Have you ever looked up a word in the dictionary, found your word and then read the definitions of about thirty or forty words after that just for the hell of it? Well I’ve never done it and if you have you need to take up a hobby or get a dog or something. I don’t even own a dictionary anymore.
But it did kind of happen to me the other day on the computer.
I was doing some research on wine and for the life of me I couldn’t remember how you spell “Sommelier”. I had an “A” where the “E” was or something went haywire. When you type in the word on the search a bunch of similar spellings come up as well and soon I found, sommelier, semolina Somalia, the river Somme even Elke Sommer who was a hot babe back in the day.
So to advance this column in to the world of continuous education, let’s lump these “Som…” words together, give a brief description of each word and then tie it all in with a recipe or two. Sound cool? I thought so.
Let’s start with “Semolina” Not to be confused with Somalia, semolina is purified drum wheat used in making pasta. Boiled semolina turns into porridge or Cream of Wheat. The flour is quite popular in West Africa and that’s where we tie in Somaliland cuisine.
Somali cuisine is pretty regionalized but there a few fusion dishes that are prevalent throughout Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Middle East. You may have heard of some of these dishes at your local Somali restaurant or bistro. Sabaayad, Lahoh, Injera or ful Medames come to mind. Somali cooking is spicy but using flavors from the land blend tastes and sensations that are unique. Somalia is not just about pirates any more.
3 Cups Semolina Flour
1 ½ Cups Water
1/2 Se Salt
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
Combine the flour, oil and salt in deep bowl; add the water gently using your fingers Knead the dough until it turns very smooth for 5 to 10 minutes.
Brush with oil, cover and set aside for half an hour.
Divide the dough into 8 large balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a rough circle about 8 inches in diameter.
Brush oil on one side of the Sabaayad and spread evenly fold to edges in to meet center fold, fold the other edges in, you should now have a square fold, set a side. Finish until you have applied the same method to all the pieces.
Again on a floured surface roll each piece out into a circle and place it on a hot griddle over medium heat.
Fry the Sabaayad one at a time with little oil, turning them once each side is golden brown.
The Sabaayad will puff slightly and become crisp and brown. Drain the sabaayad on paper towels and serve warm.
This flavorful Somali flatbread should be accompanied by a generous white wine such as a Vouvray, Marsanne or a Viognier, such as a Napa Valley 2012 Freemark Abbey.
So this where the sommelier comes in speaking of wine.
A sommelier is a trained wine professional working in a fancy fru fru high end restaurant.
This is the guy walking around the dining room in a tuxedo with a silver slurping spoon on a chain hanging from his neck. They usually have funny accents and are a bit condescending. Their most important duties are in the areas of wine procurement, wine storage, cellar rotation, and expert service to wine consumers.
Warning, bad interaction with a wine steward can result in over=priced wine, wine that has turned to vinegar or even a loogey in the bottle so be nice.
Most sommeliers are either French or French trained. This brings us to the River Somme which happens to be located in France. Huh. Coincidence? I think not.
The Somme region in Northern France is the site of the famed WWI battle. It was a four-month long battle that was among the largest and bloodiest battles of WWI. Known as La Bataille de la Somme, the battle turned the tide of the war toward the British and French armies.
Speaking of Germany, a hot blonde actress by the name of Elke Sommer hails from there and if you remember such movies as “S Shot in the Dark” with Peter Sellers or “The Art of Love” with James Garner, you know who I’m talking about. Thick accent, great breasts, she has been an international sex symbol since 1959.
ELKE SOMMER’S CHRISTMAS STOLLEN
1 Pkg. Active Yeast
4 Tbs. Warm Water
¾ Cup Warm Milk
4 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tsp. Salt
4 Tbs. Butter
4 Tbs. Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Raisins
3 ½ Cups Flour
¾ Cup Powdered Sugar
4 Tbs. Toasted Slivered Almonds
4 Tbs. Each, Grated Lemon and Orange Peel
2 Tbs. Melted Butter
1 Tbs. Milk
Make two or three days before serving. In medium bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in lukewarm milk, granulated sugar, salt, egg and butter.
Next, stir in slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, lemon peel, orange peel, raisins, and 1 & 1/2 cups flour. Mix with spoon until smooth. Mix in enough of remaining flour to handle easily.
Turn onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put in greased bowl; brush top with melted butter and cover with towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 & 1/2 hours.
Roll or pat dough into 12″ by 8″ oval. Spread with melted butter. Fold in two lengthwise into crescent. Press edges firm enough to hold together place on a greased sheet. Brush top with remaining melted butter. Let rise until doubled 35-45 minutes.
Heat oven to 375degrees.
When loaf has doubled, bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and done. Frost, while still warm, with confectioner’s sugar. Let frosting drip down sides of loaf. Decorate with glazed cherries and sliced almonds, if desired.
Tomorrow we will cover “D’s” and ‘Y’s”.
For extra credit, view the video and slideshow.