Sour Chickpeas

12 oz. chickpeas, dry
3 pints water
10-11 oz onion, very finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 fresh hot green chilli, finely chopped*
1 T peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 T vegetable oil
8 oz. tomatoes, finely chopped
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Put the chickpeas and their soaking liquid in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Strain the chickpeas and save the cooking liquid.

Combine 2 T onion, 1/2 tsp salt, green chilli, ginger, and lemon juice in a teacup. Mix well and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy, wide pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion and saute for 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and fry for 5-6 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with the spoon. Add the coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the drained chickpeas, 14 oz of reserved cooking liquid, remaining salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook very gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the mixture in the teacup. Stir just to blend. Serve hot or lukewarm.

From Madhur Jaffray’s Indian Cooking. Good with basmati rice and a vegetable (cabbage and peas, or green beans and tomatoes).

*Depending on your chilis, a whole one can be really really spicy. I regularly halve the amount of chili and cayenne and then add more if I want it.

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Lemon Poppyseed Quinoa Cereal

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 T honey, or to taste
1/3 c sliced almonds

In medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk and water to a boil. Add quinoa and salt, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 15 min. Add extra liquid if necessary.

Stir in poppy seeds, lemon zest, and honey. Serve hot, topped with nuts and additional milk.

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day, where it is made with bulgur wheat. 

Edited to say that I think in future I would use more coconut milk or less quinoa, since it turned out pretty dry and not very cereal-like.

Summer Minestrone

This is a recent successful combination of several minestrone recipes (Joy of Cooking and Love Soup). It does involve lots of chopping, but it makes a big pot and keeps beautifully all week. I’ve been making it on Sunday nights for the last two weeks and eating it for lunches.

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
2 zucchini, diced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (a generous handful)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (again, no need to be too precise)
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced (out of a jar!)
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
10 cups broth (I use 10 cups water and 3 cubes Rapunzel vegetable bouillon)
1 cup small pasta (orzo, elbow macaroni, baby shells)
1 tsp salt (depending on your broth)

Saute onions in 2 T olive oil until soft. Add remaining vegetables and herbs (I just chop and add as I go, stirring occasionally) and saute for a few minutes. Add canned tomatoes, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta and cook for 10 more minutes. Taste and season if necessary.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a grind of black pepper, and a sprinkle of parmesan. Get yourself a baguette and a glass of white wine, and you are set!

Variations: I keep forgetting to actually try this, but apparently you can throw in the rind from a wedge of parmesan cheese while the soup simmers, and it gives the vegetable broth a great flavor. You can also use chicken broth.

If you want to be really decadent (a la Joy of Cooking), you can add two chopped slices of bacon when you start sauteeing the onions.

Chickpeas are the beans of choice in the Love Soup version. I’m always a fan of either type.

I’m sure spinach or chard would be a nice addition or substitution to the vegetables. Jarred roasted red peppers are what I had, and I like the convenience, but you could either roast your own or just put in a fresh pepper. You could also use fresh tomatoes, and/or more of them. (I’ve actually been putting in 1 1/2 small cans, or 3/4 of a large can, but that isn’t very efficient in recipe-writing terms. Fortunately I’ve done it two weeks in a row and used up the extra.)

Stir-fry

This is more of a template than a recipe, since you can use any combination of vegetables and protein you like, with a very simple but delicious sauce.

I tend to do onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, and mushrooms as a basic veggie formula. Recently, in order to save myself all the chopping time, I’ve been using frozen stir-fry vegetables. These can be expensive, but Costco has a nice mix for a reasonable price, and it’s a good thing to keep in your freezer for emergencies.

Here’s the method:

Choose your protein. I’ve used chicken, shrimp, and tofu all very successfully. This gets cooked first. Cube the chicken or tofu, or peel the shrimp, and cook on high heat with a little canola oil until cooked through (in the case of chicken/shrimp) or browned on most sides (tofu). Note on tofu: it always sticks to my wok something awful, so I tend to do it in a separate non-stick skillet. Remove to a plate or bowl.

Add a little more oil to your skillet or wok and start cooking vegetables. If using fresh vegetables, add the ones that need the longest cook time first (e.g. onion and broccoli) and proceed in order every few minutes. If using frozen vegetables, put a lid on the skillet for part of the time so the steam can help the veggies defrost faster.

Sauce. In a small glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup vegetable broth, 3-4 T tamari, and a heaping T corn starch. Whisk.

When the vegetables are almost cooked but still crispy (or thawed and almost hot), add the protein and the sauce to the wok and stir. As soon as the sauce starts to boil, it will thicken and turn clear, and you are done. Serve with the spiced coconut rice.

Variations and Remarks: I’ve made the sauce with chicken broth, but I actually like it better with vegetable broth (even when using chicken in the stir-fry) because the chicken broth is too overpowering of the other flavors.

Last week I was unexpectedly out of broth of all sorts, so I improvised. San-J has a line of gluten-free Asian sauces, and I had bought a few to experiment with, so I had a GF teriyaki sauce in the fridge. I dumped a third of the bottle in with my veggies, and fearing that the water from the frozen veggies would dilute it too much, recklessly added a splash of tamari and a sprinkle of corn starch. Brooks claims this was the best stir-fry of all time although I don’t necessarily recommend using your good teriyaki sauce on it on a regular basis.

Spiced Coconut Brown Rice and Tamari-Roasted Kale

This is the best brown rice ever. You can do it soaked or unsoaked (soaking just makes it a little fluffier), with or without the coconut oil, and it’s always good. I usually make it with my basic stir-fry, which I’ll put in a separate post.

Make the whole amount so you have leftovers. Today for lunch, I had leftover rice with tamari-roasted kale and coconut, and it was fantastic. You can’t beat brown rice, greens, and good fats for a vegan power-lunch. 🙂 

Spiced Coconut Brown Rice
Adapted slightly from the Gluten-Free Girl.

2 cups brown rice
1/2 can (7 ounces) coconut milk
juice of 1 medium-sized lime
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Soak the rice in cool water for at least 1 hour (optional). Drain and rinse.

Combine all ingredients in a pot with 3 1/4 c water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 45-60 minutes.

Tamari-Roasted Kale
Adapted from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day (a lovely vegetarian cookbook)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 T tamari
3 T olive oil

1 medium bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup large-flake unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the oils and tamari in a small bowl. Toss the chopped kale and coconut with the dressing. (I just do this right on the rimmed baking sheet to save a dish.) Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, tossing once mid-way through. Keep an eye on it, since it can over-cook very quickly. You want the coconut a little brown and the kale just wilted and crispy around the edges.

If you can’t find the large flake coconut, use half or a third the amount of the shredded kind.

I’m sure this would be lovely with quinoa, as well.