Paper Chef #21 – The Africa Edition

It is time to kick off the latest round of Paper Chef. We got very many fewer ingredient nominations than normal although the pre-existing list was already so eclectic it may just have left potential nominators in a stupor!

Anyway, I have in the past indicated how I select the three random ingredients. I usually use the website, because it generates true random sequences using atmospheric noise – how cool is that? I do, however, reserve the right to reject sets of ingredients if they just seem too stupid. In practice, however, I rarely exercise this option because after the success of the eggplant, chocolate, stale bread and pomegranate edition, anything seemed possible.

It has been fun seeing the fourth special ingredient morph over time from a simple ingredient choice (eg lemon) to the more exotic topical and subject choices. This month is typical of the latter category. For no reason at all other than that I would like to step further afield in our choices, this month’s special ingredient is something that reminds you of Africa.

And the atmospherically-generated random choices? Eggs, black fermented soy beans and giblets. If you look at the ingredient list you can see that these are a statistically anomalous cluster all at the beginning of the list. Such are the whims of fate and global warming….

So, here we go:

1. Eggs – nothing controversial here but if you are vegan or egg-intolerant feel free to substitute anything that reminds you of eggs.
2. Black fermented soy beans – seems exotic but is found in the Chinese section of most supermarkets labelled as black beans or black bean sauce – this is the stuff of your chinese takeout chicken in black bean sauce. Again – substitute away if unavailable or inedible to you. Maybe unfermented regular black beans as found in many a Mexican plate would substitute?
3. Giblets – here is where I anticipate some stonewalling. How about any form of offal? It isn’t really all that awful. If not or if a vegetarian, then I’d go with something a little challenging as a substitute.
4. Something that reminds you of Africa – you are on your own here….

I can see a whole lot of possibilities here but being realistic not all that many desserts.

Once again, official ‘more like guidelines’ are here. You have until Tuesday Noon PST this time. Why Tuesday? Because Monday is a big ol’ holiday in the US.

UPDATE!: I keep forgetting to stress that you should nominate your dish(es) for either the ‘haute’ division or the ‘home’ division. These are actually more philosophical divisions than anything. Some of our participants like to go all out for top level presentation, flair, etc. Others just want a challenge for dinner. Some thrive on the bright lights of the virtual studio and others are intimidated by the ubiquitous cameras. So select your division or direction. And feel free to enter in both. This is meant to be a low-stress event.

Judge this time around – who I have arrogantly just assumed will take on the responsibility – is, as usual, last times’ winner, Ilva, at Lucullian Delights.

Have fun!

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  1. I’ve got a question- this is my first time to the Paper Chef Challenge and I wanted to know if we’re expected to make just one dish using all 4 items, or a series of dishes? Either way, sounds like fun.

  2. Brilynn – either way. You are required to use all four of the listed ingredients and you can use anything else as well that you want.

    It is considered stylistically better to make one dish with all ingredients but it is acceptable to make a meal that has several dishes that together use all four. The event has been ‘won’ by both kinds of approaches. Some insane people have been known to make a full dinner with every dish using all four ingredients…

    by the way – I forgot to mention the ‘haute’ and ‘home’ categories – I’ll update the main post…

    ..and welcome! Hope you enjoy it..

  3. Kevin – I’m not a big fan either – except for liver – I LOVE chicken livers and they count as giblets…glad you like the Africa idea. I just felt like breaking out of the box a little…

  4. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I really like the ingredients! I hope I can find some time to cook and blog about it!

    Owen, are you trying to incite us to make desert? Because you know some of us might try… and then maybe feed their attempt to the dog but at least try!

  5. And by the way… I agree with Kevin, the African theme is excellent and hopefully will force us to explore our cookbooks a little bit.

  6. Hi there.
    This is really interesting and i really love all the ingredients, and it will be fun to use the giblets.
    Just wondering about 1 thing.

    Should you ONLY use these ingredients, or can a person add more while cooking?

    Where and how to post the recipe invented?
    Best regards and happy cooking!

  7. Kristian – you must use the ingredients listed AND you can also use anything else you want. Post the recipe to your blog and send me an email or leave a comment here with a link to it. If you don’t have a blog, let me know and I’ll post the recipe here.

  8. I have to concede defeat! The giblet sosaties (South African satays) turned rubbery after marinating in South African rooibos tea.

  9. Sorry to hear that Noodle! Roundup will be coming this weekend and although shortish (giblets too much of a challenge?) it is very, very interesting

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