Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ethiopia dinner

Everyone enjoyed our recent trip to the Blue Nile so much that on Friday, we made an Ethiopian dinner at home.

The menu:
(the same appetizer we made for our South African dinner, recipe here.
Cabbage and potato (see below)
lentils (also below)
and, of course, homemade injera (also called biddeena, the bread that doubles as utensils, recipe below).

M had fun helping make the injera and eating with his hands. Our homemade injera was a little thicker than the restaurant's, which made it a little harder to pick up bites of lentils and, especially, the cabbage and potato. But we still enjoyed sharing a platter of food. Steve named it "Gosa Gosa Mom," like Blue Nile's Gosa Gosa A (I think Gosa Gosa means combo).

M's interruption

Hi.We made injera and then ate it with the other dishes.We also had some yogurt (It isn't on the menu).

Back to Mom...

I used the recipes for injera and yellow lentils from "The Africa News Cookbook: African Cooking for Western Cooking" and also adapted the recipe for the potato and cabbage from one of the recipes in "The Africa News."

(cut in half from the cookbook's recipe, made plenty for the three of us)
2 c self-rising flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c club soda
2 c water

Combine the dry ingredients. Add the club soda and water and mix into a smooth, fairly thin batter.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet. When a drop of water bounces on the pan, dip about 1/2 c of batter and swirl to spread the batter thinly and evenly (maybe you'll be better at making it thin than I was). When the moisture has evaporated and small bubbles appear on the surface, remove the injera. The recipe calls for cooking on only one side. I flipped mine and cooked briefly on the other side, since I had trouble getting them thin.

Stack the injera as you remove them from the skillet and cover with a cloth to keep them from drying out. To serve, lay them on a platter in overlapping circles. Serve the veggies and lentils on top and make a second plate with extras (see photo above).

Potatoes and cabbage (this is my version of "The Africa News"'s Yataklete Kilkil, spiced vegetables)
1/4 lb butter
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 inch piece of cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 lb new potatoes, halved
a head of cabbage, cut into to thin shreds

1.) Steam the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes).
2.) Melt the butter over low heat. Add all of the spices and stir to keep from burning. Add the cabbage and saute until wilted and tender.
3.) Add the potatoes and stir to coat the potatoes in the melted butter.
4.) Discard the cinnamon stick before serving.

Yellow Lentils (halved the original recipe)
1 c. orange lentils (I used toor dal)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh ginger (emergency substitution, I used 1/4 tsp dried ginger powder)
1/2 garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pounded
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Bring 2 c water to a boil. Add the lentils and the salt. Cook until the lentils are tender (about 30 minutes). Drain and then mash slightly with a fork or potato masher. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry the onions until golden. Add the spices and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the lentils, stirring well. Heat until the mixture is thick.

Monday, June 14, 2010

On location: Blue Nile restaurant

On Saturday night, we took Around the World dinners on location to the Blue Nile restaurant, an Ethiopian restaurant in Minneapolis. Steve and I used to eat here frequently in the years B.C. (before child) but hadn't been back in... well, in about seven or eight years. It was just as good as we had remembered, maybe even better. We ordered the Gosa Gosa A combo, a platter of their vegetarian dishes, served on a communal platter. In traditional custom, Blue Nile doesn't give you silverware: you eat by breaking off pieces of biddeena (bread) and using it to pick up bites of the other foods. I was struck by what a sense of closeness sharing a platter of food gave our meal. M's favorite dish was the sauteed potato and carrot but he also ate plenty of red lentils and black lentils. My favorite was the foule, a fava bean stew. Check them out at Blue Nile Restaurant. We will not wait another seven years to return and will probably make a homemade Ethiopian meal soon, but maybe with fewer dishes on our Gosa Gosa platter.

M's comment
I liked the biddeena and I liked using it as a spoon!

Friday June 11: World Cup celebration

M here.
Hi. On Friday June 11 we ate a special World Cup dinner. We ate 5 different things from 4 different countries for 4 different reasons.

Akara from South Africa.
Tortilla espanol and asparagus with citrus sauce from Spain.
Scones from England.
Cookies FROM THE U.S.A!

The reasons: Spain: a high ranked team; South Africa: you should always respect the host; U.S.A we live there; England it's a great place.

Mom's interruption

What a yummy dinner! And easy to make. Other than the cookies, which we made the day before the dinner, we made everything after a long day that included both a trip to the zoo and a play date with friends.

Tortilla espanol is much like an omelet or an Italian frittata. Akara are black-eyed pea fritters. The cookies were classic tollhouse but with peanut butter and chocolate chips, because, after all, what's more American than peanut butter! :)

Back to M
Well, here's a little info about U.S.A. and the World Cup. The U.S.A. has hosted one. It was in 1994. The mascot was Striker. They have never won one. More about Striker: Striker is a English football(Soccer)-mad dog. He has the U.S.A. kit on. Weeelll, I guess that's it. Enjoy the World Cup!!!!!! Bonus: How many times did I say U.S.A.?(the one in the question counts!)

Back to Mom for links to the recipes.
Mom again:
This is the best recipe for akara that I have found:
For the asparagus, I planned to make this sauce but at the last minute, just mixed olive oil, yogurt, and orange juice. How did I cook before the internet??