Archive for the ‘Beans & Grains’ Category

I’m actually not a soup person, really. Well, maybe it turns out that I am, but only sometimes, and with certain soups. Most soups leave me unfulfilled, dissatisfied, disgruntled, unhappy, discontent. (Hello, you’ve reached the winter of our discontent).  So many soups don’t have enough zing! Also, so many soups don’t leave me feeling full. Soup is not a meal, I say! Soup is a first course! Soup is a side dish! But I seem to have proven myself wrong, as of late. Soup can be a solid (liquid!) meal, and soup can have zing.

Shelling beans from CSA that went into my most recent pot of stone soup. The best part of these shelling beans is that you never know what will be inside each pod – a kidney bean? a white navy bean? a black bean? I feel like Forrest Gump on chocolates.

I don’t remember how it started. I think my renewed faith in soup started when I made this in September, and paired it with delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, rather than doing the cheddar lid thing. Then I thought my stone soup started when I had to provide 8 ladies with food for a book club meeting (Yes, I am a housewife in her 50s, what’s it to ya?) but then I remembered that wasn’t the first time I’d made this soup. The first time I made this soup was probably some late September Tuesday evening, when I got home after picking up my CSA and didn’t have much of an idea about what to make for dinner, so just threw some stuff in a pot and away we went. That’s what this is. But that night – a revelation – this soup was GOOD. While this soup is meant to be made with whatever veggies you have, and a bean or lentil to make it more of a complete meal, there are three four things that elevate this soup to delicious, and I will share them with you here.

Onions and carrots, the birth of soup.

Start this soup like any soup – sauté some onions, carrots and throw in some garlic. If you have celery or celery root, all the better. If you have ginger, go for it. If you have a can of tomatoes you want to throw in, by all means. There are no rules, really. Then I usually throw in some combination potatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or squash, all cut into relatively small cubes so that they don’t take too long to cook. I through in a half cup or more of a lentil, and then make sure I add enough broth/water to give all those things enough moisture to cook. Simmer away. Now here’s where the tricks come in.

1) Roast a pepper in your oven. I personally only like roasted peppers when they are made at home, rather than coming from a jar. My method is that I cut the pepper in half, rip out the seedy parts and rub both sides with oil – I usually use olive oil, but I’ve been meaning to start using sunflower oil because it has a higher smoking point and that way I won’t set off my smoke detector anytime I roast a pepper. Place the pepper skin side down on a small baking sheet and put it in the oven at 400. When the skin starts to become blistered and black (10-12 minutes?) flip the pepper and put it back in for another 5-10 minutes until it is all soft and wrinkly and roasty and good. As always, oven times may vary, so keep an eye on that bad boy. When it is done roasting, chop it up into a few pieces and set it aside. I’ll let you know what to do with it soon.

Some squash and a pepper to roast for soup. You don’t need to pre-roast your squash, I was just feeling sassy.

2) When your potatoes/squash/whatever and your lentils or beans are fully cooked and softened, ladle out a bit less than half of the soup into a large glass measuring cup.  Throw the roasted pepper into the soup that remains in the pot, and puree it with an immersion blender (I love my immersion blender so much!). Add the ladled-out soup back into the pot. Now you have a soup that is mostly smooth, but with some chunks still to give it texture! And also a roasted pepper is hiding in your soup!

3) Lemon juice. So much lemon juice. I don’t know an exact amount, because I just liberally glug it in until it tastes right, but I probably put almost 1/4 cup of lemon juice into a big pot of soup. Never underestimate the power of lemon juice. I didn’t go to culinary school, but I know people who did, and this is an age-old trick. They’ll tell you that it really “brightens” the flavours of your soup, and that is exactly what it does. Trust.

4) I just remembered a fourth trick, one that I only discovered on my most recent pot of soup, but it will now be part of my soup routine. Miso paste. Avoid seasoning your soup much while it is boiling all those veggies and lentils, and then dissolve a bunch of miso paste in some hot water or some of your broth, and mix it into your soup at the same time that you are adding your lemon juice. The miso adds quite a bit of salt and flavour (umami!) to the soup, so hold off on adding any salt (beyond what’s in your broth) until after you’ve done this. I still usually add some spices, but you may not need them.

And that is how you can turn an onion, carrots, garlic, lentils, a pepper and a bottle of lemon juice into dinner. That is stone soup, which I think is also one of the most beautiful folk tales that pretty much hits the nail right on the head when it comes to food security and building community. And if you want another way to build community, just walk around carrying something like what is pictured below. Strangers will talk to you, I promise.

Yes, that is a branch of brussel sprouts. And yes, I use my cat for scale.

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Forgive the Gil Scott-Heron reference (on second thought, don’t excuse it), but when I first ate the result of the recipe I’m going to share with you, I proclaimed to my classmates “OH MAN, this is a lunch revolution!!!”.  Presumably they found me both charming and decidedly nuts.

Before I go any further, I have to give credit where credit is due.  I did not think this up on my own.  I didn’t actually think it up at all; instead, someone mentioned a packed-lunch standby of hers to me in passing, and I flipped right out. Then, I proceeded to yell excitedly about it to anyone who would listen, and most people humoured me but didn’t care that much, except for Carly, who said repeatedly: “that is SO smart. that is so SMART. that is SO SMART” (add something else onto the list of why I love Carly: she is equally enthusiastic as myself about revelations in the realm of packed lunches, in spite of the fact that she currently does not have to pack a lunch to go anywhere).  Anyways, the point is, thank you very much to Ruth for introducing me to this idea so casually over some afternoon wine in Kitchener.

Without further ado, I bring you your new lunch: homemade frozen burritos.  If you didn’t just say to yourself “holy shit!”, then you probably don’t care that much about this. But me, I freaked. Homemade frozen burritos! In the store they have frozen burritos that you buy and microwave and eat! But they are generally not that good! And sometimes they are really expensive! I love burritos! Burritos are one of the two things I’m always in the mood for! The other is roti, which is a similar concept! Why haven’t I thought of making burritos and freezing them?!

Ruth explained to me, in brief, her method: she makes a bunch of burritos, but instead of layering in the filling like you would normally, she mixes everything together in a big slop – beans, cheese, veggies, etc. just all together.  I guess this will make it freeze/thaw/cook better and more evenly.  Makes sense to me! Then, she said, she individually wraps them in little parchment paper bags, and freezes them. Then, when its time to pack a lunch, she just grabs one, brings it with her, and microwaves it for 2 minutes or so when its chow-time. BLAM-O!

And so, the week before I went back to school for second semester, I spent an hour making myself a batch of burritos to freeze.  It really only took an hour start to finish I would say, which I think is well worth it given that I got 6 lunches out of it.  In my burritos:

-one can of my favourite refried beans

-homemade salsa     -cubed, roasted sweet potato     -chopped and sauteed onion, carrot, and garlic

-frozen corn from my CSA that I froze in August      -grated cheddar cheese     -cilantro and green onions

-a chipotle pepper, also from my CSA, which was surprisingly HOT

-a bit of sour cream, and seasonings of salt, pepper, cumin

I mixed all that together, and then assembled.  I used 10-inch whole wheat tortillas, and heated them for about 15 seconds to make them more pliable, then scooped in the filling and rolled them up.  I made little parchment paper bags by stapling sheets of the paper together (note to self and to you: do not put the paper bags in the microwave later on, staples are made of metal and that is bad in the microwave) and then put them into freezer bags.  I did a sort of bad thing and put them straight into the freezer when they were still warm, which means that they got some condensation from the steam that may ultimately mean a bit of freezer burn, but oh well.

On Tuesday I had my first day where I packed a lunch, and I excitedly brought one of my burritos.  The best thing is that since they’re frozen rock-hard, I don’t need to bring an ice pack or anything like that, because it stays cold until my lunch time.  The other best thing is not having to wake up and go “Dang, I have nothing to bring for lunch!”.  The other best thing is that they are delicious.  I microwaved that baby for 2.5 minutes total, flipped it over once to get it cooking evenly, and it was so good.  Keep in mind, like most frozen burritos, by the time the microwave was done it is more fork-and-knife material then handheld, but that’s okay.  It was so satisfying.  A filling, homemade, healthy, and cheap lunch. Score! Happy New Year to lunch!

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The following post can be read to the tune of:

I have been a very bad blogger.  This has, most certainly, been my biggest lapse and as always, I apologize.  But rather than dwell on reasons or excuses, how about I just tell you about some delicious things?  Since it’s been so long since I’ve posted here’s a smattering of images from foods I’ve made in the last couple of months:

Buckwheat pancakes with blueberry-rhubarb compote

Shaved asparagus pizza

That last photo is of my go-to veggie burger recipe.  I’ve been making it for years, and I often crave it.  Usually I have everything for it on hand, so it’s a great recipe for when you are trying to use up things in your fridge.  The first time I had these burgers my good friend and housewife Krista Nerland made them for me and some friends, back in Montreal, many moons ago.  This was when I still ate meat, and when I thought of vegetarian food as usually lacklustre – particularly when it seemed like vegetarian “health food”.  What I’m trying to say is that I was expecting to hate these burgers, and to lie through my teeth that I liked them.  But then, I DID like them.  I was surprised.  They contained something called “bulgur” and that did not at all sound appealing.  Perhaps my now-love of delicious, natural, whole foods can be traced back to this moment.  The recipe itself is from a Moosewood cookbook – Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home – to be precise.

I’ve adapted this recipe slightly – mostly to make a smaller batch, and used their variation of adding chickpeas (I honestly can’t imagine these burgers without the chickpeas – I don’t think I’d like them nearly as much).  The “small” batch – the one I’m sharing here – still makes 6-8 good sized burgers.

Mince 1 garlic clove, and saute it in some oil for a couple minutes with 3/4 cup of bulgur.  Add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and bulgur is tender.  *NOTE* for years when I made this recipe I made it with fine bulgur, and never needed to actually cook it at all – I just poured the water over and covered it and let it sit (like couscous) off the heat.  This was the first time I’ve ever actually cooked it on the stove, because now I have whole bulgur which is much larger, like wheatberries (are they the same thing?!) so just note that if you have fine grain bulgur you really don’t need to cook it.

Meanwhile, assemble the following things in a mixing bowl:  1/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/4 cup grated carrot, 1/8 cup chopped parsley (I frequently use cilantro instead, and I also don’t ever measure it, I just throw a big pile in, YUM), 1/8 cup tahini, 1 tbsp. tomato paste (get the stuff in a tube and you won’t have a rotting can of paste in your fridge!), 1 tbsp. tamari, 1/2 teaspoon (or however much you like) dijon mustard, add your favourite hot sauce (optional) and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all those things together! Then, mash 1/2 -1cup chick peas (the more you add, the harder it will be to get them to stay together, but I generally use more than the 1/2 cup the recipe calls for) and add them into the mix.  When the bulgur is ready, mix it in too.  Then form your patties (don’t burn your hands!) and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.   You can also fry these burgers, but I gave that up a few years ago because they never stay together and they become an oily mess.  In the oven they still sometimes fall apart when you flip them (be gentle!) but it’s nowhere near as bad as the frying scenario.  But if you’re brave and wanna fry them, be my guest.

If you love chick peas and veggie burgers that don’t try to taste like meat, I hope you will like these a lot.  They are nutty, and the flavours all mingle so well.  I imagine you could alter this recipe to put your own favourite seasonings/sauces in it, but you would want to keep the same amount of binding liquid-y stuff (i.e. tahini, tomato paste, mustard) to drier grainier things if you care about them actually staying together.  Yum! Now I just want these for dinner, but that’s not what I’m having tonight.

In other news, that time of the year is here again – the time when I feel busy all the time because I need to use most of my precious non-working moments to can things.  Canning! I made two batches of jam today, which meant standing in a small, sweaty kitchen and stirring for longer than I normally would on a day off, but really it’s so easy and satisfying and it made me remember why I like preserving things so much.

I made an old favourite today – my Aunt Linda’s Christmas Jam, which I blogged about last year (and used my own blogged recipe today while making it, which Paul thought was cool), but I also made a new, slightly experimental jam.  Rosemary Rhubarb.  Now, I followed a recipe, and in theory it’s not very different from the Rhubarb Ginger jam I’ve made a few times before, but obviously the flavour combination is totally different, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Paul loves it.  I like it quite a bit, though it’s the kind of thing that tastes good but also confuses your brain a little bit.  I’m interested to see how other people find it, but I think that it would definitely be amazing with a good goat’s cheese and some bread.

I hope to do a lot more experimental canning this year, and I want to break away from just jam and into more challenging things – more relishes, chutneys, sauces, syrups! I also have big plans to buy a bushel of tomatoes and can them all so that I can live off them in the sad winter months.  So stay tuned, this won’t be my last sweaty stove afternoon!

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My sub-headline on this site has been “and then I cracked an egg on it” since I started this blog – the reason for this is that I often make something that is chock full of veggies and stuff but fairly devoid of protein and finish it off with an egg (or two) on top.  Runny yolks make the best sauce for food, and I am in love with eggs in a serious way.   But then for a long time I wasn’t doing this so much – in large part because I started eating eggs almost every morning for breakfast, so having them at dinner as well seemed like overkill.  Now I’m working a lot more morning shifts at work, so I often don’t have my eggs in the morning because I’m rushing off to work; so recently, the egg-on-top-of-stuff dinner has come back in a big way.

A few weeks ago, on cook-n-blog Monday with Kat Burns, I was tired.  I didn’t feel like cooking at all.  I wasn’t organized.  Then Kat came over and said “how about I cook for you this week!” and I welcome the opportunity to just watch and snap the photos.  Now, this particular Monday fell right after my birthday weekend – and on this birthday weekend I had a lil dinner party in my dear friend Krista’s lovely dining room.  I cooked for twelve people on my birthday.  What was I thinking? I don’t know, but it ended up not actually be stressful at all, and just being quite lovely.  But I had some leftovers.  I had made a salad of cooked butternut squash and beluga lentils with goat cheese on arugula, and there was a TON leftover.  It was yummy, but if I was going to finish off the leftovers, I needed to reinvent it in some way.  If there’s one thing Kat Burns is really good at, it’s not letting food go to waste.  So she went to work on my leftovers.

She cooked up some zucchini and mushrooms that I had, and added that leftover squash salad – just dumped the whole container into the frying pan.  I was not particularly hopeful, because I wasn’t sure that this cold salad with all its parts was going to heat up all that well.  I was wrong!  All those things mixed together and sauteed ended up being wonderful, especially when it was finished with a perfect sunny-side up egg on top.  Let it be known that I never cook my eggs sunny-side up, because I like the security of knowing that my eggs are fully cooked that comes with flipping them.  But Kat Burns is a sunny-side-up master.  She’s got it down.  She can even cook that egg in a cast iron pan without wrecking it.  That is a skill. She’s proud of that skill, and she should be.

Kat and I had to take a hiatus last week – it was Family Day, so she didn’t have to work in the city, and I wanted to get to bed early because I had an interview for Teacher’s College the next day.  We will soon meet again, however, and now I have a brand spanking new camera all my own, so you can expect a lot more blog posts to be coming your way.  First, though, I have to take my laptop in to be fixed AGAIN because my disc drive is broken, which means that I can’t install my new camera’s software, which means I can’t upload any of my food photos yet.  Le sigh.  Soon, my friends, soon.

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Last Monday Kat and I were unable to cook-n-blog together because I had to work in the evening, so I thought I’d delay the previous week’s post so as to space out the food porn until our next food adventure.  That sounds better than saying “I was too lazy to post something this week”, right? Anyway, the last time that Kat and I met I made the food that I had intended to make on our first Monday – a black bean soup using the crockpot that Kat has indefinitely lent me while she lives on the island.  Crockpots are so cool.  I’ve never owned one myself, and I don’t use Kat’s as much as I should, but I love the idea of being able to leave something simmering while you’re out all day without worrying about burning your whole house down.  I may have mentioned this in my last post, but I’m trying really hard to live more like a poor person these days, which mostly just means cooking more in the ways that I’d like to be anyways.  Meaning, less prepared foods – but to the max; i.e. I’ve been buying dried beans rather than canned ones, making my own bread in my awesome breadmachine that I got for Christmas, etc.  It requires a bit more planning, but you have so much more control over your food AND it saves money.

So I wanted to make a black bean soup, and I started out by wanting to make this one, because as you all know by now, I love the SmitKit.  Also, the cumin seed crema sounded amazing, and her soup just looks so…smooth. I wanted that smoothness.  But then, when I actually made the soup, I didn’t follow that recipe at all, but still complained when my soup didn’t look smooth at all.  Hey, I never said I was rational.  I think the biggest reason why my soup didn’t look like that is that Deb over at Smitten Kitchen COOKED her beans in the crockpot all together with the soup ingredients, so all that beany cooking liquid would be in there making it darker and more voluptuous.  But I cooked the beans beforehand, for reasons I just don’t know.  When I went to make the soup I looked at that Smitten Kitchen recipe, and the black bean soup recipe in my copy of Veganomicon, and then kind of made up my own that was inspired by each of those recipes.  Basically, I sauteed onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and some green and orange peppers and added spices and one of my reconstituted chipotle peppers from my summer CSA (the first time I actually used one of these peppers – so good!) and then dumped all that into the crockpot with some water and the beans and turned it on.  Later I pureed part of the soup in my teeny tiny food processor, which reminded me how much I miss having an immersion blender. Pureeing soup in any kind of blender or food processor is just the worst. THE WORST.

Portrait of the Cornbread as a Young Man

I did, however, follow Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the cumin seed crema, and I used creme fraiche and OMG why don’t I buy/make creme fraiche all the time? I want to eat this cumin creme fraiche on everything! I will be honest – while Kat and I watched 90210 I ate several spoonfuls (or actually, finger-dipfuls) of that creme fraiche all on its own, and also drizzled mass quantities of it over the cornbread I made to go with the soup.  Everything and anything is a vehicle for this creme fraiche to get into my belly.

Anyways, though the soup didn’t look nearly as pretty as I may have wanted, it tasted quite good and it packed quite a spicy punch from that one tiny chipotle pepper.  I had tons of leftovers and it reheated very well.

P.S. You may be thinking “That’s an awfully full glass of wine” but while I would not be opposed to drinking such a glass of wine you should know that it is actually a portion of the very delicious (though sadly not Ontario-made) Creme Brulee Stout that we drank that night, and which I have enjoyed on other occasions as well.  Beer + Beans + Cornbread.  Not a bad Monday.  See you next week, when Kat and I put a bunch of cabbage in a bucket and see what happens.

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I’m back! I will be trying to blog fairly regularly now – as long as Kat Burns manages to provide me with the photos of our exploits in a timely manner.  You see, my dear KB, ever the opportunist (ha! jk lol lmao kb!) seized her chance to eat my delicious creations on a regular basis while also securing herself a city couch on which to sleep.  What the hell am I talking about? Well, Kat Burns moved to the island to hone her artistry.  She comes downtown to work with adorable children on Monday and Tuesday, and as such she likes to just stay in the city overnight on Mondays to ease her commute.  And so! My broken camera plus her need for a bed have begot a wonderful weekly evening! Kat comes over around 6 and we cook and eat things, take pictures of those things and of us cooking and eating them, and then we sit and watch Beverly Hills, 90210 on dvd until I have to go to bed.  We’ve done this for two weeks now, but just now have the two of us gotten ourselves together enough to get the photos up on the internet.  And so! I will tell you about the first week today, and then if I’m feeling generous I will write about the second Monday before the weekend is over.

The first Monday didn’t go quite as planned.  I had big plans for our first Monday meal together, but when my work day went longer than expected, and then my TTC commute went longer than expected, and I didn’t get home in enough time to make what I’d been planning to make.  So when Kat arrived, we improvised, and I’m so glad we did.  Why? Because it yielded my new favourite everyday meal – barley + lentils cooked together in my rice cooker, topped with an assortment of delicious veggies.

It turns out that pot barley and regular French green lentils cook perfectly together in the same amount of time in my tiny rice cooker.  Equal parts barley and lentils, and double the water.  We added some cumin and garam masala and a splash of tamari to the rice cooker for maximum flavour output.  Toss it all in and forget about it.  In the meantime, I roasted a red pepper in the oven.  I sort of hate roasted red peppers when they haven’t JUST been made.  I’m not sure why – I think the longer they sit (especially in those liquidy store-bought jars) they seem to get stronger and sweeter tasting, which I’m sure is very appealing to many of you, but I just find that they overpower everything.  And I don’t like a flavour hog.  But roasted in my own oven and eaten right away? DELICIOUS.  And so easy! Cut your pepper in half, take out the seeds and the stem, rub of a bit of olive oil on both sides, and put them in a small pan in your oven at about 400.  Check on them and flip them once so that both sides get good and charred.  I find they’ll take about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on them.

While the peppers roasted and the lentils/barley boiled and steamed, we sauteed some onions in my cast iron pan – because a big pile of sauteed onions is the key to all yummy things (can I even believe that as a child I hated onions?! What was I thinking??) and crafted a lemony tahini sauce almost identical to the one that I use for this dish.  So in the end we had perfectly cooked and spiced barley and green lentils, topped with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, avocado slices, and lemony tahini sauce.  It was AWESOME.  A great start to cook-n-blog Mondays.  We then proceeded to complain about how dry the air in my apartment was while we finished season 8 of 90210, only to be left without knowing if Valerie Malone tested positive or negative for HIV! Enough with the cliffhangers!

So stay tuned, blog universe! Kat Burns and I have much more up our sleeves!

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Today I’m going to share a recipe with you that came from the lovely Ms. Emily Bennett, who right now is likely writing one of the many (and i mean many) midterms that she has this week at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She recently moved to the country, and now I miss her even more than when she moved out of the house we shared but was still living in the city.  This is a recipe she introduced me to within the first few months of us living together in Toronto, and one that we made many times that first winter on Lansdowne, and that I’ve made many times since.  I’ve never seen an actual written recipe for this dish, but somewhere down the line in the past I think there was one (an old roommate of Emily’s made it, I think?) and in many ways this is exactly what I like about it.  It’s so easy, and satisfying, and I’ve passed it on to other friends as well.

Here’s what you need to make this:

1 Onion, a bunch of Kale, a can of Chick Peas, Tahini, a clove or two of Garlic, Lemon Juice or a few fresh lemons, Brown Rice.

In the world of vegetarians, most of these ingredients are pretty common to have on hand, which is also why I’ve made this for dinner so often – it’s a pretty good “I don’t know what to eat tonight” meal.

First thing, put some rice on to cook.  I use a rice cooker, because frankly I’m not very good at cooking rice and also I generally prefer to have the stovetop space free for other things other than grain-cooking.

So, you chop your onion.  Saute it in a large frying pan (I use my trusty wok) in some olive oil.  I like to keep the onion in big pieces so you get nice caramelized-y bites in the finished product.  As far as I’m concerned, the more onion the merrier in this dish.  After a little while, you throw in your chick peas.  Basically a whole can works well, but if you want less you can use less.

Now, here’s the thing: try not to stir those chick peas too much.  This is extremely difficult for me, it’s like the cooking equivalent of my restless leg syndrome.  The first few times Emily and I made this she had to say things to me like “Now Liz, this is one of those things you want to try not to stir” in a kindergarten teacher-like voice. It’s true! You want your chick peas to get crunchy and crispy from sitting on the pan.  Try not to stir them!

Once your chick peas have started to crisp up and brown, you can throw in your chopped kale.  If you want, you can also toss in a clove or so of minced garlic at this point – I’ve never been able to decide whether I like this more with garlic cooked in with the veggies or raw in the sauce at the end, so I tend to do a little combination of both.  Now you want to let your kale cook – you can cover the pan if you want to let it steam a bit, or just stir it around and let it wilt gradually.  Honestly, I think that the first time Emily made this for me was probably also one of the first times I’d eaten kale, like, ever. Weird, right?

I know that using fresh lemons is way better than bottled lemon juice, and I used to always have many lemons on hand, but lately I’ve been relying way more on the bottled stuff pictured above.  This is probably because I haven’t been buying much produce in grocery stores to begin with lately (since getting the CSA) and because of my new found penchant for making whiskey sours at home.  Like, regularly.  I have homemade simple syrup in the fridge and then I just use this lemon juice.  Sour mix, ta daaaa! And it’s not from concentrate, so it is still delicious and not weird.  But I digress.  While your stuff is cooking on the stove you want to mix up a little sauce. Throw in some raw garlic (unless you’re raw garlic-averse), some lemon juice, and a hefty bit of tahini.  Season it with salt and pepper, throw in a bit of hot sauce if you like, sometimes I add a dash of tamari. Ultimately this is a creamy tahini sauce, but you want the lemon juice (and maybe a teensy bit of warm water) to thin it out and to round out the flavour.

Once your kale is cooked to your liking (I like it to still have a good bite to it, I don’t like sloppy soggy steamer greens), you want to throw in all your cooked rice.  Mix all the veggie stuff in and then drizzle in your tahini sauce.  Add the sauce a bit at a time so you  know how much you want – but I like this to be pretty saturated with the tahini sauce.  It makes the meal really creamy and hearty.  And that’s it! You eat it!

The thing is, when Emily first made this for me I remember being pretty skeptical.  I was still a fairly new vegetarian and had not really been eating particularly healthy in general.  Emily had been vegetarian for basically her whole life and was always improvising meals with whatever she had – I was always someone (and still am, I suppose) who wanted to eat what I was CRAVING and not just whatever was around.  And this meal seemed so healthy when she was making it, that I was sure I wouldn’t like it.  And I loved it! The onions and the crunchy chick peas and the creamy tahini sauce.  I honestly crave this all the time.  I’m craving it right now. And the thing is, it’s totally healthy.  I think it’s probably one of the best meals I eat, especially as a vegetarian who always needs protein.  Chick peas are awesome for protein, and so is tahini.  Brown rice is obviously healthy, and kale is a superfood!  So go forth and make this for dinner! You won’t be sorry! Just try not to stir the chick peas.

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