Green Beans Spicy

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Ever since my friend, Kate gave me a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, I’ve been playing around with Indian spices. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no idea what I’m doing, but have been getting some pretty tasty results. Every time I mess with Indian, I imagine one of the Chowdhury family mamas is over my shoulder tisk, tisk, tisking me! Tonight I actually looked to see if somebody was there.

I love the spices, and I am sure there is a provincial rhyme or reason as to why some go together and some do not. At this point in time, I am experimenting to see what I like – being the great fusionist that I am! I love putting the brown mustard seed into hot oil until it pops and then sprinkling the other spices in and watching them bubble furiously in the oil. The aroma they give off just sends me to the moon! Fabulous.

These green beans got simmered in savory Indian spices along with some Thai hot chiles from the Kingfield market and some basil from the CSA. This is truly a simple dish to be enjoyed with a side of brown basmati and coconut chutney (p. 663 in World Vegetarian).

Green Beans Spicy Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans

2 or 3 Thai Chiles finely minced

8-10 large basil leaves finely minced

1 Tbs. canola oil

1/2 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/4 tsp. turmuric

1/2 tsp. cumin powder

1/4 tsp.  ground coriander

splash of water

salt to taste

Directions:

Clean and cut the beans into small pieces. Mince the chiles and basil. Heat oil in saute pan and add mustard seed. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the other spices. Stir them and let them cook for a moment. Then add the beans, basil, and chiles. Mix them around in the spice mixture to coat. Add a splash of water and cover the pan to cook for five minutes. I like my beans firm, so you may choose to cook them a little longer. Salt to taste.

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Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…in July, in Minnesota! I’ve heard it’s been unseasonable cool in many parts of the the country, but when one starts thinking about pot pies and gratins in the middle of the summer, you know it’s severe! Saturday topped out at 65 degrees on a day that in years past has delivered 95 degrees with a dew point of 70. I absolutely hate too much heat so I should be thankful, but I really think something is wrong when I start shopping for a Riviera Maya vacation for August! At any rate, I made a warm and satisfying vegetable pot pie for a cool summer day! It is a summer treat as all the vegetables were all from this week’s CSA box.

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The recipe involves three parts: the vegetables, the roux and the pastry.

Ingredients:

The Vegetables:

2 cups onion finely diced

2 large fennel bulbs thinly sliced

2 tbs. canola oil

3 cups diced carrot

2 cups chopped green beans

1 small cauliflower head cut into small florets

5 leaves kale, deveined and chopped

2 cups cooked white beans

The Roux:

3 Tbs. canola oil

3 Tbs. flour

3 cups hot water

1 tsp. cumin seed

1 tsp. brown mustard seed

2 tsp. good curry powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

The Pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced

2/3 cup ice water

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

I would recommend you make the pastry first. It can cool in the fridge while you prep and cook the veggies. I used the food processor method for the pastry.  Start by mixing the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add diced butter and pulse a few times until it looks like a crumble. I like to pulse the machine and add the ice water in a slow dribble just until it comes together. Dump the dough out onto the counter and knead quickly into a ball. Place it in a covered bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Next, get all the veggies washed and prepped. I sauteed the onions and fennel over a low heat for about twenty minutes bringing them just to the point of caramelization. At that point, the rest of the vegetables can be added at the same time and sauteed for a few minutes. They will get baked in the oven, so you don’t want to overdo it.

The roux was fun to make because I had the idea to toast the spices with the flour and oil and it seemed to work! After I added the flour to the heated oil the mixture was pretty dry – perfect for toasting spices. I added all the spices and kept them moving around the pan until I heard the pop of the mustard seeds. I gave them a few more seconds to toast and then added the water. This boiled up quickly, so be ready to turn the heat down a bit. I whisked it all together until the lumps were out and finally, mixed it in with the vegetables. Once the roux and veggies are mixed, you can spoon it into a baking dish. I like the idea of making individual pot pies, but today opted for a one-pan quick method. I rolled out only about 1/2 of the pastry and cut it to fit the baking dish. I then cut it into six sections and premolded each so I could easily scoop out the pot pie without breaking up the crust. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 375 degrees until it is brown on the top – perhaps 50 minutes to an hour.

Baked Falafel with Tamarind Yogurt Chutney

Baked Falafel with Tamarind Yogurt Chutney

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Chow Vegan hit my radar today and while browsing though her site, I found a recipe for baked falafel. Of course, I can never follow a recipe exactly – either I don’t have all the ingredients or I think it would be better a different way, so of course, I embellished this one a bit in the herb department. I have lots of herbs in my garden, but none of the ones specified in the original recipe. Also, after hearing David Kessler’s piece about his new book, I decided to try to cut back on sodium a little with this recipe. I used about 1 tsp. in the falafel, but my taste buds would like more.

The chutney idea comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s book, World Vegetarian, and of course I embellished there as well. She includes fresh ginger and fresh chile, which I can’t believe, I am out of at the moment. I used a dried chile del arbol instead, and I am sure the fresh would be better.

Falafel Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups garbanzo beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • mixed fresh herbs ( I used 2 sprigs mint, 6 sage leaves, 1 sprig rosemary, 4 basil leaves, 1 sprig chervil)
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. crushed pepper flakes
  • 4 Tbs. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

I added the garbanzo beans last and tried to leave them fairly chunky. Everything else can be well chopped using a food processor. Start with the onion and garlic and chop. Then add all the other ingredients except the beans. Pulse until everything is well mixed. Add the beans and pulse just a little until they are chopped, but not totally pureed.

These can be formed into any shape you prefer. Traditional falafel are formed into balls, but can be made into patties for an easier-to-eat sandwich. I have appetizers on my brain, so I made them in the shape of little sticks to dip in the Tamarind Yogurt Chutney. I baked them on a greased cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes until they were brown on the bottom. Then I turned them over and baked for another 15 minutes.

Tamarind Yogurt Chutney

  • 2 Tbs. tamarind paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground hot pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin

For the original recipe, I used a prepared tamarind chutney. If you use fresh tamarind paste, you will need to cook the above ingredients at a simmer until the chutney is reduced by about half. Here is a very informative YouTube demo for tamarind chutney from “Show Me the Curry.”

In a separate bowl mix the yogurt ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 sprig mint chopped
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground hot pepper (better yet, use 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh green chile)
  • Fresh ground black pepper

After the yogurt ingredients are mixed, the idea is to mix the two dips leaving a little swirl pattern in the dish. I mixed in only about 1/4 of the tamarind chutney, which considering all the sugar, gave me a little relief!

Indian Curry Fried Rice

Indian Curry Fried Rice

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This is a nice take on fried rice – a little surprise of flavors! This dish was prepared for the almost-nine-year-old in our life who doesn’t like brown rice. If I had my druthers, I would prefer the nutty chew of a good stubby brown, but I’ll settle for jasmine. It’s not as healthy, but with the coconut oil, it’s really lovely, and the Penzeys Balti was an easy way to give it a kick.

Ingredients

1 Tbs. peanut oil

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. coconut oil

1 medium onion diced

1 cup diced carrots

1 small head cauliflower

1 small bunch broccoli

5 cloves garlic

2-3 cups cooked rice

3/4 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. Penzeys Balti Seasoning

Lemon wedge

Directions:

I used a big stainless skillet for this project because I can keep everything to a single layer. I like to brown the carrots and cauliflower in my fried rice. I always prep all the vegetables first so I can cook them in an appropriate order. First get the pan hot and put the oils in. Once the pan is hot, turn it down to carmelize the onion. When the onion begins to turn a golden brown, add the carrots and cauliflower to the pan. I let them cook until the sides brown. Next add the broccoli and give the veggies a mix. Once the broccoli is bright grees, add the garlic and mix. As soon as that fragrant garlic comes up out of the pan add the rice to the mix. Now I turn the heat up just a little and stir to mix it all together. Keep the food in the skillet moving so the garlic doesn’t burn. As soon as it’s mixed turn down the heat again. Add all the spices and mix well. I always get a crust on the bottom of the pan when I make fried rice. I’ve tried using more oil, but tend to not like it when it’s greasy. It may be my pan, or just the reality of fried rice. Any thoughts or suggestions?