Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mwasera bwangi (Good afternoon in Chichewa, the common language in Malawi, other than English). So as some of you know I am in Malawi for work for a few weeks. The trip has been great thus far. I am staying in a guest house with surgery residents and we have dinner together every evening.  The Malawians I’ve met are very kind and generous, and are helping me learn Chichewa. It is rainy season now, so everything is lush and beautiful, and there is an abundance of produce at the markets.

As part of my trip, I am working with an amazing nutritionist Martin. We’ve hired six wonderful Malawian women to help us cook many foods for our food composition tables for the amazing study I work on at UNC Chapel Hill. Anyways, I’ve been able to watch these women cook, and learn how to make some of the traditional dishes. We’ve made so many of them. The primary dish that most Malawians regard as their staple food is nsima, which is made from corn flour (we’ve mainly made ufa mgaiwa). Most foreigners have mentioned that they don’t like nsima much and that it feels like a rock in your stomach, and I actually really like it! Next to nsima, a relish is always served. This one is pumpkin leaves and groundnuts, and we also had red beans next to it. More post  to come. Stay tuned!

nsima with beans and pumpkin greens (with groundnut flour)

nsima and cowpeas with tomato and onion relish


Sandwhich is a wonderful sandwich shop in Chapel Hill that I adore. They also have seasonal salads that are superb! I treated my super undergrad assistant, Krishna, to lunch at the end of the semester, and we both selected this salad. Bibb lettuce with hard boiled eggs, pomegranate seeds, apples,  cheddar and more with a light vinaigrette dressing. Served with crusty bread and their marinated carrots. Delicious. I want to replicate at home, and go back to Sandwhich too. Doesn’t the picture make you hungry?

Note, this post is not about food.. it is about sustenance while hiking. We hiked the Grand Canyon over the holiday, and oh my it is grand! We hiked down to the Bright Angel campground on the South Kaibab trail and then returned to the South Rim the next day via the Bright Angel trail, a 9 mile uphill hike at >10% grade. The sights were fabulous! While hiking we consumed usual hiker food such as beef jerkey, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, power bars, and trail mix. At the bottom of the canyon, we were ravenous and immediately went to the Phantom Ranch canteen for snacks, postcards and card games. We then feasted! I had brought a dried beef stew, Joey brought packaged Indian food from whole foods, and our friends were geniuses.. They made dried mashed potatoes with peas and canned chicken. This was amazing and highly recommended!! For breakfast, we had oatmeal and eggs. And then we started our grueling 9 mile (7 hour) hike to the rim.

Here a a few photos from our trip, enjoy!

View on the hike down.


Drinking wine and playing hearts at the Phantom Ranch canteen.

Me on the hike back to the rim.

We ventured to the North Carolina Museum of Art late last fall for brunch at Iris and to explore the collections. It is a beautiful museum, with an amazing restaurant. If you’re local, you should go. If you’re not local, you should venture to NC and head here.

Brunch was delicious. To start, we were given wonderful scones and butter.I selected “quesadilla desayuno, scrambled eggs, farmers cheese, chorizo, black beans, lime-cilantro creme fraiche” for my meal. They were  amazing!! Nom nom nom. I’m excited to go back!

Life has been a bit nuts. I’m heading to Malawi next week for work, and have been traveling because of the holidays.

Anyhow, this is a pizza recipe my friend Lindsay concocted and it is fabulous. Enjoy!

Makes 1 pizza

Pizza dough, store bought raw dough or make your own
1 cup Arugula
3 figs, sliced
1 small onion, sliced and caramelized (use a medium onion if making more than 1 pizza)
3 oz. Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
1/2 Tsp. Basil, dried
1 Tbsp. Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 or use the grill.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onions, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and let cook until caramelized.

3. Roll out pizza dough and bake for 5 minutes or until cooked.

4. Top pizza crust with the remaining olive oil, onions, figs, mozzarella and basil. Bake in oven (about 14 min) or grill (about 10 min) until cheese is melted and crust is crispy and brown. Top cooked pizza with arugula and enjoy!!