Spicy Scrambled Eggs

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In spite of owning Plenty, a wonderful Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook, I just had to purchase Plenty More, published in 2014. And I’m certainly glad I did.

For the blog, I’ve made zucchini Baba Ghanoush, and I’m especially intrigued by a membrillo and Stilton quiche, made with butternut squash, so that will be next.

But one recipe I bookmarked on the first read-through is Spicy Scrambled Eggs. Nothing exceptional except, well, it is. There are spices, herbs, eggs, tomatoes, a chile pepper and did I mention spices?!!


From Ottolenghi: Many of my brunch dishes were devised BC (before children), so food-meets-the-need-to-soothe was often in mind when cooking on a Sunday morning. A few dishes have remained part of the weekend breakfast repertoire since we started turning in early on a Saturday night. This is one of them.

Spicy Scrambled Eggs
Serves 4

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 small onion, finely diced
1 1/4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped
1 medium red chile, seeded, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4″ dice
8 eggs, beaten
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Urfa chile flakes

Put a large, preferably nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil, cumin, caraway, onion, ginger, and chile. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.


Add the ground spices, tomato paste, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and for and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 8 to 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.


Add the eggs, turn down the heat to medium-low, and continuously, but very gently, scrape the base of the pan with a wooden spatula.

You want to end up with large, curd-like folds and you want the eggs to be soft and very moist.

Cook the mixture for a total of about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle with the green onions, cilantro, and chile flakes.

Serve at once.


Enjoy!

Hot Buttered Rum

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It has taken me years to figure out that hot buttered rum, what I consider the original hot toddy, at least in my life, does not exist outside of ski resorts.

I should know because if it’s winter time and we’re somewhere, anywhere cold, I ask the bartender if he makes hot buttered rum. After the quizzical reaction I know I’ll have to order something simpler.

Not that hot buttered rum is a challenging toddy to make. It isn’t. There’s even mix that can be purchased, although of course it’s most likely inferior to preparing the drink from scratch.

The drink, served hot, does indeed have rum and butter in it. But then it’s sweetened with brown sugar and spices.
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Following is the hot buttered rum base so you can make a hot toddy to warm your frosty bits, whether you’re in an alpine setting or not! Then all you need is rum.

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Hot Buttered Rum Mix

1 pound brown sugar
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground

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1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon of vanilla powder, or use vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a microwaveable bowl. Slowly and carefully melt the butter.
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Alternatively, allow the butter to first come to room temperature and add the remaining ingredients.

Mix together well, beating until any lumps disappear.
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The mix can be used immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for future use.

If you are crafty, unlike myself, you can place it in cute jars topped with cute ribbons, and give the mix away to friends along with the hot buttered rum recipe.

Here it is:

2 heaping tablespoons of the above mix
2-3 ounces dark, spicy, or clear rum
Boiling water

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Place the mix and rum in a heatproof glass or cup.
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Add the boiling water and stir well.
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Serve with a cinnamon stick if desired.
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note: This hot buttered rum might look a little muddier than if I’d used clear rum, but I really like Captain Morgan!

Doro Wat

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Doro Wat, which translates to chicken stew, is another typical Ethiopian dish. Just like Sik Sik Wat, it utilizes the spice paste berberé, as well as niter kebbeh.

It’s a very simple dish to prepare, only require sautéing and braising. But it must be made with the spice paste and the infused spice butter to get the really unique flavors of Ethiopian cuisine. I urge you all to try these recipes – especially if you’ve never been lucky enough to enjoy Ethiopian food at a restaurant.

Unfortunately, I’ve tried, but regrettably never conquered the method for making injera – Ethiopian stretchy bread that looks like a large crepe. It’s made with teff flour, and it’s used to pick up the meat and vegetables, and wipe up the juices. So please go to an Ethiopian restaurant for the whole dining experience. You won’t regret it!

The recipe for Doro Wat comes from the Time Life Foods of the World cookbook entitled African cooking. But I’m making the recipe itself simpler, although I’m not changing the ingredients.

Doro Wat

3 pounds boneless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 lemon
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup niter kebbeh
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 1″ piece fresh ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup berberé
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
6 hard boiled eggs

First, cut up the thighs into about 3 or 4 manageable pieces, and place them in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl, add the salt, and toss the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, add the niter kebbeh to a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another few minutes.

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Add the fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg and berberé to the pot and cook the onion mixture for a few minutes, or until the berbere becomes completely combined with the other ingredients.

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Then add the white wine and water and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes over low heat.

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Pierce the hard boiled eggs with the tines of a fork, and place them in the pot with the chicken. Cover the pot again and cook for another 15 minutes.

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Serve the chicken hot with plenty of sauce, and make sure each serving includes a hard boiled egg. Any kind of bread would be good with doro wat, and comes in handy with the spicy sauce.

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After you’re done using the berberé, remember to put more oil over the top!

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Niter Kibbeh

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If you are ever lucky enough to get an Ethiopian cab driver, like I have a few times, bring up Ethiopian food to them. They love when you love their food. It always embarrassed my kids, of course. As soon as I asked, “Are you from Ethiopia?” they would roll their eyes, because they knew what was coming. I would ask only because their names were always Haile on their licenses. But I love talking to these men because I really do love Ethiopian food and also want to get correct pronounciations for the names of the dishes. Unfortunately none of these men actually knew about cooking any of the dishes, perhaps because women do all of the cooking? But they always knew the names and the significant ingredients, so that was fun. It’s also how I got a name of an Ethiopian market in Dallas one time. Unfortunately I haven’t been yet but it would be a fabulous experience.

Niter Kibbeh, which I don’t know how to pronounce, is a spiced, clarified butter. Along with berberé, it is necessary for cooking Ethiopian cuisine.

Here are the directions for making it, and next we start cooking Ethiopian food!

Niter Kebbeh
Spiced Butter Oil

To make about 2 cups

2 pounds unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
4 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cardamom pod, slightly crushed with the flat of a knife, or a pinch of cardamom seeds
1 piece of stick cinnamon, 1 inch long
1 whole clove
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

In a heavy 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat the butter over moderate heat, turning it about with a spoon to melt it slowly and completely without letting it brown. Then increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is completely covered with white foam, stir in the remaining ingredients.

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Reduce the heat to the lowest possible point and simmer uncovered and undisturbed for 45 minutes, or until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan are a golden brown and the butter on top is transparent.

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Slowly pour the clear liquid into a bowl, straining it through a fine sieve lined with a linen towel or cheesecloth. Discard the seasonings. If there are any solids left in the butter, strain it again to prevent it from becoming rancid later.

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Pour the kebbeh into a jar, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator. Kebbeh will solidify when chilled.

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