Monday, May 17, 2010

Today at Whole Foods...

I'm one to go far, far out of my way in pursuit of ingredients, preferring to shop at Indian markets for Indian ingredients, Russian for Russian, Persian for Persian, etc. I don't mind making special trips to special stores for a dish.

But my closest grocery store is Whole Foods, at about three quarters of a block away. Which is not a bad thing, except maybe for my wallet. And sometimes I don't have time or energy to go far afield in search of ingredients. You've heard that before. Food should be simple. Most of the time.

I'll admit I have a suspiciously well-stocked pantry. (If by "pantry" you mean "cabinet in the kitchen that doubles as a hallway in my tiny shared apartment" ...I can dream.) Having spent over a hundred dollars at this particular store in the past week on staples (I know, terrible financial decision, but I can't carry heavy loads very far, more on that later, maybe) and maybe just a few impulse items, I went with a list. I needed one Fresno chile and a piece of fish for a recipe that intrigued me. And some pistachios for general snack consumption.

I had some leftover pseudo-Moroccan vegetable dish and needed something to accompany it and make it enough for a meal, so this recipe from Saveur seemed appropriate. I didn't really modify it except to use less olive oil (as much for thrift as for volume and fat reduction...I know, I don't really associate shopping at Whole Foods with thrift either, but I've actually found some items to be the same price as or cheaper than other stores and I'll figure it out as I go, as I'm new to the neighborhood and the options around me).

Here it is, with my "modifications":


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. pimenton dulce
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
10 sprigs fresh cilantro, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced

I put about half of this mixture this over half a pound of fresh haddock, scored so that it wouldn't curl in the oven, left it to marinate for about 30 minutes, then baked it at 400F for 8ish minutes.

Makes 2 servings.

I think the next time I will toast the spices first and use double the lemon and lime juices.

Yes, really, I had everything in my apartment already except for the pepper ($0.30) and the fish ($7.52 for a little over half a pound--not a bargain, but supposedly sustainably harvested).

I served this with leftover pseudo-Moroccan vegetables, the recipe for which changes depending on what vegetables I happen to have, but is based on this basic formula, which I realize might not be exact anyway, as I'm an eyeballer in the kitchen except when I'm baking:

Pseudo-Moroccan Vegetables

Spice Mixture
1 tbsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. ground cumin (I know I should probably buy whole seeds and toast them before grinding)
2 tsp. ground coriander (ditto)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pimenton dulce
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

The Rest
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped (I usually use about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas instead, but I had to use my $1.00 Haymarket cauliflower)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium or large eggplant, cubed
juice of 2 oranges
3 tbsp. golden raisins
3 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted (I usually use almonds, but didn't have any left)

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add spice mixture and heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and continue to cook for 3 minutes, then add pepper and eggplant and cook for 3 minutes more. Add orange juice, raisins, and pine nuts (add chickpeas with this step if using), heat until simmering, and cover, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

You can add a few handfuls of fresh or frozen chopped spinach 2 minutes before the end if you like.

Makes 6 generous servings.

This is delicious over couscous or bulgur wheat, but it wasn't in the cards today. The bonus is that it's delicious by itself and gluten-free if you don't put it on anything...or, you know, rice.

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