Thursday, May 31, 2012


Most days part of my routine for preparing to leave for work includes packing a lunch. I have two primary reasons for doing so. The first is economics. I other words, I’m a cheapskate and packing my lunch is the cheapest way for me to eat. The second is self-control. By packing my lunch I can attempt to regulate my food intake. Most of the time lunch is a salad during warm weather, or soup when the weather is cold. Then there are infrequent days like yesterday when I allow myself to splurge. After a very busy weekend that included coordinating a festival for my church and attending a wedding, I felt like I was due for a treat. If you’re from the Madison area, you probably know that Library Mall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison plays host to several lunch stands where you can purchase a variety of different types of ethnic food including Mexican, Greek, and one of my favorites- East African. So yesterday when lunchtime came around, I headed out for a stroll to Buraka. My original intention was to get some Dorowat - a spicy chicken dish that I crave occasionally - but when I got to the cart and scoped out the menu, I decided to opt for the Vegetarian Peanut Stew. As with the Dorowat, the stew tends to be a bit spicy, but was the perfect choice to warm me up on a chilly day. The Peanut Stew had potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and onions, and is covered in a rich, creamy peanut sauce that has that wonderful yellowish tinge that tells you turmeric has been added along with the other spices. When ordering they offer a choice of rice or injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread made with teff flour that you can’t buy conveniently anywhere else. The injera has the flavor of sour dough, and the form of a somewhat thick crepe. I wouldn’t dream of going with rice, knowing that the injera is something special that shouldn’t be missed out on. Add to that a side of Ethiopian lentils, and it’s a great lunch to have for a treat! If you happen to be in the Madison area and wandering State Street, I recommend trying Buraka. In the evenings, the restaurant is also available. Check it out!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bowtie Primevera

Sunday was a busy day as Norm and I worked on the garden, so I was looking to put together a quick meal. Having been to the Farmers Market the day before, there were plenty of options available. Since I was in the mood for pasta, this is what I came up with:

Bowtie Primevera
1 C. Bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions
6 stalks asparagus, broken or cut in pieces
1 medium-sized fresh tomato, diced
1 T. dried basil
1/4 C. heavy cream
2 T. romano cheese
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Half a fresh cucumber, cut into wedges for garnish
Leaf lettuce, enough to cover 2 serving plates

Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions. A couple of minutes before it reaches al dente, add the asparagus to cook lightly. While pasta is cooking, arrange leaf lettuce on two dinner plates. When pasta is cooked and asparagus is bright green, drain. Return pasta and asparagus to pan. Add the diced tomato, dried basil, heavy cream, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until slightly thick. Divide into two portions and serve on a bed of leaf lettuce. Garnish with cucumber wedges. Eat! Serves 2. Prep time: half hour or less

Verdict: this was a perfect spring meal, something warm, but still had the flavors of the fresh spring vegetables and went together quickly. This would be good with diced chicken or shrimp in it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Starting again!

So - my daughter informs me that only people from Wisconsin start a conversation with the word "so". I'm from Wisconsin - and I do it a lot - start sentences with the word "so", that is. Hopefully it won't be enough to annoy you. Anyway, so I'm back at the blogger game, in the hope of improving my writing skills. We will see what happens. Come on along for the ride!