Friday, February 21, 2014

Yellow Hands, Happy Tummy

Despite a dearth of exciting food shopping in this town, one of the tiny jewels in our otherwise rusty crown is the North Country Co-op downtown--a great source of organic, ethnic, bulk, and hard-to-find foods. They also send a pretty great newsletter out monthly that has interesting articles and delicious recipes to try with local, seasonal ingredients.

This month, the item featured in the newsletter was fresh turmeric. I had never seen fresh turmeric, so I had no idea what it even looked like. As it turns out, it's in the ginger family, and resembles that type of tuber with a tough outer skin, but without the cactus-like limbs branching out from the main stem. And of course, it's BRIGHT orange inside (more on that later). It doesn't have the same punch as raw ginger, but it does have a milder flavor that perfectly complements the cabbage and chickpea curry that was featured in the co-op's newsletter. 


I pretty much followed the recipe as written, but I added one thing, some cubes of Haloumi cheese that I browned in olive oil. It makes the dish vegetarian and not vegan, but it's so yummy! It's my favorite thing to add to a vegetable curry. Also, as I alluded to earlier, learn from my mistake and WEAR GLOVES when grating fresh turmeric....unless you want to walk around with neon yellow hands the next day like I did.

Curried Winter Vegetables with Fresh Turmeric
(Source:  Marsha Lawrence, via the North Country Co-op Newsletter)
Prep/cook time = 45 minutes      Serves 6

3 tablespoons vegetable oil        
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, washed & cut into bite-sized chunks
2 medium onions, chopped  
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon curry powder (I upped this to one tablespoon)  
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt            
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 head green cabbage, coarsely shredded (I used Savoy)
1 can (15 oz) chick peas, drain    
1 can (13.6 oz) coconut milk
3-inch length turmeric root, peeled and grated
1 medium apple, peeled & cut into bite-sized chunks, optional (use for sweetness)
8 oz. Haloumi cheese, cut into chunks and browned in a skillet with a teaspoon of oil, optional

Prepare or chop ingredients as you work your way through recipe.  Ingredients above are listed in the order of cooking length.

1.  In large skillet sauté oil, potatoes and onions.  Stir and cook 5 – 10 minutes, until onions translucent.  Prepare next items while this sautés.
2.  Add in all spices except turmeric and continue to cook on medium with some stirring.
3.  Turn heat to a lower medium and add cabbage and chick peas.  By now everything should have cooked for 20+ minutes.  If not, continue cooking.
4.  Turn heat to low and add turmeric, coconut milk and optional apple.  Cover and simmer 10 -15 more minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Stir in browned cheese, if using.



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