Category: Beans

What I Make When I Don’t Want To Think

December 29, 2009


Last week was CIK (that would be Crazy In the Kitchen).  This week is CIK².  I have a cake to make tomorrow, an event on Thursday, and we are hosting our supper club on Saturday.  Add into the mix that we are going away New Year’s Eve and Day and I’m a little frantic.  When my kitchen is this busy, I get easily overwhelmed by such simple decisions as what to make for a weeknight dinner.  And when I find myself in that place, I often turn to this dish.  For me, it’s a no-brainer – healthy, easy, tasty, and no fussy ingredients.

My mom made this for me many years ago, just after I got my own apartment and started cooking for myself.  I loved everything about it and asked her for the recipe.  I don’t know where she got it but she wrote it out for me on a piece of paper in her script, familiar from so many letters addressed to me over the years.  These days, I would like to think she would email it to me or send me the link.  Or at the very least photocopy it.  But I’m glad I have it in her “looks like a lefty” writing (she is not a lefty).

Over the 23 years that I have been a vegetarian (19 of those without fish), I have had many things like this dish.  Look at the ingredient list and it may not seem all that special – it’s basically a bean stew.  I have made countless things like it.  Of all of them, I like this one the best.  Lentils and chickpeas are some of my very favorite things in the world but I’m guessing it’s the caraway seeds and the healthy dose of coriander that makes it taste to special to me.  And the squeeze of lemon at the end just makes the whole thing pop.  I haven’t messed with it too much, but I’m sure that you could add cubed new potatoes or sliced cabbage to this dish to make it even more hearty.  You can serve it to almost anyone seeing as it is gluten-free and vegan.


Chickpea, Lentil, and Vegetable Stew
Adapted from Bon Appétit (most likely)
Serves 4

I served this with brown rice but it is also good with white rice (I would use basmati) and also with steamed quinoa.  If you are going to make this ahead of time, wait to add the spinach until you reheat it so it retains the lovely green color.

Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 cup frozen lima beans or edamame
½ cup chopped parsley
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
lemon wedges

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and then add the onions.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic.  Cook another 3 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and all the spices; stir 1 minute.  Stir in broth, water, and lentils.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Add chickpeas, carrots, lima beans, and half the parsley.  Cover; simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.  (Can be made one day ahead.  Cover and chill.  Bring to a simmer before continuing.  Refrigerate remaining parsley for garnish.)

Stir spinach into stew in batches until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls with rice.  Garnish each bowl with remaining parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Peanut Curry for the Hungry Days

November 20, 2009


The downside to having well over 100 cookbooks is that you tend to overlook old favorites in favor of shiny new toys.  I have my books stored as follows:  one cabinet houses two shelves of the high rotation favorites, one shelf houses international cookbooks, one has baking books, a separate somewhat annoying-to-get-to shelf is reserved for the lesser used books, and a kitchen counter houses all the overflow.  In my high rotation cabinet sits The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook.  It isn’t sexy or fancy but it has some of my favorite recipes.  Most of the dishes in this large book are healthy but substantial.  A winning combination if there ever was one.

You know those days where you could just eat all day long and never feel full?  Where nothing is really satisfying?  That is the kind of day to make this curry.  It is incredibly hearty without being too rich and it is so healthy with all kinds of vegetables and beans.  I serve mine on a bed of rice and with a dollop of yogurt on top, but you could easily leave that out and keep it vegan.  The spices here are intoxicating and there is just enough peanut butter here to make it interesting but not so much as to be overwhelming.  If you are wanting to make that naan, it is a perfect accompaniment to this stew.


One Year Ago:  Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots and Parmesan and Thyme Crackers

Peanut Curry with Sweet Potato and Collard Greens
Adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook
Serves 4 generously

I know this is a long list of ingredients but it actually comes together quite quickly.  I have substituted spinach for the collard greens here with good results.

2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. whole mustard seeds
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground tumeric
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 14-ounce can lite coconut milk, or more to taste
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it’s hot, add the onion and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add all the spices and cook for another minute, then add the red pepper, the potatoes, the sweet potato, and the tomatoes.  Cover and let simmer over medium-low, until the potatoes have cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter.  Add the collard greens and the chickpeas and stir well to combine.  Cook until the collard greens have wilted down enough to be soft, about 15 minutes.  If the curry seems to thick, add more coconut milk or water to thin it.

What Do You Do With Chard?

September 16, 2009


Chard. It’s not the sexiest of vegetables. But if are part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), chances are you have gotten it in your produce box. Or if you are a vegetarian looking to boost your iron (dark leafy greens are a known source of iron), chances are you have bought it. Now what to do with it?

I’ve used chard a number of ways and I can’t say that I love it. I actually like kale better, as long as it is cooked way down. But in this dish the chard actually added to the overall flavor instead of just being a guest invited for nutritional purposes only. So often you will see recipes that call for the leaves only – what to do with those colorful stems? This recipe uses both the leaves and the stems brilliantly.

Here is what this dinner is not:

1) A “stick to your ribs” meal
2) Something eat on those days when you can’t seem to feel full, no matter what you eat
3) A meal to serve to non-adventurous eaters

Here is what this dinner is:

1) Healthy and very tasty
2) Something to make when you may have overindulged over the course of a day or two
3) Food that you can eat to your heart’s content without feeling like you need to loosen your belt

Because I am an oldest child and a rule follower, I tend to follow recipes the first time I try them. After that I take liberties. I made this once before for my clients and found it a little…lacking. This time I added just a bit of small pasta to give it more body and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese just before serving. A little more substantial and a lot more yum.


Chickpeas and Chard with Cilantro and Cumin
Adapted from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
Serves 3-4

If you don’t want to add the pasta, you might consider serving this over rice. You can use any type of chard here, but the red will give you that gorgeous color.

Olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
Pinch or 2 of saffron threads
3 ounces small pasta such as orzo or diatilini
2 garlic cloves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cumin, or more to taste
2 tsp. tomato paste
14 chard leaves with stems
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the onion and the saffron. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, pound garlic with 1/2 tsp. salt, the cilantro, parsley, and cumin to make a rough paste. (DT: I used a mortar and pestle for this.) When the onions are golden and soft, add the paste to the pan along with the tomato paste and work it into the onions.

2. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until very al dente. (Pasta will cook a little more when added to the mix.) Drain and reserve.

3. Slice the chard leaves off their stems. Put them in a wide pot with 2 cups of water and cook, covered, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Set the leaves aside ina colander, reserving cooking water.

4. Trim the chard stems so that you’re left with planklike pieces of even width. Cut the planks into strips, then into fine dice and drop them into the reserved chard water. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. Scoop out the stems, set aside. Reserve the cooking water.

5. Add the chickpeas to the onion along with the chard cooking water. Add the cooked pasta. Coarsely chop the chard leaves and add it as well. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the stems. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve dusted with Parmesan cheese.

Chickpea Goodness

July 28, 2009


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
Serves 6

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.

Cooking for Karen and Kerry

June 9, 2009


I’m back from LA.  It was a sweet trip.  We really just hung out the whole time I was there.  Aside from a few trips to get groceries and a few hours in a great park, we just stayed home.  I got to hear Karen talk about her daughter while sitting across the table from her and I got to see photos of her taken just days before she died.  I got to watch our two boys play.  And I got to feed those two lovely mommies.

I had thought I would fly south armed with a few recipes but then decided to just see how things played out.  Like many people who love food, I think about each upcoming meal.  What time will I eat, what will I eat, and will it satisfy me?  Yes, I had offered to cook for them, but maybe they would want to go out or order in.  I relaxed my expectations and tried not to plan.

Now, I have known Karen since my freshman year of college (which was a long time ago) and we have eaten many many meals together.  We have shared food in dorm dining halls, New York City, Paris, Los Angeles, and Seattle.  She is a closeted vegetarian and loves the chance to eat that way with me.  But somehow, in all the years I have known her, I have never cooked for her.  To get to do so was a treat.  Uncharacteristically, menus just came to me.  I didn’t consult cookbooks or even this blog.  I just improvised (though still wrote out a shopping list – really old habits die really hard).  I’m happy to say I made some good food.

This chickpea dish is something that I’ve made incarnations of over the years.  It stars one of my favorite things in the whole world – chickpeas – and some of my favorite flavors.  It is hearty and satisfying but still really healthy.  The yogurt sauce that I drizzled over the top brought a nice tang to balance out the intensity of the spices.  I told Karen I would make it again when I got home so I could post about it, but the truth is, I would have made it anyway.  It is the kind of dish that I crave.  Basmati rice and roasted cauliflower are great accompaniments here.


It’s been a while since I last talked about roasted cauliflower and I have some new tips.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you are in for something special.  Even if you think you don’t like cauliflower, give the preparation below a try.


One Year Ago:  Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing

Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger and Kale and Lime Yogurt Sauce
Dana Treat original
Serves 3-4

The chickpeas:
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. tumeric
2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 leaves kale, tough stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro

The yogurt sauce:
1 cup full fat or low fat (not non-fat) plain yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lime
20 small mint leaves, chopped
Pinch of kosher salt

Heat a medium pot over medium heat.  Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot and add the shallot, garlic, and ginger.  Season generously with salt.  Stir until softened but not brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle on the spices and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chickpeas and toss to coat with the spices, then add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.  Mix together well and bring to a simmer.  Add the kale and give it a good stir.  If the pot seems to dry at this point, add a little water – about a tablespoon at a time – to keep things moist.  You don’t want it soupy but you want enough liquid to cook the kale.  Adjust the heat to keep it at a simmer and cover the pot.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is very soft, adding water as necessary.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce.  Stir together all the ingredients and set aside.

Just before serving, add the cilantro to the chickpeas and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve over basmati rice with a drizzle of sauce over top.  Serve the cauliflower alongside.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Wash the cauliflower well and cut it in half.  Remove the core from each half, then cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place on a baking sheet (dark works great in this instance) and drizzle with olive oil and a healthy pinch (or two) of salt and pepper.  (Cutting it into slices rather than florets gives you more surface area on the baking sheet which means more caramelization which means more yum.)  Mix with your hands and then place in the oven.

Allow the cauliflower to cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip all the slices over.  Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.  You will want quite a bit of brown on your cauliflower so if it looks too pale, give it more time.  Once it is done, you can cut the slices into bite size pieces.

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