We returned from a short vacation Friday night and Saturday was filled with all the errands except for grocery shopping. As a dinner time approached I turned to the cupboard to see what kind of thing I could cobble together.
Lentils and chickpeas provide a bit of protein in a vegetarian dish. We served it with some grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
Pantry Staple Pasta Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes Continue reading →
I wanted a side dish that would combine some fresh vegetables (cukes/peppers) with some easy protein (canned beans). The dressing is based on one from FoodTV; they used it on a different salad however I liked the sound of it and it worked out well.
Cucumber and Bean Salad with citrus dressing
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
1 14.5 oz. can black beans
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the chickpeas and black beans, add to a bowl with the cucumbers and red peppers.
In a jar combine the remaining ingredients, shake well. Pour about half of the dressing over the vegetables, toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with remaining dressing available for those who want it.
The vegetables can be combined up to 2 hours in advance and the the dressing can similarly be made up to a day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
I used Goya low-sodium chickpeas and black beans in this dish. If you aren’t using low-sodium beans then you might want to cut the kosher salt by half in the dressing.
I made this for our Saturday night gathering recently and it was a hit. It is based on a recipe I found in Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. I adjusted a couple of ingredients and written the recipe up in my own words.
Combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, soy sauce, Sriracha and paprika in a blender. Puree until smooth and set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened.
Add the tomato mixture and the chickpeas. Stir to combine and heat for about 10 minutes. You want the chickpeas to be warmed through.
Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, and serve.
I used Meyer lemons on my first attempt at this dish. It look 7 Meyer lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice. For regular sized lemons I’d normally need 2-3. Since regular lemons are more acidic than Meyer lemons I might add a tablespoon of honey to the puree mixture.
I prepped the tomato mixture an hour or more before cooking the dish and stashed it in the fridge. It made things less hectic at dinner time and, I suspect, gave the components in the sauce a chance to mingle.
This dish was well received at our holiday party. The curry flavor plays well with the sweetness of the papaya. The chickpeas kind of blend in to the background, hiding with the rice and cashews, while the papaya, peas and scallions catch your attention. Very filling and tasty.
Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes (see note)
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped cashews, toasted
1 bunch scallions, sliced on a bias (green and white parts)
fruit from 1 papaya, cubed
In a small bowl combine the yogurt, mayo, curry, chutney, ginger and salt until well blended. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the remaining ingredients. Add dressing and gently stir to distribute.
Make the rice up to the night before, cool to room temp and refrigerate overnight. If you include that time in this recipe then it’s probably closer to 1 hour 20 minutes total.
In addition to making the rice the night before this recipe can be prepped up 6 hours in advance. Make the dressing and refrigerate it. Combine the rest of the ingredients except the cashews and refrigerate that. When ready to serve just add the cashews and dressing to the rest of the salad, combine and plate.
This recipe is adapted from a great book I picked up years ago named Something for Everyone. The premise was to provide recipes that would make a dish for a family of vegetarians and non-vegetarians from one recipe. It appears to no longer be in print.
Necessity is the mother of blah, blah, blah. Or something along those lines. The end of daylight saving time has messed up my pool of both desire to do much after work and my inspiration. Faced with both I turned to the cupboard for a weeknight dinner this week and came up with the following. I can envision making this again.
We try to have at least one vegetarian meal each week and when I’m at a loss for what to make I turn to chickpeas. This dish is similar to the Chickpea side dish recipe I posted years back. The flavor profile is different and it makes a filling meal with some rice.
One of the reasons I share the list of what we made for our Saturday night gatherings is so I have a way to recall what we made previously. This dish is based on a recipe I found a year ago which I made, liked and forgot about. I’ve tweaked it a bit to use the spices we had on hand and adjusted the ratios for the amount I was making for Saturday night dinner.
I found this recipe in Joy of Cooking a few weeks back while looking for carrot recipes. No carrots here but cauliflower is near carrots alphabetically and this caught my eye.
The spinach makes a nice addition to what would otherwise be a rather beige dish. We enjoyed it over hot rice.
Cauliflower, Potato and Spinach Curry
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite size pieces
2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 Tbsp. sweet curry powder
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and rough chopped
3 lg. garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 2-3″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 Serrano chiles, seeded and minced
2 medium onions, 1/4″ dice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 14 oz. can lite coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 16 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
12 oz. spinach, stems removed and chopped into bit size pieces
Prep all your ingredients before you start cooking. Chop the cauliflower, dice the potato, slice the apple, etc. Measure out oil & water, open the cans, drain the chickpeas. It really makes things easier when you start working at the stove.
Combine the curry powder and flour in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
3/4 fill a large sauce pan with water and bring it to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water (few ice cubes would help but aren’t necessary).
While the water comes to a boil combine the apple, garlic, ginger and peppers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Processor for 10-15 seconds to finely chop the apple and combine.
Once the water is boiling add the cauliflower, return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up remove the cauliflower from the hot water and transfer to a the cold water bath.
Add the cubed potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer these to the cold water bath as well.
In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the chopped onions and apple/garlic/ginger/pepper mixture. Stir to coat and cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the curry powder/flour mix and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for ~3 minutes to bloom the spices in the curry powder and cook out the raw flour taste.
Add the coconut milk, water and salt. Stir and bring to a boil.
Drain the cauliflower & potatoes; add them to the curry along with the chickpeas. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Dump the spinach on top of the curry and cover the pot. Let the spinach steam for a minute then stir it into the curry. Cook for 3-5 minutes; you want the spinach cooked but not lifeless.
Taste and adjust salt & pepper as you wish. Serve.
I’m always surprised by how much green comes off of spinach when you rinse them properly. Other greens can easily be substituted for the spinach.
The recipe seems to have a lot of steps. OK, the recipe has a lot of steps. The boiling/shocking steps can be a bit of a pain however I think it helps with the overall texture of the dish. You could probably skip the food processor if you want to grate the apple and chop garlic, ginger and peppers fine yourself. The end result is definitely worth the effort, at least in our opinion.
Sometimes I’m at a loss for what to make for dinner and I stare into the open maw of the refrigerator with the hope that inspiration will strike. This recipe came from one such occasion. This past week I found some left over tomato sauce, a couple of cups of a weak chicken “broth” I had saved when I poached some chicken, a small amount of grated onions and a bin of sliced mushrooms reaching a point of no return. The cupboard yielded a bit of Israeli couscous plus some seasonings.
Like many I struggle with an addiction to cookbooks. I can spend hours in the bookstore looking at recipes and pictures. When I need some inspiration for dinner, be it a weeknight meal or our weekly Saturday night gathering, I know there’s an idea hiding away on the shelves of cookbooks.
This week’s find came from a book I picked up from Borders during their end-of-days clearance sale. The original recipe can be found in Modern Mediterranean Cooking.