Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stop Right There

Well, I know that once again it has been awhile since I blogged. I'm sorry, I'm just a very bad blogger, I guess...

In the past month I have had a little bit of cooking schizophrenia as I discovered The Pioneer Woman blog and watched Forks over Knives in a matter of a couple of weeks. So, one day I'm making everything with heavy cream and bacon and the next minute I find myself disgusted by the harmful effects of food additives and animal products. Here I am trying to find some kind of balance. I'm leaning more towards the less meat is more and experimenting with many new ingredients. There are just so many good things out there and I was limiting us tremendously without even realizing it. So no more casseroles with cream soups at the Vander Wall's! We are eating new veggies and loving it! The kids have been doing really well with learning to try and enjoy new things.

Tonight we're having injera, an Ethiopian flat bread with two stews- beef tibs and red lentils. I just made the lentils and sampled it for my lunch and it is INCREDIBLE! So stop whatever you are doing and make it! I don't even really like lentils that much, but the berbere spice in this just makes it so good! If you don't know where to buy berbere (try an international market or maybe call your closest Ethiopian restaurant and see if they'll sell you some), you can make it. Here's the recipe for the lentils (so easy once you have the spice!)

Berbere Ethiopian Lentil Stew
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups red lentils
2 1/4 cups water
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-2 Tbsp berbere spice mixture (dry)
1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

Mix lentils with water, garlic, onion, and spices.

Cook, uncovered, over med-low heat for 20 minutes or until lentils have softened.

Watch carefully and add water if it starts to dry out.

Add the tomatoes and heat 15 minutes more.

Serve alone, with injera, or over brown rice.

Here's my simple injera recipe. In Ethiopia they use this instead of utensils to scoop up stews or veggies. It's not a perfectly authentic version, but it's good (Teshome likes it) and it's easy.

2 cups of teff or whole wheat flour (I use teff which you will probably have to order online or buy at an Ethiopian market- I got mine in Chicago)

1 cup of unbleached white flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 cups of club soda- more to thin as needed (I definitely use more like 4 cups, but add it slowly so it isn't too runny)

Combine the flours and baking soda. Add club soda and stir well. Heat a large skillet or griddle with oil or ghee. Using a cup or ladle, pour batter onto the griddle in a circle, starting on the outside and tilting the griddle back and forth quickly to fill in any holes and spread evenly. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, until the surface is spongy and filled with tiny air bubbles. Do not flip it. Slide it onto a plate and continue the process until your batter is gone.

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