Chickpea and Tomato Stew

When I got the March issue of Food and Wine in the mail last week, I realized it had been forever since I did a Magazine Monday post. For those of you have not heard of it, Magazine Mondays are an informal blog event hosted (usually) by Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice. The goal is for us to actually make those magazine recipes we have book marked. I’m sure many of us have the same habits. When we get a new cookbook or food magazine we are filled with excitement, but they often end up in a pile or on a shelf, their potential unfulfilled.  Personally, I love to spend weekend afternoons curled up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee flipping through a magazine. I drool over the gorgeous images, enjoy the articles, and fold down all the pages with recipes I want to make. More often than not a magazine will end up with most of its pages folded. Yet somehow when it comes time to find a  new recipe my first stop is always the internet. I think its because I usually have an ingredient in mind before I look for the recipe, and googling “chicken legs” is a lot easier than searching through all my magazines for a good recipe. That’s why I appreciate Magazine Monday so much; it reminds me that food magazines are for more than just drooling over.

This months Food and Wine is full of healthy recipes, which made it even more motivating. As usual there were plenty of them that I wanted to try, but this one really caught my eye. The pictures was gorgeous ( I admit it, I tried to recreate it and failed), and I had all the ingredients on hand. No need to run to the grocery store to make this! It’s a really quick meal to put together, which I’m sure many people will appreciate. The leftovers were also great, so I feel pretty comfortable calling this a good make ahead dish. It’s got a great flavour combination, with ginger and cumin being the dominant flavours. I ate it the stew alone and on a bed of basmitti rice; it’s good both ways, but I preferred it with rice. The original recipe called for a paste to be made with garlic, ginger and jalepenos; as I didn’t have the jalepenos on hand I just omitted them and sauteed the ginger and garlic with the onion rather than making the paste.

Chickpea and Tomato Stew

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  1. In a large skillet over high heat, add the oil and onions sauteeing until the onions are sizzling.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions start to brown.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne; cook for one minute to bring the flavours out of the spices.
  3. Add the tomatoes and water then simmer until thickened.
  4. Add the chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes so that the chickpeas take on the flavours on the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve topped with yogurt and cilantro over a bed of basmitti rice or with naan.

Enjoy!

Strawberries for Valentine’s Day

I’m generally not a big fan of Valentines Day. The hype that surrounds it makes it very difficult to live up to if you are in a relationship, and very depressing if you are not. Commanding people to feel lovey-dovey on a particular day is really kind of silly.

Instead of ignoring the day as I usually do, this year I’ve decided to treat like we did in elementary school. Everyone gets a Valentine! (Read that with an Oprah delivery, ie “You get a card, you get a card, EVERYONE GETS A CAAARD!!!!”) And you, my dear readers, are getting TWO strawberry recipes today.

You might notice that there is no refined sugar in these treats, that’s because I don’t think they need any. If you feel either of them needs a little more sweetness for your tastes feel free to add some.

The first strawberry treat I have for you is a smoothie. I love these for breakfast when I’m in a rush. Just pour them into a portable cup and drink on your way to work. If you want to up the healthiness factor, you can add flax or chia seeds, or even some protein powder. (Note, I’m not a huge powder fan but protein in the morning is great way to get energy for the day.) If you want to up the indulgent factor, add some cocoa powder and sugar or other sweetener.

The second is something I like to make myself when I’m craving a creamy dessert but feel like doing any work. It’s quick and easy to put together, and the drizzle of maple syrup is a perfect finishing touch.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

(serves 1)

  • 1 Banana
  • 5-6 strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (or vanilla)
  • 1 cup milk (soy or almond also work)
  • mint leaves
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and puree till smooth. Serve!

Strawberry and Ricotta Cup

  • Ricotta
  • Cinnamon
  • Maple Syrup
  • Strawberries, cleaned and sliced
  1. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, cinnamon, and a couple of tablespoons maple syrup.
  2. Put ricotta mixture in serving bowls, top with strawberries. Drizzle some maple syrup on top.

Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato with Pesto

In general I would say that February is the worst month of the year. It’s cold, it has no holidays (in Quebec), and it’s vegetables taste like nothing. On top of that it has Valentines Day, which for a chronically single person is unpleasant to say the least. It’s the shortest month of the year but it takes sooo long.

To combat my dislike of February, I’m planning on taking 3 of its 4 Friday’s off of work. Instead of dreading it, I’m now looking forward to my 4 day weeks. Unfortunately this has had a side effect. I now feel that January is the worst month of this year. It’s cold, its holiday is over, and its vegetables taste like nothing.

I think the tomato is the worst culprit when it comes to lacking flavour in winter (yes, I know it’s a fruit). In the summer, tomatoes are juicy and flavourful and fun. In the winter they are grainy and weird.

Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to fix this. Steps like drizzling them in olive oil and popping them in the oven to roast. Roasting tomatoes gives them a nice rich flavour. If I close my eyes when I take a bite I can almost believe it’s July and they came from my parents garden instead of some farm in Peru. Almost.

The recipe is from Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That. It takes roasting tomatoes one step further by using pesto instead of olive oil. I decided to push it a little further by adding goat cheese to the mix. It’s a simple combination that tastes wonderful.