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+ 2 inches lemon grass stalk, hard papery layers discarded, the rest coarsely chopped
+ 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped ginger
+ Salt to taste
+ 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
+ 2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, also sold as yams
+ 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground
+ 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground
 
1. mortar and pestle the lemon grass and ginger with a generous pinch of salt to a coarse paste.
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and work the ingredients together. Bring paste and oil to a very gentle sizzle over medium-low heat for 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a large bowl, pressing the ginger and lemon grass to extract all of the oil. 
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with olive oil. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges – smaller sweet potatoes will yield 8 wedges, larger yield 16.
3. Toss the sweet potato wedges in the bowl with the oil. Add the ground cumin and coriander, and salt to taste, and toss till thoroughly coated with oil. Place on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes (turn wedges after 10 min and again after 15 min).  Wedges should be tender when pierced and there should be some caramelized bits, especially at the thin tips. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before eating.
 
Yield: Serves 4

 

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Here's the recipe for my first  stew of the cool season. I wasn't measuring anything when I made it but it tasted so great that I am approximating so I can share. Warning thought: this is not  a recipe for people who do not have a sense of spicing; for that please see the previous goat or lamb stew recipes which are much more reliable. This culinary rif is inspired by a Peruvian Kid Stew I saw in Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by Maricel Presilla. 

  • 1 small goat roast; bone-in. Imagine other meat will work just as well.
  • 5 small cloves of garlic; chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery; coarsely chopped
  • half of a butternut squash; cut into large bite sized pieces

  • a shallot or 2; quartered
  • 2 T peanut oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4 allspice pods
  • 1 fist full of thyme from the window box
  • 1 small hot fresh red chili from the garden
  • one dried chili from the Mexican store; toasted first over a flame and broken into pieces.
  • 1 lime squeezed over the whole thing
  • salt to taste

First, salt and pepper the roast and set aside while chopping veggies and herbs. Turn the slow cooker to high and heat oil.

Chop celery, squash, and shallots separately. Add shallots and peppers to the slow cooker; sauté.  Add spices and toast till fragrant. Add the roast and snuggle the vegetables around it. Add water to the crock pot till it nearly covered the roast. Cook covered on high heat for as long as you have time (not more than 1 hour); turning the meat once or twice. Squeeze lime juice and add salt and pepper to taste. I added leftover rice from breakfast also at this point. Turn to medium (or low if you will be out a long time) and let cook until dinner, at least 2 hours. Enjoy with crusty bread and butter. Super delicious!

 

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Kokum sherbert

Kokum sherbet is a refreshing drink for summer. Kokum controls pitta; other sour flavored foods will aggravate Pitta. You can find it dried in Indian groceries-- and occasionally a related fruit if found fresh in Chinese markets where it will be called mangosteen.I borrowed this recipe from my favorite Indian food blog of the moment: vegrecipesofindia.com

  • 1 cup kokum fruits, chopped or dry kokums
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5-6 cardamoms powdered or crushed
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • a pinch or two of black salt or salt (optional)

1: rinse dry kokum in water. 2: soak them in 2 cups of water for 3-4 hours. 3: grind kokum in a blender with some of the soaking water to a smooth mixture. 4: boil sugar with the remaining soaking water till the mixture becomes thick. 5: cool the sugar syrup and then add the kokum mixture to it. 6: add the powdered cardamom and cumin powder. 7: mix well and store in an airtight bottle or jar in the fridge. To make a refreshing drink spoon a table spoon or 2 of the sherbert into cool water or over ice.


Here is another recipe borrowed from the amazing SAVEUR Magazine, which I altered to be more ayurvedic: a version of Pkhali, a Georgian dish. Apparently this dish can be made with any veggie, I've tried kale and sorrel together and celery with dill. Both were delicious! Traditionally roasted beets or green beans are also used.

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Serves 4-6

  • 1 1/2 lb veggies of your choice
  • 1 1/2 c toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 c parsley, chopped
  • 1 t hot paprika
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t fenugreek
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice (or something else tart; pomegranate or kokkum juice)
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 sm onion chopped
  • salt and pepper for taste
  • pomegranate seeds for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add veggies and cook till done (30 seconds for spinach, 15 minutes for celery). Drain veggies, let drip until fairly dry. If you are using greens you may want to squeeze excess water out. Chop or use a food processor to puree. Transfer to a bowl.

Add spices, walnuts, lemon juice, oil, and fresh herbs to the food processor; puree until very smooth. Mix walnut puree and veggies together; transfer to a serving dish and garnish.