Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Last of the Winter Vegetables (Sarson Sabzi and Extras)

So today I finally got around to pulling up the last of my winter veggies. I'll be putting in my summer crop late this afternoon. All of this lot was grown from seed, but in the summer, I buy seedlings. The exception will be my eggplants, which I started this winter. I hope they make it. So the mustard greens are on the far left, then my not-so-very-big-turnips, some last radishes, baby carrots, and up on top some totally evil arugula. More on that later.

Anyway, as I mentioned in an earlier post, mustard greens make for excellent eating and lend themselves well to Indian preparations. As you can see, though, by the time I got around to harvesting them, I didn't have much mustard green left. No, no. So I decided to combine mustard greens with their turnip and radish green cousins and threw in the carrot greens for good measure. I also decided to do something with the turnips and carrots. And I think the radishes I'll use in a salad later...
So, yes, as I was saying, I decided to combine all the winter greens together, so this isn't a true sarson sabzi.  But, you'd do everything the same way if you were using all mustard greens. Here are the lovely greens before they went into the food processor:

Once the food processor chopped them down, I had about 3 cups of loosely packed greens. But before I get too far ahead of myself, though, I want to talk about this:
This is no ordinary arugula. It means to kill me. I know it does. I can hear it whispering to the other plants in the garden at night. I bought the original seeds for this plant at Cenral Grocery in New Orleans one New Year's Eve. My husband and I were out with my boss, a dean at my college, and my dean is Italian. I noticed that Central Grocery had a selection of Italian seeds, and I asked my boss what he thought would grow well in Southern California and what I'd enjoy eating. An evil but fleeting look stole over his face as he asked me if I liked strong flavors. "This grows like a weed," he said, as he put the pack of Rucola Sylvatica Extra seeds in my hands. He wasn't kidding. It's infiltrated my entire garden, growing where I certainly didn't plant it, and choking other little seedlings out. It may work for the mob. And "strong flavor"? It's like crunchy wasabi! Super-strong chrunchy wasabi. I mean, it's good, yes, but not in the quantities that its prodigious growing patterns would force one to eat it in. I wonder what I did to upset my boss.  I packed this away and put in in my fridge. If it wilts before I can use it all, I won't be crying over it.

Anyway, onto happier topics, I chopped down the greens, put them aside and turned my attention here:

I chopped the turnips in half and threw them straight into the steamer. I had forgotten that turnips take their precious time to steam. I'm not sure how long they were in there, but I think it was easily over thirty minutes. When they came out I mashed them with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and salt and pepper (to taste). I decided I would roast the carrots, so I put them into a small caserole, drizzled them with olive oil (maybe 1 and 1/2 teaspoons) and ground some salt and pepper over them.

They were done after about twenty minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.

With turnips in the steamer and the carrots in the oven, it was time to turn my attention back to the greens. I chopped up 1 onion, three cloves of garlic and two inches of ginger.

Then I started heating two tablespoons of canola oil in a large pan on medium heat, I threw in a teaspoon of cumin seeds, and then added the onion, the garlic and half of the ginger (the other half gets added later). To that I added one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of turmeric, a half teaspoon of red pepper and a half teaspoon of cumin powder, and I sauted everything until the onions became quite transluscent. Then I added in the greens and two generous teaspoons of coriander powder and let the greens cook down until they looked like this:
To this, you're going to add a 14 oz can of pureed tomatoes. I puree mine with remaining ginger. I add the tomatoes, about a 1/4 cup of water, stir, and let the whole mixture simmer for at least ten minutes. Check for salt, and then season with garam masala (I used about a half teaspoon).

And here it is, the whole meal, much of it straight from the garden:

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