A heartfelt thanks for all of the birthday wishes! My year of yoga is underway. It actually started the day before my birthday at a retreat on Bainbridge Island. My friend Jen, yoga instructor extraordinaire, plans to host one of these a quarter and I am already excited about the next one. I have known Jen since 7th grade and she is one of my favorite people. She is a part of the supper club I put together 4 1/2 years ago, and she is one of the best listeners I know. I have done so many things with Jen at all different phases of my life, but I had never taken a yoga class with her. I now, more than ever, wish she was much closer than a ferry ride away. I would be at that studio everyday if I could be.
Oh yes, the food. Because I wanted to take part in the morning class, I needed to make most everything in advance. Last time, I spent about 2 hours putting it all together. This time, I only had an hour. I decided to make some tofu wraps, a dip, a trio of salads, and two kinds of cookies. When I got to her house, everything was done except assembling the wraps and tossing the green salad.
The most talked about dish, aside from these cookies, was the chickpeas. Women after my own heart. If you are new here, let me tell you that I love chickpeas. I love them every which way. If you do too, this is an especially nice dish because the dish truly stars the humble chickpea. There is not a lot to distract you from how wonderful they are, but with lots of flavor to boost them up. Chickpeas are poured into a bowl, a spice oil is made and poured over the beans, then yogurt, green onions, lemon juice, and lots of herbs are folded in. It is a quick and simple dish that does not suffer from an overnight visit to the refrigerator. Just be sure to serve it at room temperature so the flavors bloom as they should.
For the rest of this week, I will most likely be posting recipes from the retreat. You see, it is too hot to cook here in the Pacific Northwest. If you are the type who watches the weather, or if you are on Twitter (are you? Follow me!), you will know that we are experiencing a heat wave here in Seattle. It is going to be above 90 degrees all week. If I make anything, it will most likely be a giant salad, but I predict we will be eating takeout and ice cubes until this is over.
One Year Ago: Birthday Weekend
Indian-Spiced Chickpea Salad with Yogurt and Herbs
Adapted from Food and Wine
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas – rinsed, drained, and patted dry
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 cup low fat plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 tsp. kosher salt
Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl. In a small skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds, partially cover the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until the mustard seeds stop popping, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and the crushed red pepper and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the hot oil and spices over the chickpeas. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and mint and salt. Serve the chickpea salad at room temperature.