Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trip to Iowa Part 2: Snow and Kansas City Ethiopian

Rn or I had never been north before in the fall or winter. When you are bound to a school schedule, almost all your traveling takes place in the summer months. We were hoping for SNOW, a nice snowy, picturesque Iowa Thanksgiving, over the river and through the woods in the sleigh to grandma's house. Well, it was cold (we bought gloves and thermals in preparation for the trip) but sunny, very sunny, the whole time, until the morning we left.

An hour or two down the road we started getting drizzly rain, then suddenly we said, Hey, is that slushy frozen stuff in those little raindrops on the windshield. Just as we crossed into Missouri, it turned into full fledged snow with the flakes getting bigger and fluffier as we continued (strangely enough) south. Not long after crossing into Missouri, we had to pull off the highway and stop to see how the snow was falling. (Okay, I know a lot of people are thinking, Yeah, we had to put up with snow on Thanksgiving week, big deal, but we live in Texas, so snow always seems a little miraculous.)

So then, of course, we had to get out and run around in it, on this barren side street in northern Missouri.

And then it was necessary that a snowball fight ensue:

By the time we got to Kansas City, it was just a cold drizzle, and we had put off stopping for lunch to go to the Blue Nile for Ethiopian food. It was R's first experience with having big, flat bread as a plate and eating with no utensils. She enjoyed the injera and a few of the milder offerings, like the lentils and carrots with turmeric, on the double order of this vegetarian plate we had, with a sampling of all of these things:

1. Gomen - $8.95
Fresh collard greens cooked and seasoned with onion, ginger, and garlic.

2. Misir Watt - $8.95
A stew made from organic red lentils cooked with sautéed onion and berbere, then flavored with ginger, garlic, and cardamom.

3. Atiklett - $8.95
Cabbage mixed with chunks of potatoes and carrot cooked with yellow onion and flavored with ginger, garlic, and trmeric.

4. Yekik Watt - $7.95
Seasoned yellow split peas slowly cooked with ginger, turmeric and garlic.

5. Fosolia - $8.95
Fresh green beans and carrots cooked with onions, fresh garlic, turmeric and ginger.

6. Mushroom Shiro - $8.95
Roasted and powdered chickpeas and sliced mushroom simmered in spiced red sauce.

7. Dinich Watt - $7.95
Chunks of potatoes cooked with garlic seasoned in tomato and berbere sauce.

8. Shimbera Assa - $10.95
Baked and sliced ground, garbanzo bean dough, simmered in a medium spiced stew with onions, berbere, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and a touch of mustard and nutmeg..

9. Veggie Combination - $12.95
A platter featuring items #1 through #8.

It was all quite yummy, but what I think she enjoyed most was the attention and instruction from the super friendly young waitress who explained to her all about the traditional Ethiopian table and eating styles in the family and the Ethiopian alphabet. This young woman was absolutely adorable, as I whispered to Edward, and then when we went up to pay, and R was busily creating a personal note writing code for her, she whispered to us about R, She is adorable. So cute. It was a great eating experience.

About my garden in December: When we got back I really needed to water, but the plants looked pretty good. On Dec 2, I harvested a number of tomatoes and a beautiful orange pepper.

Mid-morning today it was a very temperate 65, but a little after noon it became very windy and grey and winter was blowing in. Now, a couple of hours after we left Edward's parents' they got the same winter storm that we ran into on the drive back and got 4-6 inches of that snow R and I had been hoping for. This evening in Texas, rain and sleet or snow and sleet are in the forecast. It won't stick, but it would be nice to see it fall. We've just got to get out and pick or cover all the little delicate things growing in our garden.

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