teff pancakes with cashew cream

When I first noticed this idea in a cookbook, I just stared at the picture, thinking “really?”.  It seemed like a slightly strange idea, using miniature pancakes with a topping for a savory appetizer….  Why not just use crackers?  But, I love the cookbook, and really respect the food ideology of the woman who wrote it, so I figured they couldn’t be that bad.

Then, while Joe & I were contemplating what to make for Easter, I kept coming back to this recipe.  I wanted to try making gravlox (more on that in the next post!), and these seemed like they would be a great accompaniment.  So we finally settled on the little pancakes with their cashew cream, albeit a bit nervous about whether our hand-crank food processor would really be able to create cashew cream.

Thankfully, it was!  Maybe not entirely as smooth as electricity would provide, but close enough.  These also surpassed all of my expectations.  They were pretty tasty on their own, but once you added the gravlox to the picture?  Unbelievably delicious.  I can’t wait for an excuse to make them again!  (The only reason I’m waiting is that, unfortunately, raw cashews and teff flour are both kinda spendy.  This was a splurge, but certain a worthwhile one.)

The recipes, revised slightly, are from Jennifer Katzinger’s Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays, which is a beautiful little book.  When I found her first book, I was so excited by the fact that she had vegan baked goods, but, like me, avoided using soy products or refined sweeteners.  Her two cookbooks are great resources; I love them!

Teff Pancakes with Cashew Cream
makes about 24

Cashew Cream:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 8 hours, then drained
about 6 Tbsp lemon juice (1 large lemon did it for me)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup water
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Teff Pancakes:
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup teff flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 cup water
small fresh dill sprigs, for garnish

To make the cashew cream, combine the cashews, lemon juice, dill and water in a blender or food processor and process until the cream is smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside or chill overnight.

To make the pancakes, whisk all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Heat a cast-iron skillet lightly greased with coconut oil over medium heat.  Drop tablespoon size portions of batter and fry the pancakes for about 3 minutes per side, or until slightly firm.  Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven, or wrapped in a towel on the back of the stove, while you cook the remaining batter.

To serve, place a dollop of cashew cream on each pancake, and garnish with a sprig of dill.  Serve with gravlox, if you eat fish.


Posted in breads, dairy-free, entrees, fish & seafood, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, sides, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

a deviled egg (for amy)

I love all the hard-boiled eggs that come with Easter. As a kid, we’d always get together with cousins after church for a big family dinner and, later on, an Easter egg hunt. It wasn’t till much later in life that I learned our Easter egg hunt wasn’t the typical type. No plastic eggs filled with candy for us, no, we used the actual eggs.

Each family had dozens of eggs (there were 6 kids in both families; that adds up to a lot of eggs if you wanna be able to find more than 2!) which they’d hard-boiled and decorated the week before. Our dads would go outside and hide the eggs, and we’d be sent out to find them, often leaking their lovely colors into the surrounding snow, unless it was a real lucky Easter and the snow was already gone! It was great fun, and I had no idea I was missing out on an excessive waste of colored plastic and an overdose of refined sugar. Perfect!

This Easter we still had plenty of snow, but, I was thrilled to find some pussy willows starting to grow. It’s so exciting to see a sign of life even though there’s still a couple feet of snow on the ground! Our days are warming up to 45-50 degrees now, which is wonderful. Spring is such an exciting time! Now I just can’t wait for the snow to be gone so I can get my hands in some soil…. 🙂

Anyways, the great thing about so many Easter eggs for the annual hunt, was yes, the hard-boiled eggs that we would be eating non-stop for the next week or so. Egg salad, deviled eggs, even a couple random casseroles – there were many ways to use them up! My favorite though, is a deviled egg. So good, so simple. I don’t know where the idea came from, or where the name came from, but I know they’re great.

Joe’s not a big fan of eggs on their own. I can use them in baking, but he won’t eat an egg. So this year I made “small-scale” deviled eggs. So simple, so good! I hard-boiled 4 eggs, and have been making deviled eggs one at a time. It’s kinda fun that way. And it meant this post could be dedicated to my sister Amy, who wants to see some single-serving recipes on my blog. Granted, this is more of a “method” than a recipe, but close enough.

I’m sure everyone has different “favorite” ways of making their deviled eggs. My mom always used a bit of horseradish in hers, and I’m a firm believer that it is essential to making a good deviled egg. I also played around a bit this year, since I have no mayonnaise, and wasn’t about to go buy any. I used homemade yogurt instead! A lil, different, but worked fine.

Deviled Egg for One
(can be increased by as much as you like!!)

1 egg, hard-boiled
1-2 tsp plain yogurt, or some mayonnaise
lil’ bit of horseradish, to taste
garlic powder
dill, fresh or dried
salt & pepper

Peel and cut the egg in half, scoop the yolk out and place in a bowl. Combine with the yogurt and horseradish, mixing to get the right consistency. When smooth, sprinkle in a lil’ garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon back into the egg whites, and sprinkle with paprika.

Enjoy!!! 🙂

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whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls

Easter morning is such a good time for a bit of a splurge, and these cinnamon rolls fit that role perfectly.  The “sourdough cinnamon roll” idea had been floating around in my head for quite some time, and what better time to give them a try than a beautiful Easter morning?

These worked wonderfully.  We started the dough the afternoon before, and then after going to a beautiful 7AM sunrise service, rolled them out and let them rise.  We were enjoying them by 10AM, which was perfect timing.  Certainly a bit easier & faster than starting the dough that morning and having to wait for multiple rises!

I’d never made cinnamon rolls on my own (still haven’t really, since Joe handled much of the bread-making!), but have spent countless mornings and afternoons helping my mom produce dozens of them.  In case I haven’t mentioned it before (and even if I have), she is quite the baker, known all around town for her light and delicious whole wheat bread, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and just about anything else that would fall in the bread category.

This being my experience with cinnamon rolls, of course I have somewhat high standards.  Thankfully, these rolls delivered.  As I expected, they’re different than mom’s, with their characteristic sour note and a less “fluffy” end result, but still delicious.

The sourdough flavor complimented the normal sweetness of cinnamon rolls quite well, but if you’re a bit fan of a really light, fluffy cinnamon roll, the yeasted version may be the one for you.  I did read a few recipes for 36-hr sourdough cinnamon rolls, and perhaps a longer process like that would meet even higher standards, but we didn’t start thinking about our recipe early enough to give that method a try.  There were also recipes which combined yeast and sourdough, but we wanted to stick with a wild fermentation this time around.

These would be wonderful for a weekend breakfast, or a treat anytime.  We’ve reheated our leftover rolls and enjoyed them for even more special breakfasts yesterday and today, but they are certainly best fresh out of the oven.

Since I grew up helping mom make cinnamon rolls and never measuring the ingredients that went into the filling or the glaze, that’s how I made these.  I’ll give approximate guesses for how much brown sugar to use, etc., but just follow your instincts, really.  My mom has made cinnamon rolls with coconut oil in the filling before, so that Joe could eat them, but we used ghee (since the milk solids have been removed, Joe doesn’t at all react to it) this time, which fulfills the buttery factor perfectly.  You could use butter, ghee or coconut oil (if vegan or allergic to milk products) for delicious results.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
makes about 16

1 1/2 cup sourdough starter (ours is the consistency of pancake batter)
2-3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

about 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used organic evaporated cane juice mixed with a lil’ organic molasses)
butter, ghee, or coconut oil, softened
chopped nuts (we used pecans) and/or raisins, optional

about 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered evaporated cane juice sugar
1-2 Tbsp coconut milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup

The afternoon before you plan to make cinnamon rolls, mix together your sourdough starter and 1 cup of the flour.  This will help the yeast activate and spread throughout the flour.  In the evening (ours sat for about 6 hours before this step), add the remaining ingredients for the dough, adding enough flour to make the dough workable & not too sticky, but keep it pretty soft.  Knead for 4-5 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.

Place in an oiled bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise overnight.

The next morning, punch down the dough and transfer to an oiled surface (my mom always spreads the countertop with palm fruit shortening; this works a whole lot better than flour in keeping the dough from sticking!).  Roll out into a rectangle, about 12 x 18 inches.  Using your fingers, spread the softened butter (ghee, or coconut oil), over the entire surface of dough.  The sprinkle with the brown sugar, some cinnamon and nuts/raisins, if using.

Starting at the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a long log, working gently and being careful not to tear the dough.  Pinch the ends together to seal.  Here’s the fun part: you can cut the rolls with a knife, or you can use my mom’s method, which keeps the rolls much rounder.  Take a piece of dental floss, wrap it around your two pointer fingers, slide the floss underneath the dough, then bring your two fingers up to meet in the middle above the dough, as the floss slices through and gives you a perfectly round cinnamon roll!  Place the rounds in an oiled 9″x13″ baking pan (I love my pyrex for this).  Let rise 1-2 hours, or until about doubled in size.  Keeping them warm will help them rise faster!

Preheat oven to 350.  Once rolls have risen, bake them for about 20 minutes, or until beginning to brown.  Prepare glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, maple syrup and enough coconut milk to make it the right consistency.  When rolls are done, let cool slightly, then cover with glaze.
ENJOY!!!! 🙂

Posted in breads, breakfast & brunch, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

grandma’s spaghetti & meatballs

This is exciting; it’s the first posting of pictures from my new camera!  I received my beautiful Canon EOS Rebel T2i last Friday, just in time to be introduced to the world on a nice day hike/snowshoe from Angel Rocks to Chena Hot Springs (about an hour northeastish of Fairbanks).  We’d planned the day trip with another friend, as a bit of a last winter fling before spring break-up (the AK term for the season when all that snow out there melts) really sets in.

We started out with a couple mile hike to Angel Rocks, which is a really neat place full of unique rock formations that have formed on the hillsides.  There wasn’t much climbing around on rocks, since we all had snowshoes on, but I’d love to go explore a lil’ more another time.  We started out with a pretty vague agenda: get to Angel Rocks and see how we feel from there.  We felt good, so we decided to tackle the remaining trail to Chena Hot Springs, which made it an 8.5 mile trip.

There was a bit of trailblazing through waist-deep snowdrifts, but overall everything went smoothly.  We had a beautiful view from up at the top of the trail!  If only the wind had let up a bit so we could’ve stayed up there and enjoyed it a bit, but oh well.  I suppose it’s an even more special memory for the fact that it was appreciated so briefly.  After a few more hours, arriving at hot springs by the end of our hike was a much appreciated reward!

Now, on to the food!  We love the second-hand store here in Fairbanks.  I go there every Friday on my work break, and almost always find some surprise treasure.  Joe’s been hunting for some new sweaters, so recently we’ve been swinging by there a couple times a week, or whenever we’re doing errands.  Joe’s prized find last week was a pasta maker, in great condition.

We don’t eat much pasta.  The only noodles you’ll find in our cabin are soba noodles, and even those get eaten rarely.  I try to eat only grain products that have been soaked or fermented, and pasta sure doesn’t fall in that category.  But, Joe had this pasta machine, and he really wanted to try it out, so I thought of a pasta meal I could be excited about.  In the future we’re gonna try sourdough noodles, or noodles made with sprouted flour, but for the first go around, we kept things simple.  One surprise: I didn’t realize homemade pasta had so much egg in it!  Knowing the noodles had a good dose of healthy protein made me enjoy them a bit more.

But I’m not sharing the pasta recipe.  It was good, but we’ll come up with a healthier one before too long.  For now, I’m sharing the part of the meal that excited me a whole lot more: my grandma’s spaghetti & meatballs.  For much of my life, I would’ve told you I hated spaghetti.  It’s one of my dad’s favorite meals, so we ate it many times growing up, and I always found it boring and not all that tasty.  Something about the ground meat mixed into the tomato sauce just didn’t appeal to me; I would sometimes ask my mom to keep a bit of the sauce separate for me before she added meat to the rest.

Then my mom tried this recipe, from a much-loved cookbook my grandma had put together.  And suddenly, there was a spaghetti I liked!  The sauce was perfect, thick and smooth and flavorful, and the meatballs were hearty and also deliciously flavorful.  From that point on, my “I hate spaghetti” stance was a bit more moderated.

Joe & I still had a bit of ground moose frozen, left from making empanadas.  Since the days are warming up and we’re reaching the end of being able to stick things outside and keep them frozen without any effort, we’ve been trying to eat up our frozen food.  We’re also leaving Fairbanks in a couple weeks for our summer jobs, so have another good reason to eat the food we’ve got laying around.  So, when Joe got his pasta machine, and I was brainstorming what kind of pasta dish we could make that sounded good to me, I thought of that moose meat and immediately went to grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs.

I barely tweaked the sauce recipe; it’s mostly the same as what came from grandma’s Kentucky kitchen.  The original meatball recipe calls for grated parmesan cheese, which, my mom insists, is what makes it so yummy, but of course that wasn’t an option for us.  If you’d like to add some, go ahead and throw in a quarter cup or so.  If you’re not a meat-eater, I’ve seen lentil “meatball” recipes that I’m interested in trying, or you could just make the sauce; it’s absolutely delicious by itself!

Grandma’s Spaghetti & Meatballs
serves 4

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz crushed tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
1-2 cups water
1 tsp basil
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp evaporated cane sugar
1 tsp oregano
fresh ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pan.  Saute onion and garlic until transparent.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 2 hours, adding a bit of water to adjust thickness if needed.

1/2 pound ground meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs (we used some of our whole wheat sourdough)
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup milk (we used coconut milk, since it was the only non-dairy milk around, and, although it seemed a bit weird at first, it totally worked fine)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Combine all ingredients and use your hands to mix thoroughly.  Shape into about 24 meatballs.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through.  Gently add to the sauce and cook for about 10-15 minutes more.

Enjoy!!! 🙂

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winter squash galette

There once was a time when I was an “immediate” blogger.  I’d concoct a recipe, make it, then post about it sometime that night or the next day.  However, living with dial-up internet has changed my ways!  Now it seems that many of my posts happen 1-2 weeks after the recipe was made.  The internet here is just much too slow to upload any pictures; most of the time it’s too slow to even be able to browse all the other food blogs I love to read!

So I’ve devised a pretty reasonable system at this point.  Joe & I go to the library almost every Monday and Wednesday, and on those days, food blogs are the priority.  Those are my days to upload all the pictures from any recipes I tried in the last week, and the days to go read and explore other inspiring blogs.  That way, the pictures are ready, and I can write my posts from home any time.  But still, sometimes I wish there was the immediate gratification of posting something right after enjoying it.

All that to say, these were the last food pictures taken with my old camera before it died about a week and a half ago.  The above picture of a gorgeous ice sculpture was taken at the World Championship Ice Carving Exhibit here in Fairbanks, the evening when my camera had its last hurrah.  Our favorite sculpture was the one above; Joe & I loved the detail in the jaguar (we’re actually still debating what kind of cat it’s supposed to be, but I’ve concluded jaguar seems to make the most sense) and porcupine, and apparently so did everyone else since it was the first place carving.

And now on to the galette, which is currently one of my favorite food categories.  It was a totally new idea to Joe, and one I’d only tried once before.  After absolutely loving this winter squash galette, we’ve since had two other galette adventures!  I fell in love with the idea of this recipe because of the flakiness of the crust contrasting with the smooth squash filling, and it was just as wonderful as I’d hoped.

The galette was wonderful right out of the oven with some steamed greens.  It was surprisingly also wonderful the next day when we ate it as a cold dinner between getting off work and heading to the ice park.  Kinda like cold pizza, I guess!

Winter Squash Galette
(adapted slightly from here)
serves 4

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (if gluten free, I have made this crust using brown rice flour; it’s crumbly & harder to work with – my finished result wasn’t what I’d call gorgeous – but it was absolutely delicious!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold coconut oil, shortening or butter
1/3-1/2 cup cold water, as needed

about 3 pounds winter squash (I had a 3 1/2 lb butternut squash)
1 large head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 1/2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
salt & pepper, to taste

1 egg, beaten (if vegan, just omit this; it won’t matter!)

Dough: Mix together the flour and salt; cut in the coconut oil until mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.  Sprinkle water over by tablespoon and toss it with the flour mixture until the dough comes together in a ball.  Press into a disc and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Filling: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds and brush with olive oil.  Put garlic in cavities and place cut side down in baking sheet.  Bake until tender, about 40-50 minutes.  While cooking, saute the onion in olive oil, adding the herbs to it when finished.  Scoop out squash and squeeze out garlic cloves into a bowl.  Mash together until fairly smooth, and mix in the onion/herb mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Roll out dough into about a 16 inch circle (about 1/8 inch thick).  Fold into quarters, transfer to pan and unfold.  Spread filling over it, leaving a border of 2 or more inches.  Pleat dough and fold over filling, then brush edges with egg.  Bake until golden, 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!!! 🙂

Posted in breads, dairy-free, entrees, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

chocolate orange cookies

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to make cookies.  Not for any special reason, I just wanted to bake, and cookies were the quick, easy & delicious option!  When I mentioned this inclination, Joe quickly declared that he had no problem with that, and rather encouraged it.  So I mixed up some cookie dough, turned on the oven, and shortly realized “Oh.  Aaaaaand we’re out of propane.”  So, the cookies were shaped and stuck outside to freeze until the propane tank was refilled, and we switched dinner plans to cooking potato foil packets in the woodstove.

Joe & I had Master Gardener class that evening, so we planned to get propane before class.  However, one other factor was decidedly not in our favor: the new 20 inches or so of snow covering our driveway, which hadn’t been plowed all winter.  My wonderful little AWD ’91 Honda Civic had been amazing all winter, making it nimbly in and out of the driveway each time the snow pack was added to, but this new, wet, soft snow turned out to be more than she could handle.  About halfway out the driveway, we were stuck.  Thankfully one of our neighbors showed up, and after some shoveling and pushing from the neighbor and Joe, the little car was freed.

We made it to class in time, but didn’t have time to get the propane.  The next morning we cooked our oatmeal and made tea over the woodstove, which worked just beautifully, before heading out later in the afternoon.  Thankfully, the propane mission was successful the second time around, and I quickly slid a sheet of cookies into the oven once we got home.

I wanted to share some cookies with the neighbor, as a thank-you for the essential getting-un-stuck-help, but the first batch I’d made quickly disappeared when we joined some friends for dinner.  So, of course, I had to make another batch, and, since I seem to have issues with making the same thing twice, I decided to revamp my recipe, and am glad I did!

Organic oranges had been on sale that week, so I was kinda leaning in the chocolate/orange direction.  It is such a wonderful combination, isn’t it?  I’d also seen a recent cookie recipe that used chickpeas, and since I love hiding beans in my baked goods, I was definitely ready to give that a go!

The results were wonderful; a lil’ bit on the cakey/brownie side of things, but I had no problem with that.  Their flavor was perfect: deep chocolate with a compliment of orange.  You could even increase the orange peel a lil’ bit if you wanted.  We didn’t notice the chickpeas at all, and felt very good about eating a cookie with such a nice dose of healthy protein!  Also, these cookies only have about 4-5 grams of sugar each, which is another reason to justify the indulgence!

Now I want to make cookies again….  Oh no!

Chocolate Orange Cookies
makes about 30

1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (or grass-fed butter)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs, from happy chickens! (Or 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds)
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp grated orange peel, from organic oranges
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free, if needed!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a couple baking sheets.

In a food processor or blender, combine the chickpeas, coconut oil, honey, eggs, vanilla and orange peel until smooth.  In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the the chickpea mixture and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, flattening slightly.  Bake for 12-16 minutes, and remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!!!! 🙂

Posted in beans, chocolate, cookies, dairy-free, desserts, fruit, refined sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

an ethiopian dinner

You know how sometimes a certain food gets stuck in your head, and you want to make it, and you plan to make it, and you have the recipe you want to use, but for some reason it takes you forever to actually get around to making it?  Yeah, well, that’s me and this meal.  One of my friends had mentioned last summer how she loved Ethiopian food, which I’d never had, and I decided it would be a fun kitchen experiment.

That flash of inspiration was encouraged by the fact that we developed our own sourdough starter last fall, and all winter a recipe for injera (Ethiopian Sponge Bread) was staring out at us from Wild Fermentation – an incredible resource if you are interested in live-culture foods.

The Ethiopian dinner was put off for a while because of the absence of teff flour, which is a tiny grain grown and used in Ethiopia, and the basis of injera.  We checked out all the big grocery stores here, with no luck, and I was beginning to think we’d have to just use wheat flour, which is much less exciting.  Fortunately, I discovered a bag of the beautiful dark flour at the lil’ health foods store here, and the plans were reinvigorated!

There was a bit of prep work involved in this meal because of the niter kibbeh (spiced clarified butter) and berbere paste (a combination of spices essential to proper flavor, or so I’ve been told), but now that we’ve got both made, our next go around will be really easy!  The actually time involved in cooking the meal wasn’t too bad, and totally worth it.  The flavors in this meal were incredible!

The taste combination of spices in the rich wat and the sour injera were entirely different than anything I’ve ever tasted before.  My first bite was a very memorable experience!  It was so exciting to try an entirely new ethnicity of food and experience all the new flavors that come with it.

This is a flexible recipe.  Now, I’m not an expert on Ethiopian food, but from what I read, a wat is the generic term for a thick “stew” of sorts that is the basis of Ethiopian meals.  I think it is generally made with chicken, which would be doro wat, but we used the caribou we have on hand, so I’m using the name for a beef wat – sik sik wat – which I figure is close enough!  If you are vegetarian, I think this would be absolutely delicious with potatoes in place of the meat.  (If vegan, simple use olive oil in place of the niter kibbeh.)

I’m gonna go ahead and share the recipes I used for the niter kibbeh and berbere paste, which makes this a pretty long post, but I thought it was best to include all elements!  They are also plenty of other recipes online if you’re interested in researching a bit.  If you want a really special and fabulously delicious meal, this would be a great one to try.

Sik Sik Wat
makes about 4-5 servings

4 onions, chopped coarsely
1 head garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
1/4 cup niter kibbeh (recipe follows), or olive oil if vegan
2 Tbsp paprika
1/4-1/2 cup berbere paste (recipe follows), depending on how spicy you like it
3/4 cup water or broth
1/4 cup red wine (or use more water/broth)
about 2 pounds of stew meat – I used canned caribou, or potatoes if vegetarian/vegan
6 oz tomato paste
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste

Put onions and garlic in a heavy pan, without oil or water.  At high heat, stir constantly until onions appear translucent, which takes 10-15 minutes; this requires constant attention!  (If this makes you nervous, you can go ahead and add the niter kibbeh right away and cook the onions normally, but they won’t have the same “toasted” flavor.)  Add niter kibbeh and ginger.  Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.  Add paprika and berbere paste, cooking another 5 minutes; don’t let it burn!

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, adding water as needed to maintain a thick sauce-like consistency.  I used canned meat, so it was already cooked; of course if you’re using potatoes or uncooked meat, make sure they’re are cooked through!  Adjust seasonings and serve hot with injera.

Berbere Paste
makes about 1 cup

Note: there’s a lot of spices called for here!  The cheapest way to get any you might not already have is to check out the bulk spice section at your grocery store.

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
2 dried New Mexico chiles
1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp water or red wine

Mix all dried spices ingredients together.  Combine with remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth (my hand-cranked fellow didn’t get it totally smooth, but good enough for me!).  Refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze.

Niter Kibbeh
makes about 2/3 cup

1 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 or 2 1/4 inch slices of ginger
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp tumeric

Combine all ingredients in a small heavy saucepan, and follow instructions for making ghee.  Can be stored for a few months.

Injera (from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz)
makes 9-12

1 cup bubbly sourdough starter
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup teff flour (use millet flour or all wheat if you can’t find it)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda or baking powder (optional)
Olive oil

In a medium bowl or jar, mix together the sourdough starter, water and flour.  The mixture should have the consistency of thin pancake batter.  It was thinner than I thought it would be!  Add more water if needed.  Cover with cheesecloth, or any thin cloth, and leave to ferment in a warm place, stirring a couple times.  Let sit for about 24 hours.

When you are ready to cook the injera, add salt.  If you want a moderately bubbly sour bread, leave out the baking soda or baking powder.  Adding baking soda will reduce the sour flavor and make it more bubbly, while adding baking powder will not reduce the sourness, but will increase the bubbling.  Pick what you like!  Stir well and let sit for a few minutes.

Heat a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Pour the batter into the hot skillet, taking care to spread it as thin as possible.  Add more water if needed to make it spread thin!  Cook over medium heat, hot enough to sizzle when you pour the batter on, but not so hot that it browns too quickly.

Cover the pan as the injera cooks; cook until holes appear all over and the top is dry.  Cook on one side only; don’t flip!  Remove from pan to rack or towel to cool.  Once cooled, injera make be stacked and wrapped in a towel.  I learned that if you stack them while warm, they stick together!  So be careful here.

ENJOY!!!! 🙂

Posted in breads, dairy-free, entrees, refined sugar-free, sides, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments