Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A few weeks back, before my Mad Men obsession kicked in full tilt for this season (ahem...is it getting hot in here??)...As I was saying, a few weeks ago my kind & generous friend Nancy, who lives in warmer climes than Portland, OR, gifted me with beautiful Meyer lemons & limes. The lemons went into Pink Slip Jam's Meyer Lemon & Vanilla Bean Jam, 2 different batches of preserved lemon, an indispensable Mediterranean condiment ~ 1 with cinnamon sticks & bay leaves, the other with chiles & bay, and finally some lemon curd. It was a happy coincidence that my chickens & ducks began laying again as I used the ducks' eggs for the lemon curd. Positively unctuous! Creamy, rich, moderately sinful...My favorite way to use lemon curd (besides eating spoonfuls) is to slather it on crepes & stack them up like a cake, chill, then slice & serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. It's not Bikini Season yet.
The limes, on the other hand, received a singular treatment. I know some of you may be thinking 'Mojito', but you would be mistaken. Remember, I am not originally from the Northwest! I am not a fan of chilly Spring. In my mind I am forever dashing off to tropical climes (I invite Don Draper yet he has not RSVP'd yet...). So, in keeping with my fantasy life, I decided to make an Indian lime pickle. This involved fermenting lime wedges & salt for a number of weeks, followed by a bath of spices ~ fenugreek, turmeric, chile, mustard seeds, and then letting the whole shebang marinate for awhile. Today the finishing touches were applied: I hunted down the illusive ingredient I had been missing: Mustard Seed Oil! This is easy-peasy in Berkeley, where I'm from ~ lots of Indian markets. Not so simple a task here! If you live in Portland & do not want to make a trek out to the Hinterlands (where it is decidedly NOT tropical), check out the Halal market on NE Glisan. The gentleman working there is from Afghanistan, helpful & friendly as can be, and they sell so many enticing spices & just writing about this kind of, sort of makes me think I'm on a pretend adventure in an exotic locale...
The lime pickle is a really traditional side for curries, rice, lentils, dhal...really any dish you'd like to add some heat to. I cannot wait to make a batch of coconut rice, some dhal, and tune in to Mad Men this week. It's not Bollywood, but it works for me!