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Posts tagged ‘lime’

papaya lime smoothie with watermelon

I was married after dinner on Monday night. The veil was cotton and gauzy, my wedding dress an embroidered velvet cloak. My groom–a nervous Chinese tourist–sweated next to me as dancers pounded the stage in front of us, and when the musical number drew to a close I was paraded around the room–on piggy-back no less–by my new husband’s best man. What can I say? At least the food was good.

Getting roped into a comedic mock-wedding at an Addis Ababa restaurant was one of many adventures I had in Ethiopia, a country I found myself exploring just 10 days after starting my new job. I saw Lammergeiers and endemic wolves. I careened around a city with lovely roads but no traffic lights (they really do matter). I drank coffee so strong it challenged my high tolerance for bitterness, honed by a love of 90% dark chocolate. And I ate many, many rolls of injera.

With the texture of a spongy crepe and the taste of strong sourdough, injera functions as staple food and utensil alike. Enormous platters of the fermented bread arrive topped with meats, vegetables and rich sauces, and when your injera rolls are done you proceed directly to the saturated remains that constitute your plate. Ethiopians possess a strong cultural identity–every driver listens to his cassette of wailing songs, every conversation is carried on in streams of Amharic, every restaurant serves injera. Addis Ababa is frenetic, a maze of concrete construction and “shortcut” alleys our taxi could barely squeeze through without running over someone’s pet (or dinner, if you happen to like lamb). But out in the countryside, where rare birds alight on telephone poles and the mountains break onto vistas of the fertile valleys below, it is easy to see what Ethiopians are proud of.

Ethiopian cuisine is a worthy source of pride too: evenings I ate my injera with relish, and breakfasts were just as much an occasion to anticipate. Enormous pitchers of freshly blended “mixed fruits juice” sat on the table, and once home I was determined to recreate the blend of tropical fruit, its sweetness cut with lime. You can add or subtract to my recipe as you wish, and though I always considered myself a frozen smoothie sort of person–I enjoy a good brain freeze on a summer day–I actually like having this at room temperature. It may take me awhile to master injera (tracking down teff flour alone can be a challenge) but now I can bring at least a bit of culinary Ethiopia into my kitchen at home.

Papaya Lime Smoothie with Watermelon

1/2 ripe papaya

5 large cubes watermelon

juice of 1 small lime

1/4 cup water

Add the fruit and lime juice to a blender and blend well, then add water bit by bit to thin to your desired consistency and enjoy!

cranberry, chestnut, and apple salad with lime dressing

Browse any website or magazine rack beginning early November and you’ll come away with one vision of Thanksgiving: it’s about the food. It’s almost as though the idea of being thankful has been quietly engulfed in glossy photos of turkeys and latticed pies, and for a while it bothered me as a “socially conscious” high school sophomore that the defining characteristic of our holiday of thankfulness was excess. I can’t say my self-righteousness was entirely misplaced, but there was so much joy to be gained in letting it go.  The role of eating and food in celebration is sacred, and really, what better way is there to express gratitude?

For the last several years my family has shared hosting Thanksgiving with close friends, and this year we made the pilgrimage to their home for our holiday meal. I use the word pilgrimage with absolute seriousness, because Nick and Jane’s home has always held a special spot of reverence in my parents’ (very) discerning eye—it is beautiful in a way that is both effortless and tasteful. Then there is the food… gold-rimmed plates with soft-rind cheeses and soft-boiled eggs in china egg cups and large wedges of tea cake resting regally on the counter. It is one of the few places I know that is truly wonderful to visit.

This salad exemplifies the ways Jane’s cooking has inspired my mother and I over the years–simple and visually stunning, it was the perfect accompaniment to cold slices of ham and turkey the day after Thanksgiving. One week later the five of us sat at Manresa tasting the arugula flowers I’d shown them in the garden, and in a way I felt I’d come full circle: after the beautiful way of eating I’d experienced in their home since childhood, I had the chance to share something of my time on the farm with them.

Cranberry, Chestnut, and Apple Salad with Lime Dressing

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, November, 1981

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, cut in half

3 Tbsp sugar

2 bunches of watercress

1 cup chestnuts

3 green apples

1 Tbsp grated lime rind

juice of 3 to 4 limes

2 tsp Dijon mustard

pinch salt

2/3 to 1 cup olive oil

Zest the limes and set aside. Toss cranberries with sugar in a small bowl and let sit at least one hour covered and refrigerated.

In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine 1/4 cup lime juice with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the olive oil.

Core and cut the apples into bite size pieces.  Toss into the dressing.  Quarter the chestnuts and add to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

Line a glass bowl with the watercress (set the stalks up against the side of the bowl to create a nice visual presentation, and add more leaves on the bottom). Add the apple-chestnut mixture creating a small hollow in the center, then fill the hollowed-out space with the tossed cranberries.  As a final touch, sprinkle the lime zest over the salad and serve.

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