December 26 was the beginning of the celebration of Kwanzaa!
There is no way to understand and appreciate the meaning and message of Kwanzaa without understanding and appreciating its profound and pervasive concern with values. In fact, Kwanzaa’s reason for existence, its length of seven days, its core focus and its foundation are all rooted in its concern with values.
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green. Black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. Therefore there is one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles. The black candle represents the first principle Umoja (unity) and is placed in the center of the kinara. The red candles represent the principles of Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujamaa (cooperative economics) and Kuumba (creativity) and are placed to the left of the black candle. The green candles represent the principles of Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Nia (purpose) and Imani (faith) and are placed to the right of the black candle. The black candle is lit first on the first day of the celebration. And the remaining candles are lit afterwards from left to right on the following days.
This procedure is to indicate that the people come first, then the struggle and then the hope that comes from the struggle. This menu pairs foods from Africa with foodstuffs found in the New World. Okra, introduced to North America by African slaves, is served as a popular vegetable side, prepared with tomatoes and corn. Jollof Rice and Yassa Chicken are versions of traditional main dishes from West Africa.
The next recipe is for Yassa chicken. As with all things related to Kwanzaa always use the highest quality ingredients when making this dish. Respect others traditions so in return they will respect your traditions!
•3-1/2 to 4 pounds meaty chicken pieces
•2 large onions, thinly sliced
•2/3 cup water
•1/3 cup lime juice or lemon juice
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 to 4 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded (if desired) and finely chopped*
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1/2 cup chicken broth
•2 tablespoons cornstarch
•2 tablespoons cold water
•3 to 4 cups hot cooked couscous or rice
1. Remove and discard skin from chicken. Mix onions, water, lime or lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons olive oil, jalapeno, garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper in a Ziploc plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Add chicken then seal the bag and marinate chicken in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
2. Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Cook chicken, half at a time, in the 2 tablespoons hot oil in a Dutch oven until lightly browned, turning to brown evenly. Remove chicken; set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken. Drain fat. Return all chicken to Dutch oven.
3. Add reserved marinade mixture and chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.
4. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl; keep warm. Measure juices; skim off fat. If necessary, add enough water to juices to equal 2 cups. Return the juices to the Dutch oven.
5. Stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve over hot cooked couscous or rice. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
*Note: Wear plastic gloves while preparing peppers; thoroughly wash your hands afterward.
O.K. it is a beautiful thing to learn about one another and their cultures. The advantage of learning about our brothers and sisters is that we become closer to one another and we get to learn some new recipes! So it is a double bonus, in a sense!
Hey, it is a sunny day down here in sunny FLA. Remember it is always sunny in “YOUR” mind, if you want it to be! Again, be kind to everyone you meet, especially that face you look at every morning! We will soon be entering the new year, which actually starts each and every morning that you awake! Life starts from this moment… forward! So “Press On” and start creating the best life of your life! This has been another Holiday Mango moment!
“Look at a flower until its beauty becomes part of your very soul. It will be given back to the world again by you in the form of a smile or a loving word.”