End of Summer Musings

by Sarah Nunes September 02, 2016

 We’ve heard some murmuring around farmer’s markets these days. And to be honest we’ve done a fair share of murmuring ourselves; mostly about the relentless heat, the lack of rain, and the slightly crazy summer schedules. Summer is fun no doubt, but there is definitely some relief in the cooler mornings and evenings. Although your kids may not be thrilled at the prospect of a return to school, there is some comfort in a more structured schedule for everyone. The bounty of summer is a beautiful thing but I find myself looking forward to being able to turn the oven on again and make some hearty, savory, one pot meals.  On the farm we have to think ahead to make those savory meals a reality for both ourselves and our customers. We already have larger batches of broilers out in the field that will eventually fill fall bulk orders and freezers this winter and the last batch of piglets are getting bigger by the day. (Reserve your bulk order here) The youngest batch of turkeys is moving out of the brooder and into the field coops, signaling that Thanksgiving is really not that far away, at least for us. (Reserve your Thanksgiving turkey here) Ok, ok, at the risk of getting too far ahead of ourselves with all this talk of cool, crisp mornings and turkeys I came across this recipe in the NY Times recently. It is undeniably a summer recipe (one last hurrah anyone?) and goes great alongside some grilled chicken and vegetables. It would be easy to bring to a party and is sure to be a hit. I made the bread (parathas), but you could definitely pick up some pita or flat bread while you’re at farmer’s market and that would simplify this recipe considerably. The parathas however are delicious and fun to make. The arrival of Labor Day means different things to different people but for us it is our last summer bash after which we really start looking forward to fall and winter and the changes that the seasons bring to our family and our farm.

Cucumber and Mint Yogurt Dip with Parathas

Time: 1 hour, Yield: 6 flatbreads

Ingredients

For the Dip:
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, preferably whole milk (I drained some regular yogurt for a while in a sieve)
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, coarsely grated (1/2 cup) (Can use pickling cucumbers)
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint, plus torn whole leaves for garnish
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Parathas:
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour, more for dusting
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more as needed for the bowl and brushing
  • ½ cup sliced pitted dates (4 - 5 large pitted, if using)
  • Olive oil, as needed

Instructions

  1. Prepare the parathas: In a large bowl, whisk together flours and salt. Pour 4 tablespoons melted butter over the flour mixture. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture becomes moist and crumbly. Knead in 1/2 cup water, a little at a time, as needed, until a soft dough forms.
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead dough until it is smooth and slightly elastic, about 5 minutes. Roll dough into a ball and transfer it to a buttered bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into 6 equal-size balls. Transfer one ball to a lightly floured surface (keep other dough balls covered with a clean dish towel). Roll the dough into a 6-inch circle. Using a pastry brush, coat the surface of the dough with melted butter, and sprinkle half with 1 generous tablespoon sliced dates, if using. Fold the dough in half, forming a semicircle over the dates. Brush the surface of the semicircle with butter; fold it in half again to form a triangle. Gently roll out dough to a thickness slightly less than 1/4 inch. (You can prepare the parathas up to this point the day before; store in an airtight container with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment between each paratha, in the refrigerator.
  4. Make the dip:In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, mint and salt to taste. Garnish with walnuts, black pepper, and torn mint leaves. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Light a high-heat fire in a gas or charcoal grill. Brush parathas with oil and place on the grate. Cover and cook, turning once halfway through, until parathas are dark golden brown and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Serve hot, with yogurt dip alongside.

Notes:

You can fry the parathas instead of grilling. To do so, heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Brush the surface of the paratha with a little butter and sprinkle with salt. Place the bread, butter-side down, into the skillet. Cook until the bread begins to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush the exposed surface of the bread with butter and sprinkle with salt. Flip bread and cook until underside is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer bread to a plate. Repeat with remaining dough.

You can make the parathas without the dates such as I did the first time I made this recipe. Still delicious!

Adapted from Melissa Clark, NYT Cookin


 



Sarah Nunes
Sarah Nunes

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