April, 2007

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Indian Chickpea Spread
Apr 25th, 2007



I might have detected a flaw in my all spread all the time plan. Spreads, dips, purees, what have you... well they're just not that photogenic. Apart from the big blob of goo factor, this chickpea spread is also blessed with a lovely lack of color. Beige food - the bane of my existence since I started the photo portion of this blog. I can barely take passable pictures of pretty food, let alone ugly food!

So that's why today you're treated to a shot of my lovely spice tray, nestled on a high shelf next to a pretty turquoise dish I found at Goodwill. My brother and his partner gave me the spice tray for Christmas a year or two ago, and it makes me happy whenever I use it. I only pull it out for Indian food and I never wash it with water or soap, so it always has a faint smell of cumin and a light dusting of turmeric yellow.

For this recipe I measured out cumin, coriander, garam masala, and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper on my tray and sauteed them with minced onion and garlic over low heat. The smell when the spices hit the hot pan is one of my favorite things about cooking. My mom was telling me the other day about the two pieces of advice she got from her mother - one of them was that if your husband is coming home from work and you haven't even started dinner, just cook an onion and the house will smell like you've been cooking all day.

I can't remember the other one right now, although I seem to recall if was slightly more useful, but if my grandma were here today I might cajole her into throwing some cumin in with that onion. It's a heavenly smell.


Indian Chickpea Spread
makes 2 cups

1/2 cup minced onions
1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (16-ounce can)
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste


In a heavy or nonstick skillet, saute the onions in the oil on low heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and cayenne and saute for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Stir in the tomatoes, cover, and gently simmer for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid. In a food processor, grind the chikpeas with just enough reserved liquid or water to make a smooth puree. Stir the puree into the simmering tomato mixture, add the lime juice and cilantro, and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Serve hot or cold.

-Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
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Hey, I actually remember how to work this thing!
Apr 24th, 2007



So I made this spread the other night, and immediately decided to eat nothing but vegetable & bean spreads from now on. It just doesn't get much better than a Greek salad or some grilled vegetables, toasted whole wheat pita, and this sweet and savory orange spread. The creamy tahini and the tangy lemon juice combine to suggest that cream cheese is involved somehow and the orange potatoes look very festive flecked with red and green.

Now I might be a bit inclined to hyperbole, and will probably let things other than baba gannoush pass my lips in the future, but this recipe did send me combing through my cookbooks for new variations on the old hummos and pita standby. As Jim usually eats another meal before going to bed, the boys have snacked all day and aren't terribly hungry at dinner, and I try to eat my biggest meal of the day at lunch - it occurs to me that the appetizer sections of my cookbook collection might yeild just the thing for light spring suppers.

So I'll be dusting off all my various blending, processing, and smooshing implements - a Greek Lima Bean dip awaits!


Sweet Potato - Red Pepper Spread
makes 2 cups

3/4 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (2 cups)
1/4 cup tahini, preferably roasted
3/4 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers or 1 fresh red bell pepper roasted; cut into small dice
1/4 cup minced fresh chives


Steam the sweet potatoes until tender, either in a steamer or in the microwave. Then smash the potatoes and tahini together in a bowl with the tines of a fork. In a food processor or mini chopper, pulse together the salt, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, red bell pepper, and chives. Add the pepper mixture to the sweet potates and stir until creamy.

Or if unlike me you have a big food processor just throw it all in and process away.

-adapted from the Healthy Hedonist, Myra Kornfeld
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