During the recent holidays past, I was given the gift of a yoga calendar by my beloved friend Lee. Tearing off a page every morning has now become an especially joyful and expectant way to start my days. Most of the pages are filled with beautiful messages (some of which are so very special that they get pinned to the cork board the next day), or sometimes a special yoga-position-of-the-week. Very occasionally, I find an inspirational recipe. What I find most awesome of all is the kinds of spices, and the fact of roasting them to bring out their complex flavor profiles. Here, below, are the recipes I’ve enjoyed most of all (so far).
The original recipes are made with ghee, a type of clarified butter that you can easily make yourself, but you can also substitute coconut oil if you prefer, like I do. With regard to Medjool dates, if you are not familiar with them, they are unusually sweet, soft, and delicious, and, therefore, worth searching out for this recipe. My local supermarket carries them in the produce section. If you cannot find Medjools, use whatever you can find and plan to add a couple extra teaspoons of warm water if the chutney seems too dry.
Tomato Date Chutney
1 1/2 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 small dried red chili pepper
3/4 tsp. mustard seeds (whole)
4 medium tomatoes, diced
6 Medjool dates, pitted and quartered
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
3/4 tsp. cumin, ground
1/2 tsp. salt
Melt the coconut oil or ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chili pepper and mustard seeds, and saute approx 2 minutes, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add tomatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes soften. Smash tomatoes with the back of a fork, and stir in dates, coconut sugar, cumin, and salt.
Simmer approx 10 minutes more, uncovered, over medium-low heat, until chutney begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. Remove chili pepper and serve.
Fennel-Toasted Brussels Sprouts
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (approx 5 cups)
2 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
Heat oven to 450F. In a small, dry pan over medium heat, roast the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Allow the seeds to cool for 5 minutes, and grind to a coarse powder using either a spice grinder, or a mortar & pestle, or a large, sharp, patient knife on a large cutting board.
In a large bowl, combine the ground seeds with the turmeric, salt, and pepper. Add Brussels sprouts and ghee or coconut oil, and toss well until coated.
Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and roast 20 minutes, shaking once midway through, until the sprouts are getting crispy and the outer leaves are beginning to darken. Transfer to a serving bowl, squeeze with lemon, and serve immediately.
Hearty appetite, and thank you to Yoga Journal for prior versions of these recipes.