Continuing On My Food Journey To

Ethiopia

For this region’s dish I chose
Tibs.

When I first played around with the idea of starting a food journey, I found it as a challenge more to myself, to cook and learn about other country’s food and their culture. I kind of kept it on the back burner for a long time for several reasons. One thing that really changed my mind and gave me the push that I needed….ok three things… my hubby, my online family at FoodTribe.com and a little cooking competition show that featured Ethiopia as a food challenge. Through my naivety I mostly thought of Ethiopia as a poverty stricken country. But I soon discovered there is so much more, such as their food and how much they love to share it with one another.

The food is so exciting and unique with the rich, spicy stews and flavorful vegetables. Their dishes are not only prepared with diversity and strong spicy flavors, but Ethiopians are very centered on preserving their traditional heritage of eating together and savoring a meal. To them, cooking and sitting down to share a meal together with family and friends shows love and appreciation. Traditionally, a meal is eaten with the hands or Injera, which is like a spongy flatbread. I think for some of us living here in the US we might have a hard time thinking about eating with our hands, but I really like the concept. You truly are experiencing your food in a whole new way.

When I was reading about all of the different types of dishes, the one that really stood out for me was Tibs….maybe because I’m a girl who does love a good meaty meal. Tibs is a popular dish of sautéed meat with onions and spices. It’s like a cross between a stir fry and a stew. It is usually prepared by some as a sign of respect to someone or as a festive dish at special events or holidays, although you now can find it in restaurants or bars in the region.

It is really quick to prepare. The beef is cut into cubes and sautéed with onions, garlic, spices and tomatoes. It all comes together in a very rich, spicy sauce. You can control how spicy you want it so don’t be hesitant to try this if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. One spice in particular that is used in this dish and many others is Berbere. It is composed of chilis, garlic, cinnamon, allspice and several other warm spices. You can look up how to make your own, or like me you can find it online. I really suggest not leaving it out if you can because it really helps give this dish its depth of flavor. This dish really surprised me how layered in flavor it was…there is heat the from the spices, then you have the nice charred meat and onions with a slight tang from the tomatoes and lemon juice. It’s so delicious. There are several variations with venison and even some meatless ones, but this is pretty much the version that appealed to me….and you know I had to put a little of me into it as well. This dish is typically served with Injera or rice. I chose to serve mine with a side of rice.

Here’s what you need to make this delightful dish:

*1 lb beef cut into bite size pieces

*1 TBS canola oil or olive oil + 1 tsp.

*1/2 TBS Berbere spice +1 tsp.

*1 tsp salt or more to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

*2 cloves of garlic minced

*2 tsp. clarified butter or regular butter

*1/2 tsp cumin

*1/4 tsp. dried ginger or 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

*1 tsp dried Rosemary or 2 tsp freshly chopped

*1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes

*1/2 TBS lemon juice or more to taste

Set out the beef for about 30 minutes before cooking, dry with paper towels if needed.

Season the beef with 1/2 TBS of the Berber spice, salt and pepper.

Heat a cast iron pan to medium high heat and add 1 TBS. of canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef to the pan. Sear the beef for about 2 minutes on all sides.

Don’t over crowd the pan or the beef will not brown properly. If needed do this in batches.

Remove the beef from the pan; drain the left over juices except for 1 TBS and leave in the pan and add the 1 tsp. canola oil and the 2tsp. of the butter.

Once the butter is melted add in the onions and the garlic.

Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly; add in the cumin, ginger and Rosemary.

Continue cooking for about 2 more minutes or until the onions soften, stirring often.

Return the beef back to the pan and stir to combine the onion mixture with the beef.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes with the lemon juice and remaining 1 tsp. Berber.

Stir and turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove and serve.

Air Fryer English Muffin Pepperoni Pizzas

English muffins can be used for so much more than just spreading on some butter or your favorite jam. Don’t get me wrong that is really yummy, but what if you are craving pizza, but you don’t really feel like making any from scratch or breaking out the frozen kind. These can satisfy that craving. English muffin pizzas are great for a snack or a meal. Spread on a little pizza sauce and top it with your favorite pizza toppings and your taste buds will be happy. What’s even better is that these are cooked in the air fryer which means you can have your mini little pizzas even faster than if they were cooked in the oven.

Here’s what you need:

*English Muffins

* Pizza sauce, homemade or jared

*shredded cheese; I used a blend of mozzarella and cheddar

*Pepperoni or any other pizza topping

Preheat the air fryer at 400°

Split apart each muffin and spread some pizza sauce on each half.

Sprinkle on the cheese and top with the pepperoni.

Place inside of the air fryer basket and cook for 2 minutes. Open the basket and make sure that none of the pepperoni have blown off due to the fan. If they have, just carefully….the basket will be hot….place the pepperoni back onto the pizzas. Continue to cook another 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the English muffins are toasted.

*Note* Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Very carefully remove the pizzas and serve.

Scrambled Eggs and Bacon On Toast

I’m a lover of breakfast. I’m sure you can tell with all the breakfasty posts that I have throughout this blog. Breakfasty…..I think that’s my new word. One of the things I enjoy eating to start off my day is scrambled eggs. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fried sunny side up egg or eggs in just about any form, but there is something so comforting and satisfying as some nice, fluffy scrambled eggs. How can it get any better than that you might ask. How about some nice, fluffy scrambled eggs piled over some crispy bacon and nestled on some buttery crunchy toast.

As I stated before the main star of this breakfast show is the scrambled eggs. I think everyone has their own way of making them. Some might say their way is the right and only way. I say as long as you and your family, friends or loved one dig your eggs, then bravo. If your scrambled eggs look like they have been a bit….well….too scrambled and sent to purgatory, keep practicing. I can tell you how I make mine and if you wish, you can try these as well. I like mine a little creamy and a little custardy with just the right amount of salt, cracked pepper and some sprinkling of chives mixed in. If you prefer your method of cooking them, then grab those eggs and let’s get cracking.

I know, I groaned a tad at that too but the end result of this breakfast should leave your taste buds groaning in delight and wanting more.

Here’s what you need:

*your favorite bread sliced to desired thickness; I used some bakery Italian bread.

*2 eggs per serving

*2 tsp. softened butter per serving for the bread

*2 TBS butter; divided

*salt and pepper to taste

*fresh of dried chives to taste

*water about 1 TBS.

*2 slices of bacon per serving cooked crisp.

Cook the bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels; set aside.

Butter the top of the bread.

Toast the bread in a toaster or like I like to do for thicker slices, in a toaster oven. When the bread is toasted, place on serving plates and add 2 strips of bacon on top of each slice; set aside.

Crack the eggs into a bowl. I like to add a little water to the eggs instead of cream or milk, about 1 Tbs. Whisk the eggs and the water together until the eggs are a little frothy.

Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and add 1 Tbs of butter. When the butter is melted pour in the eggs.

Let it set for a few seconds then take a silicon or rubber spatula and start to push the edges of the eggs to the center.

Continue doing this pausing every few seconds to let the eggs settle back onto the sides of the pan.

I know it’s tempting to turn up the heat so the eggs will start to cook faster, but long and slow is really the key.

When the eggs begin to cook and stay in the middle of the pan, add in the salt, pepper, chives and the rest of the butter.

Continue gently pushing the eggs around the pan until they are almost set, but still look a little wet.

Remove the eggs from the pan and place on top of the bacon slices. The eggs will continue to cook a little bit more while out of the pan. This is why it’s good to remove the eggs from the heat while they are still a tad under so when it’s time to serve, they will be perfectly fluffy and soft.

Serve and enjoy.

Layered Cheesy Refried Black Bean Dip

This easy Layered Cheesy Refried Black Bean Dip is loaded with gooey melted cheese, tasty refried black beans and a nice spicy kick from your favorite salsa. This dish is great to take on potlucks or for noshing in front of the tv on game day. If you’re like me, I’m not in it for the game, but for the goodies that go along with it. This is super easy to put together. You can use your favorite store bought brands, pop it in the oven and in 30 minutes, grab a bag of tortilla chips and let the snacking begin.

You can even make this up the day before so you wont miss a minute of game play or spending time with friends and family.

Here’s what you need:

*8 oz cream cheese, softened

*1 can refried black beans

*1 jar of salsa mild, medium or hot

*1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded cheese; I used cheddar and Colby Jack

*tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375°.

In an 8 inch backing dish, spread the cream cheese on the bottom in an even layer.

Spread the refried beans over the top of the cream cheese.

Then pour the salsa in an even layer over the refried beans.

And last but not least, sprinkle the cheese over the salsa.

Spray no stick spray on a piece of foil so the cheese will not stick and cover the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more.

Serve with tortilla chips while the dip is hot.