Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Living in the Lima Light October 5, 2009

Filed under: easy,fast,Indian,vegetables — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 3:53 pm
love those limas

love those limas

All this talk of Tarka has got me itchin’ for Indian food.  Not that I ever need an excuse.  The new down south Clay Pit outpost serves casual sub-continent cuisine close to my home.  Hopefully our family will dine there soon.  Until then, seeing as how I discovered a bag of Whole Foods 365 organic lima beans way in the back  of the freezer, we’ll make do with this adaptation of Yamuna Devi‘s recipe from Lord Krishna’s Cuisine (The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking). If you’re into Indian cooking, this incredible tome, despite its meatlessness, instructs indispensably on the incredible variety and breadth of that diverse and ancient country’s gastronomy.

This recipe is quick and easy.  Don’t let all my notes scare you off!

INDIAN STYLE LIMA BEANS serves a couple of me, maybe several of you

  • 1 pound bag of frozen organic lima beans.  WF 365 brand is a good value.
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt.  I use Diamond Brand.
  • 2 generous Tablespoons very good butter such as Texas’ own Lucky Layla (best price usually at WF) or Organic Valley Pasture butter.
  • a few shallots—YES!  I found some this weekend at the Austin Farmers Market—sliced into thin rings or crescents, depending on size.
  • 3 teaspoons turbinado sugar or 1 largish lump of jaggery (about the size of a smallish, in-shell pecan).  If using jaggery, carefully cut it up a bit.
  • 3/8 teaspoon paprika—use a little cayenne if the kids aren’t around.
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3/8 teaspoon yellow mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.  I buy Real Salt in bulk at WF.  Don’t forget to bring your own container.  They’ll tare the weight at the info desk.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic lemon juice.  You can also use lime juice.  I have yet to find organic limes “out of stock” at Newflower Market.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic raisins, chopped up a bit.  I buy my plump and tasty dried grapes from Central Market’s bulk section.  Bring your own bag.  Don’t forget that you can run most of your plastic food bags right through the clothes washing machine—but not the dryer—for easy reusing.
  • a handful of chopped, compatible local fresh herbs such as cilantro, dill, or parsley, if available

Bring your water and kosher salt to a boil in a large saucepan.  Dump in the frozen beans, bring back to a boil and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes.  Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.

In the same pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and saute the shallots for just a minute.  Add the beans back with about a half cup of the cooking water, plus the remaining ingredients except the herbs.  Cook, uncovered, over medium to medium low heat until beans are glazed and tender enough for you.  Stir in the herbs, if you have some, and serve soon for the plushest presentation.  The beans glow their glossiest immediately after preparation, although they’ll still taste great later.

Save the rest of the cooking liquid for your next batch of home cooked beans or soup.  It’ll keep in the fridge for a couple days.  Freeze for longer storage.


Quick Coffee Cake and bonus

Filed under: cake,dessert — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:46 am

a few sliced almonds never hurt a coffee cake

a few sliced almonds never hurt a coffee cake

dainty dessert

Dainty Dessert—see below

Maybe you don’t have small children running underfoot and you had the time and energy to capture our summer (and spring!) by putting up some sweet and/or savory preserves.  What with all our strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, and peaches and melons, figs, and dates—and now apples and pears, you can stock your pantry with jars of the joys of seasons past.  Or you can just purchase your jams and jellies.  That’s what I do these days.  Hairston Creek Farm reliably  offers a consistent inventory of seasonally canned condiments.  Vendors at both farmers markets make preserves, so you can enjoy numerous jarred options.   When I retire from parenting (does that happen?), I’ll be puttin’ up my own.

Whether you cooked it up yourself or purchased it, a jar of spreadable sweetness in the cupboard can help deliver dessert in a jiffy.

QUICK COFFEE CAKE makes one 9″ round cake

  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) organic butter, softened.  Sprouts (on Brodie in Sunset Valley) is selling Organic Valley for $4.99 a pound right now.
  • 116 grams (about 1 cup) organic white whole wheat flour.  I use King Arthur brand.  Whole Foods usually has the best flour prices.
  • 35 grams (about 1/4 cup ) organic cornmeal.  Fine ground white cornmeal lends a delicate taste.
  • 50 grams (about 1/2 cup minus 2 teaspoons) organic all-purpose flour.  I like the price on WF 365 brand 5# bag.
  • 200 grams (1 cup) organic sugar.  Central Market’s organic brand sells for $2.99 for a 2# bag.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 160 grams (2/3 cup) homemade 1/2-n-1/2 yogurt or light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or homemade vanilla brandy
  • 2 eggs, preferably local
  • 1/2 cup local preserves.  Peach is especially tasty here.
  • 1/2 cup chopped lightly toasted Texas pecans.  For the cake pictured, I threw on a few toasted sliced almonds, too.

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease and flour a 9″ X 3″ round pan.  I prefer a loose-bottomed pan for this cake.  Lining  the bottom with a round of waxed paper is a good idea here.

Combine dry ingredients, through salt, in a bowl with a whisk.  Stir about 3 Tablespoons (don’t bother to measure) yogurt or sour cream and extract into the eggs.  Combine flour mixture, butter, and remaining yogurt in a mixer bowl and beat on medium speed for 90 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add egg mixture to batter in three parts, beating for 20 seconds after each addition and scraping the bowl in between.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the preserves evenly over the batter.  It’s OK if your marmalade marbles into the batter a bit.  Top with the pecans.  Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake tests done.  Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes before loosening the sides and unmolding (or carefully inverting onto a plate or rack and then re-righting the cake). Let cool as long as you can stand it.  Dig in!


I recently baked this cake, sans topping (it will cook quicker,btw) and filled and frosted it.  I split the cooled cake into two slim layers and filled it with a jar (6 ounces) of fragrant French violet and lavender jelly that I had purchased in a previous lifetime.  Then I covered the cake with a thin coating of leftover vanilla buttercream I had stashed in the freezer (where it keeps quite well, wrapped up in plastic wrap and plopped into an airtight container).  You could use almost any sweet preserves you have on hand, and top your torte with a simple confectioner’s sugar glaze (powdered sugar mixed with lemon juice, milk, cream or water plus vanilla to taste).  A lovely dessert.