More lyrics, tonight
This time it’s an old favorite by Crowded House.
Listen here or just read, here
“Walking ’round the room singing Stormy Weather
At 57 Mount Pleasant Street
Well it’s the same room but everything’s different
You can fight the sleep but not the dream
Things ain’t cooking in my kitchen
Strange affliction wash over me
Julius Ceasar and the Roman Empire
Couldn’t conquer the blue sky
Well there’s a small boat made of china
It’s going nowhere on the mantlepiece
Well do I lie like a lounge room lizard
Or do I sing like a bird released
Everywhere you go
Always take the weather with you…”
— excerpt from Weather With You
(Neil Finn / Tim Finn)
Given that choice, this bird will sing, thank you
I am prepared with “S is for Snow and Spicy Brinjal with Shelly Beans”
A heavy, wet snow fell overnight and the sun rose feebly over a winter wonderland complete with frosted trees and garden. Sadly, the weight of the snow was such that the sweet old apple tree out front was nearly toppled. Time will tell whether it recovers.
With snow covering the plants, and more lurking on the horizon, we hurried to finish harvesting the last of the garden. A few days ago we got in the last of the tomatoes and brinjals, a lot of peppers and a few other goodies. It had been unusually warm so we let the garden grow…
Today, in the fickle in-and-out sunshine of late afternoon, we picked all of the shelly beans and *another* big mess of papdi beans. I have no doubt these papdi would keep growing and growing. They are flowering yet. Perhaps next year I will plant them where they don’t have to be taken down with the fence!
OK, but what on earth are shelly beans? Good question!
I have grown them in the past, but I didn’t know them as shelly beans. I knew them as horticultural or cranberry beans, and cooked them in succotash only.
Mom sent a few seeds of those cranberry beans for the Michigan garden. Planted in July alongside the Priya papdi beans and the long beans (of mixed variety), they flourished as did the others. When I mentioned the pods were turning cream-and-red, Mom told me to hurry and pick them for shellies.
Shellies. Who knew? I think we picked nearly two quarts of them today.
It may be a little late for them in stores or farm markets. It’s certainly late for them here.
After learning about them, I knew what I had to do. I shelled those lovely beans. And then…
I thought of my great kitchen buddy, ISG — and how she always pairs brinjal with beans to such great effect. I know a good dish when I taste one; after years of tasting ISG’s recipes, I had no hesitation. Shamelessly taking my cue from her, (and mostly from her recipe), I dove under the bed to dig through my stash of spices. Armed with fresh coriander seeds (is that an oxymoron??), I headed for the kitchen.
Thus was born…
Spicy Brinjal with Shelly Beans
for the curry
a mess of brinjals (I had about 20 in all, small and medium)
one large red onion, diced, divided
4-5 medium fresh tomatoes, pureed (about 2 cups)
1 c shelly beans, shelled and boiled 30 min in salted water, drained
thick tamarind water from a large piece (about 1/2 cup)
jaggery to taste
salt to taste
for the paste
1/4 c coriander seeds
2 TB cumin seeds
a few methi seeds
a few curry leaves
3-4 red chiles, seeded (I used fresh from the garden chiles!)
Saute half the diced onion until lightly browned, then grind with the above to a paste.
for the seasoning
1-2 TB canola oil
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of hing
half the diced onion
In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. When the oil is ready, add urad dal, curry leaves, hing, and mustard seeds. When the seasonings are hot, add half the onion and saute for a few minutes while you prepare the brinjals.*
Add brinjals and saute over med heat until they begin to brown and wilt. Clear a space in the center and add the ground paste. Cook this over medium heat, stirring, until the paste is fragrant. Keep stirring to coat the brinjals.
After five minutes or so, add tamarind water and pureed tomatoes. Mix well. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook about ten minutes. Now taste and add jaggery depending on the sourness. Add a pinch of salt, cover, and simmer until brinjals are tender.
Uncover, stir in the cooked shelly beans and additional salt to taste.
Serve with hot rice to soak up the spicy gravy, and pass the ghee, please!
*Slit long brinjals in four pieces, leaving tops intact. Make four cuts in smaller round brinjals. Cut any large brinjals into pieces to match the size of small brinjals. I even had some really tiny ones which I just slit in half as above. I did this while frying the seasonings, so I did not have to worry about discoloration.
There are now five cats in the house…
Little 22 yo Squeaker is out in her cozy bed by the furnace…
All the kitties are safe and warm. All is well, and winter is coming…
I love it here