Sunday, March 29, 2015

Enough Tamarind, for now, that is, and out to the Preserve

Since I did promise to report back on my tamarind cooking exploits, and before you all scroll on past, eyes rolling, isn't she ever going to move on from ***** tamarind, I just thought you'd like to see some results.

I made the Tamarind/Ginger/Jaggery sauce from my Indian cookbook, and had all the ingredients in the house, always a good start.  Except I didn't have fresh ginger, but I did have an excellent ginger powder which worked, too.  Jaggery? I didn't know either, but it turns out it's a mix of honey and molasses, both of which I always have.  

Clockwise from bottom left, box of remaining pods, Indian cookbook, seed debris, tiny cup of pulp and shell debris.

So I had to get half a cup of tamarind pulp, which amounted to about seven pods of it, and go from there. It's the stickiest substance in creation, but washes off the cook surprisingly easily.

And I saved the seeds, of course, and will dry and plant them months hence. I already planted the ones I was soaking, so we'll see what happens with them.

Anyway, the sauce, quite meditative, longish prep time, you have to be in the mood for this,  you make turmeric juice by soaking the t. pulp in a cup of hot water for half an hour, then straining it to remove the seeds and debris.  

Then you add in the other ingredients, then cook it down to about three quarters of a cup of the most pungent and wonderful stuff you can imagine. 

 Here it is cooking down, and on the left are the saved and cleaned seeds from this batch.

The sauce involves the three items mentioned in its name, plus cumin, and she adds raisins, but I didn't because I don't like them.  She had a touch of asafoetida too, which I didn't but I don't think I missed much.

Only a touch is needed to go with fish, or chicken, or maybe to add to a marinade.  And I cracked up when I discovered it's very much like Worcestershire sauce!  who knew.  But much better, because all freshly made.  So I'd say it's worth the effort because it will last ages, and was quite fun to work with.  I think some people might just prefer to trot out and buy Worcestershire, but that's them.

All in all, I think tamarind is a food, a hobby, a gardening sideline, and well worth the price of admission.

Then I decided that it was high time I got out and about, in field and fen, you know, and went off to the Preserve, warmly togged up in warm hat, coat, etc, with binoculars ready and camera, too. Very muddy underfoot, but my sturdy shoes don't care.

I spotted fox scat, so the red foxes are still around despite the winter, and trees where the beavers have bitten through, felled a few big ones, and one of my pix has one that's about to go, so I didn't stay long there.  And out on the lake there was a big flock of American mergansers, they're a long and beautiful duck/goose sort of bird, wonderful in flight, but too far away for my camera.  

I was hoping to see them, right time of year for them to stop by a few days on the lake. They took off several times, all flying in formation low over the water, amazing to watch.  One flight went right over my head, too fast for me to do more than admire. The males are brilliant white and black, the females browner, but with fancy fluffy hats.

Note the evidence of beaver work above, that tree in the middle ready to come down

 Ice seen from two sides of the lake.

Big ice floes on the lake, and the sound of the water lapping under the edges was musical.  Probably it will be gone by the next time I get out there, so you are treated to more than enough pix of the general scene.  First trip out there in months, and wonderful to be back. 

This is one of my favorite little places in the preserve, an elegant way of crossing a small chasm, and very Zen as you descend slowly and carefully, stop in the middle, then ascend.  Never fails to change your sense of where you are.  I think this evokes the poet in most of us.

So that was today. Oh, and I blew the Easter eggs, ready to decorate in a day or two when they are dry.  No pix yet, you know what eggs look like! and these are just empty ones which look exactly like full ones.


1 comment:

  1. The tamarinds earned their keep in entertainment value :)
    It must have been invigorating to get out in the woods again - thank you for sharing the pictures! Piper has been having a Very Dull Winter because the snow has been too deep our favorite nearby trails. We've tried repeatedly, but it's been, at best, a few minutes of floundering around, then home.
    I'm pretty sure she blames me.


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