Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Curried Pea And Potato Somosas in Phyllo Dough (My Garlic Growing Lessons: Scapes Abound!)

Vegan Thyme: Curried Pea And Potato Somosas in Phyllo Dough (My Garlic Growing Lessons: Scapes Abound!)
It was over ninety degrees yesterday, overcast, humid and on again-off again thundering and lightening. I had plants to get in the ground, bushes to dig up, re-locate plus a ton of flower seeds and bulbs to get in the ground. (Purchased in February with visions of mild spring days and me carefully tending to new bedding spots, pulling my wheelbarrow behind, gingerly stopping here and there, imagining new spots of color.) Uh, not so much now. I abandoned most of those leisurely moments of planting to mad dashes in and out, taking cover if I saw a flash across the sky. Not a drop of rain fell. It was so strange.

Dinner was an afterthought. As has been the case lately with my mind elsewhere. After a good soak in the tub and a couple of ibuprofen (because my god, my Almost Fifty body felt Almost Eighty after all the work), and reading more of the book I got from the library, Blood, Bones and Butter (which is due back today). I'll have to do my usual, "but I can't finish a book in a week!" and beg for mercy and another seven day grace period to finish it. 

 When the heat kicks up, so does my craving for spice. Indian food always works on nights like this. Too exhausted to make much of anything beyond a one pan meal, I was sort of craving something wrapped, some "hand food" as we like to call it. And the rule goes, if you can eat it with your hands, it's always a winner in this house. (Plus, I've exhausted the easy-out Amy's Burgers dinner option for the time being.) So the somosas. But I was too exhausted to make the dough for them from scratch. Oh please. For some strange reason I have, not one, but two boxes of phyllo dough in my freezer. That happens a lot. I'll find some Must Make This Tonight recipe, only later to find I'll have changed my mind, moved on, as has the thought of just what that Must Make This Tonight recipe really was.

I know phyllo dough scares some. It's taken me years to overcome the fear of phyllo. I've actually come to a place where the phyllo often wins out over the Puff Pastry. This recipe was so quick to make, I think it may become a staple for the freezer to whip out on days like yesterday.
 I love this stuff. It's yummy and it was perfect for dipping the somosas in. If you don't have this, you can certainly get creative and whip up your own chutney. But again, dinner last night was about speed.
Before I go into the somosa recipe, a quick diversion of the garlic sort. Okay, I was wanting to create more room for tomato plants in the now-fenced-in veggie bed. I grabbed out of the dirt what I thought were left over leeks from last summer. Leeks, by the way, take FOREVER to grow un-kay? I mean that literally. I had no idea they were so cold hardy. When I pulled these out of the ground, I pondered their leek-ness. Nope, not a leek. Onions? I did plant like 150 onion slips last year, that mostly got dug up and chopped into mulch--just like those crazy potato eyes I planted did. Note to self: You don't have to replicate EVERY produce item the grocery store carries, and that includes beets (and when was the last time I ate a beet. . . and it's okay to NOT plant and grow your own onions!).  
So after digging up the suspected leek/onion--I turned to look more closely at other green stalks that stood the test of time this winter. Well, I know I planted a lot of garlic cloves last year. I know I did. Did I harvest any garlic? For the record. Nope. I planted the cloves in spring, just like I planted everything else. Uh, I soon discovered I was wrong after no garlic in fall, and a few internet articles on said subject were reviewed.

Garlic gets planted in October, harvested in July! So I wondered, could the garlic have overwintered and come back. Suddenly, I remembered, this is the spot the garlic was planted. And look--it's even getting those little things on the top that you are supposed to snip off so the energy goes into making the garlic bulb: scapes. I had worked in the garden all weekend and I swear, those tear drop things, or scapes--they were NOT there two days ago. Suddenly, they're everywhere. Yippee! I think I'll have my own garlic this year! (I put garlic in everything--except chocolate cake.)  
This little once-scape, now flower head just poked out at me this morning--hiding under my chives. I'll cut him back, and try really hard to remember where he's planted! I think it's a beautiful flower all the same.
This here is where MOST of the cloves of garlic went--in my rose bed, between my roses. Now, what I'm about to say next is based upon my own observation: I planted the cloves right between my roses--just like you see here. I didn't have ONE single Japanese beetle on my roses all year. Not one. I had read somewhere, and god knows I can't remember now, but that garlic planted with roses equals good companion planting mojo and no bugs. You be the judge. I'm just sayin'. This worked for me.

Curried Pea And Potato Somosas in Phyllo Dough

1 package phyllo dough (thawed for about an hour on the counter or overnight in fridge)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for spreading on the phyllo layers)
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

First, thaw out the phyllo dough, but don't let it get so thawed out that you can't pull the sheets apart. I bring mine out to room temp, then when it feels soft, I put it back in the fridge to cool while I prep the food stuff for it. Peel and slice the potatoes and put in a small sauce pan and cover with water, boil for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. In a medium saute pan, over medium heat, add a couple swirls or 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Next, add all the seasonings, potatoes and peas and season with salt and pepper, turn heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring to coat everything with the seasoning. You can mash a few of the potatoes with the back of a fork. I like to leave some whole. Remove from heat and prepare the phyllo. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. On the top of your kitchen counter, covered with another sheet of parchment, spread open the phyllo dough. Set up a bowl of extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl next to you. Tear off a few pieces of paper towel to cover the unsused phyllo while you work with it. Carefully peel off a single layer of phyllo and place on the cookies sheet. With a pastry brush dipped in the olive oil, carefully brush the phyllo with the oil. Next, lay another layer of phyllo on top of this and repeat the oil brushing part. Continue until you have four layers of phyllo. (*Carefully roll up the remaining phyllo dough, wrap in foil, and place back in freezer for another use.) Now, take a pizza cutter and cut the phyllo into three equal strips. Next, add about 2 tablespoons of filling to the bottom of each strip and carefully fold phyllo over it--by either making a square or triangle, then continue folding the phyllo strip over the itself and the stuffing until you come to the end of the strip. Carefully pinch the ends. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with the phyllo until all filling is used. Bake stuffed phyllo for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Serve with chutney!   


2 comments:

  1. Well, huh. I just threw some garlic in the ground recently. I didn't realize I was supposed to wait until October! Here's hoping mine overwinters and comes back like yours!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I planted garlic last fall, and I've been waiting for the scapes to appear! Hopefully soon. I planted mine in between the roses, too. Here's to a healthy garlic harvest for both of us! :)

    ReplyDelete

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