Plate Tectonics – Algeria

Plate Tectonics – Algeria

Doing a little late research on Algeria, and I’ve come to find that it’s the largest African country, and the 10th biggest in the world.
And because it has been inhabited by all sorts of different cultures, including French, Berber, Capsian, Numidian, Fatmid, and Byzantine……..
(just a heads up, i’m going to google each and every one of those words, because what?)
There is no WAY I could just say, “Well, this is Algerian food.”
I’m sure that’s going to happen a lot.

Algeria has an “important” Fennec Fox population.
I challenge you to find me a population of Fennec Foxes that isn’t of the most importance.
Love those little guys.

Couscous is Algeria’s national dish.
I picked a recipe for Pasta Bullets with Vegetarian Sauce(Berkoukes).
I also picked one for Potato Croquettes. (the french influence)
It was a whole lot of starch for one meal, but once I read “croquettes”… Well. It had to be done.
Croquettes are a pain in the ass, fyi. But worth it.

We started by peeling, chopping, and boiling the potatoes.
Use the starchiest you can find.. Baking Russet potatoes are best, I think.

It’s also pretty important(in my opinion), that you use a ricer to mash ’em up.
That’s a french thing I learned from Jaques Pepin many many years ago.
I don’t have a ricer yet, so I used a hand masher.
(i just came from work. don’t mind my bartender’s wrist/arm/sleeve.)

Once it was all mashed, we added two eggs, the herbs, and the spices.
Then I made golf ball-sized.. eh… Balls. *giggles*
I dipped them in whisked eggs before dredging them in flour.
I flattened them into patties. Which was kind of a chore with all of the potato chunks actin’ all crazy.
Not to mention that this recipe made WAY too many.
It was definitely a recipe for 12.
Half it, yo.
You’ll be fryin’ patties for days.

Also(my fault) I stacked them up pretty high, and when it was time to fry them, a lot of them stuck together, and fell apart.
I Frankenstein’d ’em back together, though.

We coated a pan with vegetable oil, and fried them for about 5 minutes on each side at medium-high.
I saw some recipes that called for frying in clarified butter.
If I had time, I would have absolutely made that happen.
Mmmmm. Clarified butter.
Make sure you have a set up with a dish, and paper towels to set them on after frying.

Jessica really liked the bite of the potatoes..
Whereas I think they could have been a lot fluffier and shit.
I’m getting that ricer.

As I was making the patties, vegetables were being chopped for the couscous.

Speaking of the couscous..
There was a miscommunication as to who was picking that up..
So there was a last minute run to a store that did not have the large(israeli) kind.
Which is what a I reaaaaalllllyy wannnnttteeddd!!! *stomps around*

Can you call the little ones “bullets?” I don’t think you can.

The fun part about this particular recipe is how easy it was.
Just throw everything in a pot and boil.
Sure. I can do that.

We boiled that for about 30 minutes, added the couscous, covered it, and turned off the heat.
We let that part sit for 15 minutes.
When it was done, I tossed in the mint, parsley, cilantro, and scallions.
I also liked this recipe because it’s mega healthy.
And nice and spicy.
People forget about paprika.
I need to remember paprika more.
We used a Hungarian hot paprika, but in retrospect, probably should have used a Spanish one.
(on account of the Mediterranean vibe..)
Either way, really.

Another one turned out pretty great.

Also.. We used some sour cream along with our croquettes. S’nice. (not as healthy, but niiiice.)


Berkoukes, or.. Pasta Bullets with Vegetarian Sauce
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium potato, cubed
1 bag frozen green peas
1/4 lb green beans
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp hot paprika(or 1, depending on your wussiness..)
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb pasta bullets(israeli couscous!!!!!)

(to mix in after)
4 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
3 tbsp mint, finely chopped,
1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped

Potato Croquettes
6 medium potatoes(boiled and riced)
2 eggs
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
Small bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt (to taste..)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper

Vegetable oil for frying(or clarified butter!!!!!!!)(MMMMMMMMMM!!!!)

4 whisked eggs for dipping
All-Purpose flour for dredging (i would salt and p this, too)