Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spring Glory Salad

The first pick of the year! Guten appetit!

Salad Ingredients:
Any greens that need thinning
(I used chard, beets and lettuce, as well as a few tender pea shoots)
Violets and pansy flowers
Honey-roasted walnuts (see recipe below)
Crumbled feta or gorgonzola cheese
Pears might be nice, too, but we didn't have any...

Honey-roasted walnuts:
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a tbsp butter and melt. Add a cup of walnuts and stir constantly for about 2 or 3 minutes. Add a tbsp of honey and stir another minute. Remove from heat immediately and sprinkle with a little salt. Let cool and add to salads or just eat them!

I like a light vinaigrette with a salad this fresh.
Try 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. (Dressing recipe courtesy of Nan and Jim Cassidy)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I started cooking Ethiopian food recently. I was intimidated a bit by the spice mixture and preparation of the bread, but making the stew is surprisingly easy, once the spices are mixed. I still haven’t found an easy injera recipe, though I keep trying.

This stew is a favorite in our house now. I also like it made with beef (sik sik wat). This recipe is adapted from http://www.globalgourmet.com/destinations/ethiopia/dorowat.html with my changes made in italics.


One 2-1/2 lb. chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces (I used 1.5 pounds chicken thigh and breast)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Niter Kebbeh (Spiced Butter)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup Red Pepper Paste (aka Spice Paste, Berbere) (My berbere is sooo hot that I use only a heaping tablespoon or two)
2 tablespoons paprika (I use 1 tbsp as I discovered that I don’t like that heavy paprika taste)
1/4 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup water
4 hard-boiled eggs
Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse and dry the chicken pieces. Rub them with lemon juice and salt. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a heavy enamel stewpot, cook the onions over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. Do not let brown or burn. Stir in the niter kebbeh. Then add the garlic and spices. Stir well. Add the berbere and paprika, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the wine and water and bring to a boil. Cook briskly, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

SPICED BUTTER (Niter Kebbeh)

2 lb. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick (approximately 1" long)
1 whole clove
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large saucepan, melt the butter slowly over medium heat; do not let it brown. Then bring butter to a boil. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered and undisturbed for 45 minutes. Milk solids on the bottom of the pan should be golden brown, and the butter on top will be transparent.

Slowly pour the clear liquid into a bowl, straining through cheesecloth. It is important that no solids are left in the niter kebbeh.

Transfer the kebbeh into a jar. Cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator.
Pat the chicken dry and drop it into the simmering sauce, turning the pieces about until coated on all sides. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, piece the hard-boiled eggs with the tines of a fork, piercing approximately 1/4" into the egg all over the surface. After the chicken has cooked, add the eggs and turn them gently in the sauce. Cover and cook the doro wat for 15 more minutes. Add pepper to taste.

Makes about 1 cup

Chef Marcus Samuelsson has simplified the recipe for this spice blend, which he also recommends using as a rub for beef and lamb. Adapted from his "The Soul of a New Cuisine" (Wiley, 2006).

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup ground dried serrano chili peppers or other ground dried chili peppers
1/2 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (preferably freshly ground)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Finely grind the fenugreek seeds with a mortar and pestle or in an electric spice or coffee grinder. Combine the remaining ingredients and add the ground fenugreek seeds, mixing well. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


The day I hauled that $4 bread machine home from a yard sale on the back of my bike, I though for sure I would never again buy a loaf of bread. Though we are still buying loaves of bread from the store, the machine has certainly paid itself off in pizza dough. Pizza is a weekly menu item in our house, and we have lots of fun selecting toppings (see Pesto pizza blog). I always make a pepperoni or sausage and cheese pizza, and then a vegetable combo of some sort. I have been playing around with dough recipes, too, and tonight's crust was a definite hit.

Bread Machine Pizza Crust
adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

Makes 2 small pizzas (about 12-14" each)

1 1/2 cup warm water (or use 1/3 cup beer and 1 c. water)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar or honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cup flour (I mixed 3 cups regular bread flour and 3/4 cup whole grain)
1/2 tsp each oregano and basil
1 1/2 tsp yeast

add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed above
and put bread machine on "pizza dough" cycle. Sit back, open a bottle of wine or beer and have a glass!

When dough is ready, preheat oven to 425. Divide dough in half and press into desired shape on two oiled cookie sheets. Sprinkle with grated cheese and prebake crust for about 5 minutes in hot oven. Remove and top with your favorite toppings. Bake pizzas for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden on top!


*Roasted red pepper, carmelized onion and portabella mushroom
(Sautee thinly sliced onions on low heat. Grill mushrooms and peppers. Put veggies on top of sauce, along with artichoke hearts and top with smoked provolone and goat cheese).

*White pizza with sauteed summer squash, caramelized onions and goat cheese and mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil.

*pesto and sun dried tomatoes, of course.

*I'd love to hear other ideas out there!