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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Amaranth Leaves Thokku

Fresh amaranth leaves from the farmers market is something I am getting used to, but soon will have to let go as the fall rolls in and fresh produce tapers out when the farmers market closes for the season.

Thokku is a south Indian catch-all term that is used to refer to sautéed grated vegetables packed with flavor. My favorite is spicy Chilli Thokku, but, I make thokku out of just about anything, including Kohlrabi, Mango, Green Papaya Thokku which was all the rage last year and the year before when I canned a few jars of them.


  1. Chop up the amaranth leaves finely, even run them in a blender till they feel pasty. 
  2. Heat some oil in a pan, add some mustard seeds and when they pop, add the prepared amaranth; add in some salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, tamarind paste, white vinegar, and a hint of brown sugar and allow to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently
  3. Continue cooking, adding a bit more oil as needed till amaranth is fully cooked and the flavors meld
  4. Cool and store in a mason jar in the fridge, or can it in boiling water bath

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Stuffed Baby Eggplant with Sweet-and-Sour Peanut Paste

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

It is no secret that I love eggplant, as evidenced by the wide array of Eggplant Recipes shared here. While I don't eat eggplant everyday, it does seem like I am rather partial to it. On and off I avoid nightshade family which include eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes to help the gut recover. Choosing ripe red peppers and ripe red tomatoes and and ripe purple eggplant seems to work so far.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

Small Indian eggplant, when ripe, is just a little bigger than a large egg and perfect for slitting and stuffing to make spicy dishes. This time, the flavorful sweet-and-sour masala paste for stuffing is made with peanuts, tomatoes, dry red chilies, plus my favorite combo for sweet-and-sour: tamarind paste + grape molasses.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

[Disclaimer: I have not affiliation with these brands, these are just the ones available where I shop]

Simply grind the masala paste, make cross-wise slit in the eggplants and slather the paste inside. Reserve some of the paste for the gravy, if preferred.

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

For the peanut masala paste:
½ cup dry roasted peanuts
4 to 5 dry red chilies
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp grape molasses
2 Tbsp tamarind paste
salt to taste

2 Tbsp canola oil
water as needed


  1. Masala Paste: Combine the peanut masala paste ingredients, grind to a smooth paste and keep handy
  2. Slit-and-Stuff Eggplant: Make two slits in the eggplant perpendicular to each other keeping the stem intact; slather the masala paste into the crevices by gently opening up the slits
  3. Cook: Heat oil in a pan, add any reserved masala paste and saut&eacte; ; then, arrange the slit-and-stuffed eggplants gently, splash some water and sprinkle some salt, cover and allow to cook over medium heat; turn the eggplant gently to cook all sides evenly till cooked through but still intact
  4. Serve with Basmati rice or naan; or just enjoy it as-is, like an appetizer

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Masala Vadai, a ubiquitous south Indian fried snack, is what came to mind when I first encountered Falafel ages ago. The name was new, but the flavor and appearance was all-too-familiar. Chickpeas being a staple in Indian foods, plus all the grams and pulses and lentils, it is not surprising that versions of fried chickpea patties and lentil patties were ubiquitous in India, and I grew up taking them for granted.

Over summer, it was so much easier to make falafel on and off at home and serve with some pita or home-made naan, plus some assortment of fresh filling like olives, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, onions, lettuce, and home-made hummus.

My favorite of course was to serve falafel with little bowls of bib/Boston lettuce which seem perfect for filling with fresh veggies from the garden.

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Simple soak the chickpeas overnight, then grind it up coarsely. I like to add chopped onions and chard from the garden to this, season with salt, and knead a bit. If it seems too loose to shape, I add a sprinkling of my favorite coconut flour. With its high fiber content, coconut flour works well to thicken as needed. Chill for a hour in the fridge before shaping into patties for deep frying.

Home-made Falafel with Chard

Home-made hummus has always been a fun endeavor. Usually a batch of hummus gets made once a week or so and saved in the fridge to act as spread for wraps or toppings for salads.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves and Sweet-Sour Salmon and Lychee-Chili Sauce

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

A bunch of gorgeous Sweet Potato Leaves seemed so fresh and inviting at the farmers market that I had to bring it home and sauté it right away.

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

A hunk of Silver Salmon caught in Alaska during our recent trip was thawed and ready. Sweet-and-sour salmon was one of the requests I received while wondering how to cook up the salmon this time.

Sweet-and-sour Salmon it is, then.

Tamarind paste and grape molasses is a perfect sweet-and-sour combination that I've come to love while cooking with these two staple ingredients in my kitchen.

Of course, vinegar and sugar is a default sweet-sour combination, which I am not very fond of... so, am glad I settled on tamarind paste and grape molasses for now, that bring in a deeper flavor and an interesting layering.

(Disclaimer:I don't have any affiliation with these brands, these just happen to be the ones easily available where I shop.)

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

I grew up loving lychees (aka litchi), enjoying this seasonal fruit whenever it hits the local market. Litchi chinensis has a shell like peanuts which are peeled and discarded to get to the translucent mildly sweet flesh that has a strong odor characteristic of many tropical fruits. There were at least half a dozen varieties cultivated in northern and eastern parts of India, where the warm and humid climate and soil seem ideally suited for these lovely trees.

These days, every once in a while, I find fresh and frozen lychees at the Asian market, and bring them home for some fun smoothies and chutneys and sauces. It has a rather large pit inside, so, getting the flesh is a bit of an effort, but well worth it if one loves these fruits as much as I do.

Lychees with home garden chilies became a hot-and-sweet sauce in the form of Lychee-Chili Sauce, much like the sauce made for Lychee-Chili Chicken. This time, I served the sauce on the side as I knew kids don't care for it.

Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves

Sometimes, the combination of ingredients might seem like a mish-mash meal, but those are the ones I've noticed turn out satisfying as it is rather unexpected and refreshing.

The salmon was slathered on with tamarind and grape molasses, and a sprinkling of salt, then, lightly dusted with flour. It is first pan-seared skin-side down. Then, flipped to cook the other side. I peel the skin off at this stage and slather more of the tamarind and grape molasses plus salt to the now skin-free side, then flip again and sear it till flaky and cooked through.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Home-garden Zucchini Crispy Pan-fried

Summer was rather unseasonably hot here. Al fresco dining was a frequent option, to just hang out in the backyard and catch the evening breeze as the sun sets and the air cools a bit.

Fresh veggies and fruits, with minimal cooking was my goal. And this particular meal seemed to fit the bill perfectly, served buffet-style, a few weeks ago.

Some tender zucchini from the garden got made into these incredibly addictive crispy pan-fried slices. Coat the zucchini slices with some olive oil. Grate some Parmesan, combine it with some seasoning. Press the oiled zucchini slices into the seasoned Parmesan and pan-fry till both sides are crispy

Carrots and cucumber from the farmers market became Indian-style salads: Cucumber got tossed with some salt, cayenne pepper, lime juice and cilantro. Grated carrots got tossed with some grated ginger, salt, toasted cumin seeds, and lemon juice.

We had picked fresh blueberries at the farm, diligently working under scorching sun, thinking about seasonal migrant workers who usually take on this tedious job for minimal wages, and wondering all the costs that go into keeping the berries fresh when they arrive at the local supermarkets... Kids were truly appreciative of the labor and the incidental costs, which hopefully will make them more responsible and discerning consumers when they grow up...

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Cauliflower Leaves Tostada

Cauliflower Leaves Tostada

Much like Collard (aka 'Colewort' greens of Brassica oleracea, variety acephala) greens that have sturdy stems and thick leaves that are chockful of vitamins, my favorite this year has been Cauliflower greens from the home garden.

Cauliflower Leaves Tostada

Being of the same family, these cauliflower leaves also are sturdy and nutritionally packed, and have similar flavor and texture as collard greens when cooked.

Sautéed with onions and home-garden cherry tomatoes, these cauliflower greens were a perfect topping to spread on tostada to snack on some days back.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Zucchini Chutney

When Ridge Gourd Chutney is a staple, can Zucchini Chutney be far behind?

One of the home-garden zucchinis became the base ingredient for this chutney.

Sautéed with onions, green chilies, and tomatoes, flavored with salt, tamarind and grape molasses, and then ground up with toasted urad dal and chana dal, this zucchini chutney is easy to make and quite versatile.

For a thicker consistency, pan cook it till the excess water from zucchini evaporates. Temper with mustard seeds and cumin seeds if preferred.

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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Zucchini Paruppusili

Paruppusili is a traditional south Indian side dish made with vegetables and lentils. Ever since my first taste of Banana Flower Paruppusili my mom made when I was young, I have been terribly fond of this dish, and still consider it a comfort food.

These days I make paruppusili from various other vegetables, not just banana flowers. I love the concept: fresh seasonal veggie lightly steamed; then sauteed with pan-fried lentils. The lentils are not just cooked and fried, but, they undergo a wonderful procedure that boosts their presence in this dish.

A few of the garden zucchinis needed to be harvested. While thinking of ways to cook them up, paruppusili popped into my head. Along with some carrots, zucchini paruppusili seemed like a good idea.

Typically, I soak some Tuvar dal (split pigeon peas) in warm water along with some fenugreek seeds and dry red chilies. Then, grind into a thick paste that can be shaped into balls. Steam these balls, they will harden a bit but yet have the soft consistency of a meatball. At this point, the lentil balls can be cooled and frozen for later use.

For the paruppusili dish, the lentil balls are coarsely crumbled and pan-fried in coconut oil till lightly crispy; then the steamed veggies are tossed in with salt to taste. That's it. Served warm or at room temperature, this dish is a complete meal.

Of course, it might be okay to skip the make-into-ball-and-steam routine, and just pan-fry the ground up lentil paste.

If the steamed lentils are going to be crumbled anyway, why bother making them into balls? Well, the lentil balls are used to make another one of my comfort foods - Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu.

Between the Paruppusili and Paruppu urundai sambar, when one is planned the other automatically begs its existence as well.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini Casserole

à la green bean casserole, but with crispy fried jalapeño topping instead of the usual French fried onions.

We harvested some of the zucchinis from the garden.

I used my trusty Spiralizer to spiralize the zucchinis. Then, salted it and placed it in a colander lined with a towel to absorb the liquids for about 20 minutes while getting the cheese sauce ready for the casserole.

Much like Kohlrabi Au Gratin, this casserole is creamy and cheesy, thanks to heavy cream and cheese; but being conscious of fat consumption, the amount is not too generous, just enough to create the illusion of rich casserole.

Zucchini Casserole

And, our local supermarket had French's™ Crispy jalapeños that I wanted to try. Casserole topping seemed the best use for it at this time.

Squeeze out excess water from the spiralized zucchini before assembling in the casserole dish. Make a quick and simple cheese sauce by heating some cream and melting some cheese in it with favorite seasoning.

Bake in a 375°F oven for about 35 to 40 minutes til flavors meld and the cheese is bubbly. Top with the crispy fried jalapeños and bake 3 or 4 minutes more.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Creamy Kohlrabi Au Gratin

Creamy Kohlrabi Au Gratin

At the risk of imitating a broken record, I must mention that I love kohlrabi from the tip of its gorgeous greens to the bottom of its knobby bulb, and can't walk by a bunch at the market without bringing it home.

One such bunch got made into this quick and simple Kohlrabi gratin. Casseroles and gratins are a fun vegetarian side for weeknight meals, but, this gratinée took center stage, supplemented by some hemp seed bread and a quick kale+feta salad. For the adults at least. Kids didn't seem that thrilled, but, I am not giving up...

Slice the Kohlrabi to uniform thickness for even cooking.

To speed things up on a weeknight, I par-cook the sliced kohlrabi in the microwave with a couple of tablespoons of water, apinch of salt, covered, and then assemble the items in the casserole dish.

Some heavy cream and cheese, stirred with some salt and black pepper is all it takes to make this delicious kohlrabi gratin. I used a combination of smoked cheddar, Parmesan, and mozzarella, but any favorite cheese that melts and crsuts would probably be fine.

Since I was cooking in portioned single-serve casserole dishes, I baked them in a 400° F oven, for about 15 minutes till bubbly and then finished off under the broiler to get that top crust. Breadcrumbs optional - I used a small scoop of Panko breadcrumbs for the crusty topping on some but omitted it in others.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Zucchini Chard Noddles with Capers Sun-dried Tomatoes and Chipotle

Zucchini Noodles Thai with Capers Sun-dried Tomatoes and Chipotle

A quick weeknight meal that incorporates what the home garden has to offer at this time:  Asian noodles tossed in with sauteed garden veggies and flavorful no-cook sauce, served at room temperature with a light drizzling of freshly squeezed lemon juice and garnished with lemon zest.

Another tender home garden zucchini was ready to be picked.

Zucchini Noodles Thai with Capers Sun-dried Tomatoes and Chipotle

Some lush home garden rainbow chard leaves were ready to be clipped and used as well.

A batch of home-garden cherry tomatoes were just about ripening.

Home garden Thai basil and Italian were both handy as well.

Plus some kale, bell peppers, onions, and garlic came together for this quick summer noodles with a fusion of flavors from MediterrAsian to Mexican.

No-cook Sauce: Thai basil, Italian basil, Capers, Sun-dried tomatoes, and chipotle in adobo sauce came together to make a thick fresh no-cook sauce. Simply combine the ingredients in a proportion that appeals to your taste, blend it to a smooth sauce-like paste, adding a touch of apple cider vinegar and tamarind to taste.

Sauteed Veggies: Zucchini got spiralized, kale and chard got ribboned and they all got sauteed with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Cumin Seeds Berbere Cauliflower

cumin cauliflower recipes berbere roast

Over the years, I've come to realize that some of the ingredients in the traditional dishes were not just randomly included: it seems like the age-old recipes factored in the benefits of the required ingredients and made up a formula for the rest of us to follow.

One such ingredient which is a staple in most Indian recipes is cumin. Besides being a digestive aid, it has antifungal properties, and is rich in iron. Powdered cumin with castor oil used to be a standard home remedy my mom gave us when we were young, for its laxative properties.

Anyway, I am rambling here... what I was getting at is that, while I do experiment with fusion cuisine, I also try to incorporate ingredients that I grew up with and use it in a sensible way. Or atleast, in a way that seems sensible  to me.

I have been using Berbere spice mix often lately as I have a goodish batch of it handy. Cumin seeds (jeera) with roast cauliflower is a simple and popular side dish in Indian cuisine. This time, I simply steamed the cauliflower partially so it is still firm, then sauteed with berbere spice mix, a touch of brown sugar, salt, and cumin seeds, plus chopped cilantro; then finished off by roasting it in the oven.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Amaranth Leaves Kohlrabi Coconut-Yogurt Soup

amaranth and kohlrabi recipes

Looks like I've been staying with the amaranth theme for the last few posts as I couldn't pass up the lush green bunch of amaranth leaves at the farmers market... Amaranth stems are irresistible when steamed -- almost like tender asparagus. I might have mentioned that I love saving the stems for special dishes...

And, apparently, anytime I spot kohlrabi I can't seem to walk away without picking up a bunch. From their sizable and wholesome leaves, and their thick yet tender stems, to their squat and plump bulbs, all coming together in a comically cheery package, I love everything about kohlrabi. And it's not just about their looks either. While this relative of Brassica oleracea family has shades of the infamous aroma that cabbage and broccoli are known for, kohlrabi also has a crisp pear-like crunch when raw that is perfect for slaw, and firm texture almost like potato when steamed tenderly.

This yogurt-based soup is a variation of the mor-kozhambu, a south India staple, typically served over steamed rice. The goodness of cumin and fenugreek along with the tropical staple, the coconut, makes this hearty soup a favorite with 75% of the population in the house. The other 25% will hopefully develop a taste for it soon, as it seems like the appearance is the main deterrent in this case.

amaranth and kohlrabi recipes

1 kohlrabi bulb, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped amaranth leaves and stems
1 Tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

2 cups yogurt, beaten/whipped to a smooth blend

for the soup base paste:
1 Tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1½ tsp fenugreek seeds, toasted
2 to 3 green chilies, chopped
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
½ cup dry grated coconut

  1. Grind the ingredients for the soup base into a fine paste, adding a splash of water as needed to form the paste
  2. Heat oil in a sauce pot, add the ginger, turmeric, kohlrabi and amaranth, a pinch of salt, and sauté till aromatic; then, add 2 cups of water, cover and simer till kohlrabi is fork-tender
  3. Stir in the soup base paste, adjust salt to taste, cover and simmer till flavors meld
  4. Off heat, stir in the beaten yogurt so it doesn't curdle too much
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Amaranth Greens Coconut Milk Soup

amaranth greens soup

One portion of the large bunch of amaranth greens from the farmer's market became a spicy amaranth greens curry with rutabaga and beets. Another portion of it became this flavorful coconut milk-based soup as in this recipe.

Rather than the traditional Thai flavors, I went with a simple no-fuss Madras Curry Powder flavoring, something that spells comfort food for me sometimes.

Amaranth greens, bell peppers, onions, and broccoli stems made up the veggie body of the soup. Have I mentioned I love edible stems and save them diligently for such dishes as where they will shine?

Nothing much to the soup - sauté the veggies in some coconut oil, add in some curry powder, turmeric powder, and salt to taste, stir in enough water to get the veggies par-cooked; then stir in enough coconut milk and simmer till flavors meld. Off heat squeeze a half lime over the soup to add a bit of citrus-y goodness, garnish with cilantro before serving

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Amaranth Greens Rutabaga Beets Chard Spicy Ethiopian-Spiced Curry

Amaranth Greens Rutabaga Beets Chard Spicy Ethiopian-Spiced Curry

A giant bunch of Amaranth greens hopped into my tote bag, all by itself, wanting to go home with me, imagining all the wonderful dishes it can become.

And so, couple of dollars gleefully jumped out of my pocket and nestled in the lady's palm at the farm stand while the amaranth leaves settled into my already brimming tote.

Amaranth Greens Rutabaga Beets Chard Spicy Ethiopian-Spiced Curry

One dish is not enough to relish, and showcase, this amazing amaranth greens. High in dietary fiber with chockful of goodness like vitamin B6, folate, iron, manganese, calcium, plus cholesterol-lowering tendency and antihyperglycemic activity, I only wish it was available in the supermarkets on a regular basis instead of just the local farmers markets on and off. Most Amaranthus species are annual weeds, short-lived, and not all species are cultivated for the greens, so, understandably, they are not available year-round here. Amaranth seeds are one of my favorites as well, to boost salads and make kedgeree/kichri/porridge.

Known as Thotta Keerai or Thandu Keerai in Tamil, I remember my mom buying bundles of greens from a vendor who also knew which greens can address the heating/cooling of the body as needed, based on Ayurvedic principles. The thick but tender stems of amaranth greens remind me of tender asparagus. This is quite a staple as far as greens go in south Indian cuisine.

Some rainbow chard were ready to be clipped and used from the home garden.

Amaranth Greens Rutabaga Beets Chard Spicy Ethiopian-Spiced Curry

I had some beets and rutabaga from the farmers market from last week. It seemed like a good combination for a spicy curry with a blend of South Indian and Ethiopian flavors. Ever since Ethiopian spice-mixes like Berbere, Mekelesha and Mitmita became readily available, much like the Indian spice-mixes such as Madras curry powder and Garam masala powder and Sambar powder, I have been adding them to my favorite Indian recipes. Fusion cuisine being my passion, finding equivalent substitutions from various cuisines to mix and match the flavors has been a wonderful obsession.

Nothing much to it, except for the curry paste which is non-traditional one I made up on a whim. and, managed to jot down the ingredients this time to share.

Amaranth Greens Rutabaga Beets Chard Spicy Ethiopian-Spiced Curry

For the spice paste:
1 Tbsp chana dal, lightly toasted
½ Tbsp urad dal, lightly toasted
3 to 4 dry red chilies
3 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes for the intense flavor(or, use tomato paste)
1 Tbsp tamarind paste (sold as Sour Soup base mix in Asian stores)
2 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp cumin powder
2 Tbsp Berbere powder (Ethiopian spice mix)
1 Tbsp Mekelesha powder (Ethiopian spice mix)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups chopped amaranth leaves
1 medium rutabaga diced
1 medium beetroot diced
8 or so rainbow chard, chopped
¼ cup diced onions
1 Tbsp canola oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
salt to taste

  1. Spice paste: Combine the spice paste ingredients with a splash of water and grind to a fine paste in a blender or food processor, keep handy
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the veggies, turmeric powder, a pinch of salt and sauté
  3. Add the spice paste and sauté some more
  4. When onions turn translucent, add the amaranth leaves, just enough water to cook the veggies, cover and simmer gently, adding a splash of water as needed till veggies are fully cooked but not mushy, and the gravy thickens to make the curry
  5. Serve warm with roti or naan or plain basmati rice

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Sunday, August 06, 2017

Quelite Lamb's Quarter Leaves with Potatoes

Quelite Lamb's Quarter Leaves with Potatoes mexican greens pigweed hepatoprotective antibacterial greens

Quelite (kay-lee-thay) shown here is also known as pigweed or lamb's quarter. (Any generic greens can be referred to as quelite as well, as I understand it).

This particular weed used to be a commonplace greens my mom cooked when I was young. Known as Paruppu Keerai or Chakravarthi Keerai, Chenopodium album is not as popular as, say, spinach or kale, even though it is supposed to have hepatoprotective benefits, as well as antibacterial activity on a handful of pathogens that affect humans. Some weeds have it better than others!

All that aside, did I happen to mention that I picked up a bunch of quelite from the farmer's market when I also picked up some pipitza  and some papalo that this bubbly farmer encouraged me to munch on while I shopped at his stand?

I sifted through my childhood memories and came up with this simple dish that I used to love eating with rice and rasam.

Quelite Lamb's Quarter Leaves with Potatoes mexican greens pigweed hepatoprotective antibacterial greens

1 medium onion, diced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 to 8 ripe cherry tomatoes (any variety is fine, I had these handy in the garden)
1 bunch of quelite/lamb's quarter/pigweed, tender stem and leaves chopped, washed
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Juice of one lime
salt to taste
1 Tbsp canola oil

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions, garlic, turmeric powder and a pinch of salt, sauté
  2. Add the chunks of potatoes, some water, cover and cook till potatoes are par-cooked
  3. Add the chopped quelite, tomatoes, brown sugar, salt, some more water, cover and cook till greens are tender and potatoes are fork-tender
  4. Off heat, squeeze the juice of one lime, stir well and serve warm with roti or naan, or plain brown rice

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Papalo with Baby Romaine, Tender Mustard Greens, and Delicate Beet Greens Salad with Mayocoba Bean Dressing

Papalo with Baby Romaine, Tender Mustard Greens, and Delicate Beet Greens Salad with Mayocoba Bean Dressing

I triumphantly waved a bunch of Papalo at the other adult when I got back from the farmer's market a few weeks ago, and promptly pinched off one sprightly leaf and eagerly focused on his reaction as he nibbled. Well, I needn't have focused so hard. The anguished mastication spoke volumes. And, was supplemented by a cocked eyebrow that queried, Did you just gather a bunch of weeds off the park on your way home?


So, I started gushing about this genuine farmer I met and the Oaxacan herbs he was selling at his stand in the farmer's market, and narrated the Pipitza episode that I shared here recently. And then, I brandished the Quelite bunch, which didn't help my cause.

Papalo is an acquired taste, much like cilantro can be. It has a strong presence with citrus undertones, and can be quite overpowering. But chopped and added to a quick fresh salad, in small quantities, it brings a distinctive flavor, much like Mesclun greens with its strong/bitter leaves may not be everybody's cup of tea.

Papalo with Baby Romaine, Tender Mustard Greens, and Delicate Beet Greens Salad with Mayocoba Bean Dressing

I had some fresh baby Mustard Greens in the garden. They start out mildly sweet when you pop a few in the mouth, and then when you chew, the mildly pungent explosion is very appealing, not at all offensive.

I also had some baby beet greens in the garden. They make a fine addition to fresh salad.

Plus these gorgeous baby Romaine leaves. It is my obsession this year in my home garden. Early in the gardening season, I started saving the bottom 3 inches of Romaine hearts I bought from the store, and planting them in the garden box when it was still cool. As long as I keep picking off the young outer leaves, these Romaine bunches keep growing without much fuss. And I rather like these tender leaves in fresh summer salads.

Papalo with Baby Romaine, Tender Mustard Greens, and Delicate Beet Greens Salad with Mayocoba Bean Dressing

The dressing was a "goddess" style dressing - rich and creamy - made with mayocoba beans plus tahini and red wine vinegar and lemon juice and Tabasco sauce and Bragg Liquid Aminos and olive oil -- a little of this and a little of that till it tastes just right.

Papalo with Baby Romaine, Tender Mustard Greens, and Delicate Beet Greens Salad with Mayocoba Bean Dressing

I tend not to jot down the details of dressing and dips and vinaigrette that come about in my kitchen, especially since they are rarely planned and measured in any methodical fashion. The nice thing about having a wide selection of condiments from various cuisines is that it aids and abets my fascination with fusion cuisine. Well, the downside to not noting down the ingredients and proportions is, of course, I can never recreate the exact same magic the next time... C'est la vie!

Papalo with Baby Romaine, Tender Mustard Greens, and Delicate Beet Greens Salad with Mayocoba Bean Dressing

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