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fondue

Madagascar in the House!

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  I'm a recent expat from the USA to the capitol city of Antananarivo,  Madagascar, and the culture shock around food is *fresh*.  I'm a longtime lurker, and figured this would be a good place to find people who know what to do with a large ocean eel, or mango achar, or a freshly prepped rabbit.  I'm trying to feed my family in a place where the water will kill you, if you're lucky enough to have water pressure at all. Happily, my son will try anything once, and my husband will eat anything I made with gusto. 

  Madagascar has unbelievable seafood, tropical fruit, and rices, and I'm loving their French history. With every charcuterie board and every salade nicoise, I grow more attached to The Big Island, as they refer to themselves. 

  I've lived all over the USA, and several times had the opportunity live in Europe and Asia as a single person. Now I'm trying to do it "en famille ".

  I love cooking Indian, Chinese, French, northern New Mexico, slow-cookers and baking. I can't make pastry or temper chocolate to save myself. (Does doing it in a microwave oven count? I thought not).

 I admire the words of wisdom I've read during a decade-plus of lurking. I'm so glad to join you!

  Best Regards,

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I'd love to see the occasional photo of Madagascar

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Welcome @fondue! Looking forward to hearing your ideas about food where you are.

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14 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I'd love to see the occasional photo of Madagascar

Open air fruit markets? Bundles of grumpy chickens? Bike racks stacked high with hundreds of eggs? Woven grass bike panniers restraining confused geese?  Happily and easily shared!  I'm currently in the International Snack Foods Section figuring out that skill now.....

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Welcome to the forum and I'm looking forward to learning about Madagascar.

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Welcome, @fondue!  Such an exciting adventure for you and your family!  I am so looking forward to what you'll be sharing.  Hope you learn how to post pictures because I know everyone is looking forward to seeing them!!!

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Posted (edited)

I'll add my welcomes to the ones already received.  And then I'll Google a map of Madagascar to reacquaint my self with exactly where you are.   And I'm sorry, but fresh eel is not one of my specialities...nor it is ever likely to be.  

 

And tempering chocolate is not hard...you simply need some workshop type help.

 

all best, Darienne

 

Even did the pronunciation of your city.  Terrific.


Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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Welcome! I've never been to Madagascar but it sounds like a fascinating place, and like the others I'm looking forward to seeing it through a (new) local's eyes. I'm pretty sure we have people around here who can speak to the question of fresh rabbit and mango achar...and with a bit of patience, someone may even pop up with eel recipes. 🙂 Feel free to start topics on mystery ingredients; no doubt you'll get lots of suggestions. I'd be curious to know the status of the vanilla crop, if you know. The storms - was it last year, or the year before? - put a serious dent into the crop then. Have the farmers recovered?

 

If you have any questions about how to use the forums, or where (or whether) to post something, feel free to ask a host (I am one) by PM, or by email. It's lovely to see a long-time lurker come into the open!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Welcome! I'm anxious to learn about the local cuisine and ingredients and how you adapt them. I'd also be curious about things you'd like to have but can't get, and how you adapt and work around their absence. (I chose not to move to Iowa once because I was afraid they didn't grow okra....)

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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7 hours ago, fondue said:

Open air fruit markets? Bundles of grumpy chickens? Bike racks stacked high with hundreds of eggs? Woven grass bike panniers restraining confused geese?  Happily and easily shared!  I'm currently in the International Snack Foods Section figuring out that skill now.....

 

You should volunteer for a new weekly blog here!

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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5 hours ago, kayb said:

Welcome! I'm anxious to learn about the local cuisine and ingredients and how you adapt them. I'd also be curious about things you'd like to have but can't get, and how you adapt and work around their absence. (I chose not to move to Iowa once because I was afraid they didn't grow okra....)

 

That's hilarious!   Also, I suspect my mother would not willingly be separated from okra!

  It's funny you should mention the lack of things I'm used to. There are many. Everything that's not locally grown or harvested has to be flown in via Nairobi, Paris or Istanbul, or it comes from ships.  Because the country lacks a large middle class, the second highest source of fees for the government is import taxes. The law of unintended consequences is that whole classes of foods you'd find in your local store are missing here, because the fees make them too expensive.  Grape leaves, garlic chili sauce, aged black vinegar, sesame oil, Jell-O!! Nobody has them. (A corollary to this is that to camouflage the scarcity of choice, there will be five different packagings for chocolate rice crispies and three different packagings for corn flakes, and nine different variations on bologna.)

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Boy that makes me some kind of a real pioneer.  (I hate okra but LOVE avocados and we don't grow them either.  I moved here

because I love my husband even more than avocados and he was packed and ready to go.

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1 hour ago, IowaDee said:

I love my husband even more than avocados

 

Hard choice, @IowaDee🤣

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1 hour ago, IowaDee said:

Boy that makes me some kind of a real pioneer.  (I hate okra but LOVE avocados and we don't grow them either.  I moved here

because I love my husband even more than avocados and he was packed and ready to go.

 

I'm not sure I love my kids more than okra.

 

Well, most days I do. Most days.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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You notice I didn't mention my kids!  Some days they are okra and other days they are avocados.

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Okra. 

Mice  won’t eat okra unless there’s peanut butter on it. 

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On 7/3/2019 at 1:23 PM, fondue said:

people who know what to do with a large ocean eel, or mango achar, or a freshly prepped rabbit.

 

Some recipes that are traditional here.

 

---------------------------------------

 

BISATO IN TECIA

(Venetian dialect for "eel in a pot")

 

Eviscerate the eel, then cut it in pieces about 5 cm (2 inches) long. Put the eel pieces in a bowl, then cover with water and add some lemon juice or white wine vinegar (around 50 g lemon juice / vinegar for 1 liter water), let them rest for around 1 hour. After 1 hour drain the eel pieces, wash them with water, then drain them again.

Cut a big white onion in thin slices; cut a garlic clove to get really small dices. Put a pot on the stove, add some extra virgin olive oil, add the onion and garlic, cook slowly until the onion becomes translucent, add a bit of water if needed during the process.

When the onion is translucent add tomato sauce, the eel pieces, some dry white wine, some vinegar, some aromatics. Quantities depend on your tastes. let's say tomato sauce is around half the weight of the eel pieces, dry white wine is around 2 tablespoon for 1 eel, vinegar is around 1 tablespoon for 1 eel. Aromatics should be few, they must remain in the background, the usual ones are bay leaf, rosemary, sage and thyme (choose your preferred combination, just use few).

Cook slowly (no lid) for around 30 minutes, turning upside down the eel pieces about every 5 minutes.

Adjust with salt and pepper, then serve (pieces with the sauce).

This is usually served with grilled slices of white polenta.

 

Usually eels are sold alive, so preparing them is not for the faint of heart. The most impressive thing is that after you kill them they still keep moving. It's not funny trying to eviscerate or cut an eel that keeps moving. The Japanese solved this using one nail for the head and one for the tail. Here people use a stilo battery: you touch the dead eel with a stilo battery, this stops the unwanted movements (electricity, neurons and so on). If you are not prepared for this, then ask your fishmonger.

Eel is really traditional in Japan, they prepare the 4 fillets instead of cutting whole pieces like we do here.

Eel has a rich and fatty meat, pretty different from all fish.

 

---------------------------------------

 

CONIGLIO ALLA CACCIATORA

(roughly translates as "rabbit made the hunter way")
 

Cut the rabbit in pieces of the size about 5 cm (2 inches). Cut a garlic clove to get really small dices.

Put a pot on the stove, add some extra virgin olive oil and the garlic dices. When the oil is hot add the rabbit pieces, cook at high heat until the surface of the rabbit pieces is browned.

When the pieces are browned lower the flame to the minimum, add a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of water, add some aromatics (usually it's sage, but it's up to your choice). Cook slowly, turning the pieces upside down every 5 minutes. If all water evaporates then add some more. Check for the doneness of the rabbit meat, overcooked rabbit is the worst overcooked meat ever.

When the rabbit is cooked adjust with salt and pepper, then pick the pieces and put them on a service dish.

Add an anchovy, a tablespoon of capers, 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, some more water if needed. Cook the sauce until the anchovy is completely broken and the sauce thickened, add some more water if needed.

Add the sauce on the rabbit pieces and serve. Usually it's paired with warm polenta.

 

This is one of the countless versions of this recipe. There is no codified recipe for "coniglio alla cacciatora", each home makes it in a different way. You can find it with tomato sauce, with potatoes, with pinenuts and much more.

 

---------------------------------------

 

If cooked right, rabbit has one of the best meats out there, it's really tasty and tender. If you overcook it then it's a nightmare, impossible to chew. If you have a sous vide set up then that's the best choice, you end up with meat as tender as butter.

If you are good at butchering (or if your butcher is willing to do so) then you can prepare a rabbit saddle (deboning the whole animal, leaving it in one piece), then use the saddle to prepare a galantine.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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7 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

BISATO IN TECIA

CONIGLIO ALLA CACCIATORA

 

 

  Thanks so much, Teonzo, for these recipes! They give me hope for wrapping my arms around the new. I can get anchovies, coarsely ground corn for polenta, capers, and all the fresh lemon juice I could want.  

  I'm terrible at butchering,  but excellent at tipping those behind the counter who wield the knives! 😄

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Oh well, you are not facing disaster! Eel and rabbit are considered delicacies here. Maybe you need to get accustomed to their taste, but for sure you can get great dishes with them.

 

For example eel is one of the traditional Christmas dishes here. Usually it's called "anguilla", during Christmas it's called "capitone", never understood why (never searched either).

Capitone is made this way. Prepare the eel as written before, cut in pieces 5 cm long. Prepare a citronette with the juice of 1 lemon, around 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1 garlic clove (finely diced as usual). Coat the eel pieces with the citronette, then put them on a pan cover with parchment paper. Cook in a hot oven at 180°C for about 35-40 minutes. Serve with your favourite vegetables (usually brassicas).

 

You can use eel for risotto too. Cut the eel meat (no bones, no skin) in small pieces around 2 cm, then add them to the rice at the beginning (when you add the broth for the first time). Best thing is making a risotto with a vegetable and add the eel pieces. For example a radicchio risotto goes very well with eel. Artichokes go well too. Or other vegetables with bitter and sour notes. If you want to go fancy you can try a grapefruit risotto with eel, in this case finish it with olive oil and avoid butter and parmesan.

 

Eel is great when grilled too. In this case it's better to look at traditional Japanese recipes, they are the masters for this.

 

 

Rabbit can be prepared in various ways.

 

Roasted rabbit with potatoes is pretty easy. Start with rabbit pieces around 5 cm. Coat them with olive oil and put on a pan. Do the same with potato pieces (use your preferred potatoes for roasting). Add some rosemary sprigs. Cook in a hot oven at 180°C for about 30 minutes, as usual check to not overcook the rabbit meat. If the rabbit is done but the potatoes need more cooking, then just move the rabbit pieces on a serving dish then keep cooking the potatoes in the oven.

 

Another tasty dish is rabbit with olives. Start from the usual rabbit pieces. Heat a pot, add some olive oil and a diced garlic clove. Sear the rabbit pieces till browned. Add some tomato sauce (amount depends on taste, as in the case of "bisato in tecia"), olives (a mix of green and black ones, if you need to choose then go for the black ones, the more olives the better in my opinion), a sprig of rosemary and a bay leaf. Cook on low heat until the rabbit is done, turning the pieces every 5 minutes. You can add capers, red bell peppers and eggplant.

 

If you can get a rabbit saddle, then a nice thing is this one: spread some sausage meat (pork) over the saddle, roll it tight to get a cilinder. Pick some thin pancetta / bacon slices, roll them around the saddle. Tie everything with "kitchen string" (don't know how it's called in English). Sear it in a pan on all sides, then cook in a hot over at 180°C until the center is done (check with a thermometer, if my memory is right internal temperature should be 63°C but you have better to check about this). If you have a sous vide set up then it's the best thing for this.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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My father hunted a lot, so we periodically had rabbit (wild, of course, having something of a different taste than farmed). Mama would frequently boil the rabbit, then use the resulting broth to make cornbread dressing with lots of sage and black pepper, into which she'd stir the shredded rabbit meat. Pretty good stuff.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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WOW!!!

Welcome @fondue.

 

Don't know about ocean ells but growing up we used to trap them.  Get them out of the trap, nail the head to a board, slit the skin and slip it off.  Eviscerate, rinse, soak in some water then dry, cut into small portions.  Some would be sautéed, some would be smoked.

The first animal I ever hunted was rabbit.  We would jug it(preserve it) or make it cacciatore style - my favorite.

 

Can't wait to hear more...would love to hear your story of how you ended up there.  


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Posted (edited)
On 7/6/2019 at 7:39 PM, suzilightning said:

WOW!!!

Welcome @fondue.

 

Can't wait to hear more...would love to hear your story of how you ended up there.  

 

Thanks much for the welcome! 

  The haiku version of how we got here is that my husband and I met as flight paramedics, then started our own medevac company in New Mexico.  Five years ago we moved to Palm Beach County, FL. to organize evacuations out of the Carribean of the sick and injured.  Met a business contact through the 'net, and got invited by the government of Madagascar to organize a medevac company here.  It was as much because we valued bringing up our boy as an expat (and our own wanderlust), and I'm a geeky birder that made this impossible to turn down.  


Edited by fondue Suggested by moderator (log)
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6 hours ago, kayb said:

My father hunted a lot, so we periodically had rabbit (wild, of course, having something of a different taste than farmed). Mama would frequently boil the rabbit, then use the resulting broth to make cornbread dressing with lots of sage and black pepper, into which she'd stir the shredded rabbit meat. Pretty good stuff.

 

 

Thank you so much for this! It sounds like a perfect homestyle meal!

 

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OHHHH BIRDER....

I can handle about 3-5 hours of general birding but I did 20+ years counting migrating raptors for HMANA.....for 8-12 hours at a time.


Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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1 hour ago, suzilightning said:

OHHHH BIRDER....

I can handle about 3-5 hours of general birding but I did 20+ years counting migrating raptors for HMANA.....for 8-12 hours at a time.

I knew this would push buttons for you, Suzi!!!

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