fruit & veg: February 2008 Archives

Chavez at Sunset salsa

| | Comments (35) | TrackBacks (0)
Having lived in San Francisco for about six years, one of the hardest adjustments of moving to New England has been the dearth of authentic Mexican food.  It's tough having to rely on jarred salsa from far away places -- and the fresh one's we seen in the supermarkets just haven't overly excited our taste buds.

But we no longer need to fret.  Culinary help is on the way!  Larry Hernendez, a Los Angeles native and current Dorchester resident, has started selling his homemade Chavez at Sunset salsa at the Whole Foods in Hingham and on River Road in Cambridge.  (Look for the retro black and white labels.)

Chock full of tomatoes, onions, and Larry's secret blend of chilies and spices, the Red Chile Salsa is one of the freshest, tastiest salsas you'll find east of the Mississippi.  We paired ours with some homemade guac and organic blue chips.

salsa.jpgWhen he's not making salsa, Larry works as a chef at Ashmont Grill and teaches cooking classes through the Boston Center For Adult Education and at Bullfinch's restaurant in Sudbury.

Scary food #1:  Kale 

When I opened our recent Boston Organics box and saw kale I was both excited and scared.  Excited because I knew it was a great winter veggie and I'm trying my best to eat more seasonally.  (Er... ignore the tomato in the photo.)  Scared because I really had no idea how to cook kale and I had some preconceptions that it would be tough and bitter. (Wrong.)

kale - raw.jpgbest recipe.jpgAs it has on many other occasions, my Best Recipe cookbook saved the day.  (Apparently kale is an "assertive green."  Who knew?)  Best Recipe's "kale with bacon and onions" was excellent and the dish even stood up to reheating the next day.

1.5 teaspoons salt
2 pounds assertive greens, such as kale or collard, mustard, or turnip greens, stemmed, washed in 2 or 3 changes of cold water, and chopped coarse

Bring two quarts water to a boil in a large, deep saute pan. Add the salt and greens and stir until wilted. Cover and cook until the greens are just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain into a colander. Rinse the pan with cold water to cool, then refill with cold water. Pour the greens into the cold water to stop the cooking process. Gather a handful of greens, lift out of the water, and squeeze dry. Repeat with the remaining greens.

2 ounces (about 2 slices) bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 recipe Blanched Assertive Greens
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
salt

1. Fry the bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.
2. If necessary, add oil to the bacon drippings in the pan to make 2 tablespoons. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the greens and stir to coat them with the fat. Add the broth, cover, and cook until the greens are heated through, about 2 minutes.  If any excess liquid remains, remove the lid and continue to simmer until the liquid has thickened slightly, about 1 minute longer. Sprinkle the greens with the vinegar and bacon bits and season with salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

kale - cooked.jpgScary food #2: Aloo gobhi 

Not scary to eat - I love this stuff! - but scary to cook.  I've had an Indian food cooking phobia for about 15 years because I once spent what seemed to be that same amount of time in the kitchen slaving over what I thought would be a relatively simple Indian meal.

For this dish, Boston Organics came to rescue with one of the consistently good recipes that they include with each delivery.  As my brother Tom likes to say, I have just five words for this dish: mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.  And, aside from all the chopping, it was quick to prepare.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 onion finely chopped
5 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs chopped ginger root
3 medium potatoes (1 lb.), peeled and cubed
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fround turmeric
1/4 - 1 cup water
1 - 2 tomatoes chopped

1. Heat oil in wok or 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seed, sizzle 30 seconds.
2. Add onion, garlic and ginger root; stir-fry about 5 minutes or until onion is golden brown. Add potatoes; stir-fry 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
3. Add remaining ingredients except water and tomatoes; stir-fry two minutes. Stir in water to desired consistency. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Stir in tomatoes, cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tomatoes are hot.

Serves two to four.

Real Pickles

| | Comments (9) | TrackBacks (0)
While perusing the list of food options available from Boston Organics, we found Real Pickles based in Montague, MA. Their dill pickles are naturally fermented -- and boy, do they taste like it!  They've got a solid bite to them that couldn't be mistaken for anything else but fermentation.  On the first bite, it's a bit shocking, but these pickles are really, really good!

real pickles.jpg(It's funny -- as we've been systematically replacing our industrialized food-like products with local, natural foods, we've often buy surprised by the tastes of the more traditional items. While a lot of these natural items taste different, we're finding that they're different in a good and flavory way.)

Dan and Addie Rose, Real Pickles founders, say on their website, "In support of a regional food system, we buy all of our vegetables from family farms in the Northeast and sell our products only within the Northeast."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the fruit & veg category from February 2008.

fruit & veg: January 2008 is the previous archive.

fruit & veg: March 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

fruit & veg: February 2008: Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en