I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she was wondering if I spend half of my life in the kitchen. Well, even if we do assume that I spend half of my life in the kitchen, I would not mind. If someone would take care of the rest of the things for me, I would be happy. The creative process is exhilarating. Well, truth be told : I do not spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, I love recipes that are quick and easy - not semi-home-made. I prefer to make things from scratch- like to know what we eat. However, my recipes are usually easy and fits my lifestyle of doing multiple things in a day, cooking being one of them. Love working on labor intensive recipes, that require mastery of a technique...that's not something you can do everyday. For everyday it should be simple, soulful and delicious - at least for me.
Last week we visited one of our friends in Moline, it's about three hours drive from home ....my friend has a tiny community farm that she maintains and it was an absolute treat to see it. She was so generous to give me a huge bag of produce and I was thrilled....These swisschard are from her farm. I paired it with blackeyed peas. Loved the combination! The sweetness of the peas with the mild bitterness of swiss chard - perfect balance, caramelized onions and tons of garlic...y u m !
Here are some of the images from my her farm. It reminded me of fresh produce from India. I remember the vegetable vendor would bring fresh veggies from his farm early morning (he still does), he would carry it in a cart and push it door to door, selling as he went from one home to another. He would hide some extra fresh stuff for my mom :). My mom buys veggies every single day. It's hardly refrigerated, as she gets it directly from the farmer - it's almost everyday, other than Sunday ! Everyone needs a day off. What we take for granted in one part of the world is such a luxury in another part of the world. I do love farmer's market in the US and love to shop in the summer, but the luxury of having the farmer home deliver is something I can only dream off. I was super excited to get fresh organic produce and needless to say it was super delicious.
Swiss chard and black-eyed peas curry
- 2 red onions (small)- diced
- 2 tomatoes - diced
- 3 pods garlic - diced
- 2 inch ginger - diced
- 3 cups swiss chard - diced
- 11/2 cup black-eyed peas soaked overnight
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp organic turmeric
- 2 tbsp garam masala blend - recipe here
- salt to taste
- juice of half lime
- fresh tomato for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
- Soak the black-eyed peas over night and cook it in a pressure cooker till tender - or on stove top. Do not add much water, drain excess. The water usually has all the nutrition - so we do not want to waste it, save it for soup stock.
- Heat oil in sauce pan add, cumin and kalonji let it splatter - add diced onions, caramelize it, add ginger and garlic. Sauté.
- Add the diced tomatoes till everything is integrated - add salt, turmeric, garam-masala and sauté.
- Now add the swiss chard and roast, till it is cooked. Now add the cooked black-eyed peas and mix. Check for salt. Add the lime juice.
- Garnish with fresh diced tomatoes and cilantro.
- Serve hot with your favorite great or pilaf.