Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How I Spent My Spring Break

Recently a friend sent me an enormous box of beautiful limes grown in her own yard. These are extra special since citrus fruit is not something we see in the Northwest, other than in the stores. I thought for a long time about making some lime marmalade, yet I really wanted to make something different. I considered making a small batch of lime simple syrup for future Summer cocktail use, yet that didn't inspire me tremendously. It's March, I did not go away for 'Spring Break' since my college days are long past, and I am craving sun. I am so desirous of sunny climes with blue skies that I am driven to distraction. This is not whining, Folks. This is the reality of living in the Pacific Northwest. Keep this in mind next time the New York Times does yet another article on the food scene in Portland and you think to yourselves...'If only we lived in Portland...'.
 With this obsession in mind, I present you with my solution on how to best use a beautiful cache of limes while creating a sense of reverie for the Indian subcontinent. Pretend you are in India, minus the cobras, poverty, and tropical illnesses. Visualize mangoes, jasmine, brilliant pink & orange saris, and eat some of this lime pickle with coconut rice, or dal, or some fabulous curry. It is the perfect antidote while we await El Sol. It also keeps really well so that later you can indulge in a picnic with samosas in the park! Meanwhile, I'll be doing sun salutations in yoga class...

Hot Lime Pickle

25 limes, cut into wedges
1 cup salt
1/4 cup fenugreek powder
1/4 cup mustard powder
3/4 cup chile powder
1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
2 1/2 cups mustard oil
1 teaspoon asafoetida
1 oz. yellow mustard seeds, crushed

1. Place limes in a large sterilized jar or glass bowl. Add the salt & toss with the limes. Cover & leave in a warm place for 1~2 weeks, until limes become soft & dull brown in color.

2. Mix the fenugreek, mustard & chile powders & turmeric. Add to the limes. Cover & leave to rest in a warm place for a further 2~3 days.

3. Heat the oil & asafoetida, along with the mustard seeds until they begin to pop, & then turn off the heat. Bring the seasoned oil to room temperature & add to the lime mixture. Mix well, & then serve with rice, dal, curry or use as a condiment in anything you'd like!

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