24 September 2007

Closing pressure of their jaws measures about 1,200 lbs per square inch

Since my upcoming trip will be so short, I have made the unfortunates decision to not make a reservation for my absolute favorite dinner dining experience in any resort. That would be the sensational buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma. If you have ever stayed at, or visited, the Animal Kingdom Lodge you know how meticulously themed this resort is. The dining fare at Boma is no exception.

Though the seating area is rather open it is surrounded by what appear to be fences. This makes sense since the word Boma actually means an enclosed area, usually for cattle and other animals, in Swahili. However, my favorite detail of Boma rests on the walls just outside the restaurant, in the waiting area near the phones and restrooms. Perched on the walls are very colorful baskets. Upon first glance they appear to be nothing extraordinary. However, if you take a second, or third, look, and read the plaque next to them, you will find that they are actually weaved from stray scraps of colored telephone wire into glorious patterns. It amazes me that in this age of having shiny technology all around us craftsmanship is still valued highly, and that the human ability to make something out of nothing is still vital in some parts of the world. It truly humbles me.

Once inside you are met with all sorts of food options, from Chicken Corn Porridge, Sweet Potato Pancakes, Couscous Marrakesh, to Durban Chicken, Pap, and other roasted meats, and each and every one is worth a bite of your time. Desserts as well range from the subtly delicious, like the fresh fruit tarts, to the insanely divine of the Zebra Domes. My absolutely favorite way to start a meal is the Watermelon Rind Salad, and the only way I can conclude a meal is with the Chocolate Mousse Crunch. Both recipes are available after the article.

This is not your typical buffet by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, if you are looking to broaden your dining horizons, which if you are eating in Walt Disney World I hope you are aware that there are astonishing and surprising options available beyond chicken tenders and burgers, this is definitely the place to start. The dishes may have daunting names, but their tastes will be comforting and familiar with a flair.

2 pounds Watermelon skin, sliced thinly

Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup Ginger, sliced thin
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Rice Vinegar
1 cup Grenadine
1 cup Water

In a small pot, heat the dressing ingredients until the sugar melts.
Remove from stove and let cool.
Add sliced watermelon rind.
Let marinate at least one hour.

Ingredients:½ pound Semi-sweet Chocolate
3 each Yolks
2 ½ tablespoons Sugar
3 sheets Gelatin
4 tablespoons Frangelico
2 cups Heavy Cream
5 tablespoons Puff Pastry, baked
7 tablespoons Semi-sweet Chocolate Squares, melted
5 tablespoons Praline Paste
½ cup Ganache (2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and 2 oz. heavy cream)
Chocolate Sticks for garnish

Prepare flexi pan mold, 2-inch diameter muffin shape.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate squares for mousse.
Whip heavy cream and sugar to very soft peaks.
Soften gelatin in cold water until soft. Remove excess water, then place gelatin in a small bowl with the Frangelico. Set bowl over hot water bath to dissolve gelatin.
In a large bowl mix egg yolks into the slightly warm chocolate.
Add the warm Frangelico/gelatin mixture to the chocolate/yolk mixture.
Fold 1/3 of heavy cream/sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture. Add remaining cream mixture and mix well.
Pour into the mold, leaving ¼ inch space on the top.
Place in freezer to set.
Melt chocolate for crunchy bottom. Add puff pastry (already baked and chopped in a food processor) and praline paste to the chocolate.
When the mousse is set, spread chocolate mixture over each mousse without unmolding them. Put back in the freezer to set.
When set, unmold mousse. Pipe a dollop of ganache on each. For ganache, melt chocolate; add cream, mix until glossy.
Put chocolate sticks on top to garnish.

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