Sunday, April 19, 2009

Feasting With The Family

When Mary of The Sour Dough announced the Bread Baking Babes' challenge for this month I seriously considered bowing out. It had two elements that I just couldn't see working in my home. The first was a obnoxiously smelly starter sitting on the counter for 5 days. My husband has a very sensitive nose and he would not be a happy camper with the kitchen smelling like old gym socks for almost a week.

The second issue was with the end product. Not that it was bad bread, but that it was designed to be eaten as part of a meal of "foreign" food. My family is not very adventurous when it comes to trying the food of other cultures and I was afraid of going to great effort, spending lots of money of ingredients I don't stock, and ending up with a meal that got thrown away because it "looked yucky."

Then, happily, a fellow Babe told of how she'd served the meal for her extended family and even the least daring of them enjoyed the meal, especially eating with their hands. I loved the happy family reunion picture she painted and suddenly it clicked in my mind - I was going to visit my family and we could do the feast at my sister's house! They love "foreign" food, we'd have lots of happy family to share the feast with, and, best of all, the smelly starter could sit on my sister's counter instead of mine because there was no way I'd be able to take it on an airplane as carry-on!

So, with my wonderful sister's help, the starter percolated and was fed for five days. Then we cooked up the injera. It is kind of like a sourdough pancake, although since Teff flour is used (a staple of Ethiopian cooking), the bread is gluten-free. Then we made a vegetarian version of the stew. And to round out the meal we recycled a previous dinner of barbequed turkey (renamed for the feast as Thompson's Gazelle) and homemade coleslaw (rebranded as Ethiopian greens).

The result? It was a wonderful feast. Everyone enjoyed scooping up the food with torn bits of injera, feeling a bit like naughty children for not eating with forks. Even though it looked like something the dog horked up, it was all delicious and I might even be able to convince my family at home to try it. Maybe. But at least I got to. Thanks, Mary for this fun and truly different recipe. The great thing about being a Babe is having the envelope pushed a bit, and this month was no exception!

Be sure and check out what the other Babes did with this fun challenge (their blogs are listed on the sidebar), and if you'd like to try your hand at an Ethiopian feast, you have until May 9th to make and post your version and send a link to Mary. She'll send you a handsome Bread Baking Buddy logo to post on your blog. Have fun!

Teff Starter:
This takes five days. If you want to have some starter left over to keep to make injera again, wait seven days. Follow Day 3 directions for Day 5 if you do a seven day starter.

Day One:
3/4 cup water, room temp. (70 degrees)
1/2 cup teff flour
A pinch active yeast (about 1/8 tsp)

Combine ingredients in a 4 cup container with a lid. Loosely cover the starter with the lid and let ferment for two days on the counter or someplace that is about 70 degrees. You should see some rising in about four hours.

Day Two: Do Nothing. You can look and check it out but it should just be sitting there starting to smell funny.

Day Three:
1/2 cup water, room temp. (70 degrees)
1/3 cup teff flour

Stir up starter to combine any hooch on top and feed the starter. Loosely cover the starter with the lid and let ferment for two days on the counter or someplace that is about 70 degrees. You should see some rising in about four hours.

Day Four: Do Nothing. You should start seeing layers of thick gunk on bottom, brown/gray liquid middle, and foamy stuff on top. It should smell um..bad.

Day Five:
1/2 cup water, room temp. (70 degrees)
1/3 cup teff flour

You should definitely have layers. When you stir up the starter it probably will fizz. Good! It will smell pretty bad. Feed it, stir it up, and let it sit until you are ready to make the Injera batter.

Make the batter about 4 hours before you plan on making the injera.

Cook the injerra just like you would a crepe. When the bubbles have stopped popping on the surface, it's done. Do not flip over and cook on the other side. Stack the cooled (important) injerra between pieces of waxed paper.

To serve with the injerra:


2 sticks butter (16 ounces), unsalted
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated,peeled,fresh
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 cardamom seeds, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves, whole
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 tablespoons fresh basil or dried basil

In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter and bring it to bubbling. When the top is covered with foam, add the other ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Gently simmer, uncovered, on low heat for about 45 minutes or until the surface becomes transparent and the milk solids are on the bottom.

Remove from heat and pour the liquid through a cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container. Discard the spices and solids.

Covered tightly and store in the refrigerator. Niter Kebbeh will keep for up to 2 months.

Note: A good quality olive or other oil may be substituted for the butter.


Note: This is the "heat" in all recipes. If you don't like it really spicy, reduce red chili pepper flakes to 1/8 cup. Or you can leave it out all together to make it not spicy at all.

1/3 cup red chili pepper flakes
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Store mixture in an airtight container.

Wot/Wet (Stew)

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons berbere
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons niter kebbeh
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 16oz can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
black pepper
1/2 cup green beans, cut into thirds
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup potato, cubed
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, roughly chopped

In dutch oven or stock pot: Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes.

Add the veggies, continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender and the stew is thickened.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


VeggieGirl said...

Oh my, what a feast!!!

Natashya said...

So great that you have family to share this fun feast with. What a great get-together project. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time.

Maria said...

What a feast! Everything tastes better with family too:) Glad you had a fun time!

breadchick said...

Lynn, how much fun to share with your family. I love the renamed food and the idea of serving injera with non-Ethiopian food just to have the freedom to use your fingers. I'm going to have to try some "North Carolina Pulled Water Buffalo" I think (aka NC Pulled Pork).

I'm so glad you had fun with this month's bread.

Engineer Baker said...

I love the "renamed" food :) Kudos for making it even with your reservations - now I just have to go find teff flour so I can join in!

Lien said...

So lovely to see your family enjoying them! Good thinking to let them in on the fun.
Yes it does look a bit.. well.. like you said, but it tastes great!

Melinda said...

Oh you are good. I'd have said no.
But we all need a push now and then to try something different.
I love the picture of your parents
partaking in the feast.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What wonderful Parents (yes?)! Renaming the food! That is good! Can I copy?
You are always fun!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm glad you got to have your feast! I would have had to bow out if I was participating. There's only two of us and we're both quite stuck in our ways. But it looks like you had a delightful time!

Elyse said...

Aww, I'm so glad you ended up getting to make the bread and your feast. How totally wonderful! See everything works out!

Baking Soda said...

Oh a happy family get-together! What fun to see their enthusiasm! Great thinking Lynn! Lovely to be able to prepare and enjoy this special with family.
Love the renaming, I bet this one is lasting in the memory of all.

Sara said...

I love that last picture. Glad you tried it and that it was a success.

Rose&Thorn said...

What a lovely meal and shared with a beautiful family :)

Grace said...

thanks for sharing these photos, lynn!
meanwhile, i've always been fascinated with ethiopian bread and their utensil-free technique for eating. i think we should revert to that. :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

I love it! Naughty for eating with your fingers! Hehe! Great job Lynn, I am looking forward to making my own now that I am back again.

Sarah said...

Haha Grandpa has a Mr. Rodger's sweater on. Does he have the change of shoes and socks to go with it? lol.

Looks like you had fun.

katiez said...

What a nice sister... It sounds like you had the perfect plan and a great party!