Tuesday Night Injenuity

The thing about working fulltime, even at a job you absolutely love, is that it sometimes feels like you have to save up the real quality you-time for the weekends. That’s not to say that I don’t thoroughly enjoy my weekday evenings. I wake up isanely early so I can leave the office by 4 and therefore have plenty of ‘real life’ time—I’m someone who needs a lot of this to feel like an actual human being. Still, by the time I get home, pack my lunch for the next day, kiss my bunny hello, empty the dishwasher, etc., it can sometimes feel like the evening flies by before I’ve had a chance to savor any real downtime. Often, the most I am able to accomplish is some knitting (or crocheting these days) and hand stitching.

This was case on Monday night. I squeezed in about an hour of work on my Kandinsky quilt before heading to Ole with Kyle for dinner. I mean, I’m not complaining. What’s better than a massive Monday night margarita and fresh guacamole?

 

Well, a couple of things. For one, the fact that Monday is taco day at Ole and you can choose from dozens of delectable flavors (the duck mole won by far):

 

And secondly, the fried plantains covered in cheese that I can’t help but order every single time we come here:

 

Good food and quality time with my good man: not a bad way to start of the week. But last night was marvelous in a very different way. Kyle was out of town so I decided to indulge in the type of activities that I generally reserve for weekends. I came home, put on the grungiest clothes I could find (sorry, Kyle!), sacrificed a few Tupperware containers to the cause, and within a couple of hours, had produced this:

 

Yes, I finally dyed my own fabric—and actually like love the results! I kept this very simple and used powdered dyes and a low-water immersion method and, as you can see, I stuck to solids for this go around. I have plenty more dye and plan on experimenting soon with marbling, but I have to admit I’m very into solids these days—having a simple, bold palette lets the design speak for itself.

I’ve discovered that there’s nothing quite like the high you get from dyeing your own yarn and fabric. It’s beyond gratifying. Having that type of ownership over the materials you use and being involved in every step of the creative process is very empowering.

The fabric is actually from old pillowcases so it’s  a very nice, soft, flannel. I’m imagining a kickass patchwork bag for the spring and summer. Like I said, there will be lots of fabric dyeing in my future (er, tonight?). In fact, I could barely stop myself last night and in my fabric dyeing frenzy, I even tore up a few more pillowcases:

 

But suddenly realized it was 7:30 and I was starving, having foregone my usual pre-dinner munchies (I decided that eating cheese and sweet potato chips while working with powdered dye would be a bad call). So I restrained myself from continuing, and instead whipped up a little pre-meal snack:

 

That would be my own (even tastier!) fried plantain. I’ve actually tried making these before using various different methods and ingredients, but I’ve discovered that this very sophisticated, complex technique is actually the best: melt a big old hunk of salted butter in a skillet and sauté away until the plantains are lightly browned on both sides. Yes, it’s that simple (I also recently learned that plantains aren’t truly ripe until they look all gross and black-skinned, and it’s worth waiting).

I enjoyed these with a side of sour cream, leftover guac, and feta cheese while I prepared my main course, a very different type of cuisine. I’m not one to give up and I just couldn’t let go of Saturday night’s mishap. Enter injera, round two:

 

Apparently, you can win them all—you just have to cheat 😉 This injera involved no fermenting, just the following simple ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole grain teff flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¾ cup club soda

I did save some of the batter to act as a sourdough starter for my next batch which I suppose will be more ‘authentic’, but I have to say: this simplified version turned out absolutely fabulous. Just look at that moist, spongy goodness:

 

Injera, it turns out, is alarmingly easy to eat in absurd quantities. It just rolls and folds and squishes so nicely—which means one whole piece can be consumed in a single bite. In my defense, I wasn’t sure if injera would save well so I felt I might as well eat as much as possible—but I did manage to set aside three pieces for lunch the rest of the week so hopefully it does.

Don’t worry, I ate more than a plantain and bread for dinner. The rest of my meal included, big surprise, sweet potato, cheese, and eggs (and my homemade ice cream, naturally)—but who cares? Injera was definitely the star of this meal.

Gosh, I need more weekday nights like this. Turns out, I have more than enough time to feed my creative muse (and my belly). I just have to go for it. I’m quite simply in the best mood ever this morning. I even caught myself belting out Elton John lyrics at the top of my lungs on the drive to work. Hey, don’t judge; there’s a Tiny Dancer in all of us.

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