Red wine pear sorbet

Red wine pear sorbet

As it’s getting warmer, I get a hankering for something cool and refreshing for dessert. On one of my favorite cooking shows, Everyday Food by Martha Stewart, they featured a red wine pear sorbet that didn’t require an ice cream machine. Score.

This is very simple, and very good. Pretty much, heat up red wine, pear and sugar. Then, add lemon juice and salt. Freeze over night. Then, puree in food processing machine until smooth (which did take a while). It might sound like pear and red wine are fall or winter ingredients, but with the lovely lightness of the sorbet, this becomes a perfect spring dessert.

Doro Wat

Doro Wat

I love Ethiopian food, and probably eat it once every two weeks or so. It wasn’t soon after getting into Ethiopian that I thought about cooking it. My resolve got stronger once I went into Dukem’s market and saw they had injera bread and  berbere spice mixes for sale, which without I probably would be unable to cook Ethiopian. Making my own injera bread? I don’t think so.

So I settled on making Doro Wat, the national dish of Ethiopia, mostly because once I thought about my favorite dishes from Ethiopian restaurants they were vegetarian platters that involve 5 individual stews – which would probably take me days to cook. This, at a little over 4 hours, was more manageable. I divided the recipe by 3 so I wouldn’t have leftovers for weeks (it serves 12), got rid of the hard-boiled eggs (never really been a fan of random hard cooked eggs in dishes – salads, fried rice, etc) and substituted dry white wine for sweet wine because it’s what I had on hand.

My jumping off point to find Ethiopian recipes was here, it was merely a coincidence that the recipe I chose came from the Washington Post. The Doro Wat was pretty great, if not very pretty to look at (nor is much of Ethiopian food, when you’re poor you’re not really worrying about the presentation of your food). The berbere spice mix did a lot to make it taste authentically Ethiopian, and while the dish was spicy the sweetness of the onions cooking for 4 hours helped balance out the flavors. I ended up having to make my own nitir kibe, or spiced butter, because I couldn’t find any at Dukem, but that worked out fine. It was satisfying to make my own Ethiopian dish successfully, but with the over 4 hours I spent making it, I think I’ll be ordering takeout from Ethiopian restaurants more than I’ll be cooking the cuisine myself.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs

I love me some America’s Test Kitchen, and in an episode I saw last weekend they made spaghetti and meatballs. So I decided it was time to make some as well. Let me be honest, I’ve had trouble with meatballs in the past. I’ve tried to pan-fry them, but I’ve found that as you try to cook them on each side they don’t look as round but more octagonal. Plus, they didn’t cook all the way through, and when I was trying I wasn’t making my own sauce, and even so, wouldn’t have thought to continue cooking them in the sauce.

Of course, America’s Test Kitchen has the answer: cook the meatballs in the oven and then finish them in the sauce. Genius. I modified their recipe a little bit because I didn’t want to use pork sausage for the meatballs, just beef. Otherwise I stayed true to the recipe.

This takes time, about an hour and a half for me. But man, is it rewarding to have made your own sauce and have meatballs that are round. And, it’s very filling and comforting, good food for a cold day like today. Plus, this recipe, which I halved for the sauce but not for the meatballs, could feed an army. They say it serves 8, but I would say it could easily serve 12 if not more. The leftovers are going in my freezer for another cold day.

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