I missed you.
I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 5 years, and I think this may have been the longest I’ve gone without saying hello?!
I must admit, we had a glimpse of the perfect spring in Boston!…
…for about 5 days…
It was glorious! Our windows were open (finally, we could breathe some fresh air into our home!), we went for long walks, and took our first hike of the year!
Then, the chilly weather, rain, and snow (SNOW!) returned.
You better believe I was spending those brief glorious moments outside, rather than in front of my computer!
But, alas, the temperature has dropped again, and today I’m keeping warm indoors. Which means I can finally share this delicious recipe with you!
It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks to flip-through, Jerusalem. It is a humble and quite unassuming dish. At first glance, it looks nothing more than a bit of cooked rice with chickpeas. However, the combination of two types of rice, fried onions, raisins and warm spices add a depth and complexity to each bite that make this dish completely standout!
Keywords: fry entree side vegetarian vegan chickpeas raisins rice Mediterranean
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1/2 cup black rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Cumin, to taste
- Curry powder, to taste
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tbs. chopped chives
1. Using a rice cooker, mix together basmati and black rice with 2 1/2 cups water. Cook until rice is tender and cooked through (if you do not have a rice cooker, cook rice according to package directions; you may need to cook rice blends separately according to package directions).
2. Meanwhile, prepare the onion by mixing with flour, to ensure that onion slices are slightly coated in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. When oil is very hot, carefully add onion slices and fry 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Add chickpeas, cumin, curry powder, salt and pepper, and cook together for additional 1-2 minutes.
3. Mix cooked rice with chickpeas and onions. Toss together with raisins and dill. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve and enjoy!
~What is your favorite type of rice?
Since I’ve started eating more seasonally, I’ve become more aware that certain foods have an incredibly short “season.” Asparagus is the first one that comes to mind. I have literally been buying bunches of asparagus weekly, knowing that the season is short-lived.
I’ve enjoyed it roasted and sautéed, over toast and under poached eggs, on salads and as sides. This pasta dish was actually one of our favorite ways of enjoying this stalky vegetable. It couldn’t be easier to prepare, and was the perfect way to celebrate the weather finally feeling like spring!
Keywords: entree side vegetarian asparagus cheese pasta spring
- 1 lb. short whole wheat pasta
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 6 oz. goat cheese
- 2-3 scallions, chopped
- Fresh basil, to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in separate pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus, mix in lemon juice, cover and cook about 8-10 minutes, under tender.
3. Drain pasta. Immediately add cooked asparagus, and goat cheese, breaking it up as you stir it in with the pasta. Slowly add reserved cooking water 1 tbs. at a time, until you’ve reached desired consistency. Toss together with scallions, basil and red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy.
~What is your favorite spring fruit or vegetable?
Prior to our departure for Tokyo, Japan, I was imagining all the delicious meals we would be eating. I was ready for sushi roll after sushi roll, noodle bowls and lots of tea.
While I was definitely accurate in these predictions, there were also a few surprises I was delighted to encounter:
- Coffee vs. Tea. There was as much fresh coffee as there was tea. I am an avid coffee drinker. I can’t remember the last morning I had without a cup (probably because I wasn’t thinking straight whenever that day occurred ). While I definitely enjoy a cup of hot tea in the afternoon, I don’t
need it miss it like I do coffee. This was a very pleasant surprise during our trip!
- Ramen. I had NO idea Ramen Noodle Bowls would be such a popular meal, and that they would be SO incredibly fresh! I am now regretting that I wasted so many years not eating ramen, because I assumed it meant dried noodles in a package prepared with a packet of overly-salted seasoning. My, how I was wrong. We ate at several restaurants where the Ramen Noodles were prepared on-site, and they tasted as good as fresh pasta enjoyed in Italy!
- Runny Eggs. This was another common occurrence I was surprised to find on many menus. We saw burgers, noodle bowls and even pasta dishes that were topped with a runny egg. I started to realize how this can perfectly bring together many components of a meal, and add wonderful taste and texture to every bite with just a small amount of effort.
So, when I was trying to make a simple, yet healthy and filling meal, I remembered the key of adding a runny egg! Brown rice and broccoli topped with a poached egg made an ordinary meal into one that was much more fun and memorable to eat! Plus, attempting to eat rice with chop sticks always makes the meal more entertaining.
Keywords: saute entree vegetarian broccoli eggs rice Japanese
- 1 cup brown rice
- 4 tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbs. teriyaki sauce
- 1 tbs. sesame oil
- Ginger, to taste
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 tbs. sesame seeds
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (optional)
- 3 scallions, chopped
1. Cook rice according to package directions. In small bowl, mix together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil and ginger; heat half of mixture in large saucepan over medium heat. Add broccoli and saute, 5-7 minutes, until broccoli is tender. Stir in remaining sauce and adjust to taste. Mix in sesame seeds.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the eggs. Heat pot of water to boiling, then reduce heat so that water is no longer boiling. Add rice vinegar to water. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then gently drop into water; use a spoon to gently nudge eggwhites closer to yolk. Repeat with remaining egg. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 4 minutes.
3. Place rice in bowl, top with broccoli and then remove poached egg with a slotted spoon and place on top. Repeat with remaining bowl. Top with chopped scallions. Serve and enjoy!
~What foods/meals have you been surprised by when traveling?
We all need quick dinner ideas ready to go in our back-pocket. The ones that don’t require measuring cups or an entire afternoon spent in the kitchen and still taste great.
When it comes to quick dinners, I typically resort to pasta. All it requires is a pot of boiling water. Mix it with just about any leftover cheese and a few toppings lying around in your pantry or fridge, and you have yourself a meal.
This was one of those dinners that came together in a jiffy, was an unplanned mix of ingredients found throughout the kitchen, and tasted like I had spent hours preparing. Using pappardelle pasta takes this to an entirely new level, while not requiring any extra prep-time. Win-win.
No measuring spoons required (eye-balling ingredients is really the best way to go here). Everything can be cooked and ready to go by the time the pasta is ready. And all the leftover ingredients make perfect pizza toppings for later in the week.
Keywords: saute entree side vegetarian artichokes olives pasta Mediterranean Italian
- 5 ounces egg pappardelle pasta
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 artichoke hearts, quartered
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and artichoke hearts and cook 2-3 minutes, until artichokes are warmed through.
2. Drain pasta and mix into skillet. Add olives, goat cheese and red pepper flakes and toss gently. Serve immediately and enjoy!
~What are your favorite ingredients to mix with pasta for a quick meal?