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…

Lentil Ratatouille

lentil stew

10 Things You Should Know about Being a Working Mom:

1. Coming home from work is actually when the hard work begins
2. Your Kate Spade will soon become affectionately known as the “snack bag”
3. There may come a day when you steal a roll of toilet paper from work because you’re down to half a roll between 3 adults and 2 kids and you just need to get through the night
4. What’s the point in a manicure since they only last a day?
5. You will frequently be getting into bed for a “nap” at 4am before getting up for work an hour later
6. Waist-high shared lukewarm baths with your toddler every night does not constitute a proper adult shampoo
7. Rewards cards now seem magical, especially since you will be buying new shoes every 4 months and no they are not for you
8. You now have “at home” clothes and “outside world approved” clothes. If you know people that have seen you in both then they are indeed a true and beloved friend.
9. You will be buying odd tomatoes that have been thrown in your grocery cart on Saturday mornings that you’re too embarrassed to put back
10. You can never have too many Goldfish crackers. Ever.

This week I was in the mood for a traditional hot ratatouille, but with a nontraditional twist of protein. This Lentil Ratatouille features a creamy braised eggplant and an earthy bite from the lentils. It can be eaten as a hearty stew or served atop any variety of pasta for a delicious dinner entree!

LENTIL RATATOUILLE
1 large firm eggplant, stem removed and diced into small 1/2” cubes
4 zucchini, stems removed and diced into small 1/2” cubes
1 bunch of basil, stems discarded with leaves torn into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 jar of marinara
1/4 cup olive Oil
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup brown lentils
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot, boil 2 cups of water then add the lentils, bay leaves, and thyme. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer then cook uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes. In large pot, cook olive oil, onion and garlic on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Toss in the eggplant and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and cook with cover on pot for additional 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add marinara and fresh basil and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove bay leaves from the lentil mixture, then add the lentils to the ratatouille mixture and serve hot.