Tag Archives: garlic

Flavor EXPLOSION Chickpea Salad!!

5 Oct

Laughter is brightest where food is best.
~Irish Proverb

Recipe Source: The Kitchn

Some people might worry that cooking vegan means sacrificing flavor, and to them I say, this salad will blow that theory right out of the water! It’s bursting with rich, exotic flavor from cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, then cooled with parsley and mint, and given a tangy boost from lemon juice and zest. It’s an amazing marriage of flavors that satisfies even picky, ADD palates like mine. That’s why I’ve decided to rename the recipe from the original Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic – boring! I’m sorry Kitchn, but that title did not give it justice.

chickpea salad

This salad keeps fine for a few days, over the course of which the flavors will continue to mingle. This is one of my all-time favorite lunches. Another nice thing about it is it’s low in sodium. The original recipe calls for flaky sea salt to taste, but I don’t find it necessary. For ovo-lacto vegetarians and omnivores, a handful of feta cheese is a nice complement and adds a bit of salty flavor, but it’s beautiful even without.

One word on ingredients – you really want to use cumin seeds here, rather than cumin powder. They are distinctly different in flavor as well as texture, and toasting them gives a richness that manages to not be overwhelming like cumin powder can sometimes be.

cumin seed & red pepper

Finally, a note on safety – be careful when pouring the chickpeas into the pan, as any residual liquid from draining them will sizzle in the pan and can burn you. I’m speaking from experience here!

I hope you love this salad as much as I do. 🙂

recipe

  Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic
Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
4-6 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 English cucumber
1/4 cup feta cheese, optional

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is nice) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until the seeds are toasted. The cumin will turn slightly darker in color, and smell toasty.

Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook, stirringly frequently, for about three minutes or until the garlic is turning golden. Do not let it scorch or turn brown.

Add the drained chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are warmed through and are shiny with oil. Turn off the heat.

Strip any remaining stems away from the Italian parsley. Finely mince the parsley and the mint and toss this with the chickpeas. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the chickpeas.

Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out (and discard) the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes. Toss the cucumber with the chickpeas. Stir in feta cheese, if using, and taste.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating. This salad is best after it has had a chance to sit overnight in the fridge, letting its spices and juices soak together into more than the sum of its parts. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Really good at any temperature, actually.

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Spicy Chickpea Stew with Roasted Cauliflower

17 Aug

Recipe Source: Herbivoracious via The Kitchn

I love coincidences. In general, I tend to shy away from hippy-dippy assumptions about the cosmos being on my side, or the universe having conscious thoughts about my life. But when I notice little connections – wherever they may come from, whatever they might mean – I can’t help but smile.

This recipe brought about such a smile. I found it while I was pissing away time on facebook, posted by The Kitchn. As I skimmed through it, I thought, “mmm, yes, I am making this soon!” And then I got to the ingredients list and saw preserved lemons – an exciting discovery, because I had a jar of them hanging out in my fridge at that very moment, unsure of what their destiny would be.

I’d first learned about preserved lemons a few months earlier, via my favorite little Moroccan restaurant, Kous Kous. For fun, I’d decided to make them, then do nothing with them. I was thrilled to give them a purpose with this recipe!

preserved lemonsDon’t they look scientific?

Despite the dauntingly long list of ingredients, this recipe came together pretty easily. And while it’s not a fast thing to make, it makes enough to feed an army! (Seriously… the recipe says it serves 4, but I got 10-12 servings out of it. I’d like to know what these 4 people look like.)

roasted cauliflower

First, you start by roasting a whole cauliflower until the florets are tender and beginning to caramelize. I don’t think I left these in the oven long enough because I was afraid of them burning.

spice mixture

Next you’ll sautee onions and add the spices. I’m categorizing this recipe as a curry, but it doesn’t contain any curry powder. Instead, it uses a palate-awakening mixture of cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cayenne, salt, and pepper. The cinnamon and fennel seed were my favorites – so complex, so lovely!

chickpea & roasted cauliflower stew

The chickpeas and cauliflower are added next, along with the preserved lemon.

preserved lemon

I found that the lemon flavor intensified quite a bit as my leftover stew comingled in the fridge the next few days – to the point where it became unbalanced. If you plan to eat this all right away, preserved lemons are a nice way to go. But really, I don’t think it would be bad to use fresh lemons, and it might be better.

chickpea & roasted cauliflower stew

To serve, you can pour this stew over rice, couscous, quinoa, or any other base you might use in a curry or stir-fry. A fresh cilantro garnish adds yet another layer of complexity.

 Spicy Chickpea Stew with Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 10-12 as a main course over couscous (or 4 Texans)

4 cups cooked chickpeas – drained and rinsed, or soak 2 cups dry overnight and boil until tender
2 heads cauliflower
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
Anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons cayenne depending on your heat preference
1 preserved lemon, minced (or juice from 2 fresh lemons and zest from 1)
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
Flat leaf parsley or cilantro to garnish
Optional: dry harissa, zatar or other spice power to garnish

Cut the cauliflower into moderate sized florets, and cube the stalks. Toss with 1/4 c. olive oil and a little salt, and roast at 400 F (using convection if available) until quite tender and starting to caramelize.

In a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil over a medium high flame. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and cayenne and stir rapidly. When the spices are fragrant (maybe 30 seconds), add the chickpeas and some water and turn down to a simmer.

When the cauliflower is done, add it to the pot, along with the lemon.

Start with 1 T. kosher salt, and keep adding until it tastes right. Add more water if needed to achieve a stew-like consistency. Simmer awhile longer so that some of the chickpeas dissolve a little. Be sure not to let them scorch!

At the end, add the black pepper and do a final check on the salt, spices, and acid. Serve over couscous, garnished with the parsley or cilantro. Dust the plate with the dry harissa or zatar if using. Pass a yogurt based sauce (with cucumber or mint or dill) and a hot sauce (preferably wet harissa).

Double feature from our friends across the pond: British bird and muffins

10 Aug

Well up came that first cool cat,
He said: “Man, look at that!
Man, do you see what I see?
Well I want that middle chick”
“I want that little chick!”
“Hey man, save one chick for me”

Recipe source: Adapted from Elaine Lemm of about.com, original recipes here and here

Lemon Roasted Chicken

When my cooking club decided to have a British theme last month, I’ll admit, I raised an eyebrow. Among the many fond memories of my college semester in Cambridge, food did not feature. I thought about suddenly coming down with mad cow disease, or staying home to mourn the loss of my chances with Prince William and draw mustaches on the flawless Kate. But my friend Mary would have none of this, so I dubiously began looking up recipes.

This simple roast chicken was one I found, and although I don’t know how famously British it is, it sounded like a good opportunity for me to roast a whole chicken for the first time. Yes, embarrassingly enough, this food blogger had never roasted a whole bird.

Happily, I found the experience to be painless. I did modify the recipe slightly, to make it a wee bit more involved, but still brilliant. (I’m really working on all the English English I know, here.) I added carrots and onion into the pan and drastically reduced the amount of butter. Next time, I think I’ll mash some fresh herbs into the butter as well – perhaps rosemary or herbs de provence.

lemon roasted chicken

Jump to recipe, including my modifications, below.
Asparagus & Cheese Muffins

Although the chicken was lovely, it seemed a little pedestrian by itself, so I decided to make these muffins as well. With milk, yogurt, and cheese, if you’re in the mood to support dairy farmers, this is the recipe for you! It calls for Cheshire cheese, a cheese I’ve concluded is impossible to find in San Diego County. Wikipedia describes it as a “soft crumbly texture,” similar to a Wensleydale. But all the Wensleydale I found included fruit or berries, so I opted for an aged Irish white cheddar instead.

Kerrygold aged cheddar

Before folding the asparagus into the batter, the recipe calls for blanching the chopped stems. I love blanching green vegetables for the vibrant color they get, not to mention crispness. Green is my favorite color!

asparagus

The sad part about this recipe is that it makes about 20 muffins, although it is written for 12. The 12 spears of asparagus are enough for the batter, but not for decorating each muffin with a tip in the top. My suggestions for remedying this problem are as follows:

1) skip the decoration and just add the tips to the batter
2) cut tips off additional spears to make up for the recipe’s original sin
3) only give the decorated muffins to special people
4) sculpt eight lifelike asparagus tips from leftover green birthday candles
5) abandon recipe entirely and just eat the cheese

asparagus & cheese muffins

These muffins are pretty easy to make and would be lovely served at a brunch, as savory muffins are unusual and these have a slightly dry, biscuit-like texture. Of course, the muffins and chicken, served with a simple tossed salad on the side, would also make a nice dinner.

Jump to muffin recipe.

RECIPE – Lemon Roasted Chicken

1 3-lb 5oz/ 1.5kg roasting chicken
1/2 stick/55g butter, softened
1 medium lemon, halved
1 bulb garlic, skin on and halved across the bulb
2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
3.5 fl oz/100ml dry white wine
1/2 pint/200ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon cold butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6.

Place the chicken breast side up in a deep roasting tin. Massage the softened butter all over the chicken breasts, legs, sides, and under skin. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Tuck one half of the lemon and one half of the garlic into the chicken cavity. Squeeze the juice of the second half over the chicken breast, and pop the squeezed lemon into the roasting tin with the second half of the garlic bulb, carrots, and onion.

Place the roasting tin into the oven and cook for 1 hr 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. Remove the chicken from the tin and wrap tightly in aluminum foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Place the roasting tin on a medium heat on the stove top and bring the juices up to a gentle simmer. Raise the heat to high and add the white wine. Stir the wine and juices thoroughly and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, stir again and simmer until reduced by one third. Mash butter into flour, remove sauce from heat and vigorously whisk in flour-butter mixture to thicken.

Unwrap the chicken and add any juices released by the chicken into the sauce and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat, and strain into a warmed sauceboat or jug. Serve the chicken immediately with the sauce on the side.

RECIPE – Asparagus & Cheese Muffins

12 spears of asparagus, British when in season
14 oz/400g all-purpose flour (about 2.5 cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
7 oz/200g Cheshire cheese, cubed
4 oz /125g butter (1/2 cup or 1 stick)
1 small bunch chives, snipped into pieces
2/3 cup/150ml milk
1/2 cup/100ml plain yogurt
1 tsp English mustard
2 eggs
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and spray with nonstick coating.

Cut the asparagus stems into small pieces, about 1 cm in length, leaving the tips a little longer and blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water, separating the tips from the pieces of stem.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and baking powder with the cheese. Melt the butter and pour into a jug. Add the chives, milk, yogurt, mustard and eggs. Mix well until combined and season generously with salt and pepper.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour & cheese, and stir through the asparagus stems. Be careful not to over mix and stop as soon as the mixture is combined.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the muffin cases and push an asparagus tip into the middle of each.

Bake in the oven from 15-20 minutes until golden. Best eaten hot out of the oven, spread with a little cold butter.