Monday, February 7, 2011

ethiopian feast

Besides being delicious, Ethiopian food is easy to make and inexpensive. The following three recipes were adapted from "Vegetarian Ethiopian Feast" on Jenna and I ate these dishes with Ethiopian bread called injera. Injera is made with teff and tastes like spongy sourdough bread. I bought the injera at Kukulu Market in uptown. The dark injera has more teff than the lighter colored injera.

gomen (collared greens)

1 bunch collard greens, tough stems removed and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 T niter kibeh (recipe below) or olive oil or butter

Heat pan to medium and add nitter kibeh. Add onions. Cook until translucent. Add collared greens and cook until bright and softened.

miser wat (spicy red lentil stew)

4 T olive oil
1 T garlic, chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2 T berbere (recipe below)
2 cups onion (one large onion or two small onions)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups split red lentils
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 c red wine
1 t salt

Saute the onions in the olive oil, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute. Add the berbere and saute for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The onions should start to caramelize Mix in the tomatoes and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add the lentils, salt, red wine, and the vegetable stock or water and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook uncovered until the lentils are cooked. About an hour.

lima beans

1.5 - 2 c lima beans
3 c water or vegetable broth
2 large onions, chopped
1 T oil or niter kibeh
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T curry powder
1/2 cabbage chopped
salt to taste

Saute the garlic and onions in the oil or niter kibeh until onions are translucent. Add the curry powder. Add cabbage, lima beans and water or broth. Cook until the lima beans are soft and the liquid has reduced.

Note, I forgot to buy cabbage, and the beans turned out well without it!

Serve with injera and wine.

niter kibeh

1 pound margarine
4 T. onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 T garlic, finely chopped or pressed
2 t fresh ginger, scraped and finely grated or minced
1/2 t turmeric
4 green cardamom pods, crushed (or 2/3 t cardamom powder)
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves (or 1/4 t ground)
1/8 t ground nutmeg

Melt margarine over low heat. Once melted, add the seasonings. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes until flavors are melded. This was quite tasty - Jenna's favorite part of the meal.


1/2 c ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/3 c paprika
1 t seasoned salt
1 t poultry seasoning
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground fenugreek
1/2 t ground cardamom seeds
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground allspice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a cake pan, mix the spices well (be careful not to inhale). Roast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent scorching. Watch carefully, and stir the spices more often during the last 10 minutes. Cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.

I bought this premixed at Kukulu Market. Its a very nice and unique mix that brightens up dishes nicely.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


As we mourn the end of taco month, we reminisce about the good ole days of salsas, homemade tortillas, tostones, and guacamole. We will remember taco month fondly and might even take a moment to think about everything taco month did for us. But, we know taco month would want us to move forward and enjoy the bright future ahead of us. That bright future is one pot meals month.

One pot meals month might not party like taco month did. However, less partying equates to less of a mess afterwards. Taco month brought endless little salsa and guac dishes, multiple pans, limes everywhere. Quite the dish washing hangover. One pot meals month means one pot to clean. OK, the knife and cutting board too. But still, major improvement.

What better way to jump start one pot meals month than with Jambalaya. All I need is a recipe. Jax just posted, here, about cooking without a recipe. I have trouble following recipes. I frequently search the internet for an hour or so in search of the perfect recipe. Then, I don't find it. This was one of those times. Emeril's jambalaya got 5 star reviews but he wanted me to to use only 12 shrimp and cut them up into tiny pieces, allrecipes wanted me to use kielbasa which is Eastern European and everyone kept using Worcestershire sauce which was invented in England. Why the internet can't read my mind is beyond me.

So, in times like these, I turn to wikipedia and other reliable internet sources for guidance about what must and must not be included in whatever I am about to create. Apparently jambalaya isn't supposed to have kidney beans. Sounded good to me, but whatever, I left them out. The onion, celery, and green bell pepper trinity ranks high in importance. Rice is somewhat essential as well. The rest, is up to the person with the growling stomach and wooden spoon.

The following is my version of jambalaya. Note, when I originally made this, the rice was wetter than I prefer. So, this recipe as written has a 1/2 c less chicken broth than what I used.


1 lb chicken, cut into small pieces
1 lb andouille sausage, cut into small half moons
48 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 
2 T olive oil or butter, divided
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 poblano peppers, chopped
2 1/2 c rice
3 1/2 c chicken broth
2 c tomatoes, grated (about 2 large tomatoes) - the grated tomatoes can act as liquid for the purpose of cooking rice. Typically, 2 1/2 c of rice should have 5 c of chicken broth. Here, there is a total of 5 1/2 cups of liquid. The extra 1/2 c of liquid is because the tomatoes do have some solidness to them.

1 T paprika
2 t oregano
1 t thyme
1 T chili powder, or to taste
1 t sea salt, or to taste

lemon cut into wedges, for serving

Heat pan on medium heat. Add 1 T olive oil or butter. Saute the shrimp until the outsides have turned pinkish. About 2 minutes and remove. The shrimp will not be cooked at this point. They will later be added and steamed til cooked.

Add the other T of olive oil or butter. Add chicken and sausage to the pot. Cook until chicken appears cooked and sausage is slightly browned. About 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, onion, celery, bell and poblano peppers and seasonings. Cook until vegetables are softened. About 8 minutes.

Add the rice and stir around so that the rice is coated with the oil and seasonings. This process helps to create a drier rice which is important in certain rice dishes like this and my personal favorite, paella (coming soon!!).

Add the grated tomatoes and the chicken broth. Give it a good stir. Bring to a boil. Give another good stir. Turn the heat down to low so the rice is just simmering. Put on the lid and let the rice cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes. Check it to see how the rice is doing. There should be a little bid of liquid left, and the rice should be close to done. Place the shrimp on top of the rice and place the lid on top. Let the shrimp steam for another 5 minutes. Take off the lid and stir around.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 8 (actually, this could probably feed a small army. Next time I make it, I will definitely be cutting it in half!)

Monday, January 31, 2011

un taco de carne asada por favor

This was my least favorite of all the tacos. I definitely prefered the steak as leftovers in my salad the next day. I'm not a steak fan, but I did find this steak quite delicious. This would be a great recipe for fajitas.

taco de carne asada
1 1/2 lb flap steak
4 limes, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 dark beer such as negra modelo
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
1/2 c olive oil 

Whisk together the citrus, beer, garlic, cilantro and olive oil.  Marinate steak for 1-8 hours.

Grill each side on medium-high for about 10 minutes, or until done. Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain. Do this by first cutting the steak in thirds. Turn the steak 90 degrees and make thin slices.

Friday, January 28, 2011

j + m

Jax likes chayote.

Murdo likes chorizo.

This is their taco: 

One of the best parts about college was the magical appearance of foreign foods. Jax cooked a Fillipino dish with chayote squash. Chayote squash:

The texture reminds me of either an unripe pear or an apple. The flavor is subtle and respondes well to citrus. Instead of putting it on a taco, it also would make for a very nice, unique side/vegetable dish.

j + m

1/2 lb chorizo sausage
1 large baking potato, shredded
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 chayote squash, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lime
1 T olive oil

cotija cheese - this is a salty crumbly cheese somewhere in between parmesan and feta but with its own unique flavor.
chopped cilantro
adobo chile tomatillo salsa (recipe below) or toasted guajillo chile salsa or pico de gallo

Dry the potato shavings in a potato ricer or with clean kitchen towels. Drying the potatoes makes for better crispifying.

Take chorizo out of casing and heat over medium heat in a sauce pan. Break up chorizo with a wooden spoon. Heat til almost cooked. Add potato and onion. Continue cooking until potato is cooked as desired. I liked the potato browned in spots, like hashbrowns.

While the chorizo/potato mixture is cooking, heat olive oil in a separate pan on medium heat. Cook squash until just softened (3-5 minutes). Squeeze with lime juice and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

 Assemble taco with chorizo/potato mixture, chayote squash, cilantro, cotija cheese and salsa.

adobo chile tomatillo salsa
(Rick Bayless' recipe)

4 medium tomatillos, husks removed
2 cloves garlic
2 cans chiles en adobo (I used only one can and it had a nice little kick without being overpowering)
1/4 c water

Split each tomatillo in half. Place cut side down in a pan over medium heat. Place garlic in pan. Heat til the tomatillos are caramelized and soft (3-4 minutes). Repeat on other side. Flip garlic as well.

Blend tomatillos and chiles en adobo in food processor with the water. Note, more or less water can be added depending on your desired salsa consistency. I didn't use any water and liked the thicker consistency.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

the HK

On a post-it:

Accused of "working together too much." Three phrases in each of our half page outlines bore striking resemblance to the other two outlines. You caught us, Professor Harris. All along, we schemed to write one brief jointly between the three of us, make three copies and each turn one into you with our own name on top. We threw pennies daily into Buckingham Fountain wishing that you would never notice. But alas, our wishes did not come true.

Called into the professor's office, we received a lecture on Kent's code of conduct policy regarding academic dishonesty.
"But, Professor Harris, you told us to work together to develop a rough outline, " Ansonia inquired.
"Well, Ansonia, I may have said that, but that's not what I meant. I didn't mean for any of you to write anything down while you were together. I just meant for you to have some in-depth discussions about the specifics of the case and formulate a general outline in discussion. You weren't supposed to write down anything while you were all three together. I don't want to read three of the same briefs."
"We just wrote down some sentences to help develop our ideas. The briefs are thirty pages. I hardly think three sentences will result in identical briefs," HK explained.
"Writing identical briefs is not the point. The point is that Kent has a very strict code of conduct regarding academic dishonesty. Have I made myself clear?"

Absolutely. Not.

Since then, HK and I have made salmon burgers, attempted to fry tempura and coconut shrimp, and created a feast for last year's Superbowl. And, of course, who could forget the crawfish.

We also enjoy stealing recipes from each other . . .

HK and Joel invited me over for dinner a few weeks back and made wonderful tostones. I'm not sure if the crunchy sweet plaintain or the mouth watering roasted garlic aioli began my tostones obsession. In any event, I was hooked. So, I stole her recipe and turned it into a taco. This delicious taco features tostones, roasted poblano peppers, lime aioli, queso fresco and mole sauce:

the HK

3 unripe (green) or partially ripe (yellow-ish with black spots) plantains
oil for frying
flour tortillas
3 poblano peppers, roasted
queso fresco

Heat enough oil for frying on medium heat. Remove plantain peel and cut plantains into 1 inch tall cylinders. Fry until the bottom is golden brown. Flip each plantain piece and fry until the other side is golden brown.

Remove from oil. Smash each plantain with the bottom of a glass until flattened and about 1/4 inch thick. Return to oil and fry until the inner parts of the plantain are also golden brown. Remove. Tostones!

Serve the tostones in a tortilla with roasted poblano peppers, aoili (recipe below), mole (recipe below) and top with queso fresco. Note, that the partially ripe plantains will turn into sweeter and softer tostones than the unripe, green, ones.

3 heads of garlic
juice from 2 limes
about 1/3 c olive oil

Chop of top of garlic so that each clove is exposed. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in tin foil. Bake in the oven at 325 for 1 hour.

After letting the garlic cool, squeeze out the cloves into a bowl. Add the lime juice. Add enough olive oil to create a pasty sauce.

This serves as a delicious dip for the tostones. This is how HK served the tostones when I had dinner over at her house. Dangerously addicting.

mole (mol-ay) sauce
by ciao at

4 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (recommended: Hershey Special Dark, it has a sweetness that mellows the sauce)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over med-low heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and cinnamon. Cover and cook until onion is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Mix in chili powder and flour, stir for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. Increase heat to med-high. Boil until reduced, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate; season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Monday, January 24, 2011

bourbon bananas flambritt

Sitting around our wobbly kitchen table, tornado, flambritt and I discussed what foods most represent our apartment. The ultimate goal, turn those foods into a taco.

"Ok, Britt, your five foods. Go."
"Whisky, cheese, mushrooms, salmon, artichokes."
"Hmmm, that sounds appetizing and all . . ."
"No, make me a dessert taco! With whisk!"

Just like that, the bourbon bananas flambritt was born. Well, at least we knew the taco would be whisky based.

As the dessert aficionado of the house, flambritt typically enjoys 100 calorie "ice cream" sandwiches. They're alright if you're into that airy fake sugar kind of thing. I'm not. This dessert would be different.

During the week, flambritt can be found hula hooping, sipping on vino, eating sushi or engaged in costume design for the weekend. Most often, a combo. The weekend: bluegrass and whisk. Is there anything else?

That begs the question, what kind of a taco might a hula hooping, bluegrass dancing, whisky drinking roommate like to eat?

A fiery one.

bourbon bananas flambritt
Inspired by Julia Child's Bananas Flambe

3 bananas, sliced lengthwise
1/2 stick butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c real maple syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1/3 c bourbon such as Maker's Mark
homemade flour tortillas
vanilla ice cream


Grease your pan with butter. Add the bananas. Squeeze the lemon and pour the maple syrup over the bananas. Sprinkle the butter and brown sugar over the bananas. Bake at 315 for about 20 minutes, or until the bananas are soft. Baste the bananas with the liquid in the pan about every 5 minutes.

Heat the bourbon in a pan on the stove on low heat. Be careful not to let it boil.

Pull the bananas from the oven. Pour the bourbon over the bananas. Light the bananas on fire. Voila, bourbon bananas flambritt!

Sprinkle with cinnamin and serve with vanilla ice cream in a homemade flour tortilla.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The Tribune seems to think that January is soup month. Something about it being cold and snowy and windy in Chicago. But, hello, Tribune, didn't you get the memo? It's taco month. Duh.

Oh taco month, how I love thee . . .

This taco was inspired by a certain roommate of mine who we affectionately call "Tornado." Her New Years Eve celebration started on the 29th of December, at noon. She refers to herself as Cherise. She takes about a dozen vacations a year. All in the name of Umphrey's McGee and a certain pony-tailed boy. Let's call him Ruben. 

Tornado likes her meals doused in hot sauce, preferably Frank's. And if the shrimp are drinking tequila, perf. More Corona for Tornado. Don't forget the lime.


1/4 c fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 Franks RedHot Sauce
1/4 c tequila
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Mix the lime juice, hot sauce, tequila. Add the garlic and cliantro. Mix. Place shrimp on skewers. Note, if you are grilling over fire, don't forget to soak wooden sticks in water so they don't catch fire. Pour the mixture over the shrimp and marinate for about 30 minutes. 

Grill shrimp 3 min. a side.

Serve in warm tortillas with toppings of your choice. Tornado and Flambritt (her taco blasts off later this week) liked the mango salsa (recipe below) party atop their tacos. I preferred mine with just avocado and queso fresco. Without the salsa, I could really taste the tequila, lime and hot sauce flavor of the shrimp. These shrimp would be great atop a salad dressed with a citrusy vinaigrette. 

Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa
by FHIVESHOT on allrecipes

1 mango - peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic. Stir in the salt, lime juice, red onion, and olive oil. To blend the flavors, refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.