Posts Tagged Ethiopian

Ethiopian-Inspired Collard Greens

I feel like I’ve just had my first real day at home in a long time. Of course, that’s not really true, but it is pretty much my first day at home alone in quite a while and I feel blessed to have the clarity that comes for me when I’m home on my own, listening to my own music, hearing my own silence, cooking a leisurely meal for myself. A perfect time to use up CSA veggies* that were gifted to me by my neighbor last night. What I love about CSA shares is that, at least for the first few years, you always get something you normally don’t buy yourself, which almost always serves as the perfect reminder about diversity! Normally, I am a kale-eater. It’s my favorite all year long. But, last night I got collards which I like, but, I think deep down, associate with fatback and often overlook at the store. Today I decided that I should create a new association with collard greens, an Ethiopian dish called Ye’abesha Gomen. Since the cafe has, over time, inherited much of the contents of my home kitchen in various pinches for ingredients, I was a little light on some of the ingredients I might have used, but it turned out to be perfectly delicious!

This recipe is for one portion, but absolutely multiply it and share the wealth that collard greens offer! It takes about 20 minutes or so total, but only about 5 minutes of your time. To make a whole meal of it, add some cooked lentils and serve over a grain or plan ahead and go all out with homemade injera.

  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin rings (it will cook down a lot)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, or more if you love ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • minced chile pepper, to taste (sorry to be vague, but this really does vary – I’m a wimp and I used a few pinches of a dried New Mexico chile
  • 1/2 bunch collard greens, destemmed and washed and cut into thin ribbons.
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (can use 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1/4 or so cup water when tomatoes aren’t in season)

Heat a medium-sized skillet to medium heat. Add the sliced onion, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 7 minutes or so, or until it softens and starts to brown. Make a little space, add a bit more oil and the minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for about a minute, or until the garlic is fragrant but not brown. Add the collards and tomato, sprinkle with a bit more salt, turn the heat back up to medium or a little higher, and cook until the collards are still green but tender. Keep an eye on it to be sure there is some liquid at the bottom; when the liquid is dry, they will probably be ready. If you’d like them to be a bit softer, turn the heat back down to medium. Enjoy!

*In case you don’t know what CSA veggies are, they are vegetables from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. Find a local farm and ask about whether they offer shares of their produce , picked fresh and available weekly – you pay a fee in advance and get a box of amazing produce picked at the perfect stage of yumminess and nutritional availability every week through the season. In exchange the farm gets guaranteed sales, a wonderful community to feed, and the support they need to keep their farm running when they actually need it – at planting time.

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Millet and Roasted Vegetables

Since I posted the injera recipe last week, I think I’ll stick this Ethiopian theme through – so next week you can probably expect a recipe for an Ethiopian stew that will bring it all together.  This will give you time to perfect your injera so you can have enjoy the full experience.

I have tried cooking millet a few times in the past and have never quite gotten the light, fluffy texture I’ve envisioned.  It always seemed like it didn’t quite cook through the middle, so there was a bit of a chalky crunch that wasn’t quite right for me.  I have been meaning to give it another try now that I am soaking all of my grains and I find that they cook so much better that way, but just hadn’t gotten to it yet.  I was inspired the other day as I was preparing an Ethiopian stew for lunch for a Kundalini teacher training session.  My new friend Ria, who is doing a fabulous job of helping me with the Market (thank goodness), told me about a yummy meal she had cooked the previous night using millet.  I happened to have a whole bunch of soaked millet ready to go into the dehydrator, so I scooped some up and gave it a try and was so happy that I did.  It was light and fluffy, mildly sweet, and delicious.  I ended up serving it with the stew and it was the perfect compliment.  Even Joshua, who hasn’t been fond of millet in the past and also isn’t partial to green split peas, which were the main component of the stew, devoured it happily.  It was a hit with my teacher trainer friends, as well, so it comes very highly recommended!

In case you aren’t very familiar with millet, it is a little, round grain most commonly used here in the US as birdseed, but popping up more as a crunchy component to baked goods, in granolas, etc.  It can apparently be gray, white, red, or yellow, but I’ve only seen yellow millet.  It is the most easily digested grain, in fact it’s the only grain that is alkalizing to our bodies.  It’s rich in B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.  Cooked, I find it reminiscent of couscous; actually, couscous was originally made from cracked millet (now it’s made from wheat/semolina flour).  It is thought to have originated in Ethiopia and I have read that injera is sometimes made from millet flour rather than teff, but is also consumed as a pilaf grain or porridge in many other cultures.

So, on to the recipe…please note that you’ll need to soak the millet for about 8 hours before you use it in this recipe, so be sure to include that time in your plan.  Also, this may be a lot of roasted vegetables for the amount of millet – I typically taste (read:scarf) a lot of the veggies while they are cooking and/or want to have some for other meals, so I’ll roast a bunch and just use what seems right in the recipe.  Feel free to use any seasonal vegetables.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli (flowerettes and trimmed stalks)
  • three medium sweet potatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon berbere spice blend (or a pinch each of cayenne and fenugreek)
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup millet, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup water for cooking
  • a splash of olive oil or a bit of ghee
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the cauliflower and sweet potato (without peeling) into small bite-sized pieces.  Coat vegetables generously in olive oil and stir in the minced garlic, then  spread them out on a baking tray or trays, more or less in a single layer.  Put them in the oven (no need to wait if it isn’t quite up to 375 yet).

While the veggies are roasting, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the ghee and the onion and cook until the onion begins to brown, then add the ginger, garlic, and spices and cook another minute or so.  Add the water and bring it to a boil.  Rinse the soaked millet and add it to the pot once the water boils, then cover the pot, turn the heat to medium-low, and let it cook undisturbed for 20 minutes.

When the millet is done, fluff it with a fork and replace the cover.  When the vegetables are soft and browned, stir them into the millet.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Enjoy!

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