Keep the holiday spirit. Today starts Kwaanza, a weeklong African American commemoration of renewal, patterned after the African harvest celebration. Its name comes from the Kiswahili word ku-anza, meaning “to begin.”
Symbols of Kwaanza have universal meaning. This first day honors umoja, or unity, among family as well as the community, the nation, and the world African community. Whatever your ethnic back-ground, celebrating Kwaanza with traditional African American fare offers time to relax and renew the joys of the family table.
Consider preparing foods with African American roots: black-eyed peas and rice, okra and stewed tomatoes, gumbo, sweet potato pudding, cooked collards or turnip greens, among others.
Sweet Potato Fritters
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded
- 3 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cup chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground mace
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
Wrap sweet potatoes in a clean dish towel; wring to remove excess moisture. In bowl, combine sweet potatoes with remaining ingredients except oil; blend well. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon heaping tablespoonful’s of batter into skillet, flattening with back of spoon. Cook until golden on both sides, turning after about 4 minutes. Remove from pan; place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with Coulis (recipe follows). Makes 6 servings.
Pear Coulis: In bowl, combine 2 chopped ripe pears, 1/4 cup raisins,1/2 cup orange marmalade, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger.