Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Signs of Spring

It was 68 degrees today in Chicago.  I had a ton of work to do, but weather like this (in early March!) is too good to pass up.  I had to be on campus at 2, so Jeff and I took a nice long walk up to Loyola so I could catch the shuttle.  On the way I saw the first real evidence of spring, above (okay, so someone probably just planted those, but it was still exciting to see something growing in the ground).  When I got home in the late afternoon we opened the windows for the first time in months and sat out back for a little bit and had a drink together until the sun went down far enough to make the wind just a little too chilly.

Our dinner plans are always either perfectly planned or a complete disaster.  Tonight was shaping up to be the latter (nothing in the fridge, too lazy and tired to go to the store), but I really pushed for us to be good and not succumb to eating out.  So tonight I made a few Ethiopian dishes --- red lentils (misir wat), brown lentils (yemiser w'et), and collards (gomen).  I'm definitely no expert on cooking Ethiopian food, but it is our favorite and it saves us some money to get our fix at home.  These recipes take a bit of time (each has to cook for about 20 minutes at least), but as you see they're very simple.  You will, however, need to purchase injera and berbere from an Ethiopian market (or look elsewhere for those recipes).  I'm just posting rough amounts for the spices --- we like it spicy, but you could adjust them to taste.  The amounts for these three together will make a nice dinner for two.

Misir Wat

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp berbere
1/2 cup red lentils
salt to taste

Saute onion and ginger in butter, and once those are soft add the garlic and spices just for a moment.  Add about two cups of water to start, and the lentils, and simmer until tender, adding water if it dries out too much.  Salt to taste and serve with injera.

Yemiser W'et

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 minced jalapeno or other green pepper
2 tsp berbere
1/2 cup brown lentils 
salt to taste

Same procedure as above -- saute vegetables and then spices, add about two cups of water and lentils, and cook until tender.  Salt to taste and serve with injera.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 lb. bunch of collards, sliced into about 1 inch pieces
1 tsp berbere
salt to taste

 Saute onion until translucent and add collards and berbere.  Saute until tender, salt to taste, and serve with injera.

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