Cooking Ethiopian at The Key

Today, we cooked classical dishes from Ethiopia. The Twin Cities is home to a vibrant Ethiopian community. It was not surprising when the teens at The Key were interested in this unfamiliar cuisine.

We started by making two basic preparations that are used for many other dishes: Berberé  (Red Pepper Paste) and Nit’ir Qibe (Spiced Clarified Butter). We used Berberé to make Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken Stew in Red Pepper Sauce) and Nit’ir Qibe to make Yataklete Kilkil (Ethiopian Gingered Vegetable Stew).

We served the dishes with Injera which I bought from a Middle Eastern grocery store.

Berberé is used in: Ingudai W’et (Mushrooms with Green Split Peas)

Nit’ir Qibe is used in:  Yemisir Alich’a (Red Lentil Stew)


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Sushi at The Key Cooking Class

Today, we conducted another cooking class for teenagers in our town. The theme was sushi (seasoned rice).

Before the class, I prepared Shiitake No Nikata (Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms) and Gari (Sweet Pickled Ginger) to give them time to develop their flavor.

We started the evening by preparing dashi, a light soup stock flavored with kombu (dried seaweed) and bonito (dried fish flakes). We used the dashi in a recipe for Dashi-Maki Tamago, a rectangular shaped omelet, and Miso Shiru (Miso Soup), a thin soup with miso (fermented rice and soybean paste), tofu (soya bean curd) and green onions. Then, we prepared Sakana No Oboro (Sweet Fish Flakes) with halibut fillets cooked with mirin (rice cooking wine), sake (rice wine), shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar.

Finally, we prepared Sushi Rice, cooked medium-grain Japanese rice seasoned with komezu (rice wine vinegar), sugar, and salt in a hangiri, a wooden sushi tub. We wrapped sushi in nori (roasted seaweed) with different ingredients into Maki-zushi (sushi rolled in roasted seaweed). The ingredients included: braised asparagus, the egg omelet cut into thin long strips, avocado, the sweet fish, poached shrimp, and roasted sesame seeds. The sushi rolls were served with a spicy wasabi (Japanese horseradish) paste.

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Tim and Mary Party

My friends Tim and Mary invited me to prepare dinner for Tim’s business friends. Since it was a working week night, we selected dishes that could be served in about 2 hours. Mary prepared Thai Chicken Barbeque for appetizers, Cream of Asparagus Soup for the starting course, and Creme Brulee for dessert. I prepared the main courses which consisted of: Pan-Seared Steaks with a Mustard Sauce, Pan-Seared Scallops and Prawns with a Spinach, Arugula and Orange Salad, Fingerling Potatoes With Aioli, and Carrots and Parsnips Braised in Butter.

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The Minnesota winter is a time to savor fruits from a warmer climate. Here’s to the papaya.

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Pan-Roasted Salmon

Wild-caught salmon fillets are coated with coriander seeds, roasted in a pan for a few minutes, and served with a delicate, tangy white wine-orange sauce. Here is the Pan-Roasted Salmon recipe.

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The Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake

Today, I visited an overseas friend who taught me some of her native dishes. To celebrate her arrival to our town, I baked her The Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake, which has only 3 mandatory ingredients: chocolate, butter, and eggs, and an optional one: coffee liqueur, which I obliged.

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Beef Short Ribs with Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos and Herbs (Costillas de Res a la Mexicana)

The Latin American grocery store in our town had a thin cut of beef ribs which we prepared into Costillas de Res a la Mexicana, braised in a charming sauce of poblano peppers.

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Chocolate with The Key Chocolate Class

We had a cooking class with teenagers from The Key, a youth-run community-based organization.
champurrado The common ingredient was Mexican chocolate — which we prepared as Champurrado, a hot drink, slightly thickened with corn masa. Here is the Champurrado recipe.
and a luscious chile sauce called Red Mole. In the picture, it is served with roast turkey. Here is the Red Mole recipe.
Traditionally, the meat is slowly cooked (braised) in the mole for about 1 1/2 hours. But to fit into our 2-hour class schedule, we roasted free-range chickens instead. Here is the Roast Chicken recipe.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time to prepare a Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, a fun dessert with a brownie-like layer that floats on a pudding-like chocolate sauce. Here is the Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe.

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Home-Rendered Lard (Manteca Hecho En Casa)

I received a gift from my neighborhood butcher — pork fat.
It was rendered into lard that will be used for Mexican dishes. Here is the Lard recipe.

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Basic Waffles

Sweet Lou, a new waffle shop just opened in our town. Predictably, Andi, Alyssa and their friends have taken an interest in waffles. For the times that we can’t hang out in the new cool shop, we make them at home. Pictured is a topping of blackberry preserves and crème fraîche.

Here is the recipe.

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