BBQ Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

The lovely charred flavour that cooking on the BBQ adds, enhances the fresh citrusy flavour of the tomatillos.  This salsa is great on flat bread with melted cheese, burritos, pulled chicken enchiladas, fish, mixed into a salad with grilled tofu and mandolin sliced vegetables...It is very tasty and adds a flavoursome kick, without too much spice!
6 fresh tomatillos, peeled and cut in half
1 hungarian hot wax chili
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 small onion, sliced into 1cm rounds
2 teaspoons salt
juice of 1 lime
zest of 1/2 a lime
1. Preheat BBQ
2. Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. 3. Place tomatillo halves, whole chili and onion slices on BBQ.  Grill both sides, removing the tomatillos when they are soft - about 4 minutes a side. 
4. Add all ingredients to a blender. Roughly puree all ingredients (except coriander) .
5. Salsa can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Polly's Favourite Tomatillo Recipe

This recipe comes from an awesome CSA farmer in Oregon, Polly! It stands much improvisation. It’s great on enchiladas, but also over pork loin for chile verde, and over fried tofu for the vegetarian version.
300grams tomatillos
1 medium hot peppers, peeled, seeded and minced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup onions, minced or to taste
1. Peel the dry skins off the tomatillos, wash them, and boil them in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes until they are just soft.
2. Drain, puree them in a blender or food processor, and put them in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients.
3. Simmer gently for about 40 minutes.
4. Use as dip for chips, enchilada sauce, or chili verde sauce for meat, tofu, or vegetables.
Source- The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas

Black Beans

Black beans, or turtle beans as they are also known, are a staple from Cuba to Mexico and down into South America. Black beans are full of iron and really easy to cook.  I have been able to find the raw ones in health food stores here on the peninsula.  I have also found organic tinned ones at the IGA. Black beans are very versatile - lovely in a burrito, as a dip with chips and salsa, as the bean in chili con carne and just with a side of saffron rice- and they freeze well, too!  Because I soak the raw beans with vegetables and spices, they have more flavour.  I also add a piece of seaweed adding nutrients to this already nutritious protein.  If you prefer to use tinned ones, skip to #5

2 cups uncooked black beans (or use 2 tins of precooked)
2 medium to large red onions
1-2 capsicums - green or coloured depending on your preference
8 large garlic cloves
1 chili pepper
6 bay leaves
Olive oil for frying the onions, peppers and garlic
1 large tablespoon tomato paste
3-5 medium size tomatoes
1 tbsp cumin seeds toasted and then ground
zest from one lime
coriander leaves and stems
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  SOAKING OF THE BEANS Clean and rinse the beans several times looking for any little pebbles. Place in a stock pot with 1 onion cut into quarters, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, large piece of Kombu seaweed.
2.  Fill the pot with water about 1 inch above the bean line, cover and soak overnight for at least 12 hours….
3. In the morning,  check the bean water line- water has been absorbed, add more, at least 1-inch above the bean line.  Bring to a high boil for about 5minutes, stir and reduce to low heat.
4.  Cook uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours.  Stir and keep checking water line and bean tenderness.  You want a bean that is tender, not mushy. You can take veggies out and puree them with the bean water and add it back in if you want a wetter bean.  For burritos, I like to drain the beans in a colander.
5. Meanwhile in a large fry pan, heat oil.  Add 3 bay leaves, 4 garlic cloves pressed, 1 large onion finely diced, 1 capsicum finely diced, chilies finely diced (optional).  Continually stir until onion is translucent.
6.  Toast cumin seeds until they start jumping and brown slightly.  Grind in a mortar and pestle.
7.  Add cumin and tomato paste to the frying pan.  Then cut your tomatoes in half vertically and grate them into the frying pan too.  After a few minutes, add the beans.
8. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt, pepper, lime juice, tomato paste.  The cumin should not be over powering.
9.  Just before serving top with minced coriander and the zest from one lime.

For Burritos
1. Take a tortilla.  layer black beans, avocado, salsa, rice, grated cheese and a bit of mixed lettuce and roll.
2. You can add a side of sour cream and/or make the avocado into guacamole!

Pasta with Yogurt Sauce, Peas, and Chilli

Adapted from Ottolenghi's cookbook JerusalemServes 6-7

Ingredients 2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt 6 tbs olive oil, divided 4 cloves garlic 1/2 kilo shelled peas 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp white pepper 1/2 kilo pasta (shells or orecchiette hold the sauce well) Scant 1/2 cup pine nuts 2 tsp chilli flakes (use less if you are sensitive to heat) 1/8 tsp smoked paprika 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves 8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Method 1. Combine yogurt, 2 tbs olive oil, garlic, 2/3 cup peas, salt, and white pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a smooth light green sauce. 2. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, then drain, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water. 3. While pasts cooks, heat remaining 4 tbs olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts, chilli flakes, and paprika and cook until pine nuts are golden brown. 4. Toss pasta with sauce, remaining peas, feta cheese, and basil. Divide into serving bowls and spoon the pine nuts and chilli oil over the top of each serving. Serve immediately.

Green Beans, Peas, Pink Grapefruit and Coriander

This salad was made for us for dinner by my daughter and her grandmother and then made again the next day for lunch by my daughter by herself!!  She liked it so much she wrote down the recipe and asked to use the last of the bean harvest to make it for Sunday lunch.  Food made by other people does always taste great...delicious food made by a nine year old taste absolutely terrific!!!

She did not write down any amounts...but just mixed and tasted and did everything else by eye.  She left the chilies to me to add to my plate.

Ingredients Green Beans Snow Peas or Sugar Snaps Pink Grapefruit, peeled and sectioned Spring onion, cut or a little bit of red onion, diced small Coriander, ripped coarsley Cashews, toasted Chilies, diced finely - optional Dressing Juice of a whole lime or two couple of spoonfuls of dark brown sugar couple of shakes of fish sauce

Method 1. Steam or blanch the green beans and the peas. Cool in ice water. 2. Add to the grapefruit, onions and coriander. 3. Toss with dressing. 4. Serve alone or on top of mixed greens.

Vegetable Pakoras - from Paul Dempsey

Paul and Lisa Dempsey are the faces behind Big Blue Backyard, a local, secluded, award winning, ocean beach hideaway for couples. Designed to blend into the natural environment, this unique retreat sits perfectly between the dunes abutting the National Park at wild and often deserted St Andrews Beach. Paul is a wonderfully diverse chef who draws his inspiration from the ingredients presented to him each week.  The meals served to guests are unique, exquisite and seasonal with ingredients sourced locally. This recipe is a great example of that.  Use it as a starting point to create something from what you have in your box.

Paul makes his pakoras on the fly so there really isn’t a recipe just a list of ingredients and a methodology of sorts.

Here are the quantities he used yesterday but that made at least 180. Par cooked pakora’s freeze beautifully so you can always have them on hand for last minute dinner ideas or unexpected guests.

Ingredients 1kg chick pea flour All the vegetables you want to use— Root vegetables – grate Peas – just podded Cabbage – shredded Peppers – julienned 5 brown onions sliced The roots of the coriander bunch blended with 10 whole green chillies 12 eggs, beaten

Method 1. Mix all the vegetables, beaten eggs and blended herbs together. 2. Depending on how much liquid comes out of the vegetables, one may have to add more chick pea flour to the mix to make the batter more viscous. 3. Gently heat canola/sunflower oil in large sauce pan or wok – medium to deep – oil should get to around 165degrees Celsius.  Using a large serving spoon, spoon big dollop of mixture one by one into the oil – make sure the stay separate and then as they brown gently roll each pakora around in the oil to cook and brown on all sides. (if you want to freeze a few, just let them get to golden brown) With a slatted spoon remove each one from the oil letting excess oil drip back into the pot and then lay to rest on some kitchen paper. 4. Serve warm with a grated yogurt and cucumber mix. 5.  If freezing some, allow to cool and then pack in zip lock bags and put in freezer.



Mango Salsa

This is a great seasonal salsa, perfect on its own with chips but also wonderful with fish and chicken!  Even though mangoes are not a local fruit, they are so delicious and so abundant in December when the spring coriander is just ready to bolt, we enjoy their season. With chicken, we make chicken cutlets, bread them and lightly fry them in olive oil.  I then put them into a baking dish, cover about 1/4 inch with white wine, and layer the mango salsa over the top.  bake in a 180 for about 25 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through) and then turn up the heat to 230 for about five minutes to caramelize the salsa.

Ingredients 2 mangoes bunch of coriander juice of one lime 1 or 2 cloves of garlic 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 or 2 chillies salt Optional Green onions Chives

Method 1. Dice the chillies leaving the seeds if you like your salsa hot.  Mash the garlic with a press.  Put chillies and garlic into the salsa bowl with the lime juice, olive oil and salt. 2.  Cut the cheeks off the mangoes.  Remove skin and cut into 2 cm chunks.  Cut the remainder of the mango flesh from the pit.  Combine with the chillies. 3. Roughly chop coriander.  Combine with other ingredients and taste to correct seasoning.  You can add chives and or green onions depending on your personal preference.

Zucchini Salad with Mint, Garlic, Red Chilli, Lemon and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Here is a Jamie Oliver recipe that we have enjoyed...perfect for the new zucchini. This is quite an unusual salad and terribly simple to make. It's great because it's a nice little side dish that will go with things like mozzarella, goat's cheese, cured meats, grilled or barbecued white fish like cod or haddock, even things like chicken or pork. Use courgettes [zucchinis] when at their best (nice and firm and not too big).

Ingredients 4 zucchini 1 chilli 1/2 clove garlic juice from one lemon handful of fresh mint leaves extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste

Method 1. Slice 4 zucchini lengthways as thin as you can (use a mandolin if you have one). Grill on a red-hot griddle pan, or on the barbecue, until lightly charred on each side. Scatter the slices over a large plate, making sure you don't sit them on top of each other otherwise they'll steam and go a bit limp, and there's nothing worse than limp zucchini, I can tell you. While they're still warmish, sprinkle them with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 2. Deseed a red chilli and chop finely. Finely chop ½ a clove of garlic and sprinkle the chilli and garlic evenly from a height over the zucchinis. (Add to your own taste, but just remember that when the chilli and garlic mix with the olive oil and lemon juice the heat and flavours are lessened.) 3. Tear over a handful of fresh mint and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. I've even been known to throw in some blanched broad beans or raw peas if I can get any. This salad is always a real treat.


Thai Vegetarian Red Curry

This Vegetarian Thai red curry recipe is easy to follow and combines shallots, lemongrass, red chillies, galangal, cumin, coriander seeds, kaffir lime leaves, wheat gluten or tofu, yams or sweet potatoes, Japanese or Chinese eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, and Thai holy basil.Ingredients Paste 3 shallots OR 1 small red onion, diced 1 stalk lemongrass (see instructions below) 1-3 red chillies (depending on desired spiciness) 3 cloves garlic 1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and sliced (may be substituted with ginger) 1/4 tsp. white pepper (may be substituted with black pepper) 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, roasted and ground with pestle & mortar (or a coffee-grinder) 3 Tbsp. regular (light) soy sauce or tamari 1 kaffir lime leaf 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce 1 tsp. brown sugar 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric (or 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric, sliced)

Other 10-15 cherry tomatoes, or 3-4 regular tomatoes, sliced 3-4 kaffir lime leaves 1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced into bite-size pieces (do not peel, as there are vitamins in the skin) 1 sweet red pepper, or 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

Optional 1 small sweet potato (or yam), peeled and cut into cubes 1/2 cup fresh Thai holy basil leaves OR sweet basil 1 package firm tofu cut into bite-size cubes 1 to 2 cans coconut milk (depending on how mild you like your curry, or how much sauce you prefer)

Method 1. To make the paste, place all paste ingredients in a food processor. 2. Add 1/2 can of the coconut milk and process into a paste. 3. Place paste, tofu, remaining 1/2 can coconut milk, and limes leaves in a casserole dish. 4. Stir well until paste is thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients. 5. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven and add vegetables. Stir well. (Note: if you prefer more sauce, or if you find the curry tastes too spicy, add 1/2 can more coconut milk.) 6. After another 10 minutes, remove from oven. Check to make sure vegetables are cooked to your liking. 7. Do a taste test for salt and spice. If not salty enough, add up to 2 Tbsp. more soy sauce (or season with sea salt). If not spicy enough, add another red chilli, sliced finely, OR 1-2 tsp. Thai chilli sauce. If too salty, add up to 2 Tbsp. lime juice. If too spicy, add a little more coconut milk (yogurt will work too if you are non-vegan) and stir well. 8. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves (these can be roughly chopped if too large), and serve with plenty of Thai fragrant rice (white or brown) for a nutritionally complete and satisfying meal.

Source:  Darlene Schmidt, Your Guide to Thai Food

Sweet Chilli Sauce

Condiments are a great thing to make from scratch...especially if you can use organic ingredients!  This is a very simple chilli sauce that looks great bottled! Ingredients 500g long fresh red chillies, stems trimmed 3 garlic cloves, peeled 750ml white vinegar 645g caster sugar

Method 1. Halve 100g of the chillies and place in the bowl of a food processor. Halve and de-seed the remaining chillies. Coarsely chop and place in the food processor. Add garlic and 250ml white vinegar. Process until finely chopped. 2. Place the chilli mixture, remaining vinegar and caster sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. 3. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Pour into sterilised airtight bottles and seal.

Recipe by Michelle Southan – Good Taste Magazine

Eggplant in a Thai Green Curry

This fantastic Thai green curry recipe features eggplant and red pepper (carrots make a great substitute if these are not in season).  You can add cauliflower, zucchini, beans...really any other stir fry vegetables you have in the fridge.  The homemade green curry paste is what makes this dish such a lovely combination of distinct flavours, so don't be tempted to substitute the store-bought variety. Top the curry with fresh basil.
1 can good-quality coconut milk
3 Asian eggplant (the long thin ones), sliced diagonally into 1cm thick rounds
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup fresh Thai or sweet basil
1/2 cup stock (I use chicken)

Green Curry Paste 3 stalk fresh lemongrass, minced 250 grams green chilies, sliced (if you can't find Thai chilies, jalapeno will work) 1 shallot, sliced OR 1/4 cup diced red onion 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 cup of fresh galangal OR fresh ginger, sliced approx. 1 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro, leaves & stems 1/8 cup coriander seeds, roasted and ground 1 tbsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground 1/2 tsp whole white pepper, ground 2-3 tbsp fish sauce 1 tsp shrimp paste 1 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar 1 tbsp lime juice

Method 1. Place all 'Green Curry Paste' ingredients together in a food processor, blender, chopper, or pestle & mortar. Add up to 1/4 can of the coconut milk, enough to help blend ingredients (reserve the rest for later). Process (or pound) well to create an aromatic Thai green curry paste. If you don't have a food processor or chopper: try using a blender, or finely mince all ingredients by hand and stir together well. 2. Heat a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add the green curry paste. Stir-fry briefly to release the fragrance (1 minute), then add the vegetables which take the longest to cook like carrots and cauliflower. Stir for 2 minutes coating with spices. 3. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Simmer 6-10 minutes (until the carrots start to tender). 4. Set aside 1/4 cup coconut milk, reserving it for use later (the thick cream is best). Add the rest of the coconut milk to the curry, plus the eggplant and beans (if using). Stir everything together, cover, and simmer another 7-8 minutes, or until eggplant is tender enough to pierce with a fork. 5. Add the bell pepper. Cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes, or until everything is well cooked. 6. Remove from heat and gently stir in the 1/4 cup reserved coconut milk. Taste-test, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough. Add more lime juice if too salty or sweet for your taste. Add more sugar if not sweet enough. More chili can also be added. 7. Serve with a generous amount of fresh basil and or more coriander.


Corn and Bourbon Chowder

a Cajun recipe timely for Mardi Gras  (February 21, 2012) Ingredients 6 cups prepared vegetable or chicken stock 4 ears corn (or more to taste) 1 large green, bell pepper [capsicum] 1/2 red pepper [capsicum] 3/4 large sweet onion 2 pc celery 1 carrot 3 pieces of bacon 1/2 small hot pepper (I use bird peppers) 1 lemon salt pepper 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp oregano 2 tsp thyme 1 tsp chopped cilantro 2 tbs butter 2 tbs flour 2 tbs olive oil 1/2 c heavy cream 1/2 c bourbon

Method 1. Chop carrot, celery, sweet peppers, onion and bacon into 3/4cm dice. 2. "Sweat out" in heated olive oil in heavy bottomed soup kettle. Add bay leaves. 3. Add peppers, including finely chopped hot pepper. Stir until vegetable colors are bright. 4. Add stock and bring to boil, simmering until carrots are tender. 5. Add seasonings and corn that has been removed from cob (Once I used the naked cobs for flavor, but they left hard pieces in the soup, and I couldn't strain them out without losing the rest of the veggies) 6. Using a zester, add the zest of the lemon, and squeeze the juice into the soup (no seeds...they are bitter) 7. Add the bourbon Simmer for another 45 minutes or so. 8. Remove about 1c of the liquid and allow to cool a bit. In a small skillet, melt the butter and whisk in the flour, making a roux. Slowly heat until it "smells like hazelnuts." Whisk in the cooled broth from the soup. Slowly add to the soup until desired thickness is obtained 9. Slowly simmer until flour taste has gone. 10. Turn off heat and add cream. 11. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro.

Source - Susan Koster

Fresh Corn Salsa

This is wonderful on corn chips or toasted mountain bread. It also is a great accompaniment to marinated, grilled chicken or fish. Ingredients 2 ears fresh corn 3/4 of a large capsicum 1/4 tiny hot pepper (I use bird peppers) 1/3 bud fresh garlic 1/3 large, sweet onion 1/4 bunch coriander (cilantro) Pinch ground cumin juice of one lime 1/2 tsp olive oil 1/4 tsp sea salt freshly ground black pepper

Method 1. Finely chop garlic, hot pepper, and cilantro 2. Chop onion and pepper 1/4 inch dice 3. Remove corn kernels from cob. With a sharp, French knife, cut the base of the cob flat so it won't tip or roll.  With the cob standing up, carefully cut the kernels off the cob, from top to bottom, being careful not to get pieces of the hard cob.  It doesn't matter if the kernels are connected, as they will separate while mixing. 4. Mix all, adding bits of seasonings to taste. 5. Let sit for 30 minutes so flavours "marry."

Source - Susan Koster

Pimientos de Padron - Fried

These are a wonderful starter. Many people say that the fun of eating Pimiento de Padron is that one out of five of the peppers is hot.  The smaller ones tend to be sweeter.  The larger, hotter. BE CAREFUL - The peppers can splatter in the oil.  You can use a splatter guard. Method 1.  Wash them and pat them dry with a clean towel. 2. Heat up about an inch of olive oil in a pan.  Don't skimp on the oil or the peppers will splatter everywhere when you fry them. 3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, carefully put in the peppers. 4. Fry them quickly, turning them, until they're just charred, but not black. If the oil is hot, this should take a only a few minutes. 5. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve them sprinkled with kosher or sea salt.

Thai Curry Paste and Thai Baked Tofu

This is an immensely flavoured spice blend that can be used in a variety of dishes.  Try it in Thai Vegetable Curry, toss some in with steamed vegetables, or add it to rice.  Tightly sealed and refrigerated, this curry paste will keep for at least a week, and it may also be frozen for extended storage.
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander, basil or Thai basil
2 tbsps minced garlic
2 tbsps grated ginger root
1 tbsp minced inner stalk of fresh lemongrass or freshly grated lemon or lime peel
1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1 or 2 fresh red or green chillies, minced
3 tbsps fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp dried ground coriander
1 tsp dried turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1. Combine all of the curry paste ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until quite smooth.

Thai Baked Tofu
1 cake firm tofu
1/4 to 1/3 cup Thai Curry Paste
2 to 4 tbsps soy sauce
1. Press the tofu to drain any excess water for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 180C.  Cover a baking dish with a light coating of oil, baking paper or foil.
3. Cut tofu cake into three slices a bit over 1 cm thick each.  Stack the slices and then cut through all three layers on the two diagonals making an X.  This will make 12 triangular pieces.
4. In the baking dish, gently toss them with the curry paste and soy sauce.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring gently twice during the baking.

Source - Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites - The Moosewood Collection