My brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life.

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Vermont Mulligatawny 1

Posted on March 25, 2011 by crankycheryl

I’ve had a cold for a week and all I want is soup.  Spicy soup, especially.  And the other day a can of coconut milk jumped out of the cupboard (probably literally, as you know if you’ve ever seen how I cram things in there) at me, and I had some chicken breast left over from a roast chicken (I always do, since I really don’t like white meat), and before I knew it, mulligatawny was on its way.

You know mulligatawny, right?  It’s the creamy curried soup with chicken and usually rice.  In this case, I had root vegetables about and used those instead; it was a nice change from the other ways we’ve been eating them all winter long.

And the soup was just right for this cold-riddled time of year: creamy, spicy, hearty and great for warming you up from the inside out.  Even our visiting 5-year old neighbor agreed … while E. & Z. were eating frozen Costco pizza and staring at him in a sort of confused surprise.

A couple of cooking notes:

  • I started with cooked leftover chicken, but if yours isn’t cooked, cut it into pieces and brown it well in the first step, removing it before you add the vegetables, and then returning it to the pot to finish cooking in step 4.
  • Go ahead and substitute in other vegetables if you like, but make sure they’re mostly of the mild and savory variety for best flavor.

Vermont Mulligatawny
Serves 3-4

1.  In a big pot, heat until rippling:

  • 3 T. mild oil (I had some palm oil around, which I used for the flavor.  This would also be a good place to use up any ghee or coconut oil you may have.)

Add:

  • 2 carrots, cut into small-ish dice
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cut into small-ish dice
  • 2 potatoes, cut into small-ish dice
  • 1 onion, cut into small-ish dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • one 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (I was out and added 1 T. ground ginger instead)

3.  Stir, then add to it:

  • 1 T. curry powder

Which is what I totally would have done if I had had it.  Fortunately I had a lot of interesting bits of spices and seeds and things around and got out my awesome molcajete and ground it up instead, using approximately:

  • 1 small dried hot pepper
  • 1 t. cumin seeds
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. coriander seeds
  • 1 cardamom pod

4.   Add 2 T. water, then cook the vegetable and curry mix over medium-low heat, covered, for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.

5.  Add to the pot:

  • 2 c. cooked chicken, cut into pieces about the same size as the vegetables
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 4 c. chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or water if you must)

Stir well, bring to a boil, then add:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk (if you’re calorie-careful you can use the light version of this)

Stir it some more.

6.  Ladle into bowls and serve, with fresh cilantro, or apple slices, or lemon wedges, if you like.  We had none of these and were just fine.

Local, and Good Enough 0

Posted on October 03, 2009 by crankycheryl

Butternut Squash Harvest from Burlington's Intervale Community Farm

I’m still ruminating on the EatLocalVT challenge.   And surprised by how much the whole prospect has made me think.

If you read along with me in recent weeks, you know I had some cynical twinges, some eye-rolling moments when I just wanted to throw in the towel, feeling like I ought to feel guilty because I didn’t do without something or other.

But, while true, there was something more.  Something more spiritual than the tangible goals of supporting  neighbor farmers, of keeping our dollars in the local economy, of reducing the environmental impact of getting our food to us.

I found honesty and depth in eating the food that comes from the very land under our own feet.  There’s a primal connection in eating from places we can walk in and breathe deeply of, in eating food grown by people we know and value.  It feels like real living, to be sustained by what is here and now.

And there’s something else that quietly whispers, “What is around you is enough.”  I’m far from pure, but I see more now how I’m confused by the constant presence of everything all the time.

What do you do with it?  It’s nearly impossible to ask the average person to eat local Vermont food all the time, all year long.  And should we  be asking that?  What about the new book that points to other problems in our food production and distribution system?  What about the cynics who find the whole proposition laughable in thge first place?

To choose to eat and enjoy the things that are from here and now is not to be deprived, but is a celebration of what is real.  And delicious, of course.  I’m closing this quickly so I can run down to the farmer’s market to get as many of the last of the great local plums as we can.  Then I get the boys and we’re off to Pumpkin Day at our CSA, then home for homemade localvore chicken soup, and a doubled-up dessert so I can bring a treat to a neighbor who’s recovering from surgery.

What could be better, in any sense of the word?

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    Cheryl Herrick's brave Vermont quest to bring together food-love and mom-life. All original content (written, graphical, recipes or other), unless otherwise noted, is © and/or TM Cheryl Herrick. All rights reserved by the author. Want to reprint a recipe? Just get in touch and ask.

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