Injera success!

March 22, 2012

Spring break is winding down, the temperature has been in the high 70s and is about to drop 20 degrees, flowers have prematurely bloomed and I have further procrastinated both on studying for a midterm next week and writing my thesis. Pretty perfect. Two nights ago we went on an evening hike with some friends  (because the sun sets at the glorious hour of 7pm thanks to daylight savings) and then returned home to enlist them in a culinary adventure.

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Our (mostly)Ethiopian inspired meal consisted of a pumpkin and sweet-potato red lentil stew and some homemade injera, the traditional Ethiopian flat bread. Using the recipe from Wild Fermentation (can you tell we love that book?) we used some of my super active sourdough starter and 50/50 teff and whole wheat flour. The whole lot fermented about 24 hours and then was poured crepe-like into a skillet and cooked for about 2-3 minutes a piece.

The bottom cooks flat and browns more like a pancake, but it only cooks on one side so you get these great craters all over the surface that help scoop and soak up sauce. We made the whole recipe and ended up with enough for 4 very stuffed folks and leftovers. The texture is delightfully spongy but strong enough to hold lots of stew and the taste is slightly nutty and sweet with a bit of a fermented, sour tang that played nicely with the pumpkin and sweet potato combo.

The stew we served on top was mostly a whatever was in the house sort of deal- onion, garlic, cumin, a pint of home canned local tomatoes, two organic sweet potatoes, a few handfuls of red lentils, pumpkin which was baked down and frozen last fall from our CSA and some vegetable broth for extra saucy-ness.

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Injera is served under the food and used as the only utensil for the meal. Above you can see it in action, yum! We cheated a little and ate a salad first course with forks- but everyone had to surrender them to their plate sides when it came time for the main course.

In researching traditional injera recipes I ran across this company in Idaho that sells either whole grain teff or ground teff flour grown in the US. It sounds like a pretty neat venture, and the price per pound is unbeatable compared to what we paid at Whole Foods. Check out that nutritional information- one 1/4 cup serving has 20% of your daily iron, 8% of your calcium and 5g of protein. That makes me pretty scoop happy.

It seems, from my cursory research, like the recipe in Wild Fermentation is pretty similar to most traditional ones but relies on sourdough starter to jumpstart the fermentation process, taking only 24 hours rather than a few days.

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And, finally, say hello to my brand new best friend. My new baby is the silver one in front, I picked it up this afternoon at Hampshire Bike Exchange for under $200 and soared all the way home. Don’t our bikes just look too darn cute together on the porch?

Happy riding,
-W

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