Monday Morning Open Thread

May 5, 2014

What’s up?

Let’s talk food. In my house, I am the sole chef while DH takes care of all afterschool activities. While he’s out shuttling kids to soccer, piano — and now ice skating lessons for Eli — I’m home cooking up a storm for our family of five. (My niece from Honduras lives with us, too.)

Lately, I’ve been mighty proud of myself. It wasn’t long ago when preparing a meal was a long, arduous ordeal. I love to cook, but it would take me a long time, at least an hour and a half — not including the cleanup!

Now, I am a pro. I can whip up a main dish, side dish, and salad in under an hour. I can cook meat, although I reserve that for special occasions like that time of month when I want steak and mashed potatoes. 🙂

Lately, I’ve been on an Ethiopian food kick and have been making the yellow split pea stew often served in restaurants with “simple” salad. Here are a couple of recipes I’ve printed out and been cooking once a week, courtesy of American Food Roots and Group Recipes:

Kik Alicha (Ethiopian Yellow Split Pea Stew)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion chopped very fine or pureed
1 clove garlic, whole
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup dried yellow split peas (Note from Elisa: Let soak overnight so you cut down your cooking time!)
3 cups water
Sea salt to taste
Injera or other flat bread (Note from Elisa: I make basmati rice the side dish.)

In a medium-sized pot, heat oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic. Add the ginger and turmeric and cook 1 more minute. Add the peas and water and simmer, covered, about 1 hour. When peas are soft, season with salt and cook another few minutes.

Ethiopian Simple Salad

2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 small sweet onion diced
1 green hot pepper finely diced (or replace with a milder chili pepper)
1 green bell pepper diced
Some lettuce cut in chiffonade – my addition (Elisa’s note: I absolutely include!)

Simple dressing:
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash sugar (my addition) (Elisa’s note: I do NOT add. I like tarty. 🙂
2 tsp olive oil

What have you been cooking? Please do share!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?