Lotus Stalk Raita

lotus raita dinnerRaita is a cooling dish that accompanies many spicy curries. It is usually made with a yogurt base, but I use milk kefir because they are very similar and the kefir is easy to make at home. The cooling properties of milk help to balance the heat from many Indian dishes.  One of the most common varieties is cucumber raita, so I made one with raw lotus instead. It goes perfectly well with the Lotus Stalk Curry from last week. Continue reading

Lotus Stalk Curry

lotus stalk curry bowlLately at the Waki Farmers Market I find interesting and unidentified plant stalks. I don’t know what they are, so obviously I want them.  I’m told that they’re lotus stem, and that they can be cooked, or rubbed with salt and eaten raw.  You may be acquainted with the lotus root (a rhizome, though sometimes called a tuber), but this is something entirely different that I’ve never previously encountered. Continue reading

Watermelon Chill

watermelon cooler with ingredientsDid you know that you can eat the seeds and rind of a watermelon? I didn’t know growing up, even though I always enjoyed that white part between the melon and the skin. The rind and seeds provide plenty of nutrients that you won’t get from the melon flesh alone. The sweet and bitter tastes that come from eating all parts of the melon are a nice combination for the heat. Continue reading

Japanese Purple Carrot Soup

purple carrot soup bowl

I’ve never been a huge fan of carrot soup.  I think it’s the limited texture and mouthfeel, so I get bored eating it. Lately we’ve been blessed with an abundance of beautiful purple carrots so I decided to make a soup that would satisfy my tastes. I jazzed this up with corn, sesame seeds, and chives. It makes for a great light dinner with plenty of crunch.
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Ground Cherry Salsa Salad

ground cherry salsa with avocado and cucumberIn Japan, Houzuki is a “ground cherry.” It’s not that the fruit is mashed up, but that it is a low growing plant. When ready to be eaten, it tends to drop its fruit on the ground, hence the name I suppose. They ripen in their husk to a golden hue. I’ve heard the ground cherry likened to a gooseberry, but can’t attest to the similarity.

The ground cherry has a lively flavor that is at once sweet and acidic, like pineapple or tomato. The local farmers markets are flush with beautiful fruits, so I wanted to make a fresh fruit salsa. Continue reading

Purple Carrot Chutney

purple carrot chutney ramekin

I’ve been on a chutney kick lately. Chutney goes well with rice, pasta, corn cakes, and idli (fermented bean and rice cakes). It makes a great dip, but it’s so good that I’ve been known to eat it by the spoonful. If you struggle with finding new ways to pack a ton of vegetables into a meal, then chutney is a great choice. Continue reading

Japanese Ginger Carrot Dressing

japanese ginger carrot dressing mixedIf you’ve ever been to a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant in the states, then you’ve had a taste of this dressing, atop a small bowl of iceberg lettuce, right next to your miso soup. Did you know that carrots are the key ingredient? I sure didn’t. This dressing had me baffled for years. Why don’t they call it carrot-ginger dressing? Give a girl a break.

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