Birthday Raita

Bird Chili RaitaThanksgiving may be around the corner, but that doesn’t mean POD’s not still providing. These hot little numbers will make a nice contributions to the birthday husband’s Indian feast.

Mooli ka Raita from Pushpesh Pant’s India Cookbook
1 mooli (daikon, although this one will feature POD radishes), peeled and grated
2 1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 green chili, de-seeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
cilantro leaves, chopped
salt

Put the mooli and the yogurt in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients, season with salt and mix well. Chill 30 minutes before serving.

Gumbo z’herbes

z'herbes
z'herbes

Go ahead, say it. “Ze’hairbbsz.” Now say it again. It’s fun, right?!

Gumbo is good. Sooo good. Preferably served up with chicken and andouille. Even better? When it’s consumed after a cocktail at Arnaud’s and after a big, juicy plate of Gulf oysters. When not in Nola, though, our own Philly-bound stews have to do.

As much as we love it, the CSA tends to leave us with lots of leafy greens that we’re hard-pressed to used inventively (mmm. collards. bacon. mmm.) and the occasional veggie that evokes a shrug and an “eh” (like zucchini).

Fortunately, the house is brimming in cookbooks and this particular Mark Bittman recipe  made use of late-season homegrown herbs. The result? Well, shrug and “eh.” Until a healthy shot of vinegar, salt, and spice were added to the mix, that is. Oh, and a real roux replaced the cloying olive oil-based travesty called for by the original.

Green Gumbo with Potatoes and Zucchini
(inspired by Mark Bittman and roux by John Besh)

Serves 6-8

1/4-1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced into 1/4″ coins
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. flour
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 tbsp. minced garlic
salt and black pepper
6 c. chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. cayenne, or to taste
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, or to taste
1/2 tsp. celery salt (optional)
1 lb leafy greens (like dandelion, mustard, or radish)
1 large waxy potato, peeled and chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1/4 cider vinegar, or to taste
parsley for garnish

  1. Saute the andouille for a couple of minutes in a large heavy-bottomed pot and set aside. (Do yourself a favor, avoid the Whole Foods stuff and go to a real butcher. If you’re from Philly, check out D’Angelo Brothers or even better, Martin’s Specialty Sausages.)
  2. In the same pot, make the roux by heating the oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep brown color, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and raise the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, another 10 minutes or so.
  4. Stir in the stock, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne, paprika, greens, potatoes, and zucchini. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the vinegar and taste for seasoning.
  5. Garnish, serve.