#54: Cote De Ivoire

So much soccer this weekend!

It’s been mostly on the warm and sunny side here in Denver, which is a nice departure from the gloom and doom rain-palooza we had last month! I’m completely happy to have some fun in the sun. This weekend was packed full of soccer tournament games and yard work. It’s supposed to be around 90 degrees today… can’t say that I’m disappointed. Though I’m not one for the extreme heat, a little change of pace is always welcome. Bring on the rays!

THE DINNER: In honor of the Women’s World Cup opening game against Cote De Ivoire, we picked Ivory Coast as our meal adventure this week. This is a coastal region of Africa and therefore the main fare is seafood (typically fish). Common Ivorian food staples also include grains ANNNDDD it’s one of the world’s most prosperous producers of cocoa and coffee!! As a certified chocoholic and caffeine addict, this makes my heart way more happy than it should. I think I’ve found my people.

The Ivorian cuisine is mainly inspired by French influence. Typically though it involves a lot of grilling of meats which is not typically a French cooking technique commonly seen in formal cooking circles. It’s alright by us though as we love to grill! We picked a grilled fish with rice recipe that’s a main staple on a weekly basis for the residents of the Cote. Poisson Braise (braised fish) is something very common in the country. They serve this with cassava/couscous or with rice. Our recipe called for a marinade of onion, garlic, tomato, parsley and oil accompanied with a little spicy pepper action.

Poisson Braise Ivorian Recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/poisson-braise-ivorien-ivoirian-grilled-fish-50141660

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
Grilling fish steaks can be challenging and also if you purchase the whole fish it requires scaling, filleting and boning said meat before you can score and marinade and then grill. So this one earned a little higher difficulty rating this week, though I’m positive it’s nothing you can’t handle. Beyond that, no special ingredients– except for the fish stock cubes that we were unable to find so we subbed chicken stock cubes. Apart from that, it requires a firm fish and we chose copperhead (though rockfish, trout, halibut or cod would be just as good). We also used a wild rice mix that we used when we did Mozambique’s Peri Peri Prawns, which again paired well for this country.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner!!
We were very pleased with how this one turned out. The best part was the skin– guys, trust me here. Leave that skin on when you marinade and when you grill it, it will be crispy and crunchy and amazing texture pairing with the soft fish. Brilliant marinade. It was overall a very good meal. It was light and didn’t make me want to go into a food coma, which was appreciated. I’m pretty sure that in general it was something that we would easily be able to replicate during the course of a regular week. It wasn’t spicy… but I’m sure that can be adjusted for taste. As with Chad during week #20, pairing tomatoes with white fish still gets my goat… I’m just not entirely comfortable with it, but with the track record in it’s favor I’m excited about trying to reprogram my brain in this avenue because it’s been nothing but delicious.

For week #55 we are simultaneously celebrating Father’s Day and my parent’s wedding anniversary… as such we will be doing Slovakia for our country. A few anniversaries ago, we went to Slovakia as a family to celebrate because that’s where my dad’s family is from. So this seemed like a perfect pick for our father’s day/anniversary weekend!

Can’t wait to get our celebrate on!!
– L & K

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