Living on vegetable & fruit bounty (lottery)!

When we began Bio Basics, I used to write my weekly veggie and fruit list with great enthusiasm. As weeks passed, we found that the number of leftover veggies and fruits was increasing;  papayas  bruised during transport but otherwise in great condition, bananas  left at the end, the keerais that had faded and couldn’t be given to the customers; too large a pumpkin which had been cut and was left over; radish leaves customers didn’t want and so on…. Obviously, these goodies can’t be wasted, so the team at Bio basics is now eating these slightly damaged and /or many times good stuff that remains after all the bags are packed.

Two weeks back, we were left with a lovely large piece of pumpkin( weighing 2 kilos). It was pumpkin soup for dinner, pumpkin and cowpeas sabji for lunch, pumpkin sauce with salt with a dash of jaggery for another meal. A few months back it was the turn of tomatoes, rains had caused havoc and tomatoes reached here looking worse for the wear and so we terminated the journey (of many kilos of tomatoes) to the customers’ homes and began our tomato saga.

On Wednesday when our friends decided to join us for dinner, I had a brainwave, tomato salsa with some chips. Which chips; not potatoes or banana, Sujata, our friend, suggested tapioca chips ( to me it seems close to corn chips in texture). So we began with some delicious salsa since Sujata and Laxman do not eat onions and garlic, the salsa had to be free of these two flavors and I was a tad stumped. The first bunch of cubed tomatoes which we beat up in the mixie turned into a watery pulp and was no good and I decided to pour it into the kadai for a nice hot tomato soup.

So the next batch of tomatoes for chopped small, dhaniya leaves, some tender curry leaves, a green chilli and salt were added and gently blended in the mixie in short strokes. As a finishing touch, we added some delicious raw cane sugar ( or alternately called jaggery powder or nattu sakkarai).  We refrigerated it for a few minutes and half an hour later we had fresh, homemade salsa with tapioca chips ( the latter not organic L) . It was different from the one you would get in a Mexican restaurant, however, it tasted great!

The tomato soup with some cheese and coriander leaves are thrown in,  turned out delicious. Always, it has been the case with me, the elaborately planned dishes or meals never turn out as well as the casual last-minute meals I rustle up. The tomato saga continues with tomato chutney, tomato in the gravies and more salsa and soup and open to other suggestions.

 

It has been the same with bhindi/vendakkai, our favorite vegetable. Our vendakkais come from the farm of our field manager, therefore since the harvest began he has been providing us with vendakkais so the last few weeks our Tuesday organic lunches(which is cooked here for the team ) have been vendakkai and more vendakkais…in sambar, poriyal, masalas and so on.Similarly the week many of the young tender peerkan kais ( ridge gourds)broke during transportation, we were left with a mountain of them. That was the week of peerkan thugayil, left over nendirans steamed are the staple Tuesday morning breakfast for the team, all the youngsters have fallen in love with it

So, now we have decided to go with the flow, instead of choosing vegetables we will take what comes our way. This I believe is yet another step in our evolution to eat what is local, seasonal and in this case what is left over! It is great situation, we have something left over for most veggies, so it is not like we are short of choice, just that we may have too much of one veggie or fruit ( mostly the slightly injured ones, that need us more than others do)…so we roll from banana week to papaya week to  peerkan week to……

Devi , September 2016

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