Mint Chutney

Mint Chutney

Indian food is always on the top of my list of food I love to eat. The complex laying of spices and herbs, a myriad of vegetable based dishes, meaning I will be sure to eat my veggies that day. But it can be an intimidating food to cook, even for a trained chef.

That fear of cooking Indian food has vanished upon receiving a copy of Flavorful Shortcuts to Indian/Pakistani Cooking by Farhana Sahibzada. Chef Farhana, who has been a culinary teacher for over twenty year, recently did a cooking demo at Melissa’s Produce. Her easy going style and patient explanations made Indian cooking not as intimidating as it was.

If you are like me and love Indian food, but afraid to try to make it at home, I recommend Chef Farhana’s book. Find it in your local bookstore or buy it here on Amazon.

I admit, this Mint Chutney recipe is probably one of the easiest ones in the book, but it is what I was craving. I had roasted a chicken and potatoes with Indian spices, and knew this chutney would be the perfect cooling complement to the heavily spiced meat.

Mint Chutney

Mint Chutney
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • ½ bunch fresh mint
  • 1 whole Serrano chile, stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate seeds
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Bland all the ingredients in a blender or food processor for 30 - 40 seconds until blended well.
  2. Mint chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks when stored in an airtight container with a firm lid.

 

I also recommend Crack the Code: Cook Any Indian Meal with Confidence by Nandita Godbole. This is another excellent book which helps demystify the complexity in Indian cooking.  You can purchase and download this Ebook from Amazon.

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my recipe development. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.

Avocado Love

Summertime is Avocado Love time!

Avocado season is in full swing here in California, where the BEST avocados in the world are grown. I may be a little biased of course, having grown up in California and having access to backyard avocado trees. We ate avocados before they became the fashionable culinary powerhouse that they are now.

I’ve been enjoying the avocados so much this summer and decided to go into my archives to share my favorite recipes using avocados.

I hope you love them as much as I do!

 

 

Avocado, Mandarin Orange and Jicama Salad with Key Lime Dressing | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Avocado, Mandarin Orange and Jicama Salad With Key Lime Dressing

 

Skewered Steak Tips with Avocado Gastrique

Skewered Steak Tips with Avocado Gastrique

 

Avocado and Potato Salad with Hatch Chile Vinaigrette | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Avocado and Potato Salad with Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

 

Spicy Avocado Goddess Dressing | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Spicy Avocado Goddess Dressing

 

Bacon Shrimp Avocado Dip

Bacon Shrimp Avocado Dip

 

 

Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad with Kumquat Dressing

Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad with Kumquat Dressing

This is a salad made from a stolen opportunity. Well, maybe not a stolen opportunity so much as just stolen. My neighbor’s little kumquat tree is right on the street, so when we pass by my girl and I tend to take a few to eat. My sister does it too when she walks over to visit. We are a family of fruit thieves.

My neighbor does not eat them, so we are actually doing her a service! We eat the fruit before it just shrivels up and falls from the tree. I see it as a win-win situation.  (I can justify anything if I try hard enough)

This Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad with Kumquat Dressing is actually the second time I have used the tartly sweet fruits in a salad dressing. Years ago I posted a recipe for Tangy Kumquat Dressing, which I developed after helping unburden that poor little tree of too many kumquats.

 

Photo by Frieda's Produce
Photo by Frieda’s Produce

But, the real star of this salad is purple asparagus. I received some gorgeous purple asparagus from Frieda’s Produce to play with, and the color was just stunning. But if you cook purple asparagus it turns green just like the asparagus you always see in the store. So the best way to showcase these beauties is raw.

When eaten raw, purple asparagus is crispy and juicy, with flavor reminiscent of jicama. Not overtly sweet, but with just a hint of sweetness. A flavor that would contrast nicely with the kumquats flavor profile of sour and sweet. And that is where the other main ingredient comes in. Salt cured olives.  You do not have to use salt cured olives, but I do want you to use a strongly flavored olive, such as a kalamata.

 

Kumquat Dressing with Salt Cured Olives

When preparing the dressing, soak the kumquats halves in the olive oil overnight for the best flavor. The oils in the kumquat skin will perfume the olive oil with a lovely citrus flavor.

Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad with Kumquat Dressing

Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad with Kumquat Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 5-6 kumquats, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound purple asparagus, tough ends removed
  • ½ cup salt cured black olives, quartered
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Place the kumquats and olive oil into a small bowl.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture 6 hours to overnight.
  3. When ready to make the dressing remove the oil from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature.
  4. Cut the tips of the asparagus off and set aside.
  5. Using a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus spears into thin strips.
  6. Place the asparagus shavings into a bowl of cold water to keep them crisp.
  7. Remove the kumquat halves from the oil and set aside.
  8. Add the vinegar, ¼ teaspoon of fleur de sel and red pepper flakes to the oil.
  9. Whisk the ingredients together until thickened.
  10. Add the olives and reserved kumquats to the dressing.
  11. Remove the asparagus from the water and pat dry.
  12. Place the asparagus on a serving platter.
  13. Drizzle the dressing over the asparagus.
  14. Sprinkle with the remaining fleur de sel.
  15. Serve immediately.

 

 

*Fleur de Sel is hand harvested sea salt from France that is used as a finishing salt. You can find it a gourmet stores or online

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my recipe development. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.

Pickled Shishito Peppers

Pickled Shishito Peppers

 

Pickled peppers are eaten across the world.  Preserving foods in vinegar is an ancient practice. What is new is the sharing of so many types of regional peppers across the globe. Jamaican peppers in New York, Thai  peppers in Amsterdam and Japanese peppers in California are a few examples.

Pickled peppers have always been in my refrigerator, even in childhood. My mom would use the vinegar as a seasoning on cooked collard greens. It gave them a nice tart kick and is something I still do to this day.

I’ve begun growing my own peppers, and at one point was inundated by a lot of fresh peppers.  I had always wanted to teach myself to can and preserve freshly grown produce like my grandma Ruby in Ohio did. What better way to start learning then to pickle my peppers?

 

Shishito Peppers | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Shishito peppers are a Japanese pepper that is popping up on more restaurant menus in America. Often served whole and roasted, the shishito pepper is a flavorful and fairly mild pepper, although sometimes a hot one will sneak into the batch!

 

Pickled Shishito Peppers

 

Pickled Shishito Peppers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound red or green Shishito peppers, washed and sliced crosswise into rings
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Coriander seed
Instructions
  1. Place the pepper rings into clean pint or quart size canning jars.
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the vinegar, water garlic, peppercorns, salt, sugar and coriander seeds to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat to medium high, and let the brine boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the hot brine over the peppers, seal the jars and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Once the peppers have cooled place them in the refrigerator.
  6. Let the peppers sit for a week to let the flavors meld.

 

Orzo Salad with Fava Beans, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Orzo Salad with Fava Bean, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Everybody needs an easy pasta salad in their recipe repertoire. A salad that can be thrown together at the last minute using pantry staples that you have on hand.

Melissa’s Produce has a line of steamed, ready to eat vegetables, which can be stored in your refrigerator for weeks before use. You can grab a package at the last minute to make a side dish, add to a main dish or create a new dish!

I had some peeled and steamed fava beans and artichoke hearts in my fridge, and a pint of tomatoes that were getting close to being added to my garden composter. Those ingredients were perfect for a light and healthy vegetarian pasta salad.

Orzo Salad with Fava Bean, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Orzo Salad with Fava Beans, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 package (6.4 oz) steamed artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 package (8.8 oz) peeled and steamed fava beans
Instructions
  1. Place the cooked orzo in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, tarragon, salt and Aleppo pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the pasta, mix well and let it sit for half and hour to let the flavors meld.
  4. Add the tomatoes, artichokes and fava beans.
  5. Mix the vegetables into the pasta, adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor.

 

Optional add-ins are feta cheese, olives, arugula or chopped kale.

 

Orzo Salad with Fava Bean, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my recipe development. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.