Archive for August 2010

Garden Fresh Salsa

August 30, 2010

As readers of this blog and my book know, I’m a firm believer in using fresh ingredients. One of the best things about maintaining your own garden, no matter how big or small, is that you can supply yourself with fresh vegetables which taste far better and are healthier than those you can find in the grocery store. I find that having fresh tomatoes in particular can be a great “staple” vegetable for the summer since it can be used to liven up a number of dishes, salads, appetizers, and sauces. With the summer coming to an end, I wanted to share some pictures of some of my own home-grown tomatoes and also provide a nice salsa recipe. It’s a light, refreshing recipe I hope you enjoy.

2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped – optional
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

In a small non-metallic bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover and let it sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature or until ready to serve.

Coriander Chutney

August 19, 2010

Being an avid gardener, I have made a variety of condiments using a combination of garden fresh herbs, nuts, fruits, and vegetables in my kitchen for as long as I can remember. Condiments are an integral part of Indian cuisine and come in the form of achars or pickles, chutneys, raita, kachoombar and paper-thin pappadams or papads.

Chutneys are basically made from fruits, vegetables, fresh herbs, seeds and nuts. Seeds like poppy seed, flaxseed and sesame seeds are quite common ingredients when it comes to making chutneys, which are used like a sauce, dips or spreads. These come in a myriad of flavors, ranging from hot and spicy to mild to sweet and savory. My favorite chutneys are the ones prepared out of fresh herbs, roasted seeds, nuts, vegetables, fresh ripe fruits and reconstituted dried fruits that can be made in just 15 minutes as long as you have the needed ingredients on hand. The best part is that you can also freeze a variety of chutneys in the form of paste using an ice cube tray. Cooked fruit-based chutneys are also a great accompaniment to any meal and are quite easy to prepare as long as there are four basic ingredients on hand: quality fruits or vegetables, sugar, salt and acidic ingredient.

Coriander Chutney
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, roasted
2 cups chopped coriander leaves (Cilantro)
1 serrano chili, chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger – optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon and water as needed

1) Combine all the ingredients in a blender (or food processor) and blend until fairly smooth. This should have the consistency of thick creamy sauce. Pour the chutney into a glass jar. Cover and refrigerate.

Yield: 1 cup.
Tip: For creamier texture I like to pulverize peanuts before adding cilantro and other needed ingredients.