Jesse James, Northfield, Kathmandu and Garlic

This is a strange post. On this day in 1876, Jesse James tried to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota (home of my alma mater Carleton College). He was unsuccessful and the city holds a Defeat of Jesse James Days festival every September. The photo above is from the annual re-enactment of the attempted robbery.

When I was in Kathmandu, I was stunned to see the Northfield Cafe and Jesse James Bar which, as I suspected, was run by a fellow Carleton graduate. So I thought I’d post two recipes — an awesome salsa from the Minnesota State Fair and a spicy condiment from Nepal. The first recipe is from Mary Jane Miller, author of the Minnesota Garlic Festival’s cookbook. The second is not from the Northfield Cafe which serves American, Mexican, Italian, and Indian food.

GLOP (a.k.a. Roasted Garlic Salsa di Parmigiano) 

1 lb. parmesan, asiago, or grana padano cheese (or a mixture), broken into 1-inch chunks

1 bulb roasted garlic, squeezed from the skin

1 T. black freshly ground pepper

2 T. chopped fresh basil

2 T. chopped green onions

1 t. dry red pepper flakes

1 1/2 c. olive oil

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 10 seconds, to break the cheese into small granules. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down and recombine between every couple of pulses.

Transfer the salsa to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Garlic Chili Achar

1.5 c. garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 c. mustard seeds
1 T. cumin seeds
1 T. coriander seeds
1 t. Szechwan pepper
2 T. hot chili paste
2 T. tamarind paste
5 T. mustard or olive oil
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of asafetida
Salt to taste

1 T. mustard or olive oil
1 t. fenugreek
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 dry red chilies
1 T. minced mint leaves

In a pan, toast sesame seeds, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. When they’re cool, grind to a powder.

In boiling salted water, blanch garlic cloves for about five minutes. Take them out and place them in an ice bath bowl to prevent further cooking.

Slowly dry-roast sesame, mustard, cumin, and coriander seeds until toasted. In a blender, mix all the ground toasted seeds, Szechuan pepper, chili and tamarind pastes, oil, black pepper, asafetida, and salt into a thick paste. Add to the blanched garlic cloves; mix well.

For garnish, heat one tablespoon of oil, fenugreek, and dry red chilies in a non-stick pan until chiles turn dark. Add slices of garlic and fry till light brown. (Careful not to burn). Pour the garlic-oil mixture and minced mint over the garlic cloves. Mix well and put in airtight jar. For best results, marinate for one week before using.


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