Monday, February 23, 2009

|tasty little salad|

I invented a little wilted spinach salad with some stuff I had on hand. It turned out to be very tasty, so I wanted to share it:

TASTY LITTLE SPINACH SALAD

  1. Heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of water, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and about 2 teaspoons of honey. Stir.
  2. Throw in about 3 big handfuls of fresh spinach. Heat until the spinach starts to wilt - about 30 seconds. Salt and pepper. Drain.
  3. Place on a plate and top with about 1/2 cup of cold blueberries. Enjoy!
The coldness of the blueberries next to the hotness of the spinach makes it really fun. It's also pretty. I'm sure you could add some almonds for a delicious crunch, too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

|my favorite chickpeas, too|

Over Christmas, my sister-in-law-in-law (that would be my brother-in-law's wife) gave me her copy of the Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw. I love hand-me-down cookbooks, especially when someone has marked them up! I've been going through this one each week and picking out something that has a handwritten star by it. Too much fun. This, by the way, is a GREAT cookbook. I've never seen it before, but if you're thinking about eating more vegetarian meals, I would get a copy. It's enormous (almost 600 pages!) and covers EVERYTHING...basic recipes from all over the world; easy stuff, more complicated stuff; plus tips on how to stock your pantry, etc. It's fabulous.

I love chickpeas, so I was intrigued by a recipe called simply "my favorite chickpeas." Ms. Shaw says she found a recipe years ago in Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking that convinced her she never needed meat again. This is her version of it. It is truly fantastic. I ate mine all week long in lunches over brown rice.

MY FAVORITE CHICKPEAS:
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, grated (I used minced - it was fine)
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated (get out your microplaner...this is the only thing that takes some time)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (I'll probably use a little less next time...I don't love love love the taste of turmeric)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I also added 1/2 of a red chile, diced tiny tiny)
1 cup fresh or canned tomato puree (I don't actually know what that is, so I used tomato sauce)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoo fresh lemon juice

(I also added some fresh cilantro at the end and dumped in half a can of diced tomatoes that I had sitting around for extra volume)

Heat the oil in a skillet over med-high heat. When it's hot, turn the heat down to LOW and add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. (NOTE: all of those spices except ginger are usually found in curry seasoning, so if you don't have all of them but do have curry powder, you might give that a try and see if it's still tasty).

Saute, stirring constantly, until everything is well combined and the mixture has a uniform color (about 4 minutes).

Stir in the tomato puree, turn the heat up to medium, and simmer gently.

Add the chickpeas and simmer some more. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the mixture is thick, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Let the chickpeas sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve over a grain or as a stew. Yogurt as a side dish is great, too.

Also, I know I'm obsessed with lentils, but I'm fairly sure that this would be most excellet with lentils instead of chickpeas, too. Maybe served over some pasta? Yum.

4 servings
257 calories
12.2 grams protein
41 grams carbs
6 grams fat
0 cholesterol
19.2 grams sodium