Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ethiopian Beet & Potato Salad

My friend Becca travels all the time. She works for an international human rights organization, and if she's not in Geneva, she's in Jamaica, or Eastern Europe, or Mexico . . . it's hard to plan things with her, but our mutual friend tricked her into a dinner-for-two celebration for her birthday. Little did she know that our friend used a party planning thing on Facebook to get Becca's friends to a surprise birthday party for her. It was a success! She was surprised and the food was great. Our friend made injera, sour flatbread from Ethiopia that is used both as a food and a utensil....stews and meats are scooped up from a communal plate with pieces of injera. It's delicious, and I was hugely impressed with our friend's efforts. You can read more about injera here: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/bread/recipe-injera.html

I made a beet and potato salad to go along with the meal. I found the recipe on epicurious, but it originally comes from a great Ethiopian restaurant in Washington, D.C., Meskerem. It's so simple to make, and it's a great accompaniment to spicy stews. You can see it amidst the pots of food above: it's the bright purple dish.

Beet-Potato Salad with Lemon

1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 jalapeño chili, seeded, minced
1 pound red-skinned potatoes
1 pound beets

Combine onion, lemon juice, oil and jalapeño in large bowl. Set aside.

Cook potatoes and beets in separate large saucepans of boiling salted water until just tender, about 30 minutes for potatoes and 45 minutes for beets. Drain. Cool slightly. Peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Add beets and potatoes to lemon mixture and toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. You can serve this dish warm, at room temperature, or even cold.

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