Member Diary #9: Mala

This week Mala shares with us the various ways she uses her Veggie, Orchard & Berry shares.

August 9th share:

mimomex veg

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • (1) green pepper
  • 1 cabbage
  • 2 eggplant
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 bunch papalo
  • 1 bunch parsley

mimomex orchard

  • 1 pound small squishy plums
  • 1 pound more firm plums
  • 1 pound Bartlett pears
  • 1 pound white nectarines

grieg berry share

  • quart(?) of raspberries and a cup of blueberries with a few blackberries

Monday, 8/9/10:  Improvised Veggie Tacos: 35-40 minutes, makes about 5 tacos

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium-large potato, cut into small chunks (still good from 2 weeks ago!)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into small chunks
  • small amount of chopped parsley & papalo
  • corn tortillas
  • some sort of cheese
  • (optional: chickpeas)

Sautee onion in olive oil for a few minutes until it gets a bit soft.

Add potato and whole cumin seeds (or ground cumin), crushed red pepper and salt to taste.  I added some frozen chickpeas (soaked, boiled with water and salt and then frozen over the weekend) at this stage. Sautee until potato is almost done, then add green pepper.

Meanwhile wash & chop up some of the parsley and papalo and heat up corn tortillas (my method: toaster oven). Put cheese of some kind on the tortillas – I used a very yummy cheese bought at my local Bulgarian-Turkish grocery called “creamy cheese.”  It seems to be a type of feta, but more creamy. Maybe next time I shop there I will work up the nerve to ask the semi-surly deli woman what it’s made of!

Add the veggies to the tacos, garnish with parsley & papalo, fold and eat!

A hot sauce or a squeeze of lime would be very nice too.

I ate the tacos with cucumber & tomato (bought a few days ago from the Bulgarian-Turkish grocery which gets produce from a local farm… or perhaps someone’s backyard!) with a little salt and black pepper. Yum!

Tuesday, 8/10/10

Breakfast: Had tea & 2 of the very juicy plums at home. Took toast with homemade blueberry jam to eat at work.

Lunch: Take other half of cucumber to work, to eat with “creamy cheese” sandwich with papalo leaves. [Damn, forgot cucumber at home!]

Snack after evening yoga class: 2 of the firmer plums & some raspberries when I got home

Dinner: Pasta with sage sautéed in olive oil & a little butter, with salt, black pepper and, for lack of parmesan cheese, the famous “creamy cheese.”

Full disclosure: it was a bit weird. Sage was too strong tasting and chewy (maybe I should have cooked it longer?) and creamy cheese was not a good substitute for nice sharp p. reggiano! Ate this with half cucumber & half tomato.

Ate another plum for dessert.

The sage was on it’s way to getting black and slimy in the fridge, so I decided to salvage the leaves that were still green and dry them by spreading them on a cookie sheet and leaving them out. By Saturday night they were almost totally dry.

Wednesday 8/11/10

Breakfast: Ate 2 plums. Had tea and toast with blueberry jam

Lunch was a break from “creamy cheese” – I had avocado on crispbread. And two more plums

Initiated the Summer Sauerkraut Experiment:

It took about 1 hour to prepare & I used these sites for reference:

Wild Fermentation and Chet Day’s Health & Beyond

  • ½ cabbage from 2 weeks ago (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • (a tsp. or so coriander seeds – recipe I saw online said you could add dill, cumin or bay leaves)
  • Large glass, ceramic or plastic container
  • A plate or something that will fit snugly within the container that you can use to seal in the fermenting cabbage and put a weight on top of

NOTE: this is experimental because all of the online recipes I looked at say you should make this at 54 – 75? degrees and no higher. It is about 85 degrees in my apartment most days. I checked my refrigerator temperature and it is too low, about 45 degrees. I’m trying it anyway in the interests of science and using up the CABBAGE! The sauerkraut fermentation takes from 2 – 4 weeks. I figure at these high temps it will take just a few days… if it doesn’t spoil before then!

The process:

  1. Cut cabbage as finely as I could with a big knife (later realized I should not have rushed this important step and should have really tried to get everything cut very fine).
  2. Boiled water to sterilize handy Grieg’s berry bucket that I held onto for this very purpose (I’ll return it after the kraut’s done, promise!). Swish around for about 30 seconds to sterilize.
  3. Put cabbage, salt and coriander seeds into bucket and mix with wooden spoon. All the recipes online said to mix/pound until enough water forms to cover the cabbage – they don’t tell you this takes a long time! One recipe did say water doesn’t always form, so keep some brine on hand. I made some with one cup of the boiled water and ¼ tsp. of salt, and then stuck it in fridge to cool down.

I mixed my cabbage in the bucket for about 15 minutes and it got pretty juicy, but I got impatient and decided to top off with my brine mixture. It took about ½ cup to cover the cabbage.

Meanwhile I sterilized a bowl that would cover the cabbage (slightly too small, hope this will not cause spoilage) entirely and in a stroke of genius filled a bag with ICE and water to act as the weight. If you have a cooler of some kind you could put your container with cabbage in a water & ice bath to keep the ‘kraut cool.

Wednesday was a busy day. I asked two friends over for dinner and made an appetizer of eggplant pakoras followed by chicken and kale curry with Basmati rice.

Eggplant Pakoras (approx. 30 mins):

  • 1 eggplant
  • For batter: Approx. 1 ½ cups gram flour (chickpea flour, also known as “besan,” sold at South Asian groceries & some health food stores – I get it at Kalustyan’s
  • ¼ onion
  • salt & cayenne pepper to taste
  • crushed coriander seeds
  • optional: cumin, chopped cilantro [or perhaps a little papalo!]
  • water

Slice eggplant thinly (you can peel or not as you like)

Spread slices on baking sheet and sprinkle salt over them – this will draw out some water & supposedly bitterness… I think you can probably skip this step if your eggplants are smallish and fresh. Blot the water off with a paper towel.

Meanwhile combine all batter ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add water and mix until you have a batter you can dip the eggplant pieces in (like thick pancake batter consistency).

Put some oil in a pan and when it’s hot, dip eggplant pieces in the batter and fry until browned on both sides. The eggplant is cooked when it’s very soft.

Basmati Rice takes about 20 – 30 min. to cook so I timed that for when I knew my punctual friends would arrive.

Chicken & Kale Curry:

(approx 1 hr., 5-6 servings)

  • 1 large onion
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste
  • olive oil
  • a handful of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 black cardamon pod
  • ½ cinnamon stick  or a few shakes of cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. tumeric powder
  • Salt
  • approx. 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated or minced
  • 3 legs and 3 thighs of chicken from Meat Hook
  • 1 bunch kale (that’s right, all of it!)
  • 1 ½ tomatoes (you can use 1 or 2, I just happened to have 1 ½ left)

  1. Peel and chop onion, peel garlic cloves (leave whole) and put in large pot with some olive oil. Sautee together with whole spices (cumin, cardamon, cinnamon stick – I threw in a bay leaf as well, just for fun) until onions are translucent-ish. You can put the lid on so your whole house doesn’t smell of onion. Mix semi-frequently.
  2. Add chicken (flame should be on medium or medium-high), salt and ground spices (cayenne, tumeric, etc.). Brown the chicken and then turn down the flame to low or medium low and put the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally. Feel free to add a little water from here on if things are sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add grated/minced ginger. Cook the chicken until it is done.
  4. Meanwhile wash & chop kale. Add that in as well. Mix and cover, stirring occasionally until kale has diminished in size and looks somewhat cooked.
  5. Wash and chop tomato. Add that in too, and cook until tomatoes are soft and have released some juices.

That’s it!

Dessert was watermelon and then later some raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.

Thursday, 8/12/10:

Breakfast: Tea and toast with blueberry jam

Lunch was the leftover veggie taco filling from earlier in the week, heated up in microwave at work, with creamy cheese crumbled over it.

Stayed late at work so dinner consisted of a bowl of cereal at my desk and some cucumbers and tomato when I got home! And I finished off the berries for dessert.

Friday, 8/13/10:

Visited with my Mom. Gave her a jar of blueberry jam.

For dinner I had leftover chicken and kale curry with rice. And then two white nectarines for dessert. Wow those are good!

Saturday, 8/14/10:

I got too worried that the sauerkraut was going to spoil, so I’m declaring it done. I transferred it to a bowl and put it in the fridge. It has an almost spicy taste, and it’s not too salty. However, I think it could be more sour and it definitely has a bit of a funk to it. I will take some to work with me on Monday to have Boris, an enthusiastic pickle maker, taste it.

For lunch I had leftover eggplant pakoras.

And since I needed to make some space in the fridge, dinner was chicken & kale curry leftovers, again, followed by a pear, the last nectarine AND a plum!

I still have this week’s head of cabbage left (also several potatoes, one eggplant, papalo and parsley), and I’m not sure about this sauerkraut business. Cabbage curry, on the other hand, is a tried and true favorite, but I still have a frozen batch in the freezer from two weeks ago! Maybe I need to have friends over for dinner again…

One thought on “Member Diary #9: Mala

  1. Mala!!!!!
    This is SO fabulous!
    Come here and make the vegie tacos – I will make the corn tortillas from scratch – learned it from my friend Carmen.
    Thank you for all of this – we’ll be trying your recipes.
    i love you and miss you.

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