Archive for July, 2011


lacto-fermented garden-fresh salsa

July 28, 2011

recipe requested by sonya!

i made two batches this go-round. one was a little sweeter, with carrot, sweet basil, little cherry tomatoes, a little jalapeno, turmeric, and fennel seed. one was very hot, with a ton of jalapeno, lemon basil, all kinds of heirloom tomatoes, turmeric, and garlic.

but you really can’t go wrong with anything involving garden tomatoes.

cut up your mixture into tiny chunks.

layer this mixture in the bottom of a clean mason jar with salt (coarse kosher or sea, please. it makes all the difference.) press as you go. the veggies will start creating brine as you work. keep going til you get near the top. add a little water and taste it. if it tastes saltier than your tears, you’re done. otherwise, add a little salt.

you can do this open-crock (see this post for more details; basically, you want to put a glass filled with water or a rock in the jar to keep the veggies submerged under the brine at all times) or with a lid on it (please burp the jar twice a day to avoid brining your ceiling)

other delicious add-ins? any fresh herb. any allium (i love onion in my salsa!) cauliflower. fruit. celery. sweet peppers (sometimes i have floating problems with these – weigh them down with carrots.) whatever you can imagine.

my advice? make a lot of this. i never thought i’d find something to replace my great love of homemade lacto-fermented giardinera, but the garden-fresh tomatoes put this salsa in my top three fermented veggies of all-time.


khatta meetha baingan

July 28, 2011

eggplant (baingan / brinjal) is one of my favorite vegetables.

i like to salt, set (~ 30min,) and rinse the little cut-up chunks before i cook them to remove some of the bitterness.

toss some black mustard seeds into a pan (about a teaspoon) with mustard oil, coconut oil, ghee, or a veg/sesame oil mixture.

if you like garlic and ginger, add them first and toss til fragrant, then add eggplant.

salt and spice it. i like equal parts cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, with a little chili powder and fennel.

now comes the fun part – the sweet and sour (“khatta meetha”) that gives this its name. you want to use equal parts tamarind and jaggery (or one sour thing – lime, lemon, vinegar – and one sweet thing – honey, sugar, whatever – if you can’t find tamarind and jaggery) and add a little tomato paste (water to thicken if necessary)

stew this on your stove, in a slow-cooker, or wherever, and serve with dosai, parathas, rice, or whatever you can dream up (quinoa! anything.)

as with most indian food, i like to top it with fresh cilantro, yogurt/kefir, and homemade pickles.


adapted from this and this



July 25, 2011

khichri (or “khichdi”) wins the award for the fastest, easiest complete and hearty meal i know how to cook, and one of the only healthy “comfort foods” i will accept as being truly comforting.

i do mine in a rice cooker, because it requires absolutely no time, effort, attention, or special ingredients.

make a lentil and rice mixture and add twice as much water.
(ie. a cup of uncooked lentils and rice gets two cups of water.)
– pat of ghee / butter / coconut oil or whatever fat you like (olive oil is ok, but i recommend something more flavorful. at least cut it with a few drops of mustard or sesame oil.)
– a bit of herbs or spices – garam masala or whatever you like. a great easy spice blend for pulses is a few pinches each of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, and turmeric. minced ginger, a clove of minced garlic, or a few slices of onion are a must if you like them. but really you can’t go wrong.
– whatever vegetables you have around that can cook in ten minutes (ie. broccoli’s ok, squash is great, leftover vegetables and/or meat are perfect, skip stuff like raw eggplant or raw meat / cook before adding.)

set the thing on “cook” and walk away from it.

top finished khichri with yogurt and cilantro (my personal favorite,) hot sauce and kefir, mayonnaise (this will be “tennessee khichri” in my cookbook,) papaya seeds or slices of mango, crushed nuts, pickled anything, or whatever you like.

– crack an egg into it (before it cooks!)
– add bouillon or broth instead of or in addition to water
– add a sour element – lime juice, lime pickle, tamarind paste or juice, or amchur (sour mango powder)
– make it chinese with some fish or oyster sauce, sesame oil or toasted sesame seeds, and soy sauce. make it thai with a coconut milk and water base, basil, hot peppers, and galangal or lemongrass. make it german with some sliced wurst, kraut, and caraway seeds. make it pizza-like with tomato sauce, cheese, and oregano. make it mexican with mole and cumin.


pumpkin caramels

July 21, 2011

still never made candy before, but the house i’m moving in to next month has a candy thermometer! maybe my first time will be these pumpkin caramels.



July 20, 2011

fasolakia – stewed green beans