PGM In Season | A Brown Table
WHENEVER IT COMES TIME TO RELAUNCH Pure Green In Season, we are always giddy at the prospect of a fresh batch of Community Leaders. Being a community leader for PGM In Season is not simply about spreading the word, but about representating the Pure Green lifestyle, being pillars of the community, and helping us lead a project we so deeply believe in. We look up to them, as much as the rest of the PGM community does, and if you haven't yet come to know them, then man, are we happy you're here.
For the Spring submission period, we are thrilled to introduce another of our Community Leaders, Nik, of A Brown Table. Nik's photography style is unique, and we're floored by it, and his recipes are always fresh and bursting with flavour. Get to know Nik with this short interview, and then get busy in the kitchen making his delicious fingerling potato salad.
5 QUESTIONS WITH NIK
WHAT 3 WORDS DESCRIBE YOU BEST?
Ha, I always find questions like these difficult to answer mostly because I think I’m all over the place but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say I’m a pragmatic optimist who loves to learn but a clumsy one at that. I’m hopeful that there’s always a way to solve any problem or issue which probably stems from my training as a scientist. In many situations, I think failure is a necessary path to success. Make mistakes, learn, move on and don’t look back regretting decisions that were made yesterday, think about what you will do next and be positive. I’m nerdy and geeky about everything, “who”,”what”, “why”, “when” are words that constantly float in my head. I tend to dissect most situations analytically which probably drives everyone else nuts! However, even with the best of intentions, I’m clumsy. I’m always bumping into things at home, dropping things when I’m trying to balance them.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE INGREDIENT?
Plain, unsweetened homemade yogurt. I eat a cup or two daily with almost every meal and I can’t live without it. There’s something simple and comforting about scooping out homemade yogurt and savoring that fresh, tangy taste. Yogurt is such a versatile ingredient from savory to sweet, there’s a batch in my refrigerator at all times.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST KITCHEN FAILURE AND/OR ACHIEVEMENT?
My best achievement in the kitchen to date always involves learning how to make different types of bread. By far the trickiest and hardest stumbling block to overcome, was learning how to make dosas from scratch. Dosas are thin lentil and rice based crêpes from the Southern part of India, that took a lot of patience, practice and endless batter adjustments to figure out. Oh and a good cast iron skillet, I can’t forget that!
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO YOUR LIFE?
I think sustainability is a loaded word that means a lot and many different things to many people. Having grown up in India, where in many instances access to good food and clean water is difficult, it is important to understand what kind of impact large food scale production brings. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the option to select local sustainable farms for their food but I hope with technological innovation we will soon be able to make that a reality. I now live in California, I try to my best to make choices that will support my local environment so that future generations will benefit. At best, I try to limit my usage of energy resources, I bike to work and use public transport whenever possible. I put my money into businesses that support and utilize sustainable practices be it food, energy or a product. Sustainability is all about making informed decisions for a better tomorrow.
WHAT DOES EATING LOCAL, SEASONAL, ORGANIC FOOD MEAN TO YOU?
Besides making sure I use seasonal and local ingredients whenever possible, I try to minimize my carbon footprint. I try to use food as efficiently as possible by stretching my ingredients. I’ll use different parts of a vegetable in different dishes, such as using the leftover leafy greens of carrots to make pesto or a salad. I love to grow and I maintain a little container garden, just a few fruits and vegetables on my terrace. It’s a small drop in the ocean but I think every little bit helps in some way. I forgo the supermarkets whenever possible and get most of my ingredients from our local farmer’s market. However, I do think that local food production is unfortunately not at the stage where every single hungry person in the world can be fed or will it fix the planet but it is a positive start. That is a question that will have hopefully been answered by the scientists and agroeconomists in the near future.
CORIANDER ROASTED FINGERLING POTATO SALAD WITH AVOCADO
Yields: 2 servings
- 1.5lbs fingerling potatoes, scrubbed,washed and wiped dry
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 large avocados, diced
- 1 Serrano chili pepper
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill leaves, coarsely chopped
- Place a rack in the center position of the oven and preheat to 400F. Cut the fingerling potatoes in half and place them in a large baking pan. Add the coriander, salt, black pepper and olive oil and fold with a silicone spatula or large spoon to coat evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake the potatoes for about 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown yet tender inside. Remove from the oven and place aside to cool for about 15 minutes before using.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes along with the scallions and avocado. Slice the Serrano pepper in half and cut the pepper in thin slices. If you prefer to reduce the heat, remove and discard the seeds from the pepper and then slice it before adding.
- Add the lemon juice and dill and fold until all the ingredients are evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.
Note: If you like this salad a little hotter besides leaving the chili pepper seeds in, I recommend substituting the lemon with lime. Lime can bring out the heat in chili peppers and amplify it wonderfully.
FOLLOW NIK: abrowntable.com