Ethiopian Inspired Coffee Ceremony (Bunna Ceremony)

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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 … [Read more...]

Menu: Ethiopia

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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 … [Read more...]

Travel Tuesday: Ethiopia

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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 … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Estonia

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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 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Gingerbread Ricotta Tart (Cheesecake)

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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 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

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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 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Estonian Smoked Herring Dip

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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 … [Read more...]

Fun Fact Friday: Estonians drink their bread

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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 … [Read more...]