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Comfort Food

Chickpea Love, My Version

December 13, 2019

When I came across Alison Roman’s NYT-Famous Chickpea Stew, I thought “Ohhh … I’ll try this one!” Alas, and as usual, I found I had neither the patience nor temperament to read a complete recipe or to follow anything or anyone. But you can find Alison’s recipe here. Famous Chickpea Stew.

I took my own path to delicious (USING double the Turmeric; adding Nutmeg and Curry, Carrots, Celery and the option of adding chicken or shrimp). The result was a hearty, gorgeous soup with a beautiful, golden color. Here is what I did, from me to you, With Love and Butter!

A note to meat eaters!: Look for the notes in Bold below, if you are adding Shrimp or Chicken..

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THE INGREDIENTS

  • 1, 29 ounce can of Chickpeas, or 2 15 oz cans Rinsed Well!
  • 2 15 oz cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Cube of vegetable or Chicken stock
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped Kale or Mustard Greens.
    This is optional. The soup is also very good without the greens!
    Spinach or Arugula are ok, but not sturdy.
  • NOTE TO MEAT EATERS: Option: If you want to make this meaty, have some raw chicken Breast Chunks OR Fresh Shrimp at the ready.)
  • 3 Sticks Celery, diced small
  • 2 Carrot Sticks, diced small
  • 1/2 a Medium Onion, diced small
  • A knob of fresh, minced ginger (about as big as your whole thumb)
    (I keep mine in the freezer)
  • 3 Teeth of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Yellow Curry
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp (or more) Red Pepper Flakes (Cayenne will work)

PREPARATION

  1. In your favorite a sturdy soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil plus 1 tbsp butter.
  2. Toss in the chopped Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Celery & Carrots.
  3. Sauté over medium heat, adding a bit of water to prevent sticking or burning, until the onions are clear and becoming soft.
  4. Add the Turmeric.
  5. Now add your rinsed Chickpeas. Stir.
  6. After the Chickpeas are in the pot, add all the coconut milk. Stir.
  7. Into this mix, add the remaining spices:, Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes. (Gentle with the pepper flakes. You can add more later.)
  8. Cover and simmer on low for 30 – 45 minutes.
  9. IF YOU ARE USING GREENS, this is when you add your chopped Kale, or whatever greens you prefer. I served some of this dish before adding the Kale! It’s optional, really. See my photos at the end. I have pictures of this soup with and without the kale!

    IF YOU ARE ADDING MEAT, this is the point when you add your Chicken Chunks or Fresh Shrimp!
  10. Cover and cook on low for another 20 minutes.
Celery, Onion, Ginger, Garlic, Carrots
Add Chickpeas, Rinsed!
Here, with Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Pepper Flakes.
Now, the chopped Kale or Greens.

SERVING & GARNISHES
Ladle into a bowl and garnish with any of these:

  • Sour Cream or Yogurt
  • Fresh Mint OR Cilantro Leaves
  • Chives
  • Orchid, Hibiscus flower or any edible flower (Pansies are nice!)
Here, without the Kale. Garnished with Yogurt & Fresh Mint Leaves.
With the Kale


Main Dishes

Delicious, Versatile Salad as Meal!

August 5, 2019

This dish is easy and delicious as well as versatile, to wit: it can be served cold or warm, and as a main or a side dish. Remove the shrimp and replace with tofu and, it’s not only vegetarian but vegan!  Because the ratio of rice to vegetables is high on the veg, it’s also a pretty low-carb and also gluten free!

My version here has some shrimp, but you can replace that with more vegetables, a vegan protein, and more quinoa to rice.  Play with it. It’s forgiving except, when making a salad with rice, you do NOT want warm or hot-off-the-stove rice. So read on to see what I did here.

A.  PREPARE YOUR RICE

  1. Prepare 1 cup of Jasmine Rice with 1 to 1-1/2 cups of stock. See my notes just below:Rice preparation can be personal. If you use a rice cooker, great! Just make your rice as always.I a mix of Quinoa & Jasmine rice, rinsed. Then I steam it up in a pot with 1-1/2 cups of stock to 1 cup of rice. For added flavor, I use chicken or vegetarian stock and also, I usually add about 7 hot pepper flakes and dried onion flakes.


    I steam my rice for about 15-20 minutes  — then just turn off the stove and let it sit while I continue prepping other foods.

  2. IMPORTANT: Spread your cooked rice out in a shallow pan & cool it off in the fridge or freezer. By the time you have chopped up the rest of the salad, your rice will be cool enough to add! You do not want to use warm rice when you add it to a salad. Ditto, by the way, for Chinese Fried Rice! Use cooled rice.

B.  WHILE YOUR RICE IS STEAMING UP, CHOP THESE & TOSS INTO A LARGE BOWL:

  1. 1 Large, ripe, red, tomato
  2. 1/2 Sweet, Vidalia onion
  3. 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
  4. 1-1/2 Cups finely shredded cabbage (my supermarket sells it in bags)

C.  IF YOU ARE NOT A VEGETARIAN, DO THIS:

  1. Sautee 24 small to medium shrimp in a bit of olive oil  & butter with a bit of spicy Creole or other spicy salt.  Sautee ONLY about 3 minutes, or until your shirmp are opaque, not clear and gray. Pull off the stove and cool. (Vegetable-based eaters can add Soy or other protein products.)

D.  THE FINAL PRODUCT!

Into your LARGE SALAD BOWL where you already have your chopped ingredients, ADD:

  1. The now-cooled rice
  2. 2 cups of fresh Arugula
  3. Juice of 1/2 a Lemon or Lime
  4. 1  or 1-1/2 Tbsp. of Rice Vinegar
  5. 1 Tps. of Sesame Oil (Sesame Oil is powerful, be careful!)
  6. 1 Tsp.  of Thai Fish Sauce (Don’t worry if you haven’t any!)
  7. DASH of Soy Sauce (Too much will brown your salad.
  8. Greek or Creole Salad to taste!

Toss all ingredients with clean hands or spoons.
Serve cold or warmed.

My Daily Kitchen

Asian Inspired Orange Ginger Salad Dressing

August 27, 2018

What is it about that salad dressing they serve at our local Hibachi restaurants that makes my mouth water? It’s just delicious; it’s tangy, a little sweet, a little salty and I always want more.
My guess is it has a combination of sesame and ginger but I can never quite put my finger on it.

On a whim, I whipped up my own version, deciding to add orange for a little brightness.
I think it came out rather well.
Here  is what I did:

The Salad

  • 4 cups of washed lettuces of your liking. I had on on hand arugula and Chinese cabbage, but I would have added ice berg for that satisfying crunch.

Now on top of our lovely lettuces, arrange the following:

  • 1/2 Shredded or finely sliced carrot
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushroom (I used a small Portobella).
  • 2 inch piece of  cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, sprinkled over the salad
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • I did not add a tomato, but you might want to! It’s pretty and most people expect tomato.

The Dressing:  Add the following ingredients into a blender or smoothie mixer:

  • 1/4 medium sweet onion
  • 1 large (or 2 small) tooth fresh garlic
  • 1 small, chopped carrot or 1/2 a larger one. Cube this so it will blend easily and not get stuck in the blades.)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium but I prefer the saltier!)
  • 1 tablesppon sesame oil  (sesame oil is powerful so … careful!)
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 dash lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 full springs fresh cilantro (stems and all)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons Tahini / sesame paste  (start with 1 and add if you like more)
  • 1 tablespoon minced or chopped ginger.

Whir it all around until well-blended.
Taste!


What do you think? Do you want to add a little of this or a dash of that?
Simply adjust to taste until you feel satisfied! It’s subjective. We have no rules.

Tips!  

  • Try adding toasted Sesame or Flax seeds if you like. (Flax is most beneficial if ground.)
  • Ginger root keeps well in the freezer. You can cut off a knob as needed. Peal and mince. I do like th convenience of the already minced ginger I can purchase at our supermarket.
  • To make a full meal: Arrange cooked shrimp  (blackend or steamed, as you wish) or chicken breast on top to make it a meal.  Try it with a portion of seared Salmon!
  • Save your left-over dressing in a jar in the fridge.
    Try marinating some shrimp of chicken breast in the left over for a jazzed up flavor!.
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