Tag Archives: seasonal

Chipotle Cranberry Relish with Chicken and Rice

So there I was, innocently wandering the halls of the local Aircraft hanger.. um, I mean Supermarket. I think we may have run out of something, or needed a last minute item, but anyway, there I was. This particular store actually has a pretty nice Organic/Natural section cordoned off from the ‘normal’ food. One product line they carry is Living Intentions, a company that specializes in soaked, dried nuts. So, when I’m there, I look in for whatever Living Intentions products they have. This time, the only two things they had were Pumpkin seeds, and Chipotle Pistachios .

I was not particularly enthused by this meager offering since I’m just not that into Pumpkin seeds, and Chipotle Pistachios?? Well, my wife got the Pistachios to munch on the way home, and they were pretty good, but we didn’t eat a lot of them. But then…

My wife was trying to figure out how to jazz up a rather stale, routine chicken and rice dish.  Normally, we’d add some raw cheese and a veggie on top, but the Chipotle Pistachios inspired my wife.  After a whirlwind of activity, she produced a relish like nothing I had ever had! See below for her creation:

Chipotle Cranberry Relish (serves 4)

(make to taste; amounts are approximate)

3-4 Ounces of fresh Cranberries

Half a bag Living Intentions Chipotle Pistachios (or 2.5 oz of  other soaked/dried nut and add 1-2 teaspoon of chipotle seasoning**)

1 small Orange

1-2 Tablespoon Lime juice

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

1 small bunch of Cilantro (about 1/3 cup)

Sea Salt to taste

Grind nuts in food processor; add cranberries and process.  Then add orange, olive oil, lime juice, and salt (and Chipotle spices** if adding separately from nuts).  Blend, then add cilantro until well mixed.  End result should somewhat resemble the consistency of fresh homemade cranberry relish (thick and a little juicy).

Serve on Chicken and Rice.

If you can’t find Living Intentions nuts at a store near you (or if you have time and prefer doing it the hard way), you can soak your choice of nuts for 6-9 hours, drain, then scatter on a tray in your dehydrator or stove (on it’s lowest setting) and top with Chipolte seasoning.  Let dry/dehydrate for roughly 12-15 hours or until done.

**Chipotle seasoning (roughly from the Living Intentions label): Chili powder, Onion powder, Cumin, Sea Salt, and Tamari sauce (gluten-free).  Wheat eaters could use regular Soy Sauce in place of the Tamari.  Organic seasonings are best as they are non-irradiated.

So next time you get a chance, duck into random Aircraft hangers and look for some soaked nuts in the natural food section–they’re usually behind the torque wrenches.


Gardening (or, what to do with an infestation of beets)


A harmless (looking) beet

Beets have been cultivated for about 4 thousand years. I suppose this fact alone is capable of making beets seem old fashioned. Or at least just old. I really didn’t have anything against beets for most of my life, indeed, I didn’t really acknowlege their existence until I made a simple, dreadful error in a caffeteria line. I really love canberry sauce, the kind that comes in a can. So whatever cook decided to put out thinly sliced beets sometime in November was playing a particularly cruel joke on yours truely. Nevertheless, with my extra large helping of beet, not cranberry sauce, I made the best of it and ate them. They were pretty good, but I couldn’t help holding a little grudge against beets after that. (They could have at least warned me they were beets)

Thus it was only with passing notice that I helped my wife plant our first garden. My parents plow up a chunk of ground, and a small corner had been cordoned off for us to frolic in. We were given a gift certificate for a mail order seed catalog, which had a (small) organic section. After drooling over glossy pictures of incredible veggies, we picked some names off the organic list that promised to generate veggies identical to the ones in the photos. There were a number of common foods we skipped due to prolific abundance at the organic market, or lack of interest. (Lima beans are just gross.) So we ordered cucumber, okra, carots, and beets.

Had I paid any attention to the world around me growing up, I would have surely noted that beets grow well in the south. Soft soil, plenty of sunlight, and if you haul it in, lots of water. These are about the only things that beets need to grow. And grow. And perhaps multiply a few times undergound in the dead of night. No matter who is to blame, by mid July we were harvesting beets about every 3 days, and coming back with bags full. At first we just sat them on the counter and padded each other on the backs saying ‘You’re a really good gardener!’ and ‘No! You’re a really good gardener!’ and then ‘What do we do with them??’ We ate some of the greens in salad, and tried a few raw beets sliced up, and then decided that raw beets were hard to eat. And that’s how I came to know Borsch. Hailing from the ancient culinary seeds of Unkraininan survival manuals, Borsch is a soup made from beets. We pulled out our trusty Nourishing Traditions, looked up beets, flipped over to beet soup (page 220) and started happily making dinner. What’s that? Ah, yes. I told you I met Borsch, and here I am talking about beet soup. Well, we made a few changes to the recipe. For instance, the recipe expressly forbids the use of meat stock, which is the staring point of many Eastern European traditional recipes. Also, we happened to have several heads of garlic that were begging to be eaten. So with the stock, garlic, and beets, we were ready to go. Oh, we may have tossed in an onion. And some carrots. but this is precisly the spirit of traditional Borsch: Start cooking beets, add stuff that tastes good. And in spite of my misgivings, I really liked the stuff. We started eating Borsch at least once a week. We had beet greens in our salad, and baked beets as side dishes. We even tried to preserve some by fermenting them in jars, as prescribed on page 98, but that experiment didn’t work. Other than pickling failures, I learned to enjoy beets-even love them. The fresh, earthy flavor they impart, even when cooked, gives a delightful tone to the meal.

So, if you have an infestation of beet, I suggest Borsch.