Coconut Cilantro Chutney

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I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I left you hanging yesterday with only a page number for this amazing sauce to scoop up with your spicy green beans and brown basmati.

This fabulous Indian recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian and can be found on page 663. It’s another mustard seed popper – I love that! I also love cilantro more than any other herb in the world, but have heard that some people don’t – I can’t imagine! This sauce is fresh and enormously flavorful and despite the fact that it has chiles in it, does not burn. In fact, it’s a great cool down accompaniment for spicy Indian dishes.

This recipe is so perfect that I do not improvise, but I do, of course, cut a few corners here and there. You know me.

Ms. Jaffrey states at the beginning of her recipe:

You may use 1 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut soaked in 3/4 cup of hot water for 30 minutes instead of fresh coconut, if you prefer. Use the soaking water as you grind.

First shortcut – I will absolutely use unsweetened dessicated coconut because I’ve lived in Latin America and I know how tricky it is to remove fresh coconut flesh.

Second shortcut – Put the coconut and water in a bowl and zap in the microwave for 2 minutes. While it’s cooling down, mix the other ingredients in the food processor or blender.

Coconut Cilantro Chutney Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup water

1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger

2 medium shallots

2 fresh serranos

3 cups (or two bunches) cilantro

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp. peanut oil

1/2 tsp. whole brown mustard seeds

Directions:

Heat coconut with water in a microwave for two minutes. Let it sit until you mix all the other ingredients. In the food processor, pulse to chop the ginger, serrano peppers and shallots. Next add the cilantro and pulse. Scrape down the sides if you need. Add salt, sugar and lemon juice. Process until everything is chopped and starting to create a paste. Add the coconut and blend again. If it seems dry, you can add a drizzle of water.

In a saute pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start popping, pour the oil and seeds into the coconut chutney and mix again. This chutney is served cold, so should be chilled in the refrigerator. According to Ms. Jaffrey, it should last 3 to 4 days and can also be frozen. Oh, heavenly deliciousness!

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Feta Walnut Spread

Feta Walnut Spread

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This is why I am vegetarian and not vegan – I have too many European genes. We’ve been eating cheese and grains for thousands of years, I can’t stop now! Were it not for cheese I could easily eat an all vegan diet. I abhor milk and detest eggs, but put a plate of stinky cheese in front of me, and I simply cannot resist.

This lovely feta spread is as easy as easy can be, and it’s another good place to hide some greens from those picky eaters in your life. This one has basil, but I often use cilantro and spinach. I love to send it for school lunch as it holds up well on bread and makes a great sandwich, or can be sent in a side dish along with chunks of whole wheat or crackers. Yummy.

Ingredients:

1 chunk feta (I’ve been buying sheep’s milk feta)

1 clove garlic

1 small bunch basil leaves (or cilantro)

1/2 cup walnuts

drizzle of milk, soymilk or water

Directions: Throw everything in the food processor and pulse. As the feta breaks apart you will see that you need to add liquid until the spread gets smooth. I just drizzle the liquid in while the machine runs so you can see how much you will need. Sorry, I never measure.

Fennel and Rosemary Pesto

Fennel and Rosemary Pesto


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I never know what to do with the abundance of feathery fennel frond. I’ve often used a little chopped up in a salad, or a few sprinkles on a sandwich, but I always end up feeding most of the fennel fronds to the composter. Today I decided to make a pesto from it. I like that licorice flavor and thought it might pair nicely with the Onion and Fennel Galette I made. I didn’t want it to become too rich, so I left out any nuts and only used parmesan and garlic.

Ingredients:

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

4 cups fennel fronds

olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup parmesan

Directions:

Throw it in the food processor. Add oil until you reach a creamy consistency. Nada Mas.