October Unprocessed: Week 1 Recap

My apologies for not updating the blog for the last several days; I’ve been a little under the weather and stuck mostly to leftovers and unprocessed snacks and fruits (dried apple slices, peaches and melon). I also figured being congested would be a great time to make some curry, which is bound to help a little.

I wanted to remake the awesome vegetarian pumpkin curry I made as my $5 Slow Food Challenge last October, but there was a lovely Red Kuri squash in this week’s CSA box, and since Red Kuri is pretty similar to pumpkin, I figured it was worth a try (plus, I was really enjoying saying “Red Kuri red curry” over and over). I used the exact technique as I used for the pumpkin curry in the above link, right down to slicing and roasting the Red Kuri squash on my outdoor grill before adding it to a big crock pot full of vegetables, red curry paste, coconut milk and stock. It was excellent.

Red Kuri red curry

I also used the fresh tomatoes from my CSA box to make some homemade ketchup (based on this recipe, but obviously I only made like two jars of it), and tried my hand at some baking … the seemingly simply four-ingredient bread recipe, but it didn’t turn out very well. Luckily, I still have plenty of all four required ingredients, so I’ll try it again later this week.

As most, if not all, storebought bacon is processed in some way, I decided to make some homemade bacon, which I have done a few times before. It’s a really simple recipe that gives you delicious, nitrate-free bacon with no special equipment (other than a smoker).

This week’s CSA also included a bounty of kale — even with the “small” box, each weekly delivery is too much for one person — so I decided to try using kale to make old-fashioned Southern-style greens. Usually greens are made with collard or mustard greens or chard of some sort (any sort, really), but I had never made it with kale before. Also it’s usually made with ham and/or a ham bone, and instead of ham, I use a few good slices of the homemade bacon I just made. The substitutions worked beautifully (even if this isn’t the most photogenic dish).

Old-fashioned greens with kale and homemade bacon

I put the chopped kale with a chopped onion, a few heads of garlic, a splash of apple cider vinegar and a quart of chicken stock into my crock pot, and I let it cook on low overnight.

Advertisements

Summertime condiments: Curry Ketchup and Roasted Corn Relish

I had never tasted curry ketchup until I spent a school year in Germany … they use it constantly there. Every dish of french fries comes with a puddle of it, and many German restaurants also have a killer curry-wurst sausage. I haven’t been able to find it in the states other than at the occasional German restaurant, so I decided to make some. 

Later, I amended this project to be a trio of condiments together for the San Diego Food Swap this month. I made spicy mustard (which I have made a few times, see here), as well as curry ketchup, and to change it up a little, instead of a cucumber pickle relish (booooor-iiiing, plus I prefer my pickles on the fried side), I decided to make a thick roasted corn and pepper relish.

All three condiments were a huge hit! Plus, they were all super-easy to make.

For the curry ketchup, I followed this recipe from Coco Cooks, except I quadrupled the recipe to make multiple jars (and I swapped every single one, so it was worth it), and instead of running it through a food mill at the end, I used my immersion hand blender to puree it, and then I used a slotted spoon to scoop out the seeds, spices and stubborn tomato chunks left inside. I also simmered mine a little longer — I figured more time letting all of the flavors get happy together couldn’t hurt. It didn’t.

I halved and quartered about 8 lbs of various ripe tomatoes, and then added all of the sugar, spices and vinegar, and set it to simmer on the stove. As it was cooking for several hours in a huge pot on the stove, I placed a few cups of mustard seeds into a bowl of beer to let them soak …

… and started a fire in my grill outside so I could char some peppers and whole ears of corn for the relish. As always, with grilling whole corn, you pull back the outer husk, then pull out the soft hair inside. Then if you are going to season it, do it now, and pull the husks back over the corn. Then place it on the hot grill with a few bell peppers.

Once the corn is cooked, simply strip the corn by removing the husk entirely, and remove the corn by standing the ear on one end and running a sharp knife down each side. Since we are making a relish, don’t worry if the kernels don’t look pretty and perfect.

Don’t forget to chop those roasted peppers, as well as a whole onion (and additional jalapeno or other peppers, if you want an extra kick:

Then, once all of the corn, peppers, and onion are diced, add 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of sugar, as well as 2 tablespoons each of kosher salt, garlic powder and cracked black pepper.

Let it simmer for about an hour, until the corn and onion are a little tender but still crunchy. This is an excellent topping for grilled fish and baked salmon, as well as just for a simple and tasty dip for tortilla or pita chips.

Now that the relish is finished (and getting ready for its 20-minute hot water bath), I blend the now-soft mustard seeds with fresh and smoked jalapeno pepper and smoked garlic, and puree them all a little in the food processor. Then it goes on the stove with the remaining ingredients while I puree and skim the curry ketchup.

The ketchup is refrigerator-only, but the corn relish and mustard can both be sealed in sterilized mason jars in a 20-minute hot water bath.