Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week 10: Cool as a ... Well, You Know ...

THIS WEEK'S HIT: Raita and Tomato-Vegetable Curry

  • Outside air temperature: 88 degrees
  • Kitchen temperature, with AC on: 78 degrees
  • Internal temperature of cucumber, pulled from refrigerator into air-conditioned kitchen: 40 degrees
cucumber with thermometerHey, these babies really are cool!

This week's farm share held the antidote to a sudden stretch of hot weather: a dozen cucumbers and seven tomatoes. We took the remedy in the form of pickles, gazpacho, Greek salad, Indian raita, and vegetarian curry. Mmmmm, cool (except for the curry, which was mmmmm, spicy hot). We also received blueberries (eaten out of hand), cherry tomatoes (sauteed with garlic, basil, and sage, and served over pasta), kale (went into the curry), carrots (steamed), eggplant (grilled), green bell peppers (added to the pickles and gazpacho), and a bunch of flowers (vase).

I know tomatoes are hard to find in some locations, but our farm is not organic and the crop hasn't succumbed to blight. Enjoy them if you have them.


Adjust the proportions of yogurt, cucumber, and spices to your liking.

Mix together the following:

1 tsp cumin, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute
1 cup plain yogurt (non-fat is okay)
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
salt, pepper, and paprika to taste

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with curry or similar spicy food.

Tomato-Vegetable Curry

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp black mustard seed (yellow mustard seed also works)
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 onion, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small bunch kale, chopped (can substitute other greens or cabbage)
6 ounces tomato juice
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cardamom

tomato-vegetable curryIn a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil until hot. Add the mustard seeds, cover the pot, and let the seeds pop. Add the cloves and cinnamon stick, cover, and cook until the spices are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Carefully remove the cloves and cinnamon (you may want to do this off-heat), then add the onion and tomatoes to the pot. Cook them covered, about 5 minutes or until they soften. Add the ginger and cook one minute more. Then add the kale and all of the remaining spices and cook, covered, about 5 minutes or until the kale begins to wilt.

Add the tomato juice and cauliflower. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 to 45 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. (Watch the level of liquid and add a bit of tomato juice or water if the mixture becomes too dry.) Serve with raita and warm naan.

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