My Thursday and Friday were delicious. Teacher workdays meant planning time with no kids around throwing pencils at my head and days ending with me being happy and ready for a fun evening (rather than crying in the shower, like last Friday night. Oi.)
We begin with potluck’s recipe.
I know I made my big dramatic goals announcement the other day, and though they continue to go swimmingly, let’s not forget that this is a food blog and I know most of my readership (particularly those related to me!) read it for the recipes.
This is a good one :D
I made my first foray into savory orange bread pudding with butternut squash and free Oikos organic Greek yogurt (God, I’d love if they’d offer me that again!) last winter, but this was BETTER.
Again, gleaned inspiration from Cooking Light’s Butternut Parmesan Bread Pudding. But was better :D
I began by roasting about 2/3 of a big pumpkin at 400 degrees until it was tender and there was some nice goldenness around the edges. I actually did this in advance (since whacking up a pumpkin is a bit time consuming!) and let it just sit in my fridge. Totally cool.
Then got out my bread. Just what we had. Whole wheat. Probably a good call, since though white bread bread pudding is deliiiiiiiiicious I can eat roughly eight pounds of it without feeling any fuller.
For flava, I sauted some red onion (1 cup or so) and a clove of garlic in about 2 tsp. olive oil.
Then a flash of brilliance: let’s toast up the bread in the oil! It’ll infuse it with flava and give it some crunch! So done.
Another flash of brilliance: while I make my custardy egg mixture (4 eggs, 1 2/3 cups milk, salt and pepper, pinch of nutmeg), why not add some spinach for beautiful orange and green color?!
Ready for the oven, it looked like a still life! With cheese sprinkled on top (just a teensy bit- what I had left. Honestly, this is so good it doesn’t need cheese. My sister is shaking her head if she’s reading this- she thinks nothing is that good. But I think this is.)
Into a 350 degree oven it went.
Out it came 45 minutes later, golden and lovely.
So lovely! Comfort food at its finest. Squishy carby bread, egg-enriched custard soaking through everything, sweet and delicious pumpkin (both eggs and pumpkin were local! :D)
Huge hit. Love it. I feel such pressure to make delicious things for potluck: I think the main way I try to earn the love and respect of others is through my cooking, so a successful potluck cooking experiment is sort of the ultimate for me.
Meanwhile, Steve was making a fantastical creation on the stovetop. In various pans he had oil, garlic, walnuts, sliced grapes..
Mixed with orzo! Stuffed mushrooms on top! Feta too!
First plate. My thing, Steve’s thing, David’s lentils (! See below), Erin’s friend’s mashed sweet potatoes, Kyle’s spinach and onion scrambled eggs.
(Brief tangent on those lentils: David called his Peruvian mother to ask her how to make them. SO GOOD! Cover half a pound of lentils in water. Cook for 40 minutes. Midway through cooking time, add one onion that’s been chopped up and fried in some oil until golden, along with salt and pepper, so it finishes cooking with the lentils. EXQUISITE.)
I regretfully abstained from these (Hot and Sexy in March!) but these cookies have a funny story:
Erin was dating a guy who gave her cookies for Valentines Day. In addition to the cookies, he gave her a batch of the raw dough for her freezer, to make cookies whenever she liked. So she did… after they broke up a few weeks ago. I call them breakup cookies.
Friday night was the BEST!
What is this?
This is INJERA which means ETHIOPIAN FOOD YAY YAY YAY!
Furthermore, Ethiopian food was eaten with BEST FRIEND YAY YAY YAY!
Followed by trip to favorite dive bar for favorite bizarre karaoke scene (think rapper-looking dude belting out a serious and powerful rendition of “You Oughta Know”, by Alanis Morisette).
Followed by charades on the Metro.
I love my friends. And best friend. And boyfriend. And life.
So with my (vegetarian) best friend and her (vegan) boyfriend, my omnivore but increasingly wary due to seeing Food, Inc. boyfriend and I went to town ordering all the fabulous vegan options at Dama, my fave Ethiopian place. Just pointed to the first five items on the “Vegetarian” section of the menu and went “One of each.”
From your four o’clock going crosswise, that’s collard greens; wonderfully seasoned pureed lentils; cabbage, carrots, and potatoes which sound so mundane but at this place are a revelation; awesome hot and spicy chunky lentils; and in the center yellow split peas.
Can we just admire how they put hot peppers on top of everything? It is like the mother ship is calling me home.
ON A GREAT BIG INJERA PLATTER FOR OUR EATING PLEASURE!
Meal concluded with hand wipes :D