Stewed Chickpeas with Greens

Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark has soared to the top of my favorite cookbooks in recent years. The recipes are incredibly varied, assertively flavored, and chock full of vegetables. Aptly named, each recipe is dinner in its entirety, so I never have to think about what else I should make to fill out the meal. I really love any combination of beans and greens, but I was blown away by how this humble pot is transformed from beans and greens in a watery broth to a thick, rich stew with just a few blitzes of an immersion blender. Really good bread is a critical vehicle for the stew, and don’t skimp on the olive oil.

My full share this week was kale, perpetual spinach, mustard greens, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, basil, shishitos, husk cherries, and acorn squash. I made 1.5x the recipe below and used all three bunches of greens. The tomatoes are going into this ridiculously good eggplant curry. Last week I made a “use-up-all-the-veg-in-the-fridge-meal” of roasted vegetable pasta inspired by this with greens, shishitos, mushrooms, and broccoli that was so great. This roasted squash salad is one of my favorites for fall – the sweet squash is perfectly balanced with bitter greens and acidic dressing.

Stewed Chickpeas with Greens

Serves 4

Adapted from Dinner by Melissa Clark

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 bunches greens, such as chard, kale, perpetual spinach, or mustard greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • A large pinch of chili flakes, plus extra for serving
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • 4 slices of bread
  • Smoked paprika
  • Flakey salt
  • Pepper

Thinly slice 4 cloves of garlic. Halve the last clove and save for serving (I like to put it on the table so I don’t forget it.

Heat the half cup of olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot (all the greens need to fit in it uncooked). Add the sliced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to brown at the edges. Add the cumin and chili flakes, stir, and cook for a minute more. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until it starts to brown at the edges.

Add the chickpeas, greens, and stock. Stir, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice. The greens should be totally wilted, but still a vibrant green.

Using an immersion blender, partially puree the mixture so it is more stew like, but still has intact beans and greens. Serve with toasted bread rubbed with garlic, smoked paprika, chili flakes, flakey salt, pepper, and olive oil for drizzling.

Grilled Zucchini Bowls with Chickpeas and Pesto

Now is not the time for turning on the oven or storage vegetables, but I was craving my winter root veg bowls so an update to the cooking method and vegetables was in order. I love this concept though – a ton of vegetables, chickpeas for heft and texture, plus a vibrant green sauce to tie everything together. This version has the “it” vegetable of July, summer squash, and any variety works – zucchini, yellow summer squash, pattypan squash. Grilling summer squash is my favorite summer preparation, but you can pan fry or roast.

This meal is easily scale-able – in my house one can of chickpeas is two servings, so you can easily halve or up it. The pesto should make enough for 6+ servings, and you can serve it on toast with eggs, over tomatoes and burrata, or on pizza.

My full share this week was two heads of lettuce, summer squash, rainbow carrots, fresh onions, cabbage, young leeks, kale, broccoli leaves, and purple basil. I used rainbow carrots, some of the cabbage, and the purple basil in a slaw I served atop rice noodles and some grilled BBQ tofu for a summer cold noodle situation. I used grilled extra squash while I was making these bowls to use in my favorite enchiladas (forgive the low-light photo – they are great!!) that I also stuck some chopped kale and onion tops into. Salad options for alllll that lettuce include: BBQ chicken peach, tzatziki with marinated lentils, chipotle ranch. I’m thinking about cooking the broccoli leaves and tougher, outer cabbage leaves a la collards for this dish, or in collards with peanut butter (don’t knock it til you try it). Hot, humid days call for cool beverages like these herbal citrus refreshers.

Grilled Zucchini Bowls with Chickpeas and Pesto

Serves 4

  • 2 large summer squash (mine were 40 oz total)
  • 2 cups packed soft herbs, such as basil, parsley, cilantro, dill and scallions (I used 1/4 cup of each of the above except basil)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more if needed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • 3 fresh onions (or 1 large onion), thinly sliced

Heat up a grill on high. Thickly slice the summer squashes, and coat with olive oil (3-4 tablespoons), salt, and pepper. Grill for 10-15 minutes, until they are thoroughly charred an soft all the way through (the flesh turns from an opaque white to more translucent). Let the squash cool, and then chop into 1/2″ pieces.

Thinly slice the onions. Heat up a large, deep skillet on medium high and pour in 1/2 cup olive oil. Add in the onions, and cook for 7-10 minutes, until they start to brown at the edges. While the onions are cooking, drain and rinse the chickpeas. After the onions are browned add the chickpeas, plus a few pinches of salt and grinds of pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes, until the chickpeas are visibly darkened and have a nice, crispy outside.

Turn on a food processor with the S blade in and drop the garlic cloves through the opening at the top. When the garlic cloves stop bouncing around they are fully minced. Turn the food processor off and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, herbs, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Turn the food processor on to puree everything, then drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil so a smooth sauce forms (more if needed). Alternatively, very finely mince the garlic, herbs, and pine nuts (or mash in a mortal and pestle), then stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Build the bowls by dividing up the summer squash and chickpeas into 4 bowls then topping with a big spoonful of pesto. Serve with more pesto and olive oil for drizzling.

(Crumbled feta like I use in the winter version of this dish would be delicious on top.)

Big Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing

During the winter, I’m a Sunday meal planner. I spend the morning flipping through cookbooks and scrolling through recipes I saved on Instagram to plan out meals for the week (usually leaving Thursday open to use up random odds and ends), followed by a big grocery shopping trip.

CSA eating shakes that up a bit as I don’t pick up my share until Monday (I’m ahead of you all for recipe writing purposes), which leaves a night that I arrive home with a bounty of fresh produce and just a drive back to Worcester to make a dinner plan. It being a Monday and all, dinner shouldn’t be too taxing. Since I can almost always count on lettuce, and I like to use up the most delicate veg first, the BIG salad often comes into play.

Big Salads in my house are dinner salads, with a base of lettuce or mixed greens, topped with crunchy veg, herbs, some kind of protein (usually beans or fish, sometimes leftover chopped meat) and finished with a zippy dressing.

You can make a big salad out of anything! Just follow these rules:

  • Have a mix of textures (below we have crunch lettuce and turnips, creamy beans, and meaty tuna)
  • Season well (always chopped herbs, salt, and pepper)
  • Make you dressing zippy (it should be a little too tart/sour/strong when you taste it straight, because all the other ingredients dilute it)

My full share this week was 2 heads of lettuce, salad turnips, chard, dill, basil, garlic scapes, kale, fresh onions, and carrots. If you’re not making the salad below, you could try this version with lentils and tzatziki. Early season root veg like radishes, turnips, and carrots are excellent in these turmeric noodles which barely require any cooking. I used up literally all the greens in my share by subbing them for the cabbage in this lo mein, along with the onion tops and garlic scapes (warning: if you make this you will be forever disappointed by take out lo mein). I’m very intrigued by the idea of potatoes on the grill which I want to try this weekend and finish with some fragrant dill.

Big Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing

Serves 3 as a main, or 6 as a side

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 small lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 head lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 3 salad turnips, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can tuna (or chopped chicken, or omit)
  • ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup chopped dill

In a jar or bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Shake/whisk to combine.

Build your salad by layering lettuce, turnips, beans, tuna, olives, and dill. Finish with a grind of pepper, sprinkle of salt and your dressing.

(I didn’t have any feta when I made this, but it would be excellent on top.)

Last week I cooked…

20150726_195049Spicy fried chicken sandwich. We had this for dinner on Will’s actual birthday. It was the first fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever made, and I see no reason to ever seek out another recipe. The chicken was spicy, crispy and tender, and the yogurt sauce/slaw was just the right creamy, crunchy contrast. For me this was a perfect balance of spiciness, enough to feel it and warrant spicy in the name, but not so much that it kept you from actually tasting everything. I suppose if your spice tolerance is low you will want to find another recipe, but I’ll be sticking with this one.

Lentil and chickpea salad with feta and tahini. Redemption after a weekend of barbecue and fried chicken. I love the onion salad on top of the creamy legumes. Paired with the tomato salad below.

Tomato salad with pomegranate molasses (from Persiana). I added in some cucumbers and cherry peppers from my garden instead of the Turkish peppers, but loved this simple but new take on a tomato salad. The dressing is super potent, so used sparingly.

Last week I cooked - Vegetal MattersOttolenghi’s black pepper tofu. This has been on my to cook list for too long. The addition of butter is inspired (but really didn’t we all love rice with butter as kids?). The amount of pepper seems ridiculous, but the butter mellows it nicely. I halved the recipe to use a single block of tofu (which usually come in 14 oz portions on the US).

Spicy roasted bok choy. Paired with black pepper tofu. I think my red pepper flakes are especially potent, because this was super spicy, which wasn’t exactly what I was looking for to go with the pepper tofu. I mostly was excited about the ease of preparation and the fact that I didn’t also need to cook this on the stove.

Peach and corn coleslaw. #Summer. This slaw is sweet and a little sour and just the perfect summer salad. I used regular peaches, less cabbage, plus a cucumber.

Grilled eggplant and chickpea salad with pomegranate molasses. I guess pom molasses is the special ingredient of the week here. I made this for a picnic (to eat on Boston Common while seeing King Lear) and it was perfect. I roasted the eggplant since I don’t have a grill, along with green peppers and an onion,  For the picnic I also make a tomato and cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar and the zucchini cornbread again, and my friends brought couscous salad for the best summer salad compilation ever.

Blueberry pie with yogurt. If you ask me, the best way to enjoy leftover pie is for breakfast. Just take a couple big dollops of yogurt, and top with a small slice of pie and some fresh fruit if you have it. Really this is the same concept of those dessert yogurt cups, but 1,000x better.

Last week I cooked... - Vegetal Matters

Not something I cooked, but I went to Brattle Book Shop in Downtown Boston and the cookbook section was incredible. I’m embarrassed to be a born and raised Bay Stater/book store enthusiast and not have know about this place until this weekend. We walked away with Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, Clementine in the Kitchen, and Moose Mousse.

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

DSC00791 postThis salad was born out of super bowl leftovers. But there had been enough indulgence watching the game, and redemption was needed. Buffalo wings with bleu cheese, carrots and celery is amazing because it is a perfect spicy/creamy/crunchy combo. I don’t want to eat wings all the time though, so this salad is just the fix. Cauliflower is an excellent hot sauce vehicle, and I borrowed the method from Thug Kitchen’s delicious Buffalo Falafel recipe (CRUSH HUNGER BREATHE FIRE. Cracks me up every time.).

Buffalo Cauliflower Salad

Serves 4 as full meal salads, 8 as side salads.

The grocery store was out of red cabbage, but that would have been a nice addition for more color and texture. Green cabbage instead of lettuce could make this more of a slaw. Cucumbers are a good add, and if I had some avocado that probably would have gone in as well. You could easily use 4 tablespoons yogurt and leave out the mayonnaise in the dressing.

Buffalo Cauliflower

  • 1 lb cauliflower, split into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon wheat flour
  • ½ cup cayenne hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1.5 teaspoons cider vinegar

Salad

  • 8 cups of lettuce, washed and chopped (about 1 head romaine)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ½ cup of red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large celery stalk, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ ounce crumbled bleu cheese (optional)

Dressing

  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1.5 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (½ a lemon)
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Blend buttermilk, bleu cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender. If you prefer a chunky dressing, whisk everything but the bleu cheese until smooth, then stir it in. Let the dressing sit for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible, to let the flavors mingle (resist adjusting the seasoning until after the rest).

Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes.

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the flour, and cook while whisking continuously for 5 minutes. It should smell nutty, but not boil. Add half of the hot sauce and whisk until smooth. It will be very thick. Add the remaining hot sauce, water, and vinegar, and whisk until smooth again. Turn off the heat.

Assemble the salads with lettuce, carrot, celery, red onion, chickpeas and any other veg you’re adding. When the cauliflower is done, toss it in a bowl with the hot sauce until thoroughly coated. Top each salad with ¼ of the cauliflower, and drizzle with dressing and an extra crumble of bleu cheese, if using. Serve with extra hot sauce for those who like a serious kick.