Tionna treated us to a great Ethiopian dinner tonight. Let’s start with the basics. Traditional Ethiopian food uses a spongy pancake-like bread called injera to scoop the wat (stew) or whatever else. We have made injera before, but the Caucasian non-fermented way. Giant Eagle in Stow carries Teff (the main ingredient in injera), and while this turned out well, it tended to crumble and not flex. We have since purchased from Zelalem Injera. We found their injera to be closer to Ethiopia than Empress Taytu, as Zelalem’s is sort of sour. Don’t get me wrong – we do love Empress! The injera freezes well, and Tionna can bring it back to life by warming it in the microwave with some water. Defrosting it in the fridge will kill it.
T made our favorite two dishes – Dora Wat (chicken stew) and Kik Alich’a (yellow split peas). The dora wat is made with berbere, which is a main spice for most Ethiopian cooking. We have regular and spicy berbere from Ethiopia, but even the regular is too hot for all my girls, so T makes an approximation with fewer chile peppers. Ethiopians love their super finely chopped onions, so the onion puree looks sort of like mashed potatoes before it goes in. Somehow they can chop that finely by hand. We really do need a lesson from Empress.
The girls ate it all, especially loving the injera. We do too. One CSA ingredient was used – the delicious garlic. While we love the traditional food, we couldn’t eat it 3 meals per day like most Ethiopians. Then again, maybe we could… The only improvements we could have made would be to have St. George instead of Sierra Nevada, and actually being in Ethiopia. It truly is a lovely country, and we’ll leave you with my favorite place – Awassa Lake.
Scotland’s national drink is Whisky. There is no “e” in scotch whisky. Whisky can be had as a single malt, meaning it comes from only one distillery; or as a blend, which consists of many single malts and grain whiskys to create a signature flavor.
There are only 3 ingredients in whisky: Water, barley, and yeast. Yet each single malt tastes SO different. There are many factors which include the water source, the barley and how it is dried, the shape of the still, etc. etc. etc. Elyse and I just had fun trying as many as we could!
We did manage to go on a distillery tour while on the Isle of Skye. The smell of a distillery is like nothing else I have ever experienced. It’s a combination of bread factory (the fermenting mash) and ethanol. They really need to bottle this smell.
We also visited a whisky shop while in Edinburgh. The Cadenhead whisky shop was unique in that they will bottle whisky for you straight from the cask! No extra coloring or filtering. Needless to say we got a bottle and sampled a few casks to make sure it was the right one (and got buzzed in the process).
The bounty from the trip:
Scotland’s other national drink is a soda called Irn Bru. It outsells Coke! It’s very orange in color but doesn’t taste orangey. It’s vaguely fruity with a little vanilla and gum inserted. It also has a bit of quinine.
And a few more favorites:
Elyse and I recently got back from a 10 day journey through Scotland. We ate. A lot.
One of the first things we noticed about Scottish food is that it tends to be a little on the heavy side. Take the traditional Scottish breakfast (which we had at the B&Bs we stayed at):
1. Your choice of cereal to start (corn flakes, frosted flakes, or bran stuff that looked like it would cause a colon blow)
2. Bacon, which was actually thick cut salty ham with a good helping of fat.
4. Scrambled or fried egg.
5. Haggis (didn’t try it).
6. Black or white pudding (tasted like meaty polenta).
7. Grilled mushrooms and tomatoes.
Scots like their tea time. We would usually get a tea and cake around 11 or 11:30am. Good times.
We tended to get lunch at a supermarket or convenience store. There was always a wide selection of pre-made (and pre-sliced!) sandwiches. We would also select a weird flavored bag of crisps (smokey bacon anyone?) and an exotic beverage.
One bad thing about Scotland was that fresh produce was hard to find and when it was found it was not too great.
High tea happens at 4pm. Time for another cake! Or scone.
Traditional pub dinner favorites tended to be fish and chips and the like. Elyse’s favorite was the steak and ale pie. It was essentially pot roast with a cap of puff pastry. Interestingly peas were usually the side dish.
Fish and Chips:
Steak and ale Pie:
Now we didn’t just have pub food. We did have one really fancy dinner (on our one year anniversary) at the Witchery.
Three little pigs (pork three ways)