Friday, April 25, 2014

Chana Masala: Chickpeas

"What are those?" my daughter asked, staring at the portion on her plate.
"Garbanzos," I told her, "Chickpeas!" She gave me, and them, another dubious look. 
Missy may not have been convinced, but I thought this new recipe turned out just fine!

I found the original on Orangette's blog and tweaked the ingredients slightly. I don't use cilantro and I didn't have cardamom but I threw in a few other herbs and spices I did have and the result was something I would happily eat again.

Dinner tonight was for me, so I wasn't expecting rave reviews from the younger set. I prepared myself to bribe them with ice cream and fill them up with naan. Sometimes you just have to do what works!

Chana Masala

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

In a large skillet or saucepan, saute onion in olive oil. Keep cooking and stirring till onions begin to caramelize and color darkens. Add garlic and stir.

(Note: I was multi-tasking and missed the bit about the garlic. I realized my forgotten oil had overheated, so I threw the chopped onion and garlic in together before it started smoking. The garlic bits burnt quickly and stuck to the pan. I scooped the limp onions into a bowl, washed out the pan, returned the onions to the fire, and chopped more garlic. Next time I won't forget.)

While the onions are cooking, measure out the spices:

  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • up to 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 T. dried parsley (or add 1/4 c. fresh minced parsley with the tomatoes)

Add the spices to the onions and stir over medium heat about 30 seconds to let them get fragrant.

  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 big (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas
  • another 1/4 c. water
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt (optional, but I love it!)
  • lemon wedges for garnish, also optional

First, stir in 1/4 c. water and let it cook off till mixture thickens. Then, add the tomatoes. Bring to boil, then simmer and stir till liquid reduces to more of a sauce. Adjust the seasonings, remembering that it needs to be on the piquant side to enliven the legumes. Add the drained chickpeas and the rest of the water. Keep simmering till the sauce thickens again. Stir in the yogurt, garnish with lemon wedges if desired, and serve.

We ate the chana masala as is with naan on the side, but it would also make a lovely viand over rice for a hearty exotic vegetarian and gluten-free meal.

Orange Julius

With another warm weekend approaching, I'm already planning what I'll serve my family. Must have a plan because Chris will be tearing up my kitchen to prep for the new countertop being installed next week--yay! If we can do some work in the yard before the threatening storms arrive, everyone will be delighted with this cool citrusy treat which I first tasted during my days living at a cult training center. Funny how the threads of the past crisscross each other!

I had completely forgotten this icy drink until a hot day earlier this month. I adjusted the measurements a little, and my family was delighted with the result!

Orange Julius (Yield: 4 large or 5 medium servings)

4 T. powdered sugar
2 T. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups orange juice
1 cup milk
ice cubes

Measure the ingredients into a blender/smoothie jar in the order listed. Add a couple of handfuls of ice--about two cups. (You want to leave a couple of inches of space at the top because it will get foamy.) Blend till ice is crushed and thoroughly incorporated. Pour into tumblers and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Cookies

The flowers and trees are blooming and it feels like spring outside. We celebrated by making a batch of sugar cookies (shhh, I used a Pillsbury mix that was marked down after Christmas!) and decorating them with original designs. They were delicious, and oh so pretty!