Summer Cooking: Learning to Cook by the Season

Before we head into the fall cooking series, we wanted to fill you in on our cooking workshops from the summer.

We kicked off our Intergenerational Food Connectors Project with a summer cooking series.  On July 14, 21, and 28 we gathered to learn from our experienced instructors.  Recipes ranged from Indian dishes to traditional Nova Scotian fare.  We also had two local farmers stop by, Dave Bethune and Amy Lounder, to share their farming experiences with us.

Class One:

KIMA – Ground Meat Curry
Recipe by Sylvia Mangalam

Step 1
2.5 onions, sliced
4 teaspoons ghee or butter or oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
½ chopped green hot chili

Fry onions in fat, preferably in ghee (clarified butter) or butter, but oil may be used.  When onions are golden, fry ginger and chili with them.

Step 2
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne

Move the onions aside and brown the above spices in the drained-off fat.  The turmeric and fenugreek should be browned more, chilies just a bit, while the other spices are just swished in the hot fat.

Step 3
1 1/3 pounds of ground beef, lamb, mutton, or venison
1 1/3 cups of canned tomatoes, tomato juice, or fresh ripe (chopped) tomatoes

In a separate pan, fry the meat, breaking it up as you do so, to render out the fat.  This is saturated; discard it.  Then add the tomato and stir well to pick up the browned bits on the pan.  Mix everything together.  Cover and let simmer till nearly done (about ½ hour).

Step 4
½ teaspoon whole cumin seed, crushed
2.5 cardamoms, seeds only, crushed
¼ teaspoon anise or fennel seeds, crushed
5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen peas, and/or green sweet pepper

Mix the above into the kima.  Remove cover and let some water boil away, at this stage the gravy should be quite thick.  Cook these together for about 10 minutes, covered or uncovered, according to the amount of gravy.

Step 5
Salt to taste
Little more tomato, perhaps, and/or 4 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons lecithin

Make up desired thickness and amount of gravy by adding tomatoes, if required.  Set aside on very low heat to keep warm until serving.  Add salt.  Adding some lecithin at this stage emulsifies the fat, spreading it and the flavour throughout the dish.  This curry freezes well.

South Indian Greens
Recipe by Sylvia Mangalam

One bunch greens (e.g. kale, swiss chard, spinach)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/3 head of garlic, or more to taste (can’t have too much)
1 fresh jalapeno
5 curry leaves (more, to taste)
Meat of an 1/8 of a fresh coconut, grated finely
Salt to taste

Slice or dice the garlic and green chilies rather finely.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the garlic and chilies.  When just about done, quickly stir in the curry leaves, and after the first burst of their fizzing, add the grated coconut, stir, and add the greens.  Mix well; add a small quantity of salt, and taste.  Adjust seasonings (more salt or hot pepper).

Served with potatoes and plain yogurt.
Class Two:

HODGE PODGE (How to Make a Meal of A Few New Vegetables)
Procure about a pound of little new potatoes, scrub them and set to cook in a little lightly salted water in a good-sized flat-bottomed pot.

Prepare by cutting in chunks a selection of new vegetables, 3 to 5 of the following: new onions, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, shelled peas, baby turnips, broad beans, sugar peas, etc.*. A couple cups of each are plenty, if even that much is available! Add them to the potatoes, the peas last, and simmer 5 minutes, or until done. Drain, retaining the cooking water, and keep warm. Serve with freshly-grated black pepper, some cream or blend, lots of butter, and chopped parsley or chives, all stirred into a little of the cooking water.  Serves 4 to 6.

If serving as a main dish, you could offer Parmesan to grate at the table.

The Lunenburg ‘Dutch Oven’ cookbook recommends: ‘1 cup finely-diced salt pork back, fried to a golden brown, add 1 cup cream, 1 cup cooking liquid, chives and pepper. Boil up quickly and dribble over vegetables.’
(*Neither beets nor tomatoes are recommended: too strong a presence.)
JOHNNY CAKE (CORNBREAD)
1 1/3 cup sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter

Grease an 8” x 8” x 2” pan (or the cups of a muffin pan).  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Mix the beaten eggs, milk & melted butter.  Pour into dry ingredients, and mix lightly.  Pour into pan, and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on rack. Serves 4-6.

(This old ‘quick bread’ is very forgiving to make; you can substitute ½ cup of whole wheat flour for 1/2 of the white if you like; you can use an oil instead of the melted butter (but it won’t taste the same!); you can add a few chives for colour, or sesame seeds for nutrition, or chili flakes for heat, but don’t mess with the eggs and milk! It’s good with baked beans instead of using brown bread.)

Class Three:

TOMATO BASIL QUICHE
1Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup zucchini
1 baked 9-10 inch deep dish pie shell (see below)
1 cup shredded cheese (e.g. cheddar or gouda)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or other old cheese)
4 eggs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
2 Roma tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick

Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper and sauté for about five minutes. Cool and spoon into pie shell. Sprinkle in cheese. Whisk together eggs, parsley, basil, pepper, and salt. Whisk in milk. Pour egg mixture evenly over cheese. Arrange tomato slices on top. Bake @ 350 for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes clean. Let stand for ten minutes before serving. Do not freeze.
10 INCH 1 CRUST PIE
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (we used Red Fife flour instead of all purpose)
3/4  tsp salt
3/8 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 Tbsp cold water (waxed paper)

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Add oil. Mix with a fork until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with water, one tablespoon at a time, until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of the bowl. Gather dough together and press firmly into a ball Divide dough into half and roll dough between two sheets of waxed paper. Place dough in pan and fill with desired filling.

GREENS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND RASPBERRIES

1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 Tbsp thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 tsp ground pepper
1 medium orange peeled and sliced
7 cups torn mixed greens
2/3 cups fresh raspberries
Handful of dried cranberries
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
100g soft goat cheese, crumbled

To prepare dressing, whisk together first five ingredients (oil through pepper). Combine oranges, greens, raspberries, onion and cheese in a bowl.  Toss with dressing to coat. Serve immediately. Serves 6 as an appetizer or side dish.

Many thanks to Sylvia Mangalam, Carol Bradley and Barb Powley for teaching the classes, as well as Local Source Market for donating the space.

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