Chickpea Chile Verde

It’s been the start of another busy school year – 1st and 3rd grade. Hard believe it when the Facebook memories pop up and I see my little beanie babies in their diaper butts. It’s all so bittersweet. After years of loving on mommy my 9 year-old is all into daddy now. They play Roblox and Minecraft on separate computers with headsets on talking to each other, even though they are merely feet apart. My husband’s avatar is aptly named “dinkydorkdad” or something along those lines so as not to be the misunderstood adult creeping around the kids online gaming worlds. They play Pokemon and trade Magic the Gathering cards all hours of the day.  My younger son is learning from his elders and follows suit. I hear the boys in our basement right now laughing and screaming “I broke my penis! Penis! Penis!”.

So I’m grateful for the extra time in the day where nobody is waiting outside the bathroom door anymore. Or screaming to play tag at the park. Or begging me to divide myself in two. But still. My husband gets the full frontal hugs. And now, I get the back hugs. Asher looks at me only when it’s meal time or to ask “Where’s dad?” and when I say “Not here.” he desperately says “Why? What happened??” And I’m heartbroken! Because I’m MOM. I used to be mommy. But call me mom now. Or, as my older son has named me “Worms”. Yep, that’s what was on my birthday card two weeks ago.

In any case, I’m still good for one thing and that’s cooking. Tonight’s menu was a vegan Chickpea Chile Verde mixed in with brown rice and it was DAMN GOOD. Tomatillos are native to Mexico and while they resemble tomatoes they are actually more closely related to gooseberries and come from the nightshade family. Fascinating stuff! They are also low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and are packed with vitamins. This recipe is much lighter, tangier and summery than a traditional smoky chili with heavier beans, and had a lovely crunch factor with sweet whole corn kernels and tortilla strips. It’s also easy to make because you can rely on the oven to do the bulk of the cooking.

CHICKPEA CHILE VERDE

  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped into large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 TB cumin
  • 2 14 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • Tortilla strips for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatillos, poblano peppers and garlic with olive oil and spread out on baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare brown rice according to packing – typically 2 cups water per 1 cup rice – simmering for 45 minutes. I use a rice cooker which steams the rice and tends to have a faster and fluffier cook. Remove banking sheet from oven and scoop tomatillos and poblanos into large pot, then add the vegetable broth. Use hand blender to puree your soup base to a smooth consistency, then stir in the chickpeas, corn and cilantro. Serve in a bowl over brown rice and top with tortilla strips.

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My birthday cards…

 

Enjoying the last of summer…

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Rustic Provençal Vegetable Stew

 This simple stew draws on the characteristic flavors of Provence: tomatoes, basil, olives, olive oil, and garlic. An inexpensive meat variation was traditionally prepared by French peasants in an earthenware casserole dating back centuries ago, but it’s delicate, easily adaptable flavors have remained popular today. This hearty stew pairs well with some grilled bread or can be poured over your choice of pasta. It works very well with almost any vegetable, making it a popular vegan dish in my house!
RUSTIC PROVENCIAL VEGETABLE STEW
4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil 
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbs 
1 large red onion, sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
1 lb vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly diced
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
2/3 cup pitted nicoise olives
2 Tbs parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Hear the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic, coriander, and thyme and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the fennel and pepper and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 30 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and serve warm! 

Senegalese Peanut Stew, and Vegan Too!

peanut stew Our first dinner date at my apartment I made my now-husband cry. It was over my home-made salad dressing. And right then I knew that I could cook for this man the rest of our lives and be happy. I am very pleased to share that this past week we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary, and in celebration we renewed our vows with our little boys and dearest friends in tow! Asher wore a suit with a clip-on tie which he thought was “cute”, and Everett wore a onesy with a picture of a bow-tie and suspenders!

family Over our five years of marriage, there have been a handful of dishes I have prepared for Robby that he has happily claimed is a “keeper”, and today’s recipe is one of them. It’s a vegan Senegalese peanut stew that is superb served over brown rice. You could also add some tofu and fresh peanuts if you are feeling adventurous and need a bit of crunch.

Cooking spray
2 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 medium green pepper, cored and roughly chopped
1/2 pound uncooked sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium uncooked carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable broth, reduced-sodium
6 Tbsp peanut butter, natural, creamy-variety
8 cups fresh spinach, leaves, stemmed, packed, chopped

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sweet potato, carrots and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne; cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly, stirring once in a while, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the spinach; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Keep the heat low as the soup simmers so the peanut butter doesn’t separate.