Monday, March 24, 2008

Cute vegetables!

I impulse buy groceries. About a month ago, I stopped at an Indian grocery store in Parsippany on the way home from my grandmere's house. I have somehow managed to not yet find a good Indian grocery store around here and what isn't carried at general grocery stores or other ethnic grocery stores, I buy when I go visit grandmere. Anyway, I went with the intention of buying one thing only--long pepper. I had read about it online and decided I MUST TRY IT. And I found it at the Subzi Mandi. Here it is!

Pipalli or Magha

The label on the package said "Black Magha," but it's also called Pipalli. It's some other Piper, a relative of black peppercorns. To use this pepper, you grind up the whole spike with a mortar and pestle. I bought it having no idea what it would smell or taste like. When I opened the bag, all residents of my apartment agreed that it smelled like incense--like church incense but nicer. We've been referring to it as "incense pepper." So far, I've had it with chevre and various other things (dates, pecans, chevre-fig-shallot sandwiches) and I made dried fig-pipalli-compound butter. Oh, I added it to some saffron rice, too. I'm really interested in using it more, but how? In desserts? In not desserts?

Well, I found the long pepper only after I went crazy in the store, impulse buying produce. They had pomegranates for $1.49, which was great considering it was way past pomegranate season at most other stores. I bought two, having no idea what I'd do with them. I still have one of them in the fridge.

Guar

Guar beans - also still in the fridge. What do I do with these? I have no clue.

Tindora

Tindora - really tiny squash. They are kind of sour. We cooked them in a coconut-jaggery-tahini sauce recipe I found on a blog (I'll post the link later.) It was ridiculously good.

Tiny eggplants!

I just thought these eggplants were adorable! So I bought them! Nothing special was done with them; they were thrown into regular old pasta sauce.

Okra

My favorite vegetable -- okra. It's always delightful to find it in the winter (or any time when the farmers' markets don't have it) at a decent price AND good quality. So often, it will be at grocery stores for $3/lb or more and the pods will be gigantic and woody. This we cooked in a yogurt sauce from the same Indian food blog where I found the tahini-coconut-tindora recipe. I think it was the first time I made okra and didn't fry it in cornmeal.

And we made saag aloo...except with swiss chard and kale instead of the saag. All with saffron pomegranate rice leftover from a Persian dinner made earlier that week. It was a decadent healthy vegetarian dinner!

Enough blogging about vegetables...time to study vegetables.

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