Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spoon Cookies

Mary decided to try her hand at making a sweet treat.

The challenge?  Well, converting grams to cups .. and lacking rather basic ingredients.
The recipe she found online was for Lusikkaleivat.  Comparing the ingredient list with what we had on hand:

What was listed  .... what we had:

unsalted butter (1 cup) ...  salted butter (a 250 g tub) .. Mary used her head, and scooped the butter into the 2 Cup glass measure cup until the 1 cup of water hit the 2 cup mark!  

all-purpose flour (2 cups) ... check .. though we made certain to put the flour into the freezer for a week prior to opening .. dead weevil on the top of the flour confirmed our suspicions

baking powder (3/4 t.) ... check .. the ingredient photo shows we found double-acting baking powder

fine salt (pinch) ... using salted butter took care of this

large egg yolk ... check ... new eggs are opened outside, the container discarded so small cockroaches don't come into the house ... then they get scrubbed clean .. soaked in a strong vinegar/water solution .. and then put into the refrigerator

sugar ... check ... except we didn't know which bag to purchase and ended up with raw sugar ... we pay big bucks for raw sugar in Texas .. and here it is the "poor man's" sugar .. go figure

pure vanilla extract ... imitation vanilla flavoring ... this tiny bottle cost more than a pure extract that is 4 times the size back in Texas (yes, we know we aren't in Texas, or Kansas, but that is our point of reference)
jam .. check ... expensive because we prefer the real fruit imported from Denmark  .. the cheaper stuff is made with mostly pumpkin puree with some fruit added .. 

Confectioners' sugar ... passed on this ingredient ...
The recipe called for using parchment paper (yeah, right ...) We opted to just use the nonstick finish baking sheets Tom bought last week in Lusaka.

Without a mixer Mary, and then I, got an upper arm workout.  Mary molded each cookie and filled each cookie sheet, baked them, let them cool, then made the jam sandwiches.  She used black current jam, and strawberry jam.  Both varieties were great.  We think the raw sugar made them taste a bit different than the pure white sugar would have, and it was a good difference.

Her Dad agreed they were good, as evidenced by what was left on the plate this morning:

Next on our list will be some overnight bread, and then a Peach Pie to share at Thanksgiving at some new over-the-phone acquaintances who want us to share this special meal with fellow Americans.

Shopping here is an experience similar to small town shopping.  I am thinking of Kent's Market in Austin, Nevada that got the leftovers (including expired meats) from Kent's Market in Fallon, Nevada. 

Tom and I have lived in far away places where convenience isn't possible.  However, we were usually within a 1/2 days drive, on good highways, to get where we could make up the difference.  Here, not so much.

Yesterday I took my new housekeeper (!) into Chingola to shop for her and the gardener's lunches.  The staple is mealy (nshima .. I believe) meal.  The store was emptied out.  We drove around to the bulk warehouse, emptied out...   Nearby Congo, so the rumor goes, is running short of food.  Since Chingola is the closest to the DRC border, they come across, strip the shelves of staples, including beef.  Local entrepreneurs also go and buy up bags, selling them for a steep mark-up down the street from the market.  A man came up to the window of the car and told Josephine and Chanda where the black market was.  We need to feed our help, there was not a better choice.    We paid K35,000 for a 10kg bag.  I believe the normal price is around K15,000.  

Shopping ... if you see something on the shelf, I've learned to buy it, even if you don't need it right away.  There is no telling when it will be available again.  Hovering between hoarding and prudence is a balancing act.  

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