Muchi Curry-Spiced Chickpeas

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Hi dear readers. I moved! Yes, three weeks ago I moved to a new apartment ( I should specify the husband came too), and we really like the new place. The space is smaller overall, but more useful, if that makes sense? It currently smells like curry… nom nom.

I’ve been thinking about healthy DIY snack foods lately. We really like Trader Joe’s crunchy wasabi peas for a snack, but it is so easy to blow through a whole bag and they are really salty. Making my own crunchy snackypoos allows the sodium usage to be much reduced, happily.

Curry Spiced Chickpeas

Curry Spiced Chickpeas

These little chickpeas are toasty from being oven roasted, spiced with muchi curry and have the addictive crunch many of us look for in a snack food. These are really easy too, it is three ingredients: 1 can chickpeas, oil and spices.

Curry Spiced Chickpea Snack

Ta-Da! A snack you can feel good about. :-) In order to get these nice and crunchy, please be sure to wash and dry the chickpeas well. Rub them with a folded paper towel to help release the skins (pick these out) and remove extra moisture. See below.

IMG_3678

Once the surface moisture is removed, you’ve won half the battle. The oven needs to be really hot for the first part of the roasting, then you’ll turn it down and continue to roast for over an hour to get out the remaining moisture so these stay crunchy after they’ve cooled.

It does take some time, but it isn’t active time, you can watch TV, clean the house or unpack moving boxes while the oven works its magic!

Curry-Spiced Chickpeas (serves two)

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1/2 heaping tsp muchi curry (this is a savory based powder, heavy on cumin and fenugreek)
  • 1/4 heaping tsp cajun seasoning (I used McCormick)
  • Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°.  Drain and wash the chickpeas. Lay out onto a paper towel to drain, and rub with another paper towel. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to dry off. Remove the transparent skins that come loose from some of the chickpeas.

In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas, oil, spices and salt. Toss gently to coat.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil and spread the chickpeas out in a single layer. This is important, these must be in a single layer in order to toast properly. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. The  chickpeas should become very fragrant, but not smell like burning!  Next, turn the heat down to 350° and continue to roast for 20 more minutes, stirring often. Turn off the oven, but leave the chickpeas in for another hour while the oven cools down.

Remove and serve warm, or let cool before storing in an airtight container to nosh on later.

*Note: Don’t use olive oil, it doesn’t have a high smoke point and will start burning to soon, these chickpeas need to cook for a long time to get all the moisture out. Vegetable oil has a much higher smoke point and it will not impact taste.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Slow Cooker Sausage with Cabbage and Potatoes

How do you make up your mind about dinner when the weather won’t make up its mind?

Slow Cooker Sausage, Cabbage and Potatoes

In the 60’s, well that almost seems like salad weather in February.

Oh wait, a couple hours later it’s pouring rain and 35°? Ok, now I want some hot comfort food.

Throw these ingredients into the slow cooker and a comfort meal you will have, in 4 to 5 hours.

Shredded cabbage, onions and red, white and blue potatoes

Shredded cabbage, onions and red, white and blue potatoes

Wait, as I type this, the rain has turned to snow. Ok. I give up. I know I can’t go wrong with caraway seeds, whole grain mustard and Nuremberg sausage! :-) Hearty and yum.

Slow Cooker Sausage with Cabbage and Potatoes

  • 1 1/2 lb potatoes (cut in half if large)
  • 1 small head cabbage, roughly shredded
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/2 lb sausage (I used Nuremberg, brats would work too)
  • 1 cup beef broth*
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbl white vinegar
  • Whole grain German mustard for dipping

In a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine the cabbage, onions, caraway and mustard seeds, salt and old bay. Toss with hands. Pour in the broth and vinegar and then nestle the potatoes into the cabbage mix. If your sausages are not pre-cooked, you can add them now. If the sausage is pre-cooked, add it in after 2 hours cooking has elapsed. Cook for 4 to 5 hours on high.

*Note: As it cooks, the cabbage will wilt and reduce in size, releasing a bit of water, so don’t add more than 1 cup liquid at the start. If it drys out, then you can add more.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Hello chocolaty little crinkle cookies.  Aren’t you cute!

Crinkle Chocolate Cookies

What? You want me to be your Valentine? Ok.

Mexican Chocolate Cookie

Oh, you’re spicy? That is a nice little secret.

Mexican Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Nom nom nom.

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

This relationship was pretty one-sided.  But tasty.

Well apparently I’ve sunk to a new low, having conversations with food. Am I starved for attention? Maybe.

Cupid’s holiday will be here pretty soon. If you want to get attention from your significant other, try giving him or her these cookies. :-)

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

  •  2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon for mix, 1 tsp for coating
  • 1/2 tsp ground smoked chipotle chili for mix, 1/2 tsp for coating

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine flour, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and chili in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until pale and fluffly, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down sides or bowl and mix in the eggs one at a time.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the flour mixture, beat until combined.

In small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of  sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp chili. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls. Roll the bowls in the sugar mixture to coat. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, give 2 inches room between each ball, and bake for 4 minutes. Rotate the trays and bake for another 4 to 6 minutes. Don’t over-bake or these get to crunchy. Remove and cool on wire racks. Store for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

*Note: The original recipe calls for 2 tsp cream of tartar. I’ve made it that way and using only 1 tsp tartar. I preferred using less because the cookies got less puffy and were more chewy, which I prefer.  However, my coworkers all loved the cookies made with 2 tsp so I think it is personal preference!

Enjoy!

- Erin

Original recipe from Martha Stewart’s 2010 Holiday cookie magazine

Red Pepper and Black Bean Enchiladas

Hey all, it’s Meatless Monday! After a long hiatus, I’m sure you are in need of some more veggies in your diet ;-)

These Mexican inspired enchiladas are much healthier than the ground beef and cheese drenched variety you may find at restaurants.  The rainbow of peppers is really pretty too, it just looks fresh and tasty!

This dish is perfect for a large dinner party because it makes a lot. It is also nice to set some aside in the freezer for a go-to meal another night. Or you can eat leftovers for a week. I love leftovers, so hey, this works for me. :-)

Red Pepper and Black Bean Enchiladas

  • 1 1/2 tbl cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder (to taste)
  • 2 or 3 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbl pickled jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 28 oz can green enchilada sauce
  • 3 tbl light sour cream
  • shredded cheese for topping
  • 8 burrito sized flour tortillas
  • Chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 15×15 rectangle casserole dish. Slice your peppers into strips, similar to what you see in fajitas. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbl vegetable oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add in the peppers and onions. Sauteé until the peppers blister and the onions brown a bit, again, similar to making fajitas.

Stir in the corn, jalapenos, and black beans, cook for 3 minutes. While still in the hot pan, sprinkle in the cumin, chipotle, salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste, and stir for 2 minutes until the spices become aromatic. Remove from the hot pan into a bowl, stir in the sour cream.

Take one tortilla and lay flat, spoon a couple tablespoonfuls offset of center of the tortilla.

Start rolling the tortilla up starting at the end with the veggie mixture. Repeat until all tortillas are filled.

Lay into the greased casserole dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over top of the tortillas, let it seep all around the tortillas.  Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 35 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted. I advise putting the casserole dish onto a baking pan, because it might bubble over a bit.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Skewers

Hi readers!

I have a confession. I’ve been a bad blogger friend. Jess, over at A Lot on Your Plate, was kind enough to give me the One Lovely Blog Award… about three weeks ago and I still haven’t done anything about it!

But I will procrastinate no longer, I want my week to get off to a good start. So officially, here is a BIG THANK YOU to Jess for sharing the love with me!

Part of the One Lovely Blog award entails passing it to another blogger- I choose Putney Farm, a truly lovely food and garden blog- and sharing 7 things about yourself people probably don’t know (no promises). Here goes…

1. I have filled an entire Ikea bookcase with novels I’ve read

2. I hate driving

3. I’m 15 years older than my little sister

4. I’m obsessed with Bojangles biscuits (must be eaten with honey)

5. I had an appendetomy on my 26th birthday (emergency)

6. I can speak Haitian creole

7. I love video games, especially Harvest Moon (a virtual farm on Wii)

Hey, I never said this would be interesting. Now you know I’m a nerd and boring…if you judge please do so silently. ;-)

Quick distraction: Shrimp…

Yum, sweet and succulent.

Perfectly light and healthy with tons of flavor.

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Skewers

  • 1/2 lb to 3/4 lb shrimp (I used precooked 31/35)*
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbl water
  • 1 tbl Chinese five spice powder
  • 1  tsp sriracha sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • sesame seeds

Turn the broiler to 400° and move your oven rack to the uppermost position. In a small bowl, combine honey, water, spice powder, salt, grated ginger and sriracha. Whisk the sauce until well combined. Thread your shrimp onto skewers and brush both sides with the sauce; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Lay the skewers on a foil lined baking sheet and put under the broiler. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp. Remove and rotate the skewers, brushing them with the remaining sauce.  Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Don’t overcook them, if they are pre-cooked you are basically just heating them through.

Serve with rice and edamame, or your vegetable of choice. Makes 4 skewers.

Enjoy!

*Note: The numbers are shrimp sizes, see here for a size chart of shrimp in the U.S.

- Erin :-)

Daily Question: Ever had an awkward moment involving over-sharing? Don’t hide in shame, leave me a comment about it.

Moroccan Beef Tagine

Sometimes you want to take a vacation and you just can’t. Any number of reasons can keep you stuck at home, lack of moulah, time or those pesky things called “children”. I don’t have any but I hear they are a lot of work ;-)

If any or all of the above apply to you, sometime you can feel like you’re going on an adventure by trying ethnic cuisines. I love cooking this tagine. It’s not that complicated so you can indulge in some serious daydreaming while you’re cooking.

The slow simmering and bubbling fill your kitchen with the scent of cumin, cinnamon and ginger… how I imagine a Moroccan bazaar to smell.

In my mind, the scenery looks really similar to the movie Aladdin (odd), but whatever.

To go on your own cooking adventure, start with SPICE!

Cumin, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric

Sauteé an onion in olive oil, then add the spices and cook until aromatic to bring the flavor out.

Now for the exotic, some ruby red and oh so pretty pomegranate juice… so yum.

Grab a handful off dried plums and raisins, some stew beef and you’re all set.

Turn the heat to low and start the simmer. If you have an actual tagine,  you can cook this in the oven at 275° for a couple hours. Being a city dweller with limited space to store my kitchen toys, I used a perfectly acceptable substitute: the dutch oven.

While this cooks, relax and watch a movie… maybe Aladdin. Because you’re never too old for a Disney movie. :-)

Moroccan Beef Tagine

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs stew beef
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon, cumin, ginger and turmeric
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried plums
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large-heavy dutch oven (or tall-sided saucepan). Cook onions for about 10 minutes or until slightly browned and soft. Add the spices, stir and cook until fragrant. Add beef and quickly brown on all sides. Add raisins, dates, juice and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to very low simmer. Cook between 1 hour and 3o minutes and 2 hours. It is finished when the meat is fall apart tender. You can also cook for a similar amount of time in a low temp oven.

Serve on top of pearled couscous, prepared according to package directions.  Pearled couscous is exactly as it sounds, and it has a great ‘bite’ to it that you don’t get with regular couscous. Check it out:

Enjoy!

Daily Question: What dream vacation do you want to go on?

Personally, I want to go to South Africa!

- Erin

Thai Sweet Potato Curry

Hi to all my readers and happy (meatless) Monday.

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day. I got to spend some time with my in-laws down in lovely Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. We ate lunch at a colonial-times inspired country restaurant that served up some mean fried chicken. Needless to say it wasn’t the healthiest of meals! But today’s post balances that out.

This Thai curry features one of my current vegetable obsessions, rainbow chard.

Look at how beautiful it is, with those reds and yellows and purples, it makes any dish prettier.

I planted some of this in my garden, but it’s not quite ready yet, this bunch is from the Dupont Circle farmers market

There are so many colors in this Thai curry dish, you just feel healthier looking at it. Imagine how you’ll feel eating it :-)

The broth is rich, complex and delightfully coconuty. Yup, that’s a word.

Apologies for such a short post, I have poison ivy and the horrible itchyness is seriously interrupting my thought process.  It can’t last forever though, right?

Thai Sweet Potato Curry

  • 2 tbl fish sauce
  • 1 tbl red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 tbl brown sugar
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 8 oz broth (veggie, chicken etc)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cup (packed) rainbow chard, chopped

Pour coconut milk into a large saucepan. Bring the milk to a slight boil, whisk in the curry paste, fish sauce and brown sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Add in the broth, carrots and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover partially. Let cook for 10 minutes, then add the chard and cook for 10 more minutes. Finished! Serve over rice or eat as is.

Enjoy!

Daily Question: What did you do for Mother’s Day?

- Erin