Farm Fresh: Tomatillo Curry

Tomatillo Curry

What in the world is a tomatillo? That’s the question I found myself trying to answer this week. Although I’d seen them a few times in the grocery store, I was never interested enough to try one. Then, I found myself saddled with three pounds of them! Roommate has been out of town for nearly three weeks now, so I have double the produce to use up.

At the beginning of the summer, I spent a lot of time looking up canning recipes that I’d like to try this year. One of the recipes I came across was for Curried Green Tomato Sauce from Ann Gardon’s book “Preserving for All Seasons.” After a bit of research, I discovered that tomatillos have a flavor quite similar to that of unripe tomatoes with a decidedly citrus-y twist. It seemed like it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to substitute tomatillos for the green tomatoes. With a few minor tweaks, I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Ingredients
1/4 Cup butter (or olive oil for a dairy free/vegan option)
2 Onions, diced
3 lbs Tomatillos, washed and cubed (do not peel or remove seeds)
4 Tbsp Curry powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1/2 Cup Golden raisins
3-4 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)

Melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onions until soft. Stir in the curry powder and cook 3 minutes more. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This recipe makes 4 pints (8 servings). It can be canned or frozen for later use.

To can this, ladle the sauce into pint canning jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes or in a pressure canner for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice as a vegetarian meal or as a side with grilled chicken or fish.

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Farm Fresh: Curried Squash Griddle Cakes

Curried Squash Griddle Cakes

Apparently it’s a great year for squash in Maine. Every week we get more squash in the CSA bag. While I’m thrilled to find zucchini and summer squash in the bag, we’re all getting rather tired of parmesan roasted squash and sauteed squash. After a brief Google search for creative ways to use squash, I decided on griddle cakes. I’ve been cooking with chickpeas a lot lately, so curry’s been on my mind. Curried squash sounded like an excellent idea!

Ingredients
1/2 tsp Curry
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Ground coriander
1/4 tsp Ground ginger
1/8 tsp Ground cardamom
1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
2 yellow squash, shredded
1 egg, lightly whisked
3 Tbsp oat flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Set spice mixture aside.

To prepare squash for fritter mixture you must squeeze all of the water out first. Place a handful of shredded squash in the center of a clean dish towel. Pull the sides of the towel up and twist to squeeze water out of the shredded squash. Repeat a couple of times per handful. Place squash into a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, flour, salt, and spice mix to shredded squash. Using a fork, gently stir until the mixture is combined.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to the pan. Using a fork, place about a heaping tablespoon worth of squash mixture into the skillet. Carefully spread out the squash mixture to form a small thin pancake shape. Cook griddle cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Recipe makes 6 to 8.

Vegetable Laksa (Thai Coconut Curry Noodles)

I consider myself a relatively adventurous eater (thanks Mom!). Growing up, I had to take at least one bite of everything, every single time it was put in front of me. I didn’t have to like it, and I definitely didn’t have to eat it if I hated it, but I had to try everything. To this day, I will try almost anything that’s put in front of me, although I’ve learned through trial and error that some things are never going to taste good (mayonnaise, pickled eggs).

Despite my adventurous palate, I rarely go seeking out new things to try. I’ll taste them if put in front of me, but left to my own devices I’ll happily eat the same things over and over. My definition of “the same things” changed radically when my college thesis advisor took all of her advisees out to an Indian restaurant. I ordered Chicken Tikka, moderately hot, and instantly fell in love. I can’t believe it took me 30 years to find Indian food! All things Indian and curry are now part of my regular rotation. In my search for new dishes, I came across this delightful (and delightfully easy!) soup. It’s hard to believe that it’s gluten and dairy free, relatively healthy, and amazingly flavorful!

Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

I absolutely loved this dish, but Boyfriend only gave it 2 stars. He had a cold at the time and couldn’t taste anything though, so I may try it again and ask for a new rating.

**To make this vegetarian, omit the chicken broth and use 2 cups of boiling water.

Ingredients:
2/3 package Rice noodles (about 4.5 oz)
2 Tbsp peanut oil (other vegetable oil may be substituted)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips (optional)
2oz Thai red curry paste (store bought or homemade)
1 can Coconut milk
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup boiling water
2-3 Cups mixed vegetables, cut into thin strips (I used carrots, zucchini, and red/green bell pepper)
handful fresh basil leaves

Chicken Sautee

Raw Vegetables

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Soften noodles as directed on package. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. If you are using chicken, add it to the oil and cook until it is just browned. Add curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Quickly add coconut milk, chicken broth, and boiling water. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Simmer for 2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.

To serve, add noodles to each serving bowl. Pour soup and vegetables over noodles and top with basil leaves.

NOTES: I love garlic and heat, so I added a minced garlic clove and a bit of ground red pepper to mine. This would also be wonderful made with shrimp instead of chicken.

STORAGE: If you have leftovers, place the noodles in a container, lay a wet paper towel over the top, and cover with a lid. Moisten the paper towel when it dries out (once every 1-2 days). Store the soup in a separate container.

REHEATING: Put soup in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add the noodles and heat for 30-45 seconds more.

Adapted from Veggie Laksa by Zen Family Habits.