to produce tasty treats (using available ingredients and resources, for instance we have little control over stove and oven temperatures, which has severely complicated this endeavor). And, if I do say so myself, I have risen to the challenge!

Since coming to Botswana, I have learned how to make everything from traditional foods (madombi, paletche, dikgobe, bogobe, magwinya, etc.) to butternut squash dishes to breads, tortillas, and chips to a variety of ethnic foods that I miss from home. And, in the past week, I have made stuffed-crust pizza, pita, and spinach artichoke dip... from scratch. Both meals ended up being oh so delightful - so much so that it almost felt like I was on vacation!

Since I bragged to a few people about how great the dip was, I wanted to share the recipe - it is a combination of a handful that I found online, taking into consideration the ingredients that could be found here (plus it's a bit healthier). (Keep in mind that I don't have measuring utensils so the measurements were eyeballed when I made it. In other words, it doesn't have to be exact and it's still great!) So here you go, the recipe for the tastiest treat we have had in a long time:

Spinach Artichoke Dip

3 fresh artichoke hearts (we jumped for joy that we found artichokes! and we had just gotten paid so we could afford them!)
1 cup chopped spinach
5 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper

- in a bowl, thoroughly mix the artichoke hearts, spinach, and cream cheese (if I had a food processor this would have been easier, so I suggest that if you have access)
- in another bowl, whisk the greek yogurt, parmesan cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper together
- combine ingredients then bake (time depends on your oven temperature, of which I have no clue because it's "on" or "off" on mine here so I'd say until the top is starting to brown)
- serve and eat! yum! (also good served cold the next day... I know because I just finished the leftovers!)

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