Month: March 2011


DIY Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony | Bunna Ceremony

Coffee is said to have originated in Ethiopia. Today Ethiopian coffee ceremonies are common after large meals, even at restaurants. Women will roast beans in front of the guests. Then she’ll grind the beans, perfuming the room, and brew them in a clay coffee pot, or jebena. The coffee is served in small cups called si’ni. Diners have their choice of salt or sugar. Traditionally, every guest is offered 3 cupfuls- the same grounds being brewed each time, making each consecutive cup weaker. My Rendition At best, I was ill-prepared to perform an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. #1, I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. #2, I lack every single piece of traditional Ethiopian coffee-making equipment there could possibly be. In fact, the only proper element I have is a bag of green coffee beans. Tilda’s parents brought them all the way over from Ethiopia, known as the birthplace of coffee. At least the coffee was right. I got to work, putting my college nickname “MacGyver” to good use. What follows are the results of a free-spirited, improvisational coffee …

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Menu: Ethiopia

One of my mom’s favorite expressions is “Did you get it straight from the horse’s mouth?” She likes to ask me this when I am at my most panicked, assumption-burdened self. While the image it conjures up isn’t exactly pretty, the saying gives me perspective when I need it most. If there was ever any doubt about the food of Ethiopia, I’m going to put it to rest right now. I cooked, I ate and I am here to tell you that the food of Ethiopia is intense, flavorful, and fit for any dinner party. You can say you got it straight from the horse’s mouth. Better yet, you can make some of the food from this menu and find out for yourself. Eating without utensils is quickly becoming a favorite hobby of mine. If the potential mess scares you, have no fear. Ava will be happy to give you a lesson. She’s a pro (although, technically, the left hand is never used for eating in Ethiopia. It’s called the unclean hand and I’ll leave …

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Travel Tuesday: Ethiopia

One of Miss Ava’s friends, Tilda, is from Ethiopia. While she’s not exactly talking yet (she turned one in December), her parents are talking and everything they’ve said about Ethiopia makes me hungry. They adopted Tilda last year and spent some time in the country getting to know the culture and, of course, the food. Here’s the summary: if you’re into spices, you’re in luck. They brought back bags of berberé seasoning – so much, in fact, that they didn’t think twice about giving me an entire cup of their precious stash. Almost everything is spiced with berberé seasoning [Recipe], especially the standard wat (stew) made from lamb [Recipe], chicken, lentils, or beans. Be sure to enjoy Wat with Injera [Recipe], teff pancakes that are used to scoop up the food instead of silverware. Now, for something that Tilda’s parents did not tell me – I got this little nugget from Andrew Zimmern. In his Ethiopian episode he shares that if you’re really lucky Ethiopians will offer you raw meat. Raw meat is a delicacy – the fresher …

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Monday Meal Review: Estonia

THE SCENE I walked back and forth, haunting the spot where the rhubarb was supposed to be. The sign read “Rhubarb – $6.99/lb” but the bin was empty, empty, empty. Not even a week ago a mountain of lipstick red rhubarb overflowed from the bins, the first pick of the season. The clerk confirmed my fears. There was no rhubarb – not here, not in the back, not in an upcoming shipment. He explained that he had to pull the rhubarb because it was starting to turn and they couldn’t sell it any more. I was in shock, not simply because it was now gone, but also because I couldn’t believe I had expected it to be there – like mathematical certainty, like the sun would shine, or the earth rotate. Ava was getting antsy. She squirmed around in the sportscar shopping cart, and struggled to reach a package of “booboos” (blueberries). I put the package in our cart and we took off – per the clerk’s suggestion – to the frozen fruit department. I …

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Gingerbread Ricotta Tart/Cheesecake

Serves 8 Is it a tart? a cake? a cheese cake? All of the above? Whatever you call it, this gingerbread love-fest is the perfect combination for a winter dessert buffet. Special thanks to Nami Nami who’s ricotta cheesecake recipe inspired our version. Nami is an Estonian blogger with a great collection of recipes, both from her home country and beyond. Cheers! Ingredients: 15 oz container whole milk ricotta 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp cardamom 3 large eggs 1/8 cup heavy cream 1/2 gingerbread dough (there will be scraps leftover to make decorative cookies to put on the top of the cake) Garnish: Lingonberry jam, to taste Method: Take a few minutes to build a snowman. If there are no snowmen to be made, sit outside and drink a cup of tea and think about building a snowman. Ok, now you’re ready to bake this Estonian treat. First, place a water bath in the oven (a large pan half full of hot water) and preheat it to 350F. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, …

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Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 48 3″ cookies Any time, any place. There are no rules when it comes to cookies. In fact, when I was little my mom made gingerbread cookies so often that I didn’t realize that most people only ate them in December. We ate homemade gingerbread/vanilla ice cream sandwiches in the summer – one of my all-time favorite, cry-until-you-get-another-one, crave-it-for-the-rest-of-your-life snacks. Although gingerbread can be found all over north america and Europe, today we made them for our Estonian Global Table. Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder Spices: 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cardamom 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp ground cloves 1/8 tsp black pepper a pinch salt 8 Tbsp softened butter (1 stick) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 large egg 1/2 cup molasses 1 tsp vanilla extract Method: Get your baking shoes on. Whisk together the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and the spices. Gosh that’s pretty. Let’s all move to gorgeous Spice Land. Whaddya think? …

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Estonian Smoked Herring Dip

Makes 2 cups Get your next party jumping with Estonian Smoked herring dip, a nod to the great national fish of Estonia. No matter what the cooking method, Estonians typically serve herring with a sour cream and vinegar/lemon juice sauce. And now… for an unprecedented cooking tip from Mr Picky. First, he wants to know – how do you feel about sour cream? If you’re a little unsure, he suggests making the dip drier by using less of the sour cream mixture – perhaps as little as half.  Who is this man? What has Global Table Adventure done to my food-hating husband? I’m in love, all over again. Ingredients: 7 oz smoked Herring 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice 1 cup sour cream 1 tsp chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish 1/8 cup chopped red onion, plus extra for garnish salt & pepper Method: Gather your ingredients… herring, sour cream, lemon, dill, red onion… yep, we’re definitely in northeast Europe. Hello, Estonia! In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice,… … fresh dill… … …

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Estonians drink their bread

Dear readers, I’d like to introduce you to Estonian black bread. The solution to long, never ending winters. The solution to short winters. And, as I like to imagine, the solution to Miss Ava’s terrible, no good, wickedly bad days. Unfortunately, even if she wanted to eat a slice of the dark, rye-based bread, poor Miss Ava couldn’t. She is teething something terrible. She literally hurts so much that… 1. I must hold her at all times. Preferably in cradle-hold. 2. If I shift my body so much as  an inch, she cries uncontrollably. It’s not so much a wail, as extended whimpering. 3. The mere thought of eating makes her cry. 4. About every fifteen minutes her sweet hand goes up to cradle her poor cheek and she looks at me with big, wet eyes. 5. Then I cry. Believe it or not, Estonians have a solution – Ava can have bread without eating bread. She can drink it. The drink is called Kali/Kvass, and is made from a mixture of black bread fermented …

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Strawberry Rhubarb & Cream Tart

Want a bite of Estonian springtime? Go for rhubarb, the most beloved, cold-climate vegetable around. It looks like celery with lipstick, but tastes fruity and tart. Elizabeth Schneider explains the special place rhubarb has in countries like Estonia: Imagine that you’ve spent the winter eating fruits and vegetables rationed from a root cellar and canning jars. Now imagine the first rosy rhubarb of the year, welcome as new grass. Not so long ago, rhubarb held a special place in the culinary calendar as a unique fresh food, the earliest harbinger of spring. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini 5 Fun facts about Rhubarb: Never eat the leaves, cooked or raw. They are toxic. Never cook rhubarb in aluminum – it will dull the fruit’s color. Look for flat, deep red stalks. They have the most flavor. Rhubarb can be mild or extremely tart. You may need to adjust your sweeteners accordingly. Rhubarb season begins in March, but hothouse rhubarbs are available as early as January. RECIPE Serves 8-10 A casual dusting of confectioner’s sugar gives this …

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Menu: Estonia

Winters in Estonia are decidedly predictable. The weather is cold and snowy, and it stays that way for a long while. Not so much here, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This February we had 14 inches of snow followed – less than a week later – by 83F. Since Tulsa can’t seem to decide whether to cling to winter or jump forward to spring, our Estonian Global Table celebrates three desserts – one wintery, one that hearkens spring, and one somewhere in the middle. Help me. My pants no longer fit. Which dish would you try? Smoked Herring Dip [Recipe] Herring is Estonia’s national fish. Enjoy smoked herring swimming in a sea of sour cream, lemon juice, crunchy red onion, and dill. Use rye crackers for dipping. Strawberry Rhubarb Tart [Recipe] Welcome spring with the sweet-tart combination of strawberry rhubarb. A splash of cream and egg yolks make this dessert especially luscious. Gingerbread (for cookies & more) [Recipe] Our Estonian inspired gingerbread will have bite if you use good, fresh spices. The pepper and ginger really bring this traditional winter …

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About the food of Estonia

After countless shots of pristine forests, glistening lakes, and hug-able medieval buildings, there he was. A nude man. In the snow. Welcome to Estonia – where the beauty of the outdoors is celebrated and, as I unexpectedly learned this morning, nude men pop up in goofy beer ads. A Le Coq is an Estonian brewery that makes everything from beer, to soda, to juices.  They are the most popular drink company in Estonia, tracing back more than a century. Which, I suppose, is why I happened upon several A Le Coq ads while searching youtube for Estonian food and tourism videos. Whoops. While good for a chuckle, the ad gave me the chills. After all, the man is bare-bottomed in the snow. By the looks of it, he’s standing in real snow. I’d like to think his Estonian diet was instrumental in giving him the fortitude to stand there for 30 seconds in a foot of fluffy-white. With that assumption, let’s take a look at the Estonian food that might have sustained him through his cold …

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