A New Kitchen Staple

Saturday night I went to the World Food Festival that’s going on in a nearby city. I’ve gone with my mom for several years with one goal. Ethiopian food. It’s one of my favorite cuisines and is particularly hard to find where I live. Thankfully Minneapolis isn’t too far and they know the joys of injera and w’et. So this year I bee-lined for the Ethiopian Association’s stand and ordered a veggie platter. I always get such a warm reception, especially when I get it with injera and ask for an extra piece. But I wolfed it down far too quickly and was then left sad and injera-less. The only other treats at the food festival that are vegan are drinks so this was dinner.

Now I’m home and rather sad that I have to wait until next year. Or do I? I talked to one of the cooks at the stand and asked where I could get injera and he recommended a halal store that would carry it, or if I needed a lot he gave me his phone number to call if I ever needed lots of it. So I have the injera source, the next was the seasonings. I’ve been meaning to make berbere and niter kibbeh for a while but just never get around to it. Until I was forced to clean out my cupboards yesterday and realized I had everything for it. By the afternoon I had a 1/2 c. jar full of berbere and a bunch of niter kebbeh. By the evening I had an almost empty jar of berbere and much less niter kebbeh. But I also had an awesome Ethiopian feast.

I used the second berbere recipe on this site and the niter kibbeh from Kittee’s zine Papa Tofu. I believe it might be out of print now, but don’t despair! She just came out with Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food which I have on my list of cookbooks I need to buy. The other recipes I made yesterday, including the niter kebbeh, were from Papa Tofu. In the foreground is the shimbra asa w’et (chickpea “fish” in onion wine gravy baked instead of fried), back right is the yemiser w’et (lentils in spicy red gravy), and back left is my version of atkilt wat (cabbage dish).


Photo Insecurities

I hate taking pictures of my food when others are around. This is a problem now that I cook dinner for several people. I still photograph cookies and such, because I can do that when everyone leaves. But dinner is another issue.

What am I worried about? Will they laugh at me like the chubby kick trying to play kickball at recess? Or would it be more like the teenage contempt that you can see in the eyes of the “popular” kids. You can imagine the sneer can’t you? We all can. Is this what I’m worried of, I don’t know. My dinner companions wouldn’t do either of these. If they did I would take their food away and throw it out back for the raccoons. They are very appreciative.

Instead I let myself get caught up in this make believe bullying. So you get pictures like this:

Ethiopian Spiced Veg CurryThis was one of my most successful curries ever. But I didn’t want to take a picture of it finished and on the plate. Last night I made a feast for my love and I because he had such a shitty day. I went all out in order to have another set of pancakes on Pancake Day! These were in the form of the crepes from Vegan With A Vengeance, that formed the base of mock Ethiopian curries (one veggie, one dal, and one chickpea). Its always fun to eat with your hands folks. But alas, no photos. For this, I am sorry. And I will try to come to grips with this through Food Porn Anonymous.

World Food Festival

This weekend is the annual World Food Festival in the east village here in Des Moines. I always look forward to this. Its a chance to showcase the many immigrant populations in the metro. Plus there is some damn good food. This year I made the rounds with my mom. They had a lot of Asian stands; Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, and Filipino. Other stands were Indian, Bosnian, Greek, Ecuadorian, Salvadorian, and obviously Mexican. Plus some American stands serving bbq and cajun. 


For the not so adventurous there was even an Iowa Machine Shed booth. 


But the pinnacle of amazing food was the Ethiopian stand. Central Iowa needs an Ethiopian restaurant! I had a meal of atkilt. Its like a curry of cabbage, green beans, onions, and other unidentifiable of delicious veggies. But oh, the injera. Its what makes Ethiopian the number one cuisine in my book. Indian is great, but Ethiopian is like Indian, but with better bread. And thats saying a lot because Indian bread is amazing.

Enough chatter. Here’s some pictures.

Atkilt and injera

Bubble tea! Mango green tea, bubble tea to be exact. Chewy tapioca mango awesome to be precise.

Each stand had a $1 tasting sample. So I had to try the lentil soup from Saloo India’s stand. Terrible picture, good soup.

And finally here is a picture of Iowans enjoying some delicious food in view of the state capital building.

If you are in Des Moines this weekend try to check it out. Help support local businesses!