What I did for food

Woah.

I have just made an unbelievable salad.

I know.

It’s from Plenty (but I modified it; also, wow, the American edition of the book is actually prettier), and it was easy, and it is amazing. Vinegary. Broiled tomatoes. Sweet. Aaaah.

Tomatoes before broiling

(Also, I created a very deep gash in my thumb during this evening’s cooking festivities, and bandaged it up and went right on chopping. It was one billion percent my fault—I’m not used to using knives that can actually cut you and did something truly moronic, and cut myself right after thinking “This may not be safe”—and actually it was while I was chopping for things for r&b for lunch, not for this. But still. Also, no one wants another post about r&b, so I have to tell you about it here.) Continue reading

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Ethiopian feast!

A few weeks ago I went out for Ethiopian with my family. I didn’t really think I liked Ethiopian food, but it turns out I do, a lot (I was even able to get behind injera, which I used to hate passionately—but it was kind of good. And now I really like it). For me it’s basically an awesome, non-Indian way to make vegetarian food. Oh, and I ended up with a lot of leftover injera that went into my freezer.

I couldn’t find any good-looking Ethiopian recipes online—or nothing that seemed reputable or something, I don’t really remember my thought process—so I ended up buying The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors, on the recommendation of

OH MY GOD I HAVE TO THROW THIS BOOK AWAY. THIS MAN IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR. OMG. EW. I really wish I had not Googled him. Well, that has clouded this entire post.

Ummmmmmmm, anyway, the Ethiopian section of this book was recommended somewhere on Serious Eats and/or Chowhound, so I bought it for super-cheap and decided to make the lentils, aka mesir wat, and collard greens, aka gomen wat. (I think “wat” is stew.) This involved also making spiced butter (niter kibbeh) and berbere sauce (berbere sauce).

The butter came first because it had to sit for forty-five minutes. This was after a long, sunny day of picnicking but not really eating much, so I was not looking forward to this. I made a very beautiful mise en place, minus the cardamom, because I can never find cardamom in supermarkets (except Fairway but that doesn’t count) and always think I have it because I confuse it with coriander but it is not even remotely close.

Clockwise-ish: garlic, onion, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric—wow, that color is NOT accurate at all—cloves, cinnamon

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Red-lentil dal and naan

This post was going to involve a lot of complaining about Mark Bittman, because I was thinking about something I thought he had once said—that some recipe of his was quicker to make than it would be to order in, and tasted better, too. I was going to say that Mark Bittman only dislikes greasy, salty Chinese takeout because he hasn’t eaten a drop of high-fructose corn syrup since he was fifteen and in his rebellious stage. But I can’t find this supposed quote, and also I like Mark Bittman, so I should probably stop complaining.

After last week’s Indian mini-debacle (I’m declaring it a debacle because I have to eat it for lunch all week and this thought fills me with dread), I wanted something simple for dinner. So obviously I decided to make dal and naan. But I chose two recipes from Budget Bytes, and her recipes are simple, well-illustrated, and suited to my American palate. (That sounds like a terrible insult; I just mean she doesn’t use crazy spices, and that’s what I wanted this week. Something that would at least approximate the familiar.) And I wasn’t really in the mood for cooking; I had Chinese takeout yesterday, so now all I want in the world is MORE CHINESE TAKEOUT. But no.

Naan dough, pre-rising. I didn’t knead it NEARLY enough because it was super sticky and I couldn’t tolerate it. I also didn’t form it into a ball. See: stickiness.

Red lentils are beautiful?

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