Eat like an Ethiopian

Buying cookbooks has become something of a avocational hazard.

When this surfaced on the internets--vegan, gluten-free Ethopian food deconstructed for neophytes...let's just say my Pay Pal is shaming on me, for clicking "submit" yet again.

Papa Tofu is by Kittee Berns, who keeps a lively vegan food blog and spent about 10 years perfecting her Ethiopian cuisine. Designed in the spirit of 'zines of yore (read 1990s), Papa Tofu is a sweet, charming throwback in these days of digital everything. Crafty, fabric illustrations punctuate the witty text, which provides basic terminology, ways to make difficult-to-source ingredients and simple recipes. Once you have the niter kibbeh, teff and berbere, you're good to go.

It's refreshing to hold something that's actually been printed and loved from the spoon to each delightful image.

Time for a trip to the international food Mecca and a little stove-top travel.

Gluten-free vegan pumpkin cornbread

See. It's not air. You really can make a gluten-free vegan pumpkin cornbread that tastes like...cornbread. Really good cornbread.

With tomato-fennel soup ready for dinner, I scurried around the Internets looking for something quick and starchy to make, knowing soup wouldn't sustain Mr. Nake-id. Cornbread seemed the perfect thing: autumnal and just a bit sweet to offset the tarty tomatoes. And there was cornmeal in the fridge.

Then I wondered whether it could be made gluten free.

This recipe turned up, which I combined with this newly veganized favorite, Sage and Honey Skillet Cornbread. The bread is crumbly, full of corn flavor with just a hint of sage. Definitely Thanksgiving-worthy!

The recipe follows:

    2 cups organic yellow cornmeal
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
    1/4 cup butter-flavored grapeseed oil or neutral-tasting oil
    1 cup nondairy milk
    8 or 9 whole fresh sage leaves
    1/4 cup agave nectar, or to taste

    Preheat oven to 425. Spray medium-size cast-iron skillet with cooking spray and lay sage leaves in bottom of skillet.

    Carefully pour batter into your skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool and invert onto serving plate.