I Have Officially Made my best Injera by Far!

SUCCESS IS MINE ūüôā

I told (and showed) y’all last month my injera fail. I was determined to make a come back and do a better job. My mission was to make it more sour, make sure it didn’t stick or burn and still keep it 100% Teff. Well, I accomplished my mission, and I didn’t have to do all those “feeding the starter” type stuff many of the injera recipes on the net call for.

My family liked the sourness that was produced after letting the injera batter sit for 4-5 days. I also noticed that while cooking, the batter can get flat and you may need to add more baking powder. I still used this recipe from YumUniverse http://www.yumuniverse.com/2011/06/20/authentic-ethiopian-injera-100-teff-flat-bread/
I doubled the recipe, and I made Shiro (chickpea), Red Lentil Wat, & Ethiopian Cabbage to eat with it. It was da bomb!! ūüôā

Here are my pics!
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teffinjera2

My Injera Escapade

Yes, I am back after quite a hiatus, I have to remember to start posting straight to my blog here instead of facebook ūüôā I am so used to getting on there and sharing my cooking escapes, I often forget I have a blog. “Boo this woman!”¬†
So, I come back to y’all with my journey in injera making. ¬†If you go on the internet there are a ridiculous amount of recipes for injera. ¬†My needs were this; it had to be gluten free (even though I am convinced that the injera at all the Ethiopian restaurants I’ve eaten at mixed teff and some sort of wheat) and I ain’t got no time, for feeding a starter, throwing away, and all that intense stuff. ¬†I stumbled upon this blog, for a yeast free 1-Day All Teff Injera¬†

Now, a couple of things I changes and messed up on hehehe 1. I added the baking soda in the initial mixture, when I was supposed to wait right before cooking. That meant, after the first injera I destroyed I added a pinch more to the batter.  2.  My family loves the sour taste of injera with the balance of spicy Ethiopian food, so I let it sit for 2 1/2 days.  

Here’s a pic of my trail and error
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After about 4 tries the injera on the left was my best one, the taste was pretty good, though Knowledge wants me to ferment the batter more, maybe for about 5 days. ¬†The mess on the right, was my first try, which was entirely too thick, and I didn’t even cook it through. ¬†Next time I make it, I will definitely double the recipe and instead of relying on my oven timer, which produced an injera with lots of bubbles but a very crisp bottom, I will use my “first mind” common sense to know when my bread is done. Also, I did have to lightly grease my iron skillet, even though it was seasoned, it just didn’t do well without a very thin layer of oil while cooking these. The girls loved the bread and were eating it up. ¬†I’m going to start another batter tonight and by Friday I plan to have a full Ethiopian meal to share with y’all.¬†

See, it’s okay to share your mess ups ūüėČ

Dedicated to My Soul Food Vegans!

“It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you…” ūüôā

Good people, I so apologize for my tardiness in getting my posts out. ¬†But I’m a mother before anything and life happens. ¬†Internet goes down, a storm comes into town, I hosted an AWESOME workshop in my home…these last few months have been bam, bam, bam. ¬†But I’m back with a delicious plate of food to share and a few recipes as well!

This plate is dedicated to my in house “Soul Food Vegan,” Knowledge–my partner in crime, rhyme & reason. ¬†He was the first person that really pushed me into delving deeper into my cooking roots to find hearty, delicious foods that could be made vegan without loosing the “soul,” and without a bunch of faux meats, soy, and such. After this latest storm, Knowledge had to go work one of the shelters, so he was gone for a few days and when he came home, I wanted to show him how much me and the girls missed him. ¬†This was his gift:
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On the plate: Potato Salad (no mayo, no eggs), Gar-licky Green Beans, Crowder Peas & Lima beans (small green limas) w/ Okra, Cornbread with some Chopped Red Onion and Tomato on the side. ¬†I’ll share a couple of the recipes from off the plate ūüôā

The green beans are from the can, because we stocked up on canned food to prepare for the storm, and I decided to use them.  The recipes can of course be used with fresh or frozen green beans.  If using frozen, I personally recommend thawing and draining first.

Gar-“licky” Green Beans
2 cans (drained/rinsed) or 1 pound of green beans
5 cloves of garlic minced
a little less than half an onion sliced
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
Directions: In my iron skillet, on medium heat I heated about 2 tblsp of oil and sauteed the onion until clear, then I added the garlic, stir, add a little more oil if need be to prevent the garlic from burning. ¬†Now add your green beans, stir. ¬†Next, add and adjust seasonings to your liking. Turn up the heat just a bit, to saute the green beans. If you don’t have fresh garlic or onion or you simple don’t like to see them in your food. You can use garlic and onion powder. Crushed red pepper flakes would also be the bomb in these green beans!

My Cakey Corn (or Millet) Bread Recipe

I must really love y’all. ¬†But for real, I share these recipes so that just as there is an abundance of old recipes including lard, butter, & eggs, we have to add to the Soul Food Vegan recipe canon as well. ¬†So try it, and let me know what you think:

Ingredients:
2 cups yellow cornmeal (or ground Millet)
2 cups gluten free baking flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 cup of vegan sugar (Demerara, Tucanat, Rapadura, whatever’s your choice-I’ve also used 1/2 cup of honey or agave)
2 tbl egg replacer (I like Ener G) do not premix in water
2 tbl baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup of milk (rice, almond, hemp,etc.)
1 cup veg. oil/or melted veg. butter
1/4 cup warm water

Preheat oven 350
Grease baking pan/skillet
stir dry ingredients–set aside
beat together liquid ingredients, add to premixed ingredients
stir until smooth and most of lumps out
pour into baking dish (my iron skillet)
bake for 30-45 min.

When finished, ‘butter’ the top, sit aside for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy your these last few days of summer y’all, and don’t forget to share & follow my blog!

 

 

I Told Y’all I was Gonna Do It! Black Eyed Pea Fritters (Akara)

Thank goodness it’s Friday! ¬†I have finally found the time to post. ¬†This week started out pretty busy with my oldest daughter’s birthday party Sunday and then my youngest started to run a fever Wednesday night. ¬†But all is well now and things have settled down a bit. ¬†I promised in my last post on millet porridge, that I was going to try my hand at making Akara–a bean fritter from West Africa.

Akara is usually made with black eyed peas or brown peas (African Honey beans?) that look just like black eye peas only brown. ¬†Now if you don’t eat black eye peas for whatever reason, you may be able to substitute them with Navy beans. ¬†You still will have to stick to all the directions, which include soaking over night in warm water and peeling the skin off the beans. ¬†The latter is not hard but it is tedious! ¬†You will work muscles you never thought you had. ¬†To get the skin off the beans, while the beans are in a bowl covered with water, rub the beans in your hands and rinse off periodically. ¬†You will have to do this repeatedly until all skins are removed.

After the skins are all off, you will blend the beans in a little bit of water until completely smooth. ¬†Transfer to a bowl, and then blend 1 onion and 1 hot pepper (per 2 cups of beans). ¬†Then add the onions and pepper to the bowl and stir. ¬†For seasoning, some add Maggi. ¬†I don’t. ¬†I used salt and cayenne pepper to taste and some Veggie Protein Stock Powder African Seasoning (VPSP) sold here. ¬†Just to let y’all know this is my FAVORITE seasoning for West African foods, but I use a dash in just about every thing I cook.

This is how the batter will look

 After you  taste your batter to adjust the seasonings to your taste, let it sit for a few minutes while you heat your oil.  Traditionally, Akara is cook up like a puffy round ball, but I fry everything in my iron skillet, so my batch was pretty oval.

¬†Fry your fritters on both sides for a total of about 4-5 minutes. ¬†They can be served for breakfast will millet porridge, or as a snack/side with a spicy tomato sauce or ketchup. ¬†These delicious little fritters are egg and gluten free! So get up, go buy you some black eyed peas, an onion and a pepper–Put your foot in it! ūüėČ

 

Millet Porridge Anyone?

Many of us have eaten oatmeal, cream of wheat or grits for breakfast at one time or another. ¬†So though the idea of a “porridge” may bring to mind orphan Annie, most of us have an idea of a warm grain or seed ground, cooked and sweetened to perfection. ¬†Well, let’s add millet to our breakfast’s menu!

Millet–Not Just For Birds Anymore
¬†Millet is considered a grain and has it’s origins in Western Africa. ¬†Since then, millet has made it’s way all over the continent of Africa and into Asia. ¬†It has always been a human food, but in common times it is also seen as a main ingredient to bird feed.

Health Facts: ¬†Millet is a good source of Magnesium and Phosphorus, the latter a major component in repairing body tissue. ¬† ¬†Accordingly, the magnesium gives millet it’s “heart-healthy” quality.

Now let’s cook!
One thing that I do in my home, is grind the millet. ¬†My grind is usually in between the texture of cornmeal and a flour. ¬†This works for my family because I have young children who happen to not chew the best. ¬†Here’s a pic of my millet grind:

Now, I have a Vitamix dry blender so I use that to grind all my dry goods but I’ve also done this in a regular blender. ¬†I did not get a fine grind more like a grits texture. ¬†Remember, this is just the way my family likes it, if using millet in savory dishes you may not want to grind it at all because you would want for texture in your dish.

The Tricky part–I have to tell you that millet left to it’s own devices is bitter. ¬†The trick I’ve found is to salt the water before you cook the millet. ¬†In a small or medium pot– depending on how much you are cooking– put about an inch or 1 1/2 inch of water in the pot. ¬†Add 1 tsp of salt (we use sea salt) and add your millet to the pot now and stir. ¬†TRUST me, if you don’t do it this way, millet has a bad habit of clumping up on you. ¬†By making the mixture now, before you add the pot to the heat you’re distributing the millet all around so it won’t clump up.¬†

You will start cooking on medium high heat with continuous stirring.  As the millet starts to cook and thicken up, turn the heat down to low/simmer.  This is what our cooked millet looks like: 

We use local honey as a sweetener, our favorite is honey from Breaux Bridge, LA.  Remember by adding the salt you have cut the bitterness, but you will want to add a generous amount of your favorite sweetener to fit your tastes.  You can add raisins or blueberries.  My favorite way to serve the millet right now is to add honey & cinnamon, yum!

I also will add cooked millet to a smoothie of ripe plantain and veggie milk, now that right there is the bomb dot com ¬†When my husband was in Ghana, he had a similar drink with akara on the side. ¬†I really would like to try that one day. ¬†So, get you some millet, and leave that other stuff for the birds ūüôā

My Food and Cooking POV (Point of View)

Though I was born and raised in Chicago, my foodways are wrapped in the warmth of Mississippi and Alabama. ¬†I grew up on Southern food and Soul food. ¬†Most importantly, I grew up under women (including my mother) who made sure if you were coming to their house or if they were hosting a function you were going to eat. ¬†This point needs to be emphasized because we live in a time now that if you eat differently than the masses of your family and friends, social gatherings will leave you either bringing something to the party or hungry. That’s just not the way I grew up.

If we knew someone did not eat pork, my mom would get some smoked turkey. ¬†It was not “unheard of” for someone to not eat catfish, so you would buy buffalo fish or cook salmon. ¬†I remember the first time my husband went to spend holiday with my parents, my mom made savory navy bean patties, okra socatash, she even hand made whole wheat cornbread. ¬†Now mind you, I was pissed ’bout that cornbread, cuz she raised us on Jiffy and all this damn time she knew how to make cornbread from scratch ha! ¬†My husband is vegan, but because my mother loved to cook and the motto has always been “cook so people can eat”…this did not deter her from cooking a meal he could enjoy. ¬†My mom did not have to go to a special vegan or vegetarian cooking class. ¬†She just used what she had– our foodways.

One of the main reasons vegan/vegetarians (especially AA) go so hard at looking down upon meat eaters and/or over defending their eating habits, is that for many of them, their experience at social functions, from holidays, weddings, family reunions, etc., has been less than satisfactory. ¬†They have been left hungry and misunderstood. ¬†So guess what? ¬†That leaves them all the time in the world to critique your food. ¬†I know, 2 wrongs don’t make a right–but it damn “sho'” feel good. ¬†And do you know there are people who will invite others to functions and purposely not have any food for them to eat? ¬†That is how inconsiderate and hateful we have become as a community. ¬†I’m not talking about having Thanksgiving dinner and your cousin brings a date and you didn’t know she was gluten-intolerant. ¬†I’m speaking on knowing you have a nephew or cousin that has not eaten pork or shellfish in years and you still NEVER ATTEMPT to have a dish for them. ¬†That’s kind of messed up.

So my food and cooking Point of View is Soul Food inspired by the African Diaspora and cooked with real ingredients and in a way that my family and friends can enjoy, no matter their eating “category”. ¬†For instance, this past New Year’s Eve we had a big to do. ¬†Here was my menu:

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Pollo en Fricase
Ethiopian Cabbage
Black Eye Peas (West African Style)
Shito (West African Red “sauce”)
Ground Seed Stew (made with sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter)
Hummus
Guacamole
Hot Water Cornbread
Navy Bean Pie

My FIL made some Hibiscus punch and the night was a hit. ¬†If you notice, I have one meat dish, and EVERY other dish is vegan. ¬†Also, I have one raw dish–my home made guac contains no sour cream or dairy products–it’s completely fresh veggies. ¬†The meat dish, Pollo en Fricase, is Puerto Rican style. ¬†I made my own adobo, sofrito, and instead of red wine, I used apple cider and a little apple cider vinegar.

Nothing on the menu was “weird” or “tasted healthy” even though I did everything from scratch, used no pork, or dairy ¬†fat. I also cooked within my cultural norms–not my blood type ūüėČ ¬†In my family and culture, folks have chosen for health or religious reasons to eat or not eat certain things. ¬†I know this. ¬†I love to cook and I get my joy from feeding people from the heart. ¬†No matter if a person is a raw foodist, vegan or only eats fish, I want to make sure that if they are invited to any event I host, they will leave with a belly full. ¬†And you know what? When everybody has something on their plates that they enjoy, tastes good, and meets their eating “category”–no one has time to comment on what the next person is eating. ¬†It’s like a food utopia. ¬†In my opinion, THAT tastes pretty damn good.

You Think You Know, but You Have NO Idea!

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This right here is Palm Nut Stew, garnished with tomato and onion, with garri. ¬†It is a West African ¬†dish. I make mine spicy. ¬†It is rich, delicious on all points of your tongue ¬†and has been a ¬†“keeper” dish in my family since I’ve been making ¬†it almost 2 years ago. ¬†In this small plate you have tons of vitamins, healthy fats, iron, the list goes on and on. ¬†If you know a pregnant mother that ¬†has a history of miscarriage this right here is a traditional healer for that condition (let your food be your medicine). ¬†We’ll be showing how to cook this and more during ¬†the Women’s Herbal Circle Workshop Series: “Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum Care in the African Traditional Healing Science Perspective” Aug. 11-12, 2012 in Opelousas, LA. ¬†Details HERE