Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunny Citrus Salad

Late winter can be a hard stretch for me, and this year it seems even worse.  I love the change of seasons, and I even love snow.  But by the end of February, I'm usually over it.  And since this winter we've had more snow and cold than is typical for Colorado, I'm really, truly over it.

Over.  It.

Maybe that's why citrus is in peak season now.  It gives us all something sunny to help us through the winter.

Sunny Citrus Salad
Based on Thomas Keller's little gem salad in his ad hoc at home cookbook, this salad serves two.  Our local market didn't have the little gem lettuce he suggests using, which he says is like a cross between romaine and butter lettuces.  So the first time I made this salad I used some butter lettuce we had on hand, and the next time I used a combination of baby greens.  Both worked very well.

I also learned from this cookbook a new way to segment citrus fruit.  See instructions below.

4 cups salad greens
2 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 pieces of citrus fruit (use a combination of blood orange, tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, whatever you like)
2 Tablespoons pomegranate seeds
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
Fresh tarragon leaves
Fresh mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Toast the chopped walnuts on a cookie sheet for about 4 minutes; remove to a plate (so they won't keep cooking on the pan) and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

In a large salad bowl, drizzle desired amount of dressing (recipe below) around the sides of the bowl.  Go easy on the dressing, you can always add more.  Add the salad greens and red onion to the bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; toss with your hands.

Plate the greens and arrange the citrus fruit on top.  Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, then tear the fresh herbs over the top.

Honey Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
3 Tablespoons honey

Measure out the canola and virgin olive oils in a one-cup measuring cup with a spout (so you can use it to pour into the blender).  Put the vinegar and honey in a blender (I use a Vitamix, LOVE IT) and blend to combine.

Remove the inner circle of the lid of your blender, and sloooowly drizzle in the oil.

Transfer extra dressing to a covered container, to store in the refrigerator for future use.  You'll see the oil separates and solidifies when the dressing is chilled; just remove the dressing from the fridge and let it sit out for a bit before using. Shake the container once it comes to room temperature, and it'll combine again beautifully.

To Segment Citrus Fruit:
First, sharpen your knife (trust me on this).  Then cut off the top and bottom and stand it upright.

Remove the peel by cutting from top to bottom along the outside.

If necessary, use your knife to remove the ring of peel that may be left behind.

Cut along the left side of the membrane and when your knife reaches the bottom turn it counter-clockwise so the blade scrapes along the opposite membrane.

It takes some practice, but the segments end up looking much better--and you waste less fruit--than with other methods.  And any segments that get mangled in the process, just toss them to your citrus-loving dog.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Caramelized Pork Medallions with Vanilla Bean, Pearl Onions and Braised Tuscan Kale

One of the many things I love about the Robert Sinskey Vineyards wine club is exploring new ingredients and flavor combinations.  I love vanilla, but hadn't used it in a savory dish or in the form of vanilla bean paste.  The "culinary gift" in a recent club shipment was a jar of Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste. 

Vanilla bean paste has the pure flavor of vanilla beans, and those wonderful little flecks of vanilla, without the fuss of splitting and scraping the beans.  And without the lingering flavor of alcohol that comes with vanilla extract. 

I'm hooked.

And a word about kale, which is one of our favorite foods.  Kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet; one cup contains 36 calories (before adding olive oil, haha), 5 grams of fiber and a ton of essential vitamins and minerals.  It's loaded with anti-cancer antioxidants and also rich in nutrients associated with eye health.  So go get yourself some kale.

This meal, with a glass (or two) of Sinskey pinot is pure heaven.

Caramelized Pork Medallions with Vanilla Bean, Pearl Onions, Braised Tuscan Kale and Rutabagas
This meal used a combination of a few recipes that came with a recent Sinskey club shipment.  The original recipes can be found online at the Robert Sinskey Vineyards web site.

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sauteed Pearl Onions (recipe below)
Caramelized Rutabagas (recipe below)
Braised Tuscan kale (recipe below)
2 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Prepare the tenderloin by trimming excess fat and removing any sinew.

Prepare the marinade for the pork by whisking together the vanilla bean paste, kosher salt, a pinch of black pepper, and olive oil.  Rub the outside of the pork with the marinade, then put the pork and marinade in a non-reactive container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, to allow them to come to room temperature.

Grill the pork tenderloin over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove to a plate to rest, and cover lightly with foil to keep warm.

Pearl Onions:
10 pearl onions, peeled and trimmed (save yourself time and effort by using frozen)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock

Saute the pearl onions in the butter for 7-10 minutes until they are golden brown; season with salt and pepper.  Add the red wine and continue to cook until the wine is almost fully reduced and the pan dry; add the stock and reduce by about two-thirds.  Season again to taste with salt and pepper.

Caramelized  Rutabagas:
3 medium rutabagas
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and slice rutabagas into 1/4 inch matchsticks (they'll look like french fries).

Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until it begins to brown.  Add the rutabaga matchsticks and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Put the saute pan in the preheated oven and roast for about another 10 minutes, until the rutabagas are tender.

Braised Tuscan Kale:
1 small bunch Tuscan kale
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes

Prepare the kale by removing the tough center rib and cut into 1-inch strips crosswise.  Place it in a large bowl of water to clean; stir the kale around in the water; then lift out and dry on paper towels.  Do not drain the kale through a colander, as this will leave behind all the dirt with the kale.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sliced garlic and lightly toast.

Carefully add the kale.  There will be a little water left on the kale, and it will cause the oil to spatter, so stand back a little to avoid burning yourself.  Quickly toss the kale with tongs to evenly distribute the oil.

Add the chili flakes, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan.  cook for 10-15 minutes until the kale is tender.  Add a little water if the pan becomes too dry before the kale is cooked.

To Serve:
Plate the meal by putting the kale in the middle a plate or in a shallow serving bowl; arrange rutabaga matchsticks around the kale; slice the pork tenderloin and arrange over the top; spoon the caramelized onions over the top of the pork and drizzle with the thickened pan juices; finally, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cook Like an Ethiopian

I'm sure you knew it wouldn't be long until some Ethiopian recipes made their way into the rotation here.

We're told our little guy will adjust best if we're able to feed him what he's been eating while in the orphanage, so one of the things Brad and I can do while we wait (wait, wait) for him to come home is learn to cook like an Ethiopian.

And if we can learn to cook like a James Beard award-winning Ethiopian, all the better.

So for Valentine's Day I bought Brad a Lefse grill, which I've read works great for making injera, and a copy of Marcus Samuelsson's cookbook, The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, and is now one of NYC's best chefs.  He won the James Beard award for "Best Chef: New York City" in 2003 and the cookbook I bought Brad was itself a James Beard award winner for "Best International Cookbook."  Among his many accomplishments, he has hosted cooking shows on the Discovery Home channel and BET, makes frequent appearances on the Today show (including the day after we made this meal), was the winner of the 2010 season of Top Chef Masters, competed in the 2011 season of Iron Chef America, and served as the guest chef at the White House for the first state dinner hosted by President Obama.  He's opened several restaurants, most recently the Red Rooster near his home in Harlem.

Samuelsson's cookbook is gorgeous and makes us really excited to travel to Ethiopia.  Hopefully soon.  In the meantime, we'll fuel our connection to Ethiopia--literally--with his food.

Our first stop was Merkato Market, an Ethiopian grocery here in Denver.  The owner, a lovely older Ethiopian woman, helped us select teff flour, Berbere, shiro, lentils, and the mixture of spices used to make nit'r qibe (spiced butter).

Not sure what this was, the bin was empty.  Maybe we'll try it next time.

And she urged us to buy her freshly made injera, warning us that making our own would be "very, very hard.  Very hard."  (Actually, I think she used a few more "verys" than that, even.)

We did.

Lamb stew, shiro with potatoes, mesir wat (red lentil puree), and Ye'abesha Gomen (collard greens) atop injera.

The lamb stew is based on Samuelsson's stir-fried beef stew, which he prepares with beef tenderloin or hangar steak.  Since we were using lamb stew meat, Brad slow cooked it instead of stir frying to ensure it was tender.

The lamb was incredible; all of it was incredible.  I think our little guy will be very happy with his dad's Ethiopian cooking.

I know I am.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

The March issue of Saveur magazine has the most gorgeous Red Velvet Cake on the cover.
And when it hit our mailbox, I knew I had to make it.

Preferably make it and bring it somewhere, to share all those fantastically delicious calories with dear friends.  Cake should always be shared, particularly when you're not able to run high mileage because of a stupid injury.

Our friends Mark and Robin had us over for dinner Saturday night, and being a southern gal Robin was delighted to have us bring this cake for dessert.  Perfect.

I also got to try out my new Evenbake Cake Strips, which you soak in water and wrap around the outside of cake pans to help them bake evenly.

They worked great.  I also decided that as long as the cake strips fit around my waist I can continue to bake and eat cake.

Red Velvet Cake
From Saveur magazine, March 2012.  Instead of the cream cheese frosting typically used for red velvet cake, this one uses a whipped cream frosting.  I loved how both the cake and the frosting were not overly sweet.

For the cake:
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
375 grams (2 1/2 cups) cake flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300 grams (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two 8-inch cake pans (butter and flour, or use Pam baking spray).

Sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and kosher salt.

Whisk together the buttermilk, red food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.  I used two tubes of red gel food coloring, which was not quite the 2 Tablespoons called for in the recipe.  The batter looked plenty red to me, and even if I had more food coloring in the house, I'm not sure I could've brought myself to put more in the batter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  With the mixer on low, add about a third of the flour and mix well.  Add about half of the buttermilk mixture and mix well (and stand back a little, in case you have some spattering from the mixer).  Repeat, ending with the flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Drop the pans lightly on the counter, to remove air bubbles.

Bake until done, about 30 minutes.  The top should spring back and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
Then turn out onto the wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together the sugar and flour in a 4 quart saucepan; whisk in the milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue whisking over medium-high heat the mixture until is thick and pudding-like, about 5 minutes.  Set aside and let it cool completely.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and about a quarter of the pudding on medium-high speed until smooth (about a minute).  Add the rest of the pudding in two additions, beating well after each.  Add the vanilla and increase the speed to high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Assemble the cake:
Place one layer on a platter or cake stand and spread a generous amount of frosting over the top.  Place the other layer on top and apply a very thin layer of frosting to the top and sides.  This is only the "crumb coat" that will be covered with another layer of frosting, which will ensure none of the lovely red cake crumbs will mottle the beautiful white frosting.

Refrigerate the cake for 20-30 minutes to allow the crumb coat of frosting to harden a bit.  Then apply another layer of frosting to the entire cake.

Cut and enjoy with terrific friends.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Strawberry Cake Pops

Happy Valentines Day!  I made you cake pops.

And they're pink inside.

Strawberry Cake Pops

For the cake, I used Martha Stewart's recipe for strawberry cupcakes and baked the batter in two round cake pans.  Since good fresh strawberries are hard to come by this time of year, I used a 16 oz bag of whole, frozen strawberries.  The cake has a slight pink color when baked because of the strawberries, but a little bit of red food coloring in the batter brightened them up even more.

Instead of the strawberry buttercream frosting, I used Martha's cream cheese frosting (half the recipe was more than enough).  Only because cream cheese frosting is my favorite for making cake pops.  If you're making cupcakes, definitely use the strawberry buttercream.  It's delicious.

Trim the browned, crunchy edges off the cake and crumble it into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Then, on the lowest speed, add enough cream cheese frosting to bind the cake so that it sticks together when you squeeze it.  Add the frosting in small amounts, starting with a half cup or so, because you don't want to add too much.

Use an ice cream scoop to make even sized balls, then roll them with your hands until they're smooth and somewhat uniform.

Dip the end of the stick into melted white chocolate (I used Merckens chocolate; candy melts would also work) and insert it into a cake ball.  Place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

Chill the cake pops for a bit to harden the chocolate around the stick.  But let them sit out a few minutes before dipping them in the warm, melted chocolate or the chocolate will crack.

Finally, decorate however you like.  I haven't quite gotten the "hang" of the beautiful drizzle, so for now I'm sticking with sprinkles.  And candy buttons (remember those?).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Brad and I attended our second adoption training class yesterday, where the primary topic was adoption as a lifelong commitment.  Things don't always go as planned; and when they go wrong, they can go really, really wrong.

We talked about the woman who in 2010 sent her adopted son back to Russia with a note that she longer wished to parent him.  We talked about the Seattle couple whose adopted Ethiopian daughter, Hana Williams, suffered horrifying abuse at their hands and was found dead in their backyard last year.

Two tragic stories of adoptions that went really, really wrong.  And the children who suffered.  I'm glad discussion of these types of cases--these types of adoptive parents-- is included in our training.  In everyone's training.

Then we met two families who'd completed Ethiopian adoptions with our agency in the past few years.  They had very different stories to share, but each had substantial obstacles they'd overcome.  My guess is our agency could've chosen families who'd had easier adoptions, and I'm so thankful we were given the opportunity to hear these stories.  And look into our hearts, to be sure we're ready for this.

The first parent completed her adoption when Ethiopia was a one-trip process.  She was granted custody of her son with only an agency representative appearing in court.  Then she met her son for the first time when she traveled to Ethiopia for the US Embassy appointment, to obtain a visa and bring him home.  From the sounds of it, her adoption went rather smoothly.  But once home she faced many challenges to help her new son.

He had some pretty severe health issues, and when she met him at nine months of age he weighed only eight pounds.  He's now three and a half, and an amazing little guy.  It sounds like he's still challenged in many ways, but he's been blessed with a very dedicated mom.  He took a liking to Brad and spent most of the session playing with him.  I kept looking over at them and feeling overwhelmed by how badly I want Brad to be playing with our son.

The second family completed their adoption more recently, since Ethiopia became a two-trip process.  They passed court in Ethiopia last summer and became the legal parents of their son.  And then it took them five agonizing months to obtain approval from the US Embassy to bring him home.

I won't go into the details of what the Embassy--OUR Embassy--put this family through, because it's their story to share.  But the amazing perseverance of these parents was inspiring.   It's hard for me to even imagine how awful those five months must have been for them, but what an incredible success story.  Their son is a happy, beautiful boy that seems to have adapted so well to his new family, new country, new life.  And the family said they'd go back and do it again, in a heartbeat.

Brad and I are not naive, we know there will likely be some challenges to face on this journey.  But we can remember what these parents have done for their children, continue to do for their children, and that will give us strength.

Brad's mom has said we've heard a call for our son, and I think she's right.  And whatever happens, we're ready.  Ready to fight for him, defend him, nurture him, love him.  Anything he needs.  Because he's our son.

Thanks to these families for sharing with us.  And thanks, IAN.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Make your valentine something chocolaty this year. 

Of all the brownie recipes I've tried, this one from the February 2011 cover of Bon Appetit is my hands-down favorite.  And the recipe is on-line, saving me tons of typing.  And re-wording the recipe instructions to avoid copyright infringement.

Now that's sweet.

Photo credit:  Dawn Sparks Photography

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cacao Nibs

This past Christmas, my father-in-law gave me two cookbooks I'd been longing to have:  Flour by Joanne Chang and Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson.  I finally had the opportunity to dive into Flour, and after much deliberation on what to make first, the age-old favorite chocolate cupcakes won.

Joanne Chang's introduction is a fascinating read.  She has degrees in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard, and after a few years with a consulting firm in Cambridge she quit to pursue her true passion of cooking and baking.  She had a little experience baking and selling to those around her, she had no culinary school background and it seems no contacts.  But she sent letters to a few of the best-known chefs in Boston at the time, expressing an interest in working any position that would gain her some experience, and she was almost immediately hired.  While reading this, I thought to myself that she must be one heck of an engaging person to have gotten that first job.  Now she owns three Flour locations in Boston.  I'm almost as excited about eating there next April ("next" as in 2013) as I am to run the Boston Marathon again.

So, as you would expect from a woman with a degree in applied mathematics, Joanne Chang is precise.  I like precise.  I used my kitchen scale to measure all ingredients as she suggests, and these cupcakes turned out perfect.

I had some cream cheese frosting on hand, so used that instead of making the "crispy magic frosting"

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cacao Nibs
Based on Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting from Flour by Joanne Chang.

2 ounces (56 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli chips; semi-sweet tasted fine)
1/4 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder (I used our favorite, Valrhona)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (80 grams) water
1/2 cup (120 grams) milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cream cheese frosting (below)
Cacao Nibs (I used Scharffen Berger)

In a medium heatproof bowl (I used a glass bowl), stir together the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder.  In a small saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, butter and water, whisking until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved (3-4 minutes).

Pour the hot butter-sugar mixture over the chocolate-cocoa mixture, and allow to sit for a minute or so.  Then whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the butter-sugar mixture.

Whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into the chocolate mixture.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda.  Stir in the kosher salt.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture by thirds, whisking after each addition until fully incorporated.

Let batter sit for at least one hour at room temperature to allow the liquid to be totally absorbed into the batter.  The batter will thicken, and be less soupy.  (Alternatively, you can store the batter at this point in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 12 muffin tins by greasing and flouring or lining with paper liners.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin tins; the batter should nearly reach the rim of each.  Bake until done (25 minutes in my oven, probably 30 minutes in yours), the tops should spring back when pressed with a fingertip.

Cool completely on a wire rack, frost, and sprinkle with cacao nibs.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a stand mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then add vanilla.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.  Mix until smooth and combined.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why Ethiopia?

Since we began the adoption process, many have asked "why Ethiopia?" 

While it's true there are so many children--in the United States and elsewhere around the world--in need of a loving home, the plight of African children is dire.  And sadly, Ethiopia is one of only a few African nations that is currently open to international adoption.

Ethiopia is a country of children in desperate need.

A high birthrate and refugees from Somalia have strained Ethiopia's resources.
  • There are 43 births annually per 1,000 people (as compared to 13.8 births per 1,000 here in the US)
  • Conflict, famine and drought have led to widespread population migrations in Africa
  • An estimated 97,300 refugees have fled to Ethiopia
Many children don't survive the conditions in Ethiopia.
  • The infant mortality rate is 77 deaths per 1,000 live births (compared to 6 per 1,000 in the US)
  • Of those born alive
    • 1 in 20 will die in their 1st month
    • 1 in 10 will die before their 1st birthday
    • 1 in 6 will die before their 5th birthday
  • 70% of these deaths are from causes that are totally preventable and directly related to the lack of access to adequate food, clean water, and medicine
  • Only 12% have access to improved sanitation facilities (compared to 100% in the US)
  • Only 38% of Ethiopians have access to improved water facilities (compared to 99% in the US)
  • And water from the "improved" water facilities often contains coliform bacteria and even Hepatitis A.
Those children who do survive face constant challenges.
  • 34.6% of children under 5 are underweight (compared to 1.3% in the US)
  • 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted in some way because of malnutrition
Poverty and famine are widespread.
  • 38.9% of people in Ethiopia live below the Ethiopian poverty line
  • One third of the population survives on less than $1 US per day
  • 20.5% of the workforce is unemployed
  • In the 1990s, the population grew faster (3%) than food production (2.2%)
  • Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
  • 7 million people face starvation
  • Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002
  • Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any other country in Africa
HIV/AIDS has devastated Ethiopia.
  • 1.8 million Ethiopian adults are infected with HIV
  • In 2005, there were almost 5 million total orphans in Ethiopia, 744,000 of whom had been orphaned by AIDS
  • By 2011, the number of AIDS orphans had climbed to 1 million
Combine this with a lack of access to doctors and hospitals.
  • Ethiopia's doctor to patient ratio is 1 to 33,500 (the ratio is 1 to 390 in the US)
  • Ethiopia's doctor to child ratio is 1 to 24,000
  • Health expenditures are 3.6% of GDP in Ethiopia (compared to 16.2% in the US)
  • There are 0.18 hospital beds per 1,000 people in Ethiopia (compared to 3.1 beds per 1,000 in the US)
And the result is there are not enough adults in Ethiopia to care for the nation's children.
  • 46.3% of the population is under 15 years old
  • The median age in Ethiopia is 16.8 years (compared to 36.9 years here in the US)
  • Life expectancy at birth is 56 years (here in the US it's 78 years)
  • Only 2.7% of the people in Ethiopia today are 65 years of age or older (compared to 13.1% in the US)
Most Ethiopian children receive little to no education.
  • Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school
  • 88% of children will never attend secondary school
  • Only 43% of those 15 years and older are literate (compared to 99% in the US) 
Conflict continues to affect Ethiopia.

  • In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation.
  • This left Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.
  • And despite signing a peace treaty in 2000, the conflict with Eritrea continues to devastate the Ethiopian people and economy. 
  • According to the US State Department, the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea continues to be classified a "militarized zone"where the possibility of armed conflict continues to exist.
  • A nation that struggles to feed its people continues to spend millions annually on military defense in response to terrorist attacks.
So the question really is, knowing all of this, "how could we not adopt from Ethiopia?"

As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.  --Paul Shane Spear