Tuesday, October 28, 2008
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, zested and juiced (about 4 to 6 tablespoons juice)
10-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4 pounds)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 large onion, cut into smallish wedges
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
3 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
3 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup dried pitted prunes (about 10-15)
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
1/2 cup green olives
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
In a medium glass bowl, combine the spice mixture, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the chicken thighs on both sides in 3 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate. With the heat on medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and saute the onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Place the chicken thighs on top of the onions and add any accumulated juices from the plate. Arrange the zucchini and yellow squash and tomato quarters on top of the chicken and tuck in the prunes and olives. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken broth. Cover and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Let cook undisturbed 1hr, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken cooked through.
Serve over brown basmati rice.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Then yesterday morning I noticed some large coffee grounds on the kitchen counter. More denial. As my sister so cruelly pointed out coffee grounds are not that big. Maybe course ground coffee.... More denial. So now we have mouse traps set up in the house. No kill of course.
And in case that wasn't enough wildlife in the house we had several birds again. Ron had removed the patio doors to refinish them and 3 of those desert birds came in again. Cactus Wrens I think. There were bird turds all over the house. How can they crap that much in such a short period of time? Maybe that is where the expression "had the shit scared out of you" came from.
What's next toxic toads, squirrel, rabbit, chipmunk? Maybe I need to rethink getting a cat. Maybe dealing with all the cat hair would be worth it.
Monday, October 20, 2008
1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon whole nutmeg freshly grated
1/8 teaspoon whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon whole allspice
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup paprika
2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper (I have kids so used 1/8 t)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 cup water
In a cast-iron skillet, toast the ginger, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice over low heat. Do not burn; this should only take a minute or so. Set aside to cool. Then grind in spice grinder.
Combine the spices, onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 3 tablespoons water in a small jar of a blender and blend until smooth.
Combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and the remaining tablespoon of salt in the skillet and toast over low heat for a minute or so. Stir in the water, 1/4 cup at a time. Then stir in the blended mixture. Stirring vigorously, cook over the lowest possible heat for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer the berbere to a jar, packing it in tightly. Let the paste cook to room temperature, then cover with a film of oil. Store in the refrigerator between use.
Beef Stewed in Red Pepper Paste (Sik Sik Wat)
2 onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons Berbere
2/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 teaspoons salt
3 lb. lean boneless beef, cut into 1" pieces
In a large stewpot, cook the onions over moderate heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft and dry. Do not let brown or burn.
Add the garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Stir well. Add the berbere and stir for 3 minutes. Add the wine, water, tomato sauce, and salt, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the beef and turn the pieces around in the sauce to coat. Cover the pot and simmer the beef for about 1 hour over low heat. Season with black pepper.
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 teaspoons berbere
2 carrots peeled and cut into 3cm slices
2 green bell peppers, de-seeded and quartered
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup passata (tomato sauce)
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ginger paste
2 potatoes cut into thick slices
1 tomato blanched, skinned and cut into 8 wedges each
1 small cabbage cut into wedges
salt and pepper
Add the oil and onions to a large saucepan and fry until the onions have softened, add berbere, fry for a minute then add the carrots, green peppers, water, tomato sauce, salt and ground ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes before adding the potatoes and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 10 minutes before adding the cabbage. Season to taste and cook until the vegetables are completely tender (about 25 minutes).
As I said this was unique and very good. Even Sage ate 2 bowls. We made it fun by eating on the floor Ethiopian style and we were going to do it without utensils too but I just couldn't. Too messy. Traditionally Ethiopian food is eaten without utensils. The injera is folded in quarters and used to scoop up your meal. The girls got quite a kick out of this. It was fun. We will definitely do it again. I also have leftover Berbere so I need to find some more recipes to use it in. I feel pretty fortunate to have a husband who is almost as adventuresome as I am when it comes to trying new foods.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
We are supposed to have 6 different varieties of chickens. I can't even remember what the different kinds are but it is so interesting to me the different colors they produce. One chicken produces a twin routinely (2 yolks and 2 whites). That is the big one shown here. Anyway, enough about eggs. Things have been really busy here lately. I can't seem to find the time to blog or even to return e-mails lately. Part of my problem is sleep deprivation and the constant headaches and migraines I have had lately. I don't know what Justus' problem is but he has been waking every hour or two every single night for the last month. Honestly I don't even know how I am sane. Or maybe I'm not. I know that sounds like an exaggeration when I say he is waking every hour or two but it honestly isn't. So anyway that is my excuse for anyone that cares. I had good intentions of writing every day, ha. Maybe every couple weeks at this rate.
The weather here is gorgeous. No bashing the desert today. This is the best time of year. We are spending lots of time outside and it feels great. What doesn't feel so great is the realization of just how out of shape I am. I may not be obese but I feel like I may as well be. I took all 3 kids out for a walk today. Sage and Rori were in the double stroller and I carried Justus in my Ergo carrier. I was smart enough not to go too far. I forgot the cell phone (and my gun) so I didn't dare get myself in a position where I needed to call 911 due to exhaustion. About half way home which was all up hill I convinced the girls that it would be way more fun to walk the rest of the way home. When they got out of the stroller I promptly put Justus in. What a relief.
I had a busy day in the kitchen today. I made cornbread for breakfast. Not so nutritionally balanced but so satisfying. Then I set out to do the impossible. I wanted to make a pie. We haven't had one for so long. The challenge was this; it had to be gluten free, dairy free, and made from dried fruit. I should mention that I hate working with pastry. Like my mom tells me she did so many years ago, it always leaves me trying to refrain from hurling it against the wall. To add to my challenge, Sage was "helping". I am not sure if I am mentioned before but we grind all our own flours. We buy lots of different kinds of grains in bulk so we make and have just about everything you could need for gluten free baking. Back in February Ron was ordering a bunch of grains and he got a *little* carried away. He also purchased a bunch of dried stuff. I have no idea what to do with it for the most part so that is why I wanted to do this with dried fruit. Anyway, unbelievably it turned out. I made a peach apple pie. The crust was not too bad to work with and was made with wild rice mixed flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and Crisco (butter flavor). It was darker in color due to the rice blend but it tasted really good. It was even tender and flaky. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the way it turned out.
Dinner was also a self imposed challenge. I wanted to do a vegetarian meal that was entirely made from our bulk stores. I made a "stoup". You know, soup that is thicker like stew. It had white beans, dried vegetable soup mix (onion, spinach, carrot, celery, potato, tomato), beef broth, canned tomatoes, quinoa, fresh thyme and rosemary and garlic. We had that with the rest of the cornbread. It too was surprisingly good.
Well if you have made it though reading this boring post you must be related to me. So for you here is a little video clip of the girls.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
"Maybe some stupid little boy with a half brain this size (she holds out her clenched fist) did it. Ya, he had a brain the size of a pea. He did it!"
Where on earth did that come from???
Friday, October 3, 2008
Here is Rori enjoying her favorite part of baking a cake. In all honesty it is me and Sage's favorite part too. This time I used a mix that I bought from Costco of all places. This cake was incredibly good. There is no way that anyone could tell that it was gluten free.
I just like this picture because it shows how blue Justus' eyes are.
Right before I turned on the camera Sage had Justus laughing so hard. Of course when I turned the camera on he turned serious again.
Watching these next two videos makes me lightheaded.