What an amazing weekend of food and futbol! I was so glad to see Didier Drogba score a gol for Cote d’Ivoire even though they lost to a powerful, skilled Brasil (albeit with Luis Fabiano’s second gol, which should have been invalid). New Zealand was robbed by an incompetent referee (seems to be an ongoing problem…again) and Australia took it to Ghana and gave us an interesting match. Wish Cameroon had won, and I hoped that Japan would at least tie, but overall I was satisfied with the results and exciting games.
The food was spectacular this weekend, and most of the recipes turned out fantastic. Unfortunately I had two matches confused and shopped for recipes for breakfast for the wrong teams, so last minute improvisation and creativity saved the day. Since Australia-Ghana was the 9am game instead of Netherlands-Japan, as I had planned, I changed Australia’s representation at the table with the traditional English breakfast that I had learned to love during my stay in South Africa: fried egg, grilled tomato, bacon, and buttered toast. The Akotonshi, spicy stuffed crab from Ghana, went well with it and with Peter Lehman’s Eden Valley Riesling, refreshing and mineral, with citrus and honey notes and a hint of tar in the nose. Yum. Here is that recipe:
Akotonshi (spicy stuffed crab)
1 lb. crab meat
1/2 tsp salt
1/4″ slice fresh ginger
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 small onion, minced
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
pinch of paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried shrimp
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, hard-boiled and finely chopped
1 sprig parsley
In a heavy pot, heat oil to a moderate temperature and add other ingredients in the following sequence, stirring for a minute or so between each: onions, ginger slice, cloves, tomatoes, tomato paste, green pepper, paprika, cayenne, and dried shrimp. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until vegetables are cooked. Add crab meat and stir another couple of minutes to heat it through. remove ginger and cloves and spoon the mixture into clean crab shells or ramekins. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of each crab and toast under an oven broiler, being careful not to let the crumbs scorch. Garnish with chopped egg and parsley.
I saved the shrimp I had bought for Australia and used it to make Sunomono for the Japan game: thin sliced cucumbers, lightly cooked shrimp, and shredded ginger in a mirin-soy sauce dressing which was refreshing and perfect for the hot (and drunken) afternoon.
The moqueca de peixe I made for the Brasil was absolutely the best I have ever made, and the chilled avocado soup from Cote d’Ivoire went perfectly with it. We drank vinho verde in large quantities. I long for a return to Bahia…
Last but not least, I really liked the Slovak salad we made, it’s so easy and perfect for any potluck, picnic, or BBQ:
2 cups ham, cut into strips
2 cups cooked peeled potatoes, cut into strips
2 cups pickles, cut into strips
1 cup onion, cut into strips
1 cup Granny Smith apple, cut into strips
Mayonnaise to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, add mayonnaise and season, chill for several hours before serving. Serves 8-10
Today I am preparing for the weekend’s matches, which will likely be the last weekend I will host, we’ll see. I’ll announce matches and recipes tomorrow. Don’t forget to send in your predictions before Friday to enter the contest! Final four, finalists, and champion.