Rhubarb & Sweet Potato Curry with Sourdough Flatbread

Searching for inspiration on how to incorporate rhubarb into savory meals, I was excited to find a recipe for a rhubarb curry, from Lynn of Scissors and Spice. Of course, I couldn’t help playing around a fair amount to adapt to what I had on hand. I was very pleased with how it turned out, intensely flavorful, the strong tang of rhubarb the perfect counterbalance to the pungent blend of spices, the sweet tenderness of onions and sweet potatoes, and the earthiness of spinach. If you aren’t quite as in love with intense sour, using just a couple stalks of rhubarb should tone it down to a more subtle twang.

The sourdough flatbread, from Kristen of Smithspirations, was delicious straight off the pan and perfect for scooping up the curry — though sourdough with a tart curry was pushing even my love for sour a bit far. Ridiculously simple and easy to throw together the dough, let rise overnight, and cook on the skillet. I did find it a bit challenging to stretch each ball out. They were quite uneven and prone to tearing. It also takes quite a while to get through cooking the batch, even using two burners. I wonder if kneading the dough a tad before the second rise would make a difference, and I suspect that leaving them close to four hours during the second rise resulted in over-proofing that contributed to some of the textural challenges. I also wonder whether it might be possible to bake them in the oven rather than in a pan, to streamline the process a bit. Sounds like I’ll have to experiment more with this recipe soon. It’s great to know that even casually stirred together and neglected, this still makes a tasty and versatile bread, even if there is room for improvement.

Rhubarb & Sweet Potato Curry
1 chopped onion
2-6 stalks rhubarb (to taste, six was rather sour), coarsely chopped
1 sweet potato, cubed
A teaspoon or two minced fresh ginger
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin, cardamom, salt, and ground chilies (to taste)
A few cups coarsely chopped spinach (or whatever greens you have available)
1 small can (or equivalent) cooked garbanzo beans

Saute onion for a few minutes in oil, until soft and translucent. Stir in sweet potatoes, then cover after a couple minutes and let steam, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until just begins to soften. Stir in rhubarb and cover again, stirring occasionally, for a few more minutes until begins to soften, then stir in ginger, spices, and spinach. Let simmer a few minutes and spinach wilt, then stir in garbanzos and cook until flavors melded and heated through. Enjoy!

Sourdough Flatbread
Makes 16 small flatbreads

3 1/2 – 4 cups whole wheat flour (I ended up needing only 3, and still having to add water, perhaps because I was a little short on starter)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil

Combine 3 cups flour and the salt, then separately mix together starter, water, and oil in a small bowl. Gradually pour the slurry into a well in the center of the flour mix, stirring into a moist dough. Work in additional flour, no more than 1/4 cup at a time, to form a moist, slightly sticky dough. (I ended up needing only 3 cups flour and to add a little water instead.) Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl to rise, overnight or for 8-12 hours. Gently deflate dough, turn out onto a greased baking sheet, divide into 16, shape each piece it a ball, and leave to rise 30 minutes to 2 hours. Heat an un-greased skillet or two over medium heat. Press and stretch each ball into a round disc, cook for a couple minutes until top no longer looks moist, then flip and cook the other side for a minute or two. Then stretch and cook the next flatbreads in the same way, and so on. I imagine herbs, seeds, or sides could make for countless delicious variations on this theme!

Posted in Breads and Baked Goods, Flops with Promise, Garden Originals, Out of the Frypan, Quick and easy, Stews and curries, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sage Sourdough Cornbread

Yes, another cornbread recipe. A great way to keep my sourdough starter vigorous and transform some delicious local cornmeal into what might well be my favorite cornbread yet. This is my second time playing around with Emeril Lagasse’s recipe, this time inspired by the garden manager’s suggestion of using sage to add complexity and elegance to a simple pan of cornbread. My life will never be the same again.

Sage Sourdough Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter or oil (2-3 tablespoons works as well)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or liquid of your choice (I mix about 1/2 cup yogurt with a cup of water.)
1 cup sourdough starter
2 eggs (optional, I forgot them completely the first time and it still turned out pretty nice)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Combine together cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl, then gradually incorporate the wet ingredients to form a relatively smooth batter. Place in the fridge overnight or for several hours to soak until ready to bake. (Can skip the soak if needed.) Preheat oven to 400F, grease a small baking pan or cast iron skillet, and decorate with sage leaves (optional). Mix baking soda into the batter and pour into the pan, decorate surface with sage leaves (optional), and bake for 25-30 minutes. Yum!

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Ginger Rhubarb Salsa

Now that we’ve gleaned and donated most of the kale, chard, spinach and cilantro, the main vegetable we still have in abundance is rhubarb. Since I’m staying away from sugar and other sweeteners for the time being, I am taking on the fun creative challenge of exploring ways to enjoy rhubarb in savory dishes rather than its usual role in all kinds of desserts.

The first idea that came to mind was a rhubarb salsa. After all, it is the tartness of tomatoes that makes them perfect for preserving and pair so wonderfully with sharp and savory flavors. I figured rhubarb could accomplish a similar flavor profile, texture, and color as a salsa verde.

I wasn’t the first person to think of this, as it turned out. Within a couple minutes, I tracked down a promising recipe from GNOWFGLINS for a delicious rhubarb salsa. Fermented even! I couldn’t help playing with it a little, of course, and ultimately decided not to try to ferment it since the weather has been so warm lately and I don’t have experience with fermenting a condiment, especially with whey. I’m excited to try it after it’s had a few days to marinate in the fridge! I also want to be sure to check out this site more soon, which lots like an incredible source of information and innovative recipes for “traditional cooking.”

Since rhubarb and peppers don’t grow in the same season, the recipe suggested freezing either the rhubarb or peppers in order to prepare this recipe from local, seasonal ingredients. I may try freezing some rhubarb to throw into a salsa this summer, when we have peppers coming out of our ears. For now, I just used chili powder (a mix of Chamayo and Black Hungarian) that we ground from peppers we dried last season. Worked just fine!

UPDATE (4/16/17): Pulled out the salsa to accompany dinner tonight. Knocked my socks off. SO. GOOD. To be completely honest, I was a bit skeptical when I tried it the night I made it, as the flavors seemed a bit discordant, but after two days in the fridge, they have melded into a harmony beyond words.

UPDATE (4/22/17): Made another batch, since I already ate through the entire quart in less than a week. Quite possibly the best salsa I’ve ever eaten. This time around, I just simmered the rhubarb and onion, then stirred in salt, chili powder, minced ginger, and cilantro once it cooled and it was perfect right off the bat! Doesn’t get much simpler or tastier!

Ginger-Rhubarb Salsa
Makes about 1 quart

8-10 stalks rhubarb, chopped
1-3 tablespoons freshly grated or minced ginger, to taste
1 chopped onion
1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
Ground dried chilies, to taste (or fresh or frozen sweet and hot peppers if you have them)
1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoons lemon zest (or other citrus rind, and/or juice from a lemon or lime if you have it available)
Several sprigs finely chopped cilantro, to taste (optional)
A couple sprigs oregano, finely minced (optional)

Simmer rhubarb and onions, covered, with a few tablespoons of water until soft. Let cool, then stir in remaining ingredients and adjust to taste. Spoon into a quart mason jar. If desired, you can add 1/2 of whey or sauerkraut brine and leave to ferment on the counter for a day or two. (I have not tried this yet and am not sure if it would need to be weighed somehow, etc). Otherwise, let the flavors meld together in the fridge for a couple days, if possible. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within 3-4 weeks.

Posted in Garden Originals, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Quick and easy, Sauces, Condiments, and Dips, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment