The farmers of New Roots graduated from the New American Sustainable Agriculture Program (NASAP) in 2006, and since then, they have integrated their education into their farming. They combine their traditional farming techniques in Somalia with their new American customs to blend Somali/ American culture into Maine. Since many Somalis emigrated from Somalia to Lewiston, Maine, the farmers transitioned more easily into America; however, despite the growing population of Somalis in their residing communities, the farmers still miss their life in Africa. One morning, I talked to Seynab, and she mentioned that although she likes living in Maine, she misses Africa, and I think the other farmers would say something similar.
Luckily, the farmers have cherished their Somali ways in the United States through food and celebration. Almost every day, Seynab and Batula bring Shaah Cadays ( Somali spiced tea with milk. Essentially, Shaah Cadyas is a Somali Chai. It tastes delicious! I love when Seynab or Batula serve me tea with Buskud (Somali biscuits). Food is just a small way to connect with Somali people and their traditions. If you want to try any Somali food in Lewiston, Maine, you could go to the Halal Market, 267 Lisbon St, Lewiston ME 04240.
Another way that the farmers can connect to their Somali roots is through celebration and religion. One celebration, in particular, is Eid al-Adha, meaning the festival of sacrifice in Arabic marks the end of the Hajj, a five-day pilgrimage Muslims undertake to cleanse the soul of sins. The purpose of Eid al- Adha is to commemorate the story of the Muslim prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith when God commanded him to sacrifice his son, Ismail. This year, Eid al- Adha began July 19th and extended to July 20th. As a result, the farmers took this day off to celebrate. In addition, the farmers brought their families and friends together to take part in the festivities, eating lots of food and celebrating as a community.
This is a simple ratatouille recipe- if you’re looking for a slightly more involved recipe, I like this one.
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 large), large dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash (3 to 4 medium squash), large dice
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound tomatoes (3 to 4 medium), large dice
1 large bell pepper, large dice
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pot. Add the zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggplant.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and bell peppers. Add the reserved eggplant and zucchini and gently stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. A shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables in larger, more distinct pieces; longer cooking times will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before serving, stir in the basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve, sprinkling each serving with more basil and drizzling with more olive oil.
Recipe from https://www.thekitchn.com/one-pot-recipe-easy-french-ratatouille-recipes-from-the-kitchn-106669
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Recipe from https://damndelicious.net/2014/06/21/baked-parmesan-zucchini/
2 14.5-oz cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or make your own roasted tomatoes- recipe here)
1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)
1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional // well rinsed and drained // or sub cooked lentils)
1 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
2 Tbsp harissa paste (or sub another favorite hot sauce or chili garlic sauce)
For serving (optional):
Cilantro or parsley
White rice, brown rice, or quinoa
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add diced eggplant, drizzle with avocado or olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat and roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping / tossing near the 20-minute mark.
In the meantime, heat a large rimmed pan or pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water) and onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until soft and slightly caramelized.
Add garlic, cumin, and paprika and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute more.
Add tomatoes and their juices as well as water (or vegetable broth). Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
Remove cover and add (rinsed, drained) chickpeas (optional), maple syrup, and harissa paste and stir to coat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat.
Remove roasted eggplant from oven, turn oven off, and add eggplant to the tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to combine and cover. Simmer over medium-low / low heat for another 10 minutes to allow flavors to deepen.
Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more maple syrup to balance the heat, cumin, or paprika for smokiness, salt to taste, or harissa paste for spice.
Serve as is or over rice or grain of choice (or pasta or roasted vegetables) with wedges of fresh lemon and fresh chopped parsley or cilantro. Additional harissa paste can be added as garnish for additional heat.
Store completely cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop, adding more water or vegetable broth as needed to rehydrate.
Recipe from https://minimalistbaker.com/moroccan-spiced-eggplant-and-tomato-stew/