Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Evening in Ethopia

I am fortunate enough to have friends with connections. My lovely friend Cyndi received some Ethiopian bread from a friend of a friend. It's good to know where your food comes from huh? Anyway, this bread is called Injera. It's a yeast-risen flat bread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. It is traditionally made out of teff flour and is traditionally eaten in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen. This bread sparked an Ethiopian feast.

Injera bread has a spongy, somewhat elastic texture. I wouldn't describe injera bread as all too flavorful. It's simply a vehicle for the main dish.

The first dish Cyndi conjured up is called Ethiopian Cabbage. It contained potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onion, cumin, tumeric, salt, and pepper. It was thick, hearty and spicy. Perfect for eating with injera.

The second dish was Yemiser W'et or Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Stew. It contained red lentils, onion, tomato, garlic, cumin, paprika, and some other spices we don't own. This dish was extremely flavorful and fiery.

Thanks for the wonderful meal Cyndi!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

California Here I Come

Over Spring Break I was able to take a trip to California to visit my brother and sister-in-law. (Yes, I realize that happened 4 weeks ago. Better late than never, eh?) They moved out west this past summer and I promised to visit them in their new home over Spring Break. Plus I love them and wanted to spend some quality bonding time with them. I flew into the John Wayne airport on Monday afternoon.

Legit John Wayne.

One of our first stops in California was a cozy quaint local tea cafe. I got stawberry kiwi iced tea with pineapple Choobees. Choobees are flavored cubed Coconut Jelly. Basically, they sit at the bottom of the cup and you try really hard to suck them up through the giant straw. They are like little chewy squares of fruitbursts. I'm not sure what the nutritional benefits are, but they make tea more entertaining.

We spent one afternoon browsing the local consignment shops in downtown San Clemente.

Downtown San Clemente at dusk

Beach! Of course we wandered around the beach for a couple hours. The ocean is massive, blue, and beautiful. Sadly, we did not build a sand castle or surf.

Before our hiking expidition, we fueled up with crepes at a charming little cafe called La Galette Creperie. I ordered the berry crepe filled with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream. It was full of berries and delicious. Just the sort of breakfast most hikers would eat before setting out on a mountain voyage. Then we went hiking! If you drive 10 minutes outside San Clemente the scenery vastly changes and it feels as though you've left the city altogether. The terrain was fairly mountainous and full of fun wildlife.

We also spent an afternoon grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is literally one of my favorite things in the world to do. Food shopping is extra awesome in different new locations. My sister-in-law and I went to Trader Joe's, Costco, Albertson's, the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base commissary and the local farmer's market. We shopped for 4 hours. It was glorious. And exhausting.

Local fare.

While shopping around, we stepped into a restaurant called the The Cellar to do a cheese tasting. I can't remember which cheeses we actually sampled, but they were mighty tasty. I'd just like to comment here that my sister-in-law is awesome. She encourages food love and food photography.

I had a lovely time with my brother and sister-in-law in California. I wish I could've stayed longer. Although...they have offered to allow me to stay in their home after I graduate college and become a hobo.