I love India. I love the people, I love the food. The loud music, not quite so much. But I’ve spent many years learning the lingo of Indian cooking, and usually turn out a couple of curries a week. It’s a good thing my family likes curry!
About two years ago, I was making goat cheese by the gallon, and when I was given a Really Amazing Cheese Book, one of the first recipes I tried was paneer, an Indian cheese.
Fortuitously, within a couple of days of making that cheese, a recipe landed in my inbox – Palak Paneer. Hm, what’s palak? Since I had the cheese to use, I decided to give it a shot.
Turns out, it’s my favorite comfort food. This dish has a milk base, with cooked greens (usually spinach) and tomatoes, ground together and seasoned lightly. Okay, my dad was skeptical when I proudly served the pot of thick green-and-white liquid with spices floating on top. But my whole family approved of it! I think the best part is the toasted cumin/butter that goes on top.
I froze a bunch of leftover garden greens this year – outer cabbage leaves, lots of kale, broccoli leaves – to make palak… and then got put off of dairy. And stuff like that just doesn’t taste the same with coconut milk, y’know?
About a week ago, Mom picked up some flax milk. I was really nervous when I tasted it, because I dislike flax. But it was wonderful! In fact, so far, it’s the most accurate imitation of milk that I’ve tasted.
So, not being a sweet or strong-flavored milk, it was perfect for the base of a palak. But we had stewed moose that needed to be used, and palak is typically a vegetarian dish.
I decided to simply make a curry that had similar elements and flavors to a palak. It turned out delicious! I used kale stalks that we had in the freezer for my green component, but you could use any ‘green-tasting’ vegetable, and it would work fine. (Sorryyyyy... I promise to make a real palak recipe soon!)
This is so easy to make – you can literally whip it up in 15 minutes, barring rice cooking time. Or you could just skip the rice and eat it as a soup! I love eating this on a snowy or rainy day. It’s so warm and comforting, and, I don’t know, the flavors are just perfect for that sort of day.
And you can use a meat other than moose. I won’t judge, really. We can’t all be so fortunate. :)
1 ½ lb. stewed moose meat (or beef)
2 lb. fresh or frozen green vegetables
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 c. flax milk
½1/2 t. cumin
½1/2 t. chili powder
½1/2 t. dried cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
Lightly sauté vegetables until thawed and softened. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice or as a soup. You can serve this with all sorts of decorations. I added pickles, you could put cheese or chopped cilantro on top!
Confession time: I hate sunflower seeds. Like, really hate. I got sick on sunflower seeds after church on Sunday when I was little, and I have gone through phases of despising or at least disliking them ever since.
Now this is unfortunate for someone who can’t eat normal nut butters. My mom is constantly trying to get me to eat sunflower seed butter, but just the thought of eating that makes me sick.
We arrived home (yay!) this last week from an extended road trip in the Lower 48, but, as excited as I am to be home, we don’t have the access to foods that I can readily eat like we did Outside. On top of that, food here is expensive and the clock is ticking for our normal food co-op. So, at the moment, our house is more or less devoid of foods that I can eat.
Except for those sunflower seeds. And pumpkin seeds. And coconut. We have lots of those.
But I have to do something. I’ve been eating quinoa for breakfast and we usually have something involving meat, potatoes, or quinoa for dinner, but otherwise…
So I decided to cave to Mom’s insistence that I get over my dislike of sunflower seeds. But I knew I’d really have to hide the flavor in order to make anything palatable.
I started by making this sunflower butter. While the majority of it is sunflower seeds, it has helpers, too. Chocolate, for example. Chocolate makes everything better. Which is bad, since I can’t have most chocolate.
But I digress.
I like my nut butters to be very spreadable, but not to the point of runny. This butter spreads nicely at room temperature, and firms up to the consistency I like on crackers when it’s refrigerated. And it tastes good!
This sunflower seed butter would go well with some nice sandwich bread, if you’re lucky enough to be able to eat that. I like eating nut butters on rice crackers, and I intend to do some experimentation on making rice crackers in the near future.
Or you could swirl it into ice cream. That actually is a good idea… But that's another post.
I grew up eating my Mom's amazing gourmet cooking. And then something happened. Almost two years ago, I became very sick. After lots of testing, the types of food I could eat became very, very limited. My mission now is to try to make good, affordable, easy, allergy-friendly food! All of my recipes, therefore, will be gluten free, dairy free, bean free, egg free, and cane sugar free. Most of my recipes will be paleo, Whole30, and/or keto friendly.
I am not (yet!) a certified nutritionist of any sort. Anything I say about health or nutrition is simply from my own research, and I would advise you to research before taking any of my advice.