Polenta with Root celery, green beans & para nuts
For a long time now, I have been in love with Lakshmi’s photography on flickr. I would stare at her pictures and wonder how food could exude joy and peace, but her food does! And it is the simplicity involved that makes it delicious. I hoped that she would start a blog, for I felt it was an injustice to viewers, to see, and not know the special touch that went on to make simple food, works of art! And she did, very recently. Lakshmi is a bhakti-yogi and looks upon cooking and eating as an act of devotion. Her photographs definitely convey that feeling.
I have had the joy of conversing with her through mails and she is one my very good virtual friends, as good as a virtual friend can get. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you, my dear readers, to Lakshmi of Pure Vegetarian, my first guest author on Tongue Ticklers. I know by the end of this post, you will be enchanted, because her pictures convey more emotions than words can.
Lakshmi uses measuring units that are different from ours. You can use the scale below to convert:
1 dl = 100 ml
1 dl = 0.1 litre
1 dl = 0.42 cup
Or use the online converter here: http://www.convertworld.com/en/volume/ml.html
I must let Lakshmi wield her magic over you:
If you live in the climate of four seasons you pretty much know whether you are a summer or a winter person. In Finland autumn translates to getting prepared to the winter, and spring means recovering from it. But summer is different. It is dominated by another mode of nature and is permeated by awakeness and vitality.
I am a summer person. Light and sunshine represent all things positive to me.
During the summer my cooking shifts to a relaxed gear. I rarely open any jars of spices other than hing, pepper and salt. I may sometimes add fresh ginger, jeera or ground coriander. Vegetables grown in the garden are swollen by juices gained from the moonlight. They are strong and tasty by themselves. Fresh or wild herbs match their energy level better than dry spices. Forest flowers and weeds garnish and crown them. In the summer, everything is simple.
When Harini asked if I’d like to write a guest post on her blog, I had just completed cooking and photographing a vegan lunch that precisely reflects the mood. Instead of heavy grains, I used polenta that is sweet and digestible. Roasted celery root is aromatic. Green beans, freshly from the garden, are lovely when quickly steamed and crisp. Pecans add a meaty and fatty texture. I perked them up with cayenne and rosemary. And I ornamented the lunch with a punch of common wood-sorrel, a weed that is growing everywhere. It has a pert, salty taste; perfect to refresh and rejuvenate the palate.
If I’d had to name this lunch, I would simply call it Summer. It personifies my perception of the best of seasons.
Recipe: Polenta with root celery, green beans & para nuts
3 dl polenta
1.5 litre water
A pinch of salt
Boil the water and salt. Whisk in the polenta. Simmer in a low heat until it becomes a thick porridge. You may want to stir it occasionally. Transfer it to an oiled tray. Flatten it out. Let it cool. Cut it into shapes of your liking and fry in a small amount of olive oil.
Root celery, green beans & para nuts
Black salt (kala namak)
Para nuts (cut in bite-size chunks)
Fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
(Lemon or lime)
Peel and cut the celery in fat match-stick size pieces. Sprinkle with olive oil, black pepper and salt. Roast in the oven (220 C) until golden colour.
Cut the ends of the beans. Quickly steam them in a small amount of salted water. Drain.
Heat up olive oil on a skillet. Add hing, black pepper and cayenne. Follow with para nuts. Fry until they are nicely toasted. Add rosemary. Mix well. Add the beans and salt. Mix with the roasted celery and a pinch of black salt. Garnish with sorrel before serving. You may want to add a slice of lemon or lime on the plate.