Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Recipe, a Recipe Review, and a Product Review

So, this started out as an eggplant curry. But when I cut into the eggplant and found it spoiled (yikes, more spoiled produce!), I started searching for some other veggies to use. I came up with potatoes and squash. I thought it was pretty good!

Have you used coconut oil in your cooking yet? I have read mixed opinions about it. Some swear it will kill you, and others say it is a healthy fat because it's composed of medium chain fatty acids, which are apparently difficult to get anywhere else. Whatever, it sure tastes good! It seems pricey at about 8 bucks for a small jar, but it lasts for a really long time. So probably not more expensive than a decent olive oil.

Squash and Potato Curry

1 T coconut oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

1 t black mustard seeds

1/2 t cumin seeds

2 small Yukon golds, in small dice

1 delicata squash, in somewhat larger cubes

1 T tomato paste

3/4 c water

1 t curry paste (I like Patak's)

salt (a fair amount)

Saute onion in oil until starting to brown (sprinkle with salt). Add garlic, mustard and cumin seeds and cook a few minutes until fragrant. Add all else, bring to a boil, and simmer about a half hour, until veggies are cooked and sauce has thickened.

Here is a tomato paste tip - freeze what is leftover, and slice off chunks as you need it. Much cheaper than that stuff in the tube!

Product Review - Trader Joe's Bengal Lentils, bottom right of pic. Pretty good stuff. A bit spicy for the kids - the 4 year old acted like I was trying to poison her. (So then I said we would try plain beans with salt next time, and she happily agreed, heh, heh, sneaky mom.) It comes in a pouch and has 2 good sized servings. Can't beat it for easy protein. Most of TJ's Indian food has dairy, so I was excited to try this one.

Recipe Review - Lettuce with Peaches, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sour Orange Vinaigrette from Jack Bishop's "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen." Super delicious - I have made it several times. As you probably know, pumpkin seeds have lots of zinc, which is a tough one for us. I just love the smoky flavor.

What do you think of produce from Chile in winter? I have heard it slammed for high pesticide use. I don't know if it's higher than the U.S. I find the peaches and nectarines to be quite flavorful with nice texture, considering the distance they travel. They are often better than what comes up from the South in the spring. So perhaps their food production standards are not worse than ours? One interesting argument I have heard is that it is beneficial to get nutrients from different parts of the world. And last week we had cherries from Chile that were excellent, and at $2.44/lb. way cheaper than any from the U.S. in season. Now are we helping the world economy with our consumption or exploiting people? Are the environmental costs of food that travels so far too great? Is it worse than trucking in strawberries from California? I remember once going to a strawberry festival out east on the farms in June (strawberry season on LI). I was disappointed that they used California strawberries instead of local in season ones! So much to consider.


Ricki said...

I think I like your final curry version better than the intended one! And re: coconut oil, I think it depends on the grade, how it was processed, etc. The organic virgin oils are the ones w/o damaged molecules, so they are apparently good for you. The old-fashioned, hydrogenated/ fractionated kinds are the ones that were apparently harmful. (And I'm now totally reliant on coconut oil!)

River said...

Thanks for the tomato paste tip, I never seem to use it fast enough.

Those lentils look really good, and I'm not even a big lentil person!

Everything seems to have two sides, I'm sure there are people who argue that water will kill you. In the end I just try to use everything in moderation. Hard to do with a gigantic sweet tooth! :)