Thursday, July 16, 2009

Local Dinner with Far Away Flavor

I just had the most excellent meal ever, and I made it. This is one of my favorite times of the year, as the produce selection from the gardens really starts to explode. I made a sesame vegetable stir fry earlier this week with kohlrabi and broccoli from the farm we grow at--we traded our potatoes for them. I was paging through Vegan with a Vengance when I came across the recipe for potato and edmame samosas with coconut-mint chutney. I've come to realize that samosas are one of my favorite foods, so I was sold. I had some frozen edmame and thought it would be a great way to use some of our plethora of potatoes. I picked up my copy of Six Spices, a wonderful cookbook by the talented Neeta Saluja, who I've been lucky enough to take a cooking class from. Curried zucchini seemed like the perfect accompaniament since we had also traded potatoes for a good pile of zuchs. Yesterday I made the chutney--a simple blend of coconut milk, herbs, and spices. The mint and cilantro came right from our gardens. (If you wanted to make this more local and weren't trying for a vegan meal, you could make a locally produced yogurt based chutney instead.) Today I realized that I probably had enough carrots I could thin to use those for the samosas, and that the peas from the Farmer's Market would be a great substitute for the edamame. I got excited as I prepped the vegetables and collected a beautiful workspace of colors, textures, and aromas. This was a pretty labor intensive meal, but well worth it. I made chapati (Indian flat bread) to accompany everything and served brown rice for those who wanted it with the curried zucchini. All the dishes turned out wonderfully. I have never made a curry like the zucchini recipe--it had a lemon and sugar finish. If you enjoy Indian foods, I highly recommend that you check out this book and experiment with some of the wonderful different authentic methods. I was thrilled to be able to make such a great Indian meal with such local food. As Rob pointed out, it makes sense that it would be so easy to do, since much of ethnic cuisine draws from good whole foods. As you enjoy this summer's bounty, I hope you explore the many possibilities that your local gardens offer.


Sinclair said...

Isn't it interesting how we find that there was a void we didn't know existed. I have come to the belief lately that all the consumerism is really an attempt to fill that slow-life, work the earth, embrace-each-day, family togetherness void that has been created by industrial urbanism and a two-person-working household. Buying material goods and going on material vacations will never fill that void. We don't know where we are going, either, and for once, I am okay with that.

Beo said...

It was delicious!!!