Shortly Pickled Radish with Cauliflower Steaks

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This late summer dish is tasty as well as beautiful. A bold contrast between sour, cold and crisp radishes and warm and soft cauliflower makes this arrangement a perfect starter or light dinner. Sometimes, when I feel that I need an extra proteins-portion, I serve this dish with beluga lentils. Mind-blowing!

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Pickling radish is such an easy adventure with pretty results you can use as an add-on for various meal-combinations: with some freshly baked bread and herbs-butter for breakfast,  as a side-bite with a beans stew, as a filling for your tacos etc. The whole radish pickling method takes only 20 min. and if you don`t eat everything you made within one day (like I did!) you can store this beauties in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. With time they’ll start to lose they crisp consistence and pink color, but don’t worry: pickling radishes with this method doesn’t make them taste like a rubber. I call this method “shortly”, because you don’t have to preserve radish in addition.

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Cauliflower. A brain plant. Just put the whole head with some spices into the hot oven, bake it for a half an hour and slice it into fine “steak” pieces. Serve with pickled radish, beluga lentils, smoked goat cheese and enjoy!

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Shortly pickled radish

Ingredients (makes 1 glass à 500 ml):

200 g radish, washed (if radish are too big, halve them)
250 ml white vine vinegar
200 ml water
1 Tsp sucanat, brown sugar or coconut sugar
a pinch of salt
5 pimento berries
7 black pepper corns
2 bay leaves

Directions:

1. In small pot combine vinegar, coconut sugar, salt and 200 ml water.  Place over the low temperature and while constantly stirring, heat everything until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add pimento berries, pepper corns and bay leaves and cook everything for 5 minutes.
2. Put the radish in the screw-top jar. Pour them with the hot liquid and let cool. Close the jar and storage in refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can eat radishes within few hours, but they taste better after at least 2 days.

Cauliflower Steaks

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized cauliflower
2 tsp. apple vinegar
1 tsp. paprika powder
Salt and freshly grounded pepperDirections:

1. Preheat the oven on 180 degrees. Remove the outer leaves of cauliflower, let some of the nice leaves sit on. Put cauliflower into an ovenproof dish and drizzle with, apple vinegar, paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper.
2. Bake the cauliflower in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees until the cauliflower has got a nice golden color and tender but still with good bite in the middle.
3. Take the cauliflower out of oven and cut into fine “steak” pieces.

Shortly Pickled Radish with Cauliflower Steaks- Ensamble

Additional ingredients:

1 handful of fresh thyme
2 tsp. olive oil
1 handful of cooked beluga lentils (if desired)
70 g smoked goat cheese, finely sliced

1. Over the serving plate spread warm cauliflower steaks. Cover them with finely sliced pickled radish and fresh thyme. If you use it add some cooked beluga lentils and/or smoked goat cheese. Drizzle everything with olive oil  and serve!

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Tomato-Eggplant Chutney

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In Italy, eggplants are seen as jewish plants. Having arrived from China and India, eggplant has found its home first on Sicily. Around 1492, the Jews who lived in the Spanish parts of South Italy were banished, so eggplant probably came to North Italy that way, and later to other parts of Europe. But the Italian word for eggplant melanzana (mela insana = unhealthy apple, or apple that causes madness) comes not from the jewish history of this plant, but from the bitter principles that eggplants contain in their raw condition, therefore I suggest eating eggplants either cooked or roasted.

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I have to tell you that I’m not the greatest fan of eggplants. My mother doesn’t like eggplants, so I never really had an opportunity to learn how to like them. Over the years I discovered only one way my discerning palate reacts positive to eggplants: halved and roasted in the oven. Then I spoon “the soft flesh” out, drizzle them with lot of olive oil, greek yoghurt and some lemon juice. Just like I did it for my bruschetta recipe, I almost did it for this recipe.

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This recipe is so delicious that I seriously recommend you to make it ASAP (as soon as possible)! In this time of the year you can find a surplus of ripe regional tomatoes, fresh eggplants and onions and there is no better way to use it than to make this exquisite chutney. Ok, you will ask now, what is exquisite about tomato-eggplant-onions chutney? Well, the spices mixture. Coriander (cilantro) seeds, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili flakes – this combination perfectly rounds this vegetable trio and makes this chutney suitable as a side dish for various meals.

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You can also make a bigger amount if you want to preserve it for next months. In that case be sure that you have sterilized glasses properly. You don’t know how?

How to sterilize jars (and bottles)?

1. Buy or collect high quality jars (and bottles) – that means the glasses shouldn’t be damaged or rusted, so that micro-organisms don’t have space to collect themselves in the cracks. And the jars shouldn’t be too thin, so that they don’t split in high temperature. Pay attention that the tops of the jars are not distorted or crumpled, otherwise you won’t be able to densely close the jars.
2. First wash all jars in hot soapy water and rinse them properly out. Spread the rinsed jars over the backing tray and put them in the oven. Turn the oven on on 110 C. After the oven has reached this temperature, leave the jars for 10 min. draining in the oven completely. Remove the jars from the oven.
3. In a larger pot bring 2 l water to boil. Put the tops of jars into boiling water and leave them inside for 5 min. Drain the tops using a clean kitchen paper. Bevor using the tops, they should be completely dry.

Preserving

If you want to storage chutney (or other sauces, jams, vegetables etc.) for several months after you have filled and properly closed the sterilized jars and, you should preserve it in a hot water, in order to pull out the oxygen from the jars content (this way all micro-organism will not be able to survive inside of jars). And here is how:

1. Take a larger pot (the bigger the better) and put it on the stove. Cover its bottom (from the inside) with a clean dish towel. Spread the filled and closed jars vertical over it. The jars should not get in touch with the rim of the pot.
2. Fill the pot with warm water (as warm as the jars are) so that the jars are covered with water for approximately 3/4. On the medium stove temperature bring the water to boil. Preserve the jars for around 10-15 min. Bigger jars with more than 500 ml need around 20min.
3. The tops of jars are bulged now. Carefully remove the jars from the water and leave them staying on the work surface overnight. The next day the tops should bulge on the inside again. If you are in doubt with some jars, storage them/it in the refrigerator and use them within 7 days- just to be on the safe side!

Ready….Steady…GO!

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Eggplant-Tomato Chutney

Ingredients (makes 2 jars à 500 ml):

500 g ripe tomatoes, chopped into 2 cm cubes
2 large eggplants, halved, roasted and spooned
500 g onions, finely sliced
2 Tsp ghee or butter
2 Tsp sucanat, refined brown sugar, or coconut sugar
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
150 ml red wine vinegar
1 Tsp coriander (cilantro) seeds
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1/2 Tsp black pepper seeds
1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper (powder)
2 Tsp  fine sea salt
1/3 Tsp chili flakes (if desired)

Directions:

1. Put the chopped tomatoes into a sieve and put the sieve on a similar-sized bowl or pot. Salt tomatoes with 1 TL salt and leave them draw for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile prepare eggplants. Halve them and spread the eggplant halves over with a backing paper covered backing tray. Put the eggplants into the oven (220 C) and roast them until very soft (about 30 min.) Remove the eggplants from the oven, let cool for 10 min., spoon “the eggplant flesh” out of the hard skin and collect it into a medium sized bowl.
3. Using a spice-grinder or mortar crush the coriander seeds, cumin and black pepper into a fine powder and combine it with other spices.
4. In a large-sized pot heat the ghee or butter and add the spices mixture. Stir and fry until fragrant (around 2 min.) Add finely sliced onions, stir once more and fry until onions are very soft, but not brown.
5. Add tomatoes, eggplant-flesh and garlic and stir well.Reduce the temperature on medium and cook everything for 15 min.- until ingredients are soften. Add sucanat (or refindes-brown sugar, or coconut sugar) and vinegar, and stir until incorporated. Cook the mixture on medium-low heat (without the top!) for 1 hour until it reached a chutney- consistence (thickened).
6. If you don’t want to perverse this chutney, remove it from the heat and let cool. Spread the chutney into two jars, close it properly and storage in refrigerator for next 7 days.
7. If you want to preserve this chutney, sterilize the jars and while they are still hot fill them with warm chutney. Close the jars properly and preserve them like above described.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zucchini Salad with Barley and Hazelnuts

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My dear readers! I am so happy to be back in my kitchen, after an amazing week I spent in Austria. The reason for me visiting Austria was a summer academy organized by IFK- International Research Center for Cultural Studies from Vienna. This year the main topic for summer academy was “Hunger, Food and Asceticism”, so you can imagine how much I enjoyed all seven days exchanging the knowledge, perspectives and passion for this subject with other young, talented and friendly artists and scientists. I gave a talk about fat; about it’s historical and it’s new meaning. I asked, if obesity (adiposity) could be understood today as a new self technique (Michel Foucault) and as such, could it be interpreted as a modern form of political protest; as a reversal form of hunger strike. I followed this question on several ethnological, historical, philosophical and literary artefacts…

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It is impossible for me to submit all impressions and information that enriched me during my time in Austria, but I promise I’ll try to please you with most delicious details in my future posts. For all of you who are following my blog Ritual Cuisine for a longer time, you’ll remember the post I wrote after I came back from the same academy (with another main topic) last year. It is very uncomfortable talking about the hunger in the world and at the same time being provided with tons of deliciously prepared food three times per day. Generally, I have a feeling that over the years academics take advantage of the most perverse deficit of our global politics and economy- the hunger- in order to rise themselves into eloquent and intelligent heroes. But, after this week my hope has been fed with the impression that maybe, maybe one day, one of us will be able to write a book that IS going to help saving the world from hunger.

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It is not easy to understand the philosophy around food and eating. Sometimes, poetry can make things clearer. In this manner I introduce you the poem Compulsion, written by polish Nobel prize winner in literature, Wislawa Szymborska.

Compulsion

We eat another life so as to live.
A corps of pork with departed cabbage.
Every menu is obituary.

Even the kindest of souls
must consume, digest something killed
so that their warm hearts
won’t stop beating.

Even the most lyrical of poets.
Even the strictest ascetics
chew and swallow something
that one kept itself growing.
I can’t quite reconcile that with good gods.
Unless they’re naive,
unless they’re gullible
and gave all power over the world to nature.
And she, frenzied, send us hunger,
and where hunger begins,
innocence ends.

Hunger instantly joins forces with the senses:
taste, smell, and touch and sight,
since we don’t fail to notice what dishes
are served on which plates.

Even hearing plays a part
in what takes a place,
since cheerful often rises at the table.

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 Zucchini Salad with Barley and Hazelnuts

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

2 large zucchinis, cute into “coins”
2  beetroots (red, golden, or candy stripe beets), finely sliced
200 g barley, cooked
70 g hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
1 Tsp butter, or ghee
handful of fresh rosemary, finely minced
50 g homemade sheep’s milk cheese, if desired- obligatory
1 small green chili pepper, finely minced, if desired- obligatory
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tsp natural olive oil
few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

1. First prepare barley. Wash it roundly and drain. Put in a larger pot, cover with 700 ml water and cook on the medium heat until the barley gets al-dente consistence. After the barley is cooked, drain it one more time and set aside.
2. While barley is cooking, place hazelnuts over the baking sheet and roast them in the oven (200 C) until they become fragrant and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside. When hazelnuts are chilled, chop them roughly and set aside.
3. In a larger frying pan heat the butter or ghee. Add finely minced rosemary and garlic. Stir and fry it for 1 minute.  Add zucchini circles and stir to incorporate. Reduce the heat to  low and fry zucchinis until they reached al-dente consistence. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In a larger serving bowl combine all ingredients. Cover with cheese (if you use it) and chill pepper (if you use it). Generously pour everything with olive oil, drizzle with some lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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