Curried Chickpea and Potato Cakes with Peach Salsa

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This recipe was inspired by fresh peaches from the market. I considered calling the dish Chickpeachutney Cakes. So much fun to say. Try it.

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We enjoyed this spicy, hearty, juicy, sweet dinner on a warm summer evening. I think it would taste best when the peaches are perfectly ripe and still warm from the market.

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Peaches are a delicious taste of summer, while warm curry and potato are reminiscent of fall. If you are like me, you are already looking towards the fall and anticipating the familiarity of its warm and spicy flavors on cool, crisp nights. I expect to make this dish over the next two month “tweason” that ties summer to fall. As an added bonus for vegans, there are no eggs in these cakes; this dish is totally vegan!

Curried Chickpea and Potato Cakes with Peach Salsa

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Curried Chickpea and Potato Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1- 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided

Preparation:

  1. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiled water until tender. Drain and mash.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, mash the chickpeas with a fork into a paste.
  3. In a medium pan, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until fragrant, then add carrots and garlic and sauté until tender.
  4. Add the cumin to the pan with the onions, carrots and garlic. Cook for 1 more minute, then remove from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, chickpeas, and onion-carrot mixture with lemon juice, curry powder, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  6. Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  7. Divide chickpea potato mixture into 6 parts and form into patties. Fry in oil, 3-5 minutes on each side. Serve over lettuce or on buns.

Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and chill until ready to serve. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

SOJ Chef Demo 07.21.12

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This Saturday at the South of the James market, little pops of flavor and color were everywhere.

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Chef Sam Baker used the bountiful produce at the market this week to create small bites of local flavor, including some familiar combinations as well as some fresh ideas.

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The Chef started out with a creative sauce to get people thinking about how to combine the flavors of the season into a cohesive dish. The sweetness of the simmering peach and sweet pepper reduction drew a small crowd early on.

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This sauce is made with fresh diced Drumheller’s Orchard peaches, sweet peppers, red wine vinegar and raw honey from Alfredo’s Beehive. The peach and sweet pepper reduction was served over herb seared tuna from Barham Seafood and a slice of Norma’s yellow watermelon with lemon basil.

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Pan seared zephyr squash provided a vegetable accompaniment that felt grilled, but without the hassle.

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Present at all of the market stalls this week were tomatoes, in every size, shape and color. These tomatoes from the Village Garden are called banana legs tomatoes.

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There were so many different varieties of tomatoes at the market that I decided to make them the Veg of the Week. I was excited to share some facts about tomatoes, and absolutely thrilled to use tomato-shaped bullet points on my white board. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

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After a brief downpour around 10:00, we started up the small plates again with a melon caprese salad. Pictured here is a summery dish of sliced tomatoes, sliced seasonal melon, and Goats R Us pineapple walnut chevre, topped with fresh lemon basil and the peach sweet pepper reduction.

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Tomatoes were certainly abundant, but the Drumheller’s Orchard white and yellow peaches were the true stars of the show this week.  In addition to the fresh sweet and tart peaches, the catches of the day from Barham Seafood were prominent. It was very cool to see their soft-shell crabs change color in the pan.

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Soft-shell crabs are loved by many, but I’m not personally sold on them. Which is fine since I do not eat seafood anyway. But I can appreciate a nice plating, and the next dish offered a visually intriguing small plate. I could tell from the looks on market goers’ faces when they tasted this one that it was a hit.

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Chef Sam served the soft-shell crab, seasoned with cumin and black pepper, over a sliced heirloom tomato, and topped with a slice of pan seared peach, a dollop of pineapple walnut chevre, and some Empress Farm FROG jam. In case you didn’t know, FROG jam contains Fig, Raspberry, Orange and Ginger.

While it rained on and off for the whole market this past weekend, several shoppers stopped by the Chef Demo Tent for free samples and cooking tips. Like the scattered thunderstorms we had that day, the small plates featured in this week’s demo were seasonal, interesting, and sometimes completely unpredictable.

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Thank you to Amy’s Garden, Barham Seafood, Cabbage Hill Farm, Drumheller’s Orchard, Empress Farm, Goats R Us, Norma’s Produce, Victory Farms, Village Garden, Walnut Hill Farm Produce, and all of the other featured market vendors for producing this week’s fresh and tasty ingredients.

Slowing Down


After an unplanned break from blog writing, I am back with a recipe! I explained in my last post how Hurricane Irene caused me to move veg:ology to the back burner for a week. The short version of the story is this: I worked 94 hours in 8 days, I drank gallons of coffee, and I ate a whole lot of free catered meals and carryout sushi. By the end of the second weekend of storm duty, I had a long To Do List of neglected chores, but what I felt that I really needed was to slow…. down….

I took my time with the chores and bought myself a new work bag while “out shopping for groceries.” I walked the long way to the coffee shop. I spent two hours on a NY Times crossword instead of catching up on blogs (sorry friends). While I folded laundry, I roasted eggplant for dinner. I made iced French roast coffee and cooked bourbon peach butter while I slept last night. This morning, when I woke up to the heavenly smell of warm peach butter simmering in the crock pot, I finally felt calm. Veg:ology is back and it feels good.

Slow Cooker Peach Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh peaches (6-7 medium)
  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • juice of one lemon

Preparation:

  1. Fill a large pot of water with water and heat over high heat until boiling. Fill a large glass bowl halfway with ice water.
  2. Cut an X into the bottom of each peach. Place the peaches in the pot of boiling water for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the peaches with tongs and place immediately into the bowl if ice water. Let peaches soak in cold water for two minutes.
  4. Remove peaches to a cutting board and dry them. Remove the skins (no peeling!) by sliding them right off and into the garbage. Cut in half, remove pits, and dice the peaches.
  5. Spray a crock pot with cooking spray and add the peaches. Stir in bourbon, sugar, spices, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  6. Place two chopsticks or two butter knives flat on opposite sides of the pot and place the lid on top of them to create a small vent in the top of the pot. This will allow some of the moisture to escape and thicken the sauce.
  7. Turn the crock pot on to low and cook for 12 hours or overnight.
  8. When the peach butter has cooked, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree to smooth.

 

Check out this perfect combination of summery peach butter and autumn pumpkin cream cheese, made to be enjoyed at my favorite time of year.

I love the change of seasons! Thanks for hanging in there, things will be back into full swing soon!

Baking FAIL Turned Happy Hour

So a few weeks ago I attended my first Pampered Chef party, and my loot recently arrived! The arrival of my Pampered Chef goodies coincided with a large purchase from the farmers’ market that happened to include a large quantity of peaches. I do not bake often because I don’t really have a knack for it, but I was itching to use my new measuring spoons and cooling racks last weekend. I have had a few baking successes in the past, notably fresh peach scones and chocolate drizzled cranberry almond biscotti. Go figure, my baking triumphs have all occurred with foods traditionally paired with coffee or tea – coincidence?

I should have used the peaches to make fresh peach scones.

But I had been thinking about bourbon peach hand pies from Smitten Kitchen.

I decided to just go for it.

The recipe presented various challenges, including several chilling cycles that required me to return the ingredients or the dough to the refrigerator or freezer before proceeding with the recipe. It also called for tools that I do not own, so I had to improvise. Being an occasional baker, I am used to substituting some tools for other tools. On more than one occasion, I have rolled out dough with a wax paper covered wine bottle because I don’t own a rolling pin.
Everything was going great with my new measuring spoons.

I mixed together the first few ingredients and cut LOTS of butter into LOTS of small pieces.

This is going to be good.

The recipe required that I put the bowl of dry ingredients and the bowl of butter in the freezer. This of course required a total rearrangement of my freezer. If your freezer is anything like mine, there is no way you have room for two mixing bowls without doing a little rearranging. I eventually got them to fit.

Have you ever tried cutting butter into flour without a pastry blender? How about cutting frozen butter into frozen flour without a pastry blender?

You do it with two butter knives and it takes eons. I had to pull a stool up to the kitchen counter about halfway through because I thought my legs would give out. I finally finished cutting in the butter and added the liquid ingredients to form a dough. Now we’re getting somewhere!

After an hour in the refrigerator, the cold dough came out and on to my large cutting board. I started to roll it out with a wine bottle and I ran into problems. No matter how much flour I used, I could not get the dough rolled out without it sticking to everything. I rolled, gathered into a ball, and re-rolled. Over and over again. I couldn’t get it right. It was now late and I was tired and I gave up. I re-rolled the dough into a ball and put it in the freezer. The recipe said it would keep for a month. Maybe I will try again later.

So at about 10:00 PM, much to mine and Kyle’s dismay, I decided we were not having bourbon peach hand pies for dessert. Luckily I had another idea. This one had been waiting in the beer fridge just for this occasion.

Enter Southern Tier Crème Brulee Stout.

When you can’t eat dessert, why not drink it instead?

This imperial milk stout is dark black with a tan head and smells overwhelmingly like vanilla beans. Once I got used to the vanilla, I picked up on the caramel. It was not a caramel syrup smell or a caramel candy smell. It smelled very much like burnt sugar and definitely prepped me for the crème brulee taste of this beer. One sip and I was definitely aware that I was drinking dessert. This might be the sweetest beer I have ever tasted. It is dark, rich, and tastes like vanilla caramel sugary milky goodness. I was happy to split this bottle with Kyle because I don’t think I could drink a full one myself.

I don’t know if I will pick this one up again, but it is worth a first try. If you are a crème brulee fan and a beer fan, I think you should taste it, if only to marvel at how spot-on Southern Tier is with the taste of this beer. Now I know that when my own dessert experiments don’t turn out, I can count on this brewery to serve up a successful one in a bottle.