Veggies!

I have returned safely (dare I say triumphantly?) from South Sudan, and I have to say that one of the things I’m most excited to get back to is regular vegetable intake. You see, in Sudan (and most of east Africa), it is quite common for anything that grows to be fertilized with, uh, human waste. And that makes it not so much edible for those of us with delicate western stomachs unless they’re either peeled thoroughly or cooked to death. Even then, you have to be careful. So it was with great joy that I came back to cooking with this veggie-full meal.

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This, in case you can’t tell, is spring’s first snow peas (yay!)ย  steamed and tossed with butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Oh, and on the side roasted onions stuffed with mashed potatoes (potato, un-chick’n stock, cream, stone-ground mustard, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper) and caramelized onions. I happened to hollow out the onion first and cook the insides separately, but the least labor intensive (but more time-consuming) way to do it is to bake large sweet onions whole (preferably brushed with oil) at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours .ย  Put potatoes next to it, wrapped in foil for 30 minutes, then mash them. When the onions are tender, halve them and scoop out the insides– leave 2-3 layers. Chop the centers, caramelize further as desired, then add them to the mashed potato mix. (I added them all, but I *love* onion. You may like less.) Fill the onion-halves with the potato mixture and bake, sprinkled with cheese if desired, for another 10 minutes.

You could probably vary the seasonings in the stuffing in a million different ways and still have it taste good.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Veggies!

  1. Elizabeth

    I watched an astonishing documentary last night showing how big cities blend sludge from water treatment plants with compost and sell it to farmers who spread it on their fields. The Sudanese may not be the only ones who are eating crops fertilized with human waste!

  2. Hmmm. I hope they at least process it first! I have to say, it doesn’t bother me so much conceptually to use human– or other, really– waste as fertilizer, even though burning plants seems much friendlier. But human waste has some nasty bacteria components that I’d be happy enough to avoid ingesting unless they’re VERY dead.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for chiming in

  3. K

    Welcome back! The stuffed onions look fantastic. I’ve never even heard of that before, but now I can’t wait to try it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Shana

    Could you give me some more specific measurements for your ingredients for the mashed potatoes? Can’t wait to try this one out!

  5. I always eyeball my quantities for mashed potatoes, but the way I do it is boil and mash 1 medium-sized potato for each person I want to serve (sometimes a little more, because people seem to really like them.) I add 1-2 teaspoons of butter for each potato, depending on how healthily I’ve been eating latel , then up to 1/4 c of dairy product (can be cream, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, or a combination thereof) per potato. I mash it together, then add stock until I like the consistency. Then, I add about teaspoon of mustard and about a tablespoon of parmesan cheese, plus a pinch of salt and sprinkle of pepper and mix it through. All done.

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