Curried Collard Greens and Beans

I’m making Indian food for Thanksgiving this year. I hate turkey and am happy I don’t have to deal with it.  Hoping our guests enjoy the non-traditional meal.

This is the menu I made:

Coconut Shrimp Curry
Gobhi Musallam (whole roasted cauliflower)
Chana Aloo (chickpeas and potatoes)
Masoor Masala (spicy lentils with spinach)
Curried Collard Greens and Beans
Basmati rice
Samosas (store-bought)
Tamarind Chutney
Cilantro Chutney
Naan bread (plain and garlic, store-bought)
Chai-Spiced Bundt Cake

Tea, Westbrook Brewing Co.’s White Thai beer, and an assortment of wine

Here is a picture of the savory dishes:

Indian Thanksgiving Meal

Originally, I had not planned on making the curried collard greens and kidney beans dish. I had a bunch of collard greens that I got in my CSA box and wanted to use them. I thought I would make the curried collard greens and beans the day before and reheat them. The flavors will have had time to meld and they should be delicious. I think they were yummy.

Curried Collard Greens and Beans

Curried Collard Greens and Beans

1 large bunch collard greens, cleaned well, tough stems removed, and chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano, seeded and minced
1 15.5 ounce can kidney beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the collard greens and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the greens.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the they start to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano and sauté a minute more. Add the drained greens, drained kidney beans, and all the spices. Cook until the beans are heated through. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve.

Cilantro Chutney

Cilantro Chutney

This is an excellent Indian condiment.  I like it with samosas or pakoras. This chutney is versatile too. Mix it with some sour cream to make a yummy chip and veggie dip. Mix it with oil and a splash of vinegar to make a salad dressing. You can also use it as you would a pesto. Toss it with hot pasta or use it instead of tomato sauce for a pizza topping. I like making cilantro chutney the day before I want to serve it so that the flavors have time to meld and intensify.

Cilantro Chutney

1 bunch cilantro, washed and dried, most of the bottom stems removed
1 or 2 small green chiles, seeded and cut into chunks
juice of one lemon (or lime)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch of black pepper
salt to taste (not more than 1/2 teaspoon)

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree into a paste. Add water, a teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you want (not too thick, not too thin).

Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind Chutney is a delicious sweet and sour Indian condiment. I especially like it with samosas. It is also a nice accompaniment to a cheese plate. The tamarind chutney keeps well too. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Tamarind comes in many forms. Sometimes  you can find the dry pods in Mexican or Indian markets. I have also seen tamarind concentrate. I get “wet” tamarind (from Thailand) at the Asian market. It comes in a solid block. It’s sticky and full of seeds and pod pieces. I use about 1/4 of the package for this recipe (a little over 4 ounces). I cut up the tamarind block so more surface area can be exposed to the hot water.

Wet Tamarind

Tamarind Chutney

4 ounces of wet tamarind, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
pinch of salt

In a bowl, soak the tamarind in the hot water for 15 minutes. Using a spoon or your hands, break up the tamarind and work as much of the pulp off the seeds and pods as possible. It doesn’t look pretty.

IMG_3082 (640x480)

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over another bowl or measuring cup Work the tamarind through the strainer with a spoon or spatula.

Tamarind Sieve

Discard the seeds and pods left in the strainer. You will have about 1 cup of a somewhat thick tamarind liquid.

In a saucepan, combine the tamarind liquid, sugar, spices, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The chutney will still be fairly thin, but will thicken slightly when it cools.

Tamarind Chutney II

Garam Masala

Garam Masala

This is a garam masala spice mix that I use in Indian dishes. It is easily doubled and keeps well in a glass jar. I love mixing these spices together. They smell amazing! Use this spice mix in any Indian dish that calls for garam masala.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie - Slice
I had never heard of tomato pie until we moved to South Carolina. I’ve heard people around here go on and on about how wonderful it is.  When we were in Charleston this summer, we saw tomato pie advertised at many different restaurants.  It peaked our curiosity. What is the deal with tomato pie?  So, when I started getting tomatoes from my garden (before the leaf-footed bugs destroyed my tomato plants), I made a tomato pie. I looked at half a dozen different recipes and most of them called for 1 cup of mayonnaise. Thinking about that amount of mayo makes me a little nauseous. I used 3/4 a cup of mayonnaise in my tomato pie and thought it was too much. In fact, my husband took two bites and refused to eat any more because the mayonnaise taste was overwhelming.  I didn’t hate the tomato pie, but I didn’t enjoy the mayonnaise topping either. I loved the flavor of the fresh tomatoes, onions, and basil in the pie crust, though. I think for our tastes, a simple topping of shredded mozzarella would have been perfect. I’ll give that a try next summer. If you like mayo, you might really like this savory pie just the way the recipe is written. I would love to hear your comments.

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

1 9-inch pie shell
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 to 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved, cored, and roughly chopped
handful of fresh basil leaves (about 10 leaves), thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used cheddar, but you could use a combination of cheddar and mozzarella or any other combination of cheeses you would like)
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Bake the pie shell in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until it becomes lightly golden brown.

Meanwhile, squeeze the juice out of the chopped tomatoes. You can do this with your hands or wrap the tomatoes in a clean kitchen towel and twist to remove the moisture.

Add the chopped onions to the baked pie shell. Top with the tomatoes and then sprinkled the basil over the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the shredded cheese(s) and the mayonnaise. Spread the mixture over the tomatoes.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Butternut Squash Pie

Butternut Squash Pie

This pie would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table. I like butternut squash better than pumpkin, so I think this pie is a perfect alternative to pumpkin pie. I’m not totally against using store-bought pie shells. Reading the ingredients list of pre-made pie shells is pretty scary, though. I try to find ones that do not contain lard and have limited  or no added preservatives and chemicals. Wholly Wholesome makes organic pie shells that fit the bill. Of course, you can make your own so you know exactly what goes into it.

I slightly adapted the Butternut Squash Pie recipe found here.

Butternut Squash Pie

1 unbaked and chilled 9-inch pie shell (I buy frozen pie shells that do not contain lard)
1 1/2 cups pureed butternut squash (about 1 large butternut squash)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
3/4 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

To cook squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise; remove stem and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on a foil-lined oiled baking pan; add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 400° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the squash is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool completely then peel and mash or puree the squash or put it through a food mill. Measure 1 1/2 cups of the squash and set aside.

Roasting Butternut Squash

Reduce oven to 350° F and position an oven rack in the center of the oven. In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat the squash with the brown sugar. Add eggs, evaporated milk, spices salt, flour, butter, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pour the filling into the chilled pie and place on the center oven rack. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until set. Check after about 35 minutes and loosely set a ring of foil or a pie crust protector over the browned crust so it won’t get too dark. When the filling is set, transfer the pie to a rack to cool. Serve just warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped topping or whipped cream.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables

These roasted root vegetables were so delicious, I wish I would have doubled the recipe.  Roasting brings out the sweetness of the veggies.  Oh so good.

This recipe is totally adaptable. You can use any type of root vegetable. Parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, celeriac, and radishes are just some of the other root vegetables you could roast. You can also adjust the amount of root vegetables you roast. Make enough for left-overs. I bet they would be delicious with a poached egg on top.

Roasted Root Vegetables

1 large turnip
1 onion (I used a purple onion)
2 carrots
4 small rutabagas
1 large potato
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Peel and dice all the root vegetables. You want all the diced vegetables to be about the same size. Place all the diced vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Pour the veggies onto a cooking sheet and arrange so that they are in a single layer. You don’t want the veggies to be too crowded. If you are making a larger batch, consider using two sheet pans and rotate them during cooking.

Root Vegetables

Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown. Serve.

Roasted Root Vegetables (2)