Tuesday, August 28, 2007

רױטע קלאַפּ־באַרן

אָט זענען די זיסע זאַפֿטיקע „רױטע קלאַפּ־באַרן“ (red clapp pears) פֿון מײַן אָרגאַנישן אַגריקולטור־קאָלעקטיװ. װאָס האָט קלאַפּערײַ צו טאָן מיט באַרן, פֿרעגט עץ? אַז עץ נעמט זײ אין מױל אַרײַן װט עץ װילן פּאַטשן בראַװאָ.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

עדאַמאַמע

אױף דער ייִדישװאָך מוז מען אַלעמאָל ברענגען אַ ביסל צידה־לדרך. די ערשטע זאַך װאָס איך האָב מיט זיך מיטגעבראַכט דאָס יאָר עס זאָל זײַן װאָס איבערצוכאַפּן בינו־לבֿינו איז געװען אַ בינטל „עדאַמאַמע” פֿון מײַן אַגריקולטור־קאָלעטיװ. עדאַמאַמע זענען פֿרישע, גרינע, סאָיאַ-בעבעלעך. מע רײַסט די שײַטלעך אַראָפּ פֿון די שטענגלעך, און זידט זײ אײַן אין שטאַרק־געזאָלצען װאַסער אַ צען־פֿופֿצן מינוט. נאָך דעם באַשיט מען די שײַטלעך מיט זאַלץ. עסן עסט מען די עדאַמאַמע פֿון די שײַטלעך, זײ קװעטשנדיק די בעבעלעך זאָלן אַרױסגליטשן אין מױל אַרײַן און די ליפּן זאָלן אַ ביסל באַזאָלצן װערן. טעם־גן־עדן!

אונדז פֿאַרברענגען מיר זיך איצטער אױף דער ייִדישװאָך, פֿאַרשטײט זיך. עד־היום האָב איך געשריבן נאָר אײן װאָרט װעגן עסן אױף דער ייִדישװאָך. דאָס יאָר איז דער מצבֿ ברוך־השם אַ ביסל בעסער. זאָל אונדז זײַן צום געזונט.


עדאַמאַמע
edamame

שױט
pod

שײטל
little pod (this word may also be the source of the word sheytl, meaning matrimonial wig)

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chile Con Oplye (Hemp Seed Chile)

Pasilla chile, left, and chipotle chile, right. The pasilla is really three times longer than it looks; it just got dried in a folded position.

I somehow got by for years and years without making chile. I use chiles in all kinds of things, of course, and I make beans in some form almost every week in the winter, but somehow chile itself was something I’d always get around to later. Maybe I thought it was too much of a vegetarian cliché. I am more easily intimidated about these things than you might guess.

It turns out that chile is wonderful stuff, especially if you follow the advice of the eternal Deborah Madison and roast and grind your own chile powder. No, really; it is easy, and wow, you get bright orange and purple whirlpools of flavor.

This was my first experience with epazote, an herb about which many folks I know are endlessly enthusiastic. It is lovely alongside the chiles and oregano if you are able to find it. What makes this chile so amazing? Is it the pasilla? The epazote? Could it possibly be the hemp seeds? Perhaps I should explain that this recipe takes its whimsical name from the Yiddish word for hemp: קאָנאָפּליע konoplye.

Chile Con Oplye (Hemp Seed Chile)

For the beans:

1 ½ cups dried pinto beans

2 dried red chiles, such as chicostles

2 bay leaves

3 whole garlic cloves

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

½ bunch epazote, if you have some

2 teaspoons salt

For the chile:

1 pasilla chile

1 chipotle chile

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

4 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne, or more, to taste

1 ½ cups hemp seeds

olive oil, or other oil (be liberal)

2 cups diced onions

7 whole garlic cloves

1 ½ cups diced carrots

1 ½ cups diced celery

1 ½ cups diced bell peppers

4 poblano chiles (optional)

minced leaves from 1 sprig epazote, if you have some

5 medium tomatoes (a generous 2 pounds)

salt

Cover the beans with water and soak for four hours or overnight. Drain the beans and put them in a pot or a slow-cooker with the chiles, bay leaves, garlic, cumin seeds, epazote, salt, and water to cover. Cook until the beans are tender. This may take one or two hours. Remove the chile pods, bay leaves, and epazote stems.

Roast the pasilla and chipotle chile in the oven at 375 for about five minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, tear them up and grind to a powder in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling chiles! Toast the cumin seeds in a cast iron skillet for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the oregano and stir for a few seconds more, and then add the paprika and cayenne and remove from heat. Grind the cumin mixture in the grinder and set aside with the chile powder. Put the hemp seeds in the skillet, and toast them, stirring constantly, to a light golden color. Char the poblanos under the broiler, and steam them in a bag until cool enough to handle. Remove the skins, stems, and seeds, and chop the peppers. Scald the tomatoes and remove the skins and seeds. Chop the tomatoes roughly.

Heat oil in a wide pot and add the onions. When the onions become translucent, add the garlic, carrots, celery, and diced peppers. Cook another twenty minutes or so, and when the vegetables are tender, add the ground herbs and spices and the hemp seeds. Stir and cook a few minutes and add the tomatoes and poblanos, and then the cooked beans with their broth. Cook and stir until the beans are quite done. Add salt as needed. Ah, I have no words! You just have to try this.

Other things you should try are to be found at Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Scott at Real Epicurean.


Food and Drink, Recipes, Cooking, Food, Vegetarian, vegetables, vegan, Weekend Herb Blogging, antioxidant-rich foods,

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Alfredo Viazzi’s Arichoke Pasta

These sweet, intensely-flavored tiny little artichokes were in the market this week. It is a really special treat when we get out own local artichokes here in New York. Some of them are the size of walnuts or Brussels sprouts. They are so cute and so delicious.

Alfredo Viazzi’s Arichoke Pasta

27 baby artichokes (13 ounces after trimming)

½ pound thin spaghetti

1/3 cup olive oil

5 tiny whole cloves garlic

2 cloves minced garlic

½ bunch flat leaf parsley (1/2 cup minced leaves)

salt and pepper

Trim the bottoms and the tops of the artichokes. Pull off the tough outer leaves so that only tender edible leaves remain. Cook the artichokes for eight minutes in boiling salted water. Increase cooking time if you have larger artichokes.

Heat olive oil in a wide skillet or saucepan. Add the artichokes and cook several minutes more. Add garlic and parsley cook five minutes more, or until fragrant. This will be the sauce for your pasta.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water to the desired degree of doneness. Drain the pasta and toss with artichoke sauce.

See Sweetnicks for other good things in tiny packages.

Food and Drink, Recipes, Cooking, Food, Vegetarian, vegetables, antioxidant-rich foods, farms


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nettle and Ricotta Frittata

I recently made two recipes from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets. I am not sure I entirely grok the organizing concept for this book. Surely every cookbook is a farmers’ market cookbook if you get your ingredients from your farmers’ market, but since this is a book of recipes by Deborah Madison, and I since would follow Deborah Madison into the mouth of a live volcano, I am willing to set aside any quibbles. There are many pretty pictures too. The previous night I had read a recipe for nettle frittata with green garlic and Sheep’s milk ricotta. I have long wanted to try a recipe for fresh nettles, having so far only made nettle tea, but somehow, I never seemed to find any when I wanted them. And then, the next day, there they were, providentially beside some sheep’s milk ricotta at the next stand.

As gingerly as I tried to handle my bunch of nettles before cooking them, I did get one small burn, but really, nothing to complain about. Once cooked, the nettles will not sting. The flavor of cooked nettles is very different from other greens. They are not bitter, but I would not say they are sweet or mild, either. They are sort of earthy and mineral. I will certainly try them again when I get a chance.

Nettle and Ricotta Frittata (adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison)

1 bunch stinging nettles (my bunch was about ¾ pound)

1 small onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

olive oil (be liberal)

8 eggs

½ cup grated Romano (I used aged oldwick sheep cheese)

½ cup sheep’s milk ricotta or other ricotta

salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Wear gloves or some other kind of protection while handling raw nettles. Blanch the nettles in boiling water for about two minutes. Allow them to drain, pull the leaves off the stems, and chop the leaves.

Heat oil in a skillet and cook the onions and garlic over low heat until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped nettles and cook a few minutes more. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Beat the eggs and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir in the nettles and cheeses, leaving the batter streaky. Heat some more oil in the skillet and pour in the nettle-egg mixture. When the bottom is set, place the pan under the broiler to cook the top. You can also bake the frittata at 375 for about 35 minutes.

The other recipe I made from this book was this Lebanese soup of favas, herbs, and string beans, also highly recommended.

A roundup of other dangerous but delicious vegetables is to be found at Sweetnicks.

Food and Drink, Recipes, Cooking, Food, Vegetarian, vegetables, antioxidant-rich foods, farms

Monday, August 13, 2007

אַרטישאָקן

אונדז האָבן מיר זײער זעלטן אַרטישאָקן אין ניו־יאָרק, באָבער דאָס יאָר האָב איך געפֿונען די חנעװדיקע אַרטישאָטקעלעך פֿון בלאָטקע פֿאַרם (Muddy River Farm). איכל מאַכן מיט זײ אַלפֿרעדאָ װיאַציס ספּאַגעטי מיט קלײנע אַרטישאָטקעלעך, און אױך זײַן בוריקעס מיט מערן און זוקיני. דאָס איז ממש אַ יאָר פֿון נסים און װוּנדער.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hemp Seed and Cashew Cheese

Egg noodles with butter, paprika, and hemp seed ricotta

Last week I made rejuvelac by soaking sprouted rye berries in water for one day. I made some very delicious crackers with the leftover rye berries and this week I finally made the cheese-like spread for which all these preparations were intended. Sprouting the rye berries and making the rejuvelac takes several days, but you can also buy it in some health food stores, and once you have some, making the cheese is fairly straightforward. The cheese I prepared is based on the recipe for cashew cheese in Raw, by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein, a book which is endlessly interesting, even if you think, as I did, that you will never be tempted to try any of these crazy things. I say this was worth the effort, especially since I now have plenty of rejuvelac to use for some other vegan cheese recipes. Rejuvelac itself is gluten-free, even though it is made with rye, but you can make it with sprouted rice or quinoa to be on the safe side.

Hemp Seed and Cashew Cheese

1 ½ cups hemp seeds

1 ½ cups cashew pieces

¼ cup rejuvelac

½ teaspoon salt

Place the cashews and hemp seeds in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for twenty minutes and allow them to cool to room temperature in the water (If you wish to make this an all-raw recipe, simply soak the nuts and seeds overnight). Grind the nuts and seeds with the rejuvelac and salt in a blender or processor (I used my champion juicer). Place the cheese in a strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and allow it to drain several hours or overnight. Refrigerate overnight.

I am in general very skeptical about trying to imitate foods, but this is great stuff. So far, everyone who has tried this has loved it, and not all of us are vegans by any means.

See Melissa’s roundup of Weekend Herb Blogging at Cooking Diva.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Difficult Contingencies for Vegetarians

Here’s something I have to admit I had not thought about: what options are available to vegetarians serving in Iraq? Betchitty put together these clips from her year in Iraq about what she did and did not eat. I can’t remember the sequence of Youtube-golf that brought to this interesting little film, but do have a look.

And, speaking of difficult contingencies for vegetarians, what is one to do when they run out of vegetarian lasagna? Oh, bless my soul!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

עסן אין מזרח־דערפֿל

אױף דער 8טער גאַס האָב איך נעכטן געזען אַ פֿיר־שטאָקיקע װערבע. אַזױ שײן! װי האָבן זײ דאָס געמאַכט? מיר געפֿעלט באַזונדערס װי זײ האָבן אַזױ שײן געשניטן די גזשיבע (די גריװקע).

אױף מזרח 3טער גאַס זענען צװײ נײַע אינטערעסאַנטע רעסטאַוראַנען. אײנער פֿון דער אַלטער טראַדיציע פֿונעם מזרה דערפֿל, „דער מאַמענס הײמישע עסן“, . . .


און אײנער פֿון דער נײער, „נאַש־'נאָטער”.

פֿיר־שטאָקיקע װערבע
Four-story willow

די גזשיבע, די גריװקע
bangs

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dragon Fruit, or HuǒLóngGuǒ

Oh, heavens to Betsey, will you just look at this thing? I picked up this dragon fruit, or 火龍果 huǒlóngguǒ (literally: fire dragon fruit) in Flushing Queens, or shehekheyuni-land. According to the plant name database, this fruit is also known as Belle of the night, Cinderella plant, Dragon-fruit, Night-blooming cereus, Pitahaya, Queen-of-the-night, Red pitahaya, Strawberry-pear.

Mordkhe Schaechter’s Plant Names in Yiddish has no listing for Hylocereus undatus, or any other hylocereus species (this is the first plant to have stumped Schaechter in my experience, and I have looked up a lot of plants), so according to the international rules for fruit-finding neologists, I get to make one up. I think we need two, actually. I suggest פּיטײַע and פּיפּערנאָטער־באַר (dragon-pear).

The white flesh is mild and mildly sweet, just a bit flowery. It can be scooped with a melon-baller or cut into some snazzy looking wedges and eaten out of hand. When I saw these, the second thing I thought was that I just had to try them. The first thing I thought was, I wonder if Sweetnicks has seen these before?

What do you think? Is this the most stupendous and wonderful plant to appear on this blog? Or was it this finger-citron (Yiddish here)? Are these little red eggplants stupendous enough to be included in the same category?

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rye and Flax crackers


Lexicographic virtuoso, radio-dramaturge, and cracker-spokesperson Nahum Stutchkoff made a series of radio spots for Manischewitz Tam-tam crackers. His tagline “America is a land of crackers” regrettably gains in translation some painful ambiguity absent in the Yiddish original.

I think about Stutchkoff every time I eat crackers, and of course, when I make my own. I made these rye crackers because I had sprouted rye berries left over from making rejuvelac. They are better than potato chips—wonderfully crispy and salty. They are also wheat-free (but not gluten-free), and while I baked them, you could probably prepare the same recipe in a dehydrator if you wanted to go the live/raw-foods route. I will be sprouting rye berries to make them again, possibly skipping the rejuvelac middleman, or possibly not.

Rye and Flax crackers

1 cup sprouted rye berries, made by soaking ½ cup raw rye berries or leftover from making rejuvelac

2 tablespoons flax seeds soaked overnight in 2 tablesppons water

2 tablespoons rejuvelac, or water, or a tiny bit more, as needed

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

Grind up the rye berries, flax seeds, and salt in a processor, scraping down the sides several times. Add the liquid and blend to a thick paste. Stir in the caraway.

Place a sheet of baking parchment on a half-sheet pan (one 12-by-17 span or two smaller pans) using an offset spatula, spread the rye-paste over the paper to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Bake in an oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. Allow the giant cracker to cool to room temperature, and then break it up and peel off the paper. This is just perfect with vegan hemp seed and cashew cheese (recipe pending), soups, or whatever else you do with crackers.

See Kalyn’s roundup of Weekend Herb Blogging for other crackling creations.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

אַמעריקע איז אַ לאַנד פֿון קרעקערס

אַמעריקע איז אַ לאַנד פֿון קרעקערס“, האָט געזאָגט נחום סטוטשקאָװ, דער װוּנדערלעכער ייִדיש לעקסיקאָגראַף, דראַמאַטורג, און קרעקער־רעקלאַמירער, אין אײנע פֿון זײַנע ראַדיאָ־רעקלאַמעס פֿאַר מאַנישעװיץ „טעם־טעם“ קרעקערס. אױסן איז סטוטשקאָװ געװען אַז טעם־טעם קרעקערס האָבן אַלע מעלות, אָדער װי ער האָט געזאָגט בזה־הלשון „אַ טאָפּלטן מאַגנעט׃ אַ ייִחוס אַ ייִדישן און אַ דערציִיונג אַן אַמעריקאַנער“ פּונקט װי די צוהערערס אַלײן!

ביז הײַנט־צו־טאָג דערמאָן איך זיך אין דעם מאַעסטראָ װען נאָר איך עס קרעקערס און אַל־אחת־כּמה־וכּמה װען איך באַק אַלײן די אײגענע הײמישע קרעקערס.

די װאָך האָב איך געמאַכט „רעדזשוּװעלעק“, דאָס הײסט, װאַסער אין װעלכן מע האָט אײַנגעװײקט די שױן אױפֿגעשפּראָצענע קערנדלעך פֿון קאָרן. אַז איך האָב שױן געמאַכט די רעדזשוּװעלעק, זענען מיר געבליבן די קערנדלעך. האָב איך זײ אױסגעמישט מיט לײַנזױמען, זאַלץ און אַ ביסל קימל, גוט אױסגעבאַקן, און שױן! אַזױנע קרעקערלעך האָט נישט געזען די װעלט!

ביסקװיט (קרעקערס) פֿון קאָרן און לײַנזױמען

½ טעפּל קאָרן

2 לעפֿל לײַנזױמען, אײַנגעװײקט אין 2 לעפֿל װאַסער

1 לעפֿעלע זאַלץ

½ לעפֿעלע קימל

מאַכט'ץ דעם רעדזשוּװעלעק׃
װײקט'ץ אײַן דעם קאָרן אין װאַסער אױף 12 שעה. גיסט'ץ אַרױס דאָס װאַסער און לײגט"ץ די קערנדלעך אַװעק אױף אַ טעצעלע
אױף נאַסע סערװעטקעלעך. לאָזט'צ זײ דאָרטן ליגן אַ טאָג־דרײַ, און באָד זײ אָפּ דרײַ מאָל אַ טאָג, זײ זאָלן זיך נישט אױסװײקן. זײ זענע גרײ װען זײ האָבן עקעלעך לאַנג אַ פֿערטל צאָל (1/2 צענטאימעטער). לײגט'ץ זײ אַרײַן אין אַ סלױ און גיסט'ץ אײַן 4 טעפּלעך װאַסער. שטעל אַװעק דעם סלױ אין אַ װאַרעמען אָרט אױף 12 שעה און אָט האָט עץ רעדזשוּװעלעק.

מאכט'ץ די קרעקערס׃
נאָך דעם װאָס עץ האָט'ץ אדורכגעזײַעט דעם רעדזשוּװעלעק, מאָלט'ץ אָפּ די קאָרן־קערנדלעך מיט די לײַנזױמען, זאַלץ , און 2 לעפֿל פֿונעם רעדזשוּװעלעק. מישט'ץ אַרײַן דעם קימל. צעשמירט'ץ דאָס טײג אױף אַ באַק־ברײטל עס זאָל זײַן דיק 1/8 צאָל (1/4 צענטימעטער). באַק אױף 350 (מאַרק 4) אַ צװאַנציק מינוט.

קרעקער, ביסקװיט, פּלעצל
crackers

קאָרן
rye

לײַנזױמען
Flax seeds, linseeds

קרעקער־רעקלאַמירער
Cracker-spokesperson

אַל־אחת־כּמה־וכּמה
Most certainly

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

צװײ יאָר אין מױל אַרײַן

מיט מזל גײערט זיך!

Zucchini and Green Chile Soup (with Beet and Red Chile Soup)

I have been haunted of late by a puree of zucchini, green chiles, and hemp seeds that would make a wonderful soup, but I wondered if I could justify making yet more soup when I still had a pot of the beet, tomato, and red chile soup I had made a few days earlier. Then I remembered that photo in The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc—you know the one I mean, the one where he serves four pureed vegetable soups together. Wow, I do like that picture.


Quartet of Vegetable Purees reproduced from The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc

The four vegetables seen in their pureed forms above are string beans, tomatoes, red pepper, and celeriac. I would really like to make all four someday. I would like even more to make a fifth, because I especially like the look of a plate with five elements on it. Purple potato, yellow carrot, something like that. Anyway, so far I am only up to two soups at one time. This presentation is a bit easier if your soups are on the thicker side but not too thick (I know, it’s hard to get the thickness just right), and if both soups are close to the same consistency. Both of these dairy-free soups get their satiny creaminess from pureed hemp seeds.

Zucchini and Green Chile Soup

Olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

7 cloves garlic, peeled

2 small (or 1 large) bell peppers

1 fresh green chile, or more, to taste

greens from one bunch of beets (about ½ pound) roughly chopped

4 medium zucchini or other summer squash (about 1 pound) sliced or chopped

1 cup hemp seeds (4 ounces)

½ cup raw cashews (2 ounces)

several sprigs dill (1/4 cup snipped leaves)

several sprigs cilantro (1/4 cup minced leaves)

1 sprig sage

salt

Heat the oil in a large soup kettle. Add the onion, garlic and peppers and cook unitl thoroughly relaxed. Add the zucchini, beet greens, hemp seeds and cashews and continue to stir and cook several minutes more. Add 2 quarts of water and two teaspoons slat and bring to the boil. Cook until the vegetables and nuts are quite tender. Remove from heat and add the herbs. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or using the pureeing-modality of your choice. This soup is just perfect as is, but if you happen to have some beet, tomato and red chile puree (recipe pending) on hand, pour a little of each soup into a shallow soup plate and swoop a little spiral on the surface with a spoon. Ah, that’s nice.

This recipe is my submission for Jihva for Chillies. The final fiery roundup by Nandita is to be found at Saffron Trail.

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Sprouting Rye Berries

To make Charlie Trotter’s vegan cashew cheese, you must first make something called rejuvelac, and to make rejuvelac, you must first sprout some rye berries by soaking them overnight, and then laying them on a little paper towel-lined platter and keeping them there for for a day or two or three and giving them a little bath three times a day, every day.
About a year ago, when I first read Charlie Trotter’s recipe for vegan cashew cheese in Raw, I felt enormous relief. At last, I thought, a recipe so difficult, so time-consuming, and so compulsive that even I will never be tempted to try it. Well, I hardly need to go on, do I? The rye-berries are sprouting on their little platter even as we speak.
This site has detailed rejuvelac instructions with pictures. You can also make gluten-free rejuvelac with rice or quinoa.
I don’t know yet what I will do with the cheese, but I have a feeling some of it might end up in some starship-shaped zucchini. Maybe I can make crackers with the leftover sprouts.