Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ethiopian Cooking Part II... Berbere

Some of you may remember a hundred years ago when I started to say that I would teach you how to cook Ethiopian food.  An idea which had merit but was obvioulsy lacking in execution as here it is... a mere....millenia  17 months later and we are finally getting to Part II.  Please revisit Part I here.  So the bad news is that I dropped the ball, this is no surprise with my time restraints these years days.  The good news... here is Part II and I've given you an easy link back to Part I... and with these two ingredients you can basically make half of all Ethiopian dishes.  The Nitter Kibbeh is a spiced clarified butter, and the Berbere is a spice mixture... both of which are in almost everything.  I have heard that you will never get it as good unless someone brings it to you from Ethiopia.  Well being fresh out of Etiopian connections I will have to make due.  And since I don't know what I'm missing... I thought this was pretty darn good.... better than good.  Fantastic in fact.  And once you add this to your heating Nitter Kibbeh you will be in aromatic heaven.  Once you are all good little students and make these two I will divulge my recipe for Doro Wat.... it's not pretty but it is soooooo good it will plant ideas of traveling through Africa just to taste the food.  Does anyone else notice I make a lot of ugly food.  That would have been a great catchy name for a blog.  Ugly Food.... hmmm... I like it.

My spice next to the photo in the cookbook which is full of gorgeous recipes.  The monkey likes to open it and go through it page by page and tell me what he likes and what he wants to eat.  And why yes that is a handy dandy kids take and toss container.  Note to self... do not use this container to store baby food in the future.

adapted from Soul of A New Cusine


1tablespoon Fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup dried serrano chilies or other dried chilis
1/2 cup ground paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoon ground onion powder
1 tablespoon cardomom seeds (I bought mine whole but out of the pod)
1 tablespoon freshly ground or grated nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon Garlic powder
1/4 tablespoon Ground cloves

1/4 Tablespoon Ground cinnamon

1/4 Tablespoon Ground allspice


Ground everything together in a coffee or spice grinder.  I recommend grated the nutmeg ahead of time as you are not about to grind one of those giant rocks into a fine powder otherwise.  I did my stuff in batches because my grinder is small.  And be careful when doing the chilis... once again I got to experience what it would be like to mace myself.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Irish Whiskey Butter

I would love to say that I am not one to wish away a season but the truth is... I am.  I totally am.  I cannot wait for Summer to get here and then towards the end after a month of sticky 100+ degree days and three showers a daw and sweaty cranky children, and being held hostage in your house because you could get heat stroke if you go out into the world I am ready for Fall.  Being from Vermont Fall has always been my favorite season anyway.  The leaves in the mountains during foliage season are just breath taking. Go ahead and google it if you've never been.  You will be amazed, you will be jealous, you will think... no way does the whole state look like that... but it pretty much does.  I have so many great memories of Vermont that I often get homesick just thinking about it.  I am crossing my fingers that we will get to go home during foliage for the first time since we moved out to Cornfield-Central.

I mean who wouldn't want to be around this?

Photo via Google images

or this?

Darn it, now I want to go fishing too!

One of my Summer to Fall memories as a child was eating rhubarb at my Grandmother's house.  My cousins and I would go out to the side of the yard and choose our giant stalks of rhubarb, go into the house and peel them and pour out little dishes of sugar and salt to dip them in.  I tried to plant some rhubarb this year so I could continue the tradition with my own children.  However I was more inspired by nostalgia to plant it in the same area of the yard than by reason and the weeds in the back of the lot drowned the poor buggers in shade and I was greeted not by the blushing stalks but by whithered sad little brown strings.  I am hoping some of them make it back next year but it is a small hope.  Luckily you can buy rhubarb in any store or farmer's market right now and make this dish.  On a positive note I saw about 4 teeny tiny strawberries on the plants we planted on the side of the house so my son is very excited about that.  I don't think we will get enough to make jam as the goal is eventually but even if one survives long enough to be picked and eaten by the Monkey he will be thrilled.

these were frozen and made them a bit more sour than I expected

Strawberry-Rhubarb Irish Crumble with Irish Whiskey Butter
Irish Whiskey Butter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
5 cups quartered strawberries
3 cups sliced rhubarb, about 1/3-inch thick (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
Pinch salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
To make the Irish whiskey butter, place the butter in a mixing bowl and whip until fluffy. With the mixer running, gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Slowly add the Irish whiskey until combined. The mixture may look separated and curdled at first but if you continue whipping, it will come together. Topping may be used at room temperature or chilled.
Preheat oven to 375o F. Lightly grease a 7-by-11-inch baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Pour the strawberry mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a medium, mixing bowl, add the flour, oats, light brown sugar, and salt, stirring to combine. Add the diced butter to the flour mixture, and using your fingers, work the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Pour the crumb mixture evenly on top of the strawberry mixture.
Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
Serve warm with a spoonful of the Irish Whiskey Butter.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cumin-Glazed Ribs with Avacado-Pineapple Salsa

I have always thought of Memorial Day as the day that kicks of grilling and Labor Day as the day that ends the grilling season.  I made these for the 4th of July weekend and every time my husband says the word grill I want them again... which is funny because now that I look back over the recipe there is very little grilling involved... which means that you can all have them for your Labor Day party, and I my friends... can have them ALL WINTER LONG if I want.  It's a win-win really... well for me for sure because I've had them but it's not too late for you.  I'll give you the recipe.  If you're nice.  And maybe beg a bit.

First procure yourself some yummy ribs.  The recipe calls for baby back ribs but I could only find spare ribs.  The guy at the store informed me that the difference was that spare ribs have less meat than baby back ribs which I believe is backwards but this is the same guy that told me skirt steak and flank steak are exactly the same cut of meat.  This is what you do for a living buddy.... gain some knowledge.  Just saying.  Mix up the spice rub and cover the rib racks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 10 hours.  I do not remember doing this.  It is possible that I skipped over it and just threw them in the fridge with the rub.  It's been known to happen.  Either way I let them sit in there for 4 hours as I was making them the day I wanted to serve them.

After they have marinated, you bake them (see below).  While baking them make your glaze/saucey stuff.  You will need some jalapenos...


some honey and other such ingredients.  Blend that stuff up and transfer to a pot.

Simmer over low heat until glossy and thickened.  The recipe says 15 but I think mine took closer to 30.  Here you raise the temperature of the oven and continue to cook the ribs after brushing them with the glaze.  Now the picture in the magazine shows them all reddish brown.  Mine got very dark very quickly so don't freak if you're are dark too.  They almost looked burnt but that is a common look for rubbed ribs in my experience.

While they are finishing up make the salsa.  You will want to do this on a grill pan or grill.  Grill the pineapple rings until charred.... mine were extremely juicy so I actually put them on a paper towel to soak up some of the extra juice, then set them in a bowl so I could scoop the fruit out and leave all the extra juice.  Then I worried that I needed the juice to marry the flavors so I added some back in but after looking at the photo again their salsa looks all fresh and not mushy which happens when you leave pineapple juice on anything so next time I will keep them separate and as dry as possible before adding them back in.  I also didn't bother to core them, I just grilled them then diced around the core to save time.

Cut up remaining ingredients for salsa and mix together.

Right before you serve them you want to either heat up the broiler or grill and heat them over high heat for about 5 minutes, then serve with the salsa.... mmmmmmmm.  I wish I had these in the fridge right now it is perfect weather out to have ribs tonight.

Cumin-Glazed Ribs with Avocado-Pineapple Salsa
Susan Feniger c/o Food and Wine June 2011


1/4 ancho chile powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 racks of baby back ribs (about 5 pounds)
4 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup honey
1 pound fresh pineapple rings, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup cilantro
1 large Hass avocado


In a small bowl, combine the ancho powder with 1/4 cup of the cumin, 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Set the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet and rub all over with the spice mix.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Add 1/4 inch of water to the baking sheet and bake the ribs for 45 minutes, until barely tender.  Cover with foil and bake until tender, about 30 minutes longer.  Pour off the pan juices.

Meanwhile, in a blender, puree three-fourths of the jalapenos with the garlic and 1/2 cup of the lime juice.  Blend in the honey and remaining 1 tablespoon of cumin.  Transfer the glaze to a saucepan and simmer over low heat until glossy and thickened, 15 minutes.

Raise the oven temperature to 450.  Brush the ribs with half of the glaze.  Roast until well glazed, turning once, about 20 minutes.  Brush with the remaining glaze.

Light a grill or preheat the broiler.  Grill the pineapple rings over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes.  Finely dice the pineapple and transfer to a bowl.  Add the brown sugar, onion, cilantro, avocado and remaining jalapeno and 2 tablespoons of lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill or broil the ribs over high heat, turning once, until caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Cut between the bones and serve with the salsa.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I know I just announced that I was changing the blog address but I have decided to take the plunge and do my very own website.... the new address will soon be  Stay tuned.  I hope to be posting there soon.  Until then I will post at both coulisandcompote and Iamthebossychef both on blogspot.  I haven't decided if Sweet Peas will tag along on the "real" website or not.  New recipe tomorrow.  Have a good night.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Bossy Chef Becomes......

.... well the Bossy Chef.  After two  new additions to the family and a few years of blogging under my belt I have realized that I have no desire for a fancy smancy blog, nor do I have time for 12 hour processes and 2 hour photo shoots, so I am starting new with the Bossy Chef Blog.  It will be the same as this blog is now it will just be a little more fitting.  Please join us at:

And if you have little sweet peas in your life you can visit us here for fun kid food.

Now... put your mouse on the link and click.... follow me and leave lots of comments... a new recipe awaits you over there... well this recipe to be exact... :)

Asparagus with Eggs and Pumpernickel Crumbs
adapted from Richard Blais Food and Wine


2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened (I used olive oil to make it dairy free)
**1 thick slice of pumpernickel bread (use your favorite gluten-free bread to make it gluten-free or leave it out all together and top with oven crisped pancetta)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 medium white onion, minced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon raspberry vinegar (oh... I thought I had some but I didn't so I used Sherry vinegar)
3 tablespoons parsley (which I forgot to add so just sprinkled around the dish
salt and freshly ground pepper
16 medium asparagus spears, trimmed
4 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the butter on the pumpernickel bread. Bake for about 4 minutes, until crisp. Let cool, then break the toast into 1/2-inch pieces.

In skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the capers and vinegar and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Light a grill or heat a grill pan. Drizzle the asparagus with oil an season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat, turning, until lightly charred and crisp but tender, 5 minutes. (I did mine in the oven for 7 minutes)

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the eggs and simmer over moderate heat for 4 1/2 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water; keep the water simmering. Gently crack the eggs all over and careful remove the shells, keeping the eggs whole.

Return the shelled eggs to the simmering water to heat through about 30 seconds (here is where my lack of attention to detail in recipes comes in. I saw the photo and assumed they were poached eggs, so that's what we made. I thought it was better and easier that way personally. I am not a fan of soft boiled eggs really. It should be really gooey or really cooked in my opinion.

Arrange the asparagus on the plates and top with the onion relish and the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the pumpernickel crumbs on top and serve.