Posts Tagged ‘cumin’

Unrecipe Of The Week: Tomato and Roasted Chickpea Salad

September 13, 2016

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It’s hard to believe that summer is officially over. The weather in New York is hovering in the 90’s, the sun is shining, and the heirloom tomatoes are still readily available at the farm stands in Union Square. Before we have to go back to tomatoes that are vagely reminiscent of styrofoam, I’ll be eating as many of these as possible. One way I’ll be doing that is with this tomato and chickpea salad. The chickpeas get pan roasted and infused with flavor, thanks to a little cumin. Add a little parsley, some salt and pepper and a quick shallot vinaigrette and toss it all with the freshest, ripest little tomatoes you can find. It doesn’t get much simpler, or tastier than this.

Tomato and Pan Roasted Chickpea Salad:

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For the chickpeas:
Heat olive oil in a pan until glistening. Add a can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed to the pan and spread them out so that they are flat and all of them make contact with surface of the pan.
Cook over medium to meduim low heat for several minutes without touching them until the bottoms are browned and they are starting to blister. Add a healthy dose of salt, and shake the pan to allow the chickpeas to cook on all sides. Be careful not to burn them. Remove the pan from the heat, and add a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin, to taste. ( These are a great high protien snack, so consider making extra to munch on !)

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For the salad:

Mix the chickpeas with a pint or two of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, or several large tomatoes, cut into chunks. We used heirloom cherry tomatoes which come in  beautiful range of colors and shapes. Add a big handful of minced parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a finely minced shallot and enjoy!

We made ours in advance, and kept the shallot vinaigrette separate until just before serving, to avoid having the tomatoes marinate, but you can also mix it up in advance if you prefer.

 

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Unrecipe of the Week: Paleo Hummus

February 22, 2016

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Sometimes, when I want to eat something I know I shouldn’t, I ask myself which I want more: flat sculpted abs, or that treat. While the answer varies wildly, right now I am hedging towards the first choice. Flatter abs, more energy and less stomach aches to be precise. The only way I know how to achieve all that is to go back to the extreme version of Paleo that I was on successfully last summer.You can read about it starting here.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say it is a little harder in the winter. Harder to go out in the cold to buy all the foods I need to have on hand to make this work. Harder to be seduced by all the fresh produce lining the stalls in Union Square, when there are only a few vendors selling the basics. Due to the fact that I don’t like meat, it is much harder to get that warm, comforting feeling that we all want in the winter. Most of the time it isn’t really that difficult to eat this way if I am prepared. I can have all the vegetables, fruit, poultry and fish I want. But in eliminating legumes, grains, and dairy along with sugar and alchohol, sometimes it just gets dull. I mean, giving up all beans, dairy and grains for an almost vegatarian is a bit of a sacrifice. Just one of those categories would open up the menu choices dramatically.

I stumbled upon a recipe for Paleo hummas on Livin Paleo, and had to give it try. The chickpeas are replaced by, of all things, CAULIFLOWER! Is there anything that ball of white florets can’t do? It is truly the chameleon of the vegetable world. It can fake us out for mashed potatoes and rice, masquerade as a pizza crust, and stand in for a steak. This time, it acts as a base for a creamy, somehwhat spicy hummus.

Cauliflower Hummus: (adapted from Livin Paleo)

Clean one head of cauliflower and separate it into florets. Toss it lightly in olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Peel a couple of cloves of garlic and and toss them in. Roast in a 500 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft.

Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic into the food processor and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 cup of tahini and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Blend until smooth. At this point you can adjust the seasonings to taste, adding a little more lemon,garlic, tahini, salt or cumin to the mixture.

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy with cut vegetables.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Honey Roasted Chickpeas

February 9, 2015

 

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I am always looking for a snack that is healthy, not processed, and low in calories and carbs to satisfy my crunchy, salty, sweet cravings.

I’ve spoken before about my addiction to Trader Joe’s trail mixes. They almost fit the bill. That is, if I could stop at just a tiny little handful. I cannot. They are my crack.

Chickpeas are an often forgotten health food. They are high in protein and fiber, and are iron rich. One half cup of chickpeas contains 134 calories, and 7 grams of protien.

This recipe takes these little gems and roasts them up to a delicate crunch. The spices add a little heat, and the honey provides just a touch of sweetness. While chickpeas do contain a reasonable amount of calories, they are filling enough to allow me to stop after just a handful or two. They are easy to make and keep well in the refrigerator, so you can grab a few when the afternoon munchies take hold.

Spicy Honey Roasted Chickpeas

Rinse a large can of chickpeas and spread them on paper towels to dry. They need to be dry before cooking or they will stay soft.

Mix 2 tablespoons or so of cumin, garlic salt, and paprika together in a large bowl. Add about a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, depending on how hot you like things. Add a couple of tablespoons of a nuetral flavored oil, such as canola, grapeseed or sunflower seed oil, and 1 large tablespoon of honey. Mix well. Stir in the chickpeas and toss to coat.

Spread the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 or 40 minutes until crisp. Shake the pan every 10 minutes during baking to roll the chickpeas around, allowing them to brown more evenly.

Allow to cool slightly, and enjoy!
Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you are not going to eat them right away.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Roasted Chickpeas

June 26, 2014

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These roasted chickpeas are a high protein, satisfying snack that are also a great toss in for salads and vegetable dishes.

They are simple to make and a healthy alternative to munching on chips to fulfill that salty and crunchy craving.

Roasted Chickpeas:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Drain canned chickpeas and rinse under cold water to remove the excess starch. Pat dry with paper towels.
Toss the chickpeas in olive oil, seasalt and a little cumin, and spread on a cookie sheet.

Bake in the hot oven for 15- 20 minutes, shaking the pan intermittently to avoid burning.

The chickpeas are done when they are crispy and starting to brown, but not burnt.

Cool, and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Moroccan Chicken Tagine

December 11, 2013

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Those of you who follow us on Facebook ( and you really should!) know that I got a slow cooker as a gift. Those of you that follow this blog, know that I am more of a fast cooker type, using fresh ingredients to create seasonal, flavorful and simple dishes. I admit to being a bit intimidated by this concept of slow cooking, and put off trying it out. Finally, on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I was home long enough to attempt to try it out. First, I did my due diligence, researching recipes, and reading the comments. Many of the readers complained that the cooking times were off. There was lots of conversation about too much liquid, or not enough. Many of the recipes were for dishes I simply don’t care for. Finally, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Moroccan Style Chicken Tagine, with dried apricots and chickpeas. The comments were all favorable, and dish did not disappoint. The rich flavorful stew that accompanies the chicken is hearty and tasty enough to hold its own as a vegetarian dish, with a few minor tweaks ( like losing the chicken!).

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I learned a few lessons experimenting with the slow cooker:

Just tossing the ingredients into the pot and turning it on isn’t going to happen very often. Browning meats, sauteing onions, and finishing sauces on the stove top are part of the success of slow cooked foods. This (un) recipe, is adapted from the Kitchn, and requires a bit of before and after work, but the results were worth the extra effort, and the added mess.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chickpeas:

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them in olive oil until golden. Work in batches if necessary, until all pieces are done.  Transfer them to the slow cooker.

Using the same pan, saute one diced onion and 2 peeled and diced carrots in olive oil, until soft and slightly brown. Add 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves, and a chunk of ginger root, peeled and minced to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon or so of cumin, and cinnamon. Continue to saute until mixed.  Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, and a few large handfuls of dried apricots, chopped.

Turn the slow cooker up to high, and cook for roughly 4 -5 hours.

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Remove the chicken from the cooker, and place on a platter, covered with foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce, including the fruit and vegetables into a pan, add 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  Simmer until the sauce reduces a bit and starts to thicken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the finished sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Serve on a bed of cous cous and enjoy!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Butternut Squash Soup

November 20, 2013

The weather is changing and winter is in the air. For me, that spells the beginning of soup season. I used to start Thanksgiving dinner with pumpkin or butternut squash soup. As the crowd grew, and the accompanying extra dishes grew, I pulled back. This year, I am craving a warm start to the meal, and this soup fills the bill. I will serve it in teacups, to prevent everyone from filling up before the main event!

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Although the “unrecipe” calls for butternut squash, feel free to substitute fresh pumpkin.

This recipe serves 4-6 people.

Savory Butternut Squash Soup:

Finely chop the white and light green part of one leek, and saute it in butter or olive oil, until softened but not browned. Add 3-4 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cubed*,  1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of curry powder, and  2 tablespoon of cumin, and continue to stir for a few minutes to allow the ingredients to merge. Season with salt and black pepper. Add a few tablespoons of Sherry, and cook long enough for it to evaporate into the mixture.

Add about 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, (enough to fully cover the squash), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft.

Puree the soup in a blender, or use an immersion blender until smooth. Add more stock if the soup is getting too thick. Taste, and correct seasonings if necessary. Stir in a little more Sherry if desired, when ready to serve.

Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and enjoy!

* many specialty food markets, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have already peeled and cubed butternut squash, which makes this much easier to make!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fish Tacos

August 21, 2013

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Here is a light, summery variation on tacos. They are simple and healthy, and rely on fresh, zesty flavors, rather than the heavy beans, sour cream and cheese often found in the meat variety. The fish is marinated, and they are served with a simple slaw and diced vegetables. A typical “unrecipe”, they are easily customizable to suit your tastes.

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For the fish:

Marinate any white fish (Cod, flounder or tilapia for example. I used tilapia ) in the juice of 2-3 limes, a tablespoon or two of oil, a clove of garlic finely chopped, and cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.  Coat the fish and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour or two. If you try to marinate it too long, the citrus may cause it fall apart.

Grill or broil the fish until cooked through. Set aside.

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For the slaw:

Finely shred 1 napa cabbage and chop a big handful of cilantro. Toss with a little lime juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

You can add a bit of chopped red onion to the slaw, but I chose to serve them on the side, since I dislike raw onions so much!

Dice avocado, and fresh tomatoes for additional fillings, or use guacamole and salsa if you prefer.

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To serve:
Heat flour or soft corn tortillas and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
Place a piece of the fish on the taco, add some slaw, and avocado, and tomatoes, sprinkle it with a little hot sauce, roll it up, and enjoy!!
If you are feeling ambitious, try our recipe for fresh flour tortillas here:

The highlight of our meal was someone seeing these shots on instagram, and running over to join us for dinner!

photos: indigo jones instagram

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Unrecipe of the Week: Cleaned Up Tacos

July 25, 2012

My family loves tacos. I don’t. I am not a meat eater, and Mexican spices have never been a favorite flavor of mine. The texture of refried beans, sour cream, salsa and guacamole dripping down my chin don’t hold any appeal for me either.  I won’t talk about calories here, but seriously, this isn’t usually the diet plate.

I created this super clean, simple version of a taco, which is the way I would want to eat it, IF I wanted to eat it! You can even substitute the beef for mushrooms, and have a great vegetarian version.
They seem to love them, and this unrecipe even sneaks a few vegetables into B’s diet, which is a win all the way!

 

Cleaned Up Tacos:

 

Beef Filling:

Dice 2 garlic cloves and one small shallot.

Spray a large pan with cooking spray, and sauté the garlic and shallot with 1 pound of ground beef (I buy grass fed, organic beef with the lowest available fat content, which is a much healthier alternative to basic grocery store ground chuck).

Season it with a large dollop of ground cumin, some cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Add a little Tabasco sauce if you like it hot. Cook until brown.

Sprinkle the meat mixture with a little cornstarch (a tablespoon or so) and stir to coat. Add a little water (about 1/3 cup), and return it to the stove, mixing it well to be sure that no clumps form. This should form a thick sauce.

Toppings:
Shredded lettuce: Be creative: I used arugula

Chopped avocado

Chopped tomatoes: I used assorted baby heirloom tomatoes cut up

Shredded Jack cheese

If you really love the classic fillings, feel free to add all the goopy accouterments you like. I won’t judge!

 

Assembling:

Heat a whole-wheat tortilla on the gas flame of the stove for just a couple of seconds per side.

Add the meat filling. Top with vegetables and cheese. Fold in the sides, and roll it up.

Eat and enjoy!


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