Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homemade Gifts: Cranberry Orange Bark with Almonds

Gifts from the kitchen are delightful.  They are appreciated by many and filled with love and patience.  Most of my homespun gifts must wait until I return to Washington, since traveling with fragile edibles is not worth the level of stress. I decided last weekend that peppermint bark would not be too much of a travel undertaking, since it is supposed to be broken! Perfect.  So I picked up some good chocolate and made a batch of peppermint bark that rivals Williams-Sonoma.  Then I was really inspired, and got a bit inventive.  The true gem turned out to be the Cranberry Orange Bark with Almonds.  The key to this candy is to use good quality dark or semisweet chocolate.  Here are the recipes for both types:

Cranberry Orange Bark with Almonds
  • 12 ounces high quality dark or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange essence
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, until liquid*
2. Stir in orange essence until oil combines with chocolate (~1minute)
3. Pour chocolate onto baking sheet lined with silicone mat or waxed paper
4. Sprinkle almonds and cranberries evenly over the surface, and lightly press into chocolate with palms
5. Place in refrigerator until very firm, at least 1 hour
6. Break into various sized pieces and package for gifts or enjoy with friends

Peppermint Bark
  • 6 ounces high quality dark or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces high quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 candy canes
1. Unwrap candy canes and place in freezer bag, wrap the bag with a towel, and hit with a rolling pin or heavy pan until broken into small pieces.
2. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler*
3. Pour chocolate onto baking sheet lined with silicone mat or waxed paper, and place in refrigerator for 1 hour
4. Melt white chocolate in double boiler*
5. Gently spread on top of dark chocolate, you will likely get a little marbling (just embrace it)
6. Sprinkle peppermint pieces onto white chocolate and gently press in with palms
7. Return to refrigerator for at least 1 hour
8. Break into various sized pieces and package for gifts or enjoy with friends

*To make a double boiler: find a heatproof bowl that will sit atop one of your saucepans.  Pour 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom of the saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Place bowl on top, ensuring that the bottom does not touch the water.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Five Gifts for Food Lovers

Oh December.  I love this month so much, but yet I always seem to become uncontrollably stressed out.  Today marks two weeks until Christmas, and I am amazingly about halfway through my Christmas shopping. This might be a record.  Starting early has allowed me some creativity and increased thoughtfulness with my gift finding strategies. Some of the best gifts for a food lover are those that will live in the kitchen for a lifetime, and will better as they age.  Here are some ideas for unique gifts:

The Artist: Block Prints from Rigel Stuhmiller's Etsy Shop.  I actually ordered this calender or my mom's birthday in November, and she loved it.  He also has lovely prints and notecards, many with a food-oriented theme.

The Feminine: Anthropologie aprons are delightful gifts. They are flirty, fun and functional.  This is my personal favorite.

The Rustic: Handmade, recycled kitchen signage "savor" "eat" or "cook" are some good options.  Keep in mind your loved ones' kitchen spaces to make sure the sign will fit.

The Practical: Stoneware never goes out of style, cooks beautifully, and looks fantastic in any kitchen.  This oval enameled dish would make a great addition to many cooks' tools.

The Splurge: The beloved Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer; a must have for many cooks, especially those who are passionate about baking.  Not only are they useful, they are beautiful too, and can add a splash of color to any countertop.  In our tiny studio kitchen, I despise appliances that live on the counter.  The only exception is my stand mixer.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Favorite Restaurant Inspiration: Lemon Goat Cheese Souffles

This is evidence that I am no longer in class: I have time to cook and post to the blog!  Last night I themed dinner around French cooking, and dug out this recipe that I created over the summer.  I considered waiting to post it, but decided it was too good to keep to myself.

A couple years ago we stumbled upon The Village Cork.  This quaint, French-inspired wine bistro has it all: atmosphere, genuine staff, and superb food. Chef Samir Mohammad is central to the restaurant, figuratively and literally.  His entire kitchen is located behind the wrap-around bar that divides the two small dining rooms, making the bar seats best in the house.  Watching him work is captivating, and I always learn something new while I am enjoying his locally grown and unique dishes.  
Recently, the chef presented a lemony Chevre souffle as part of a vegetarian trio.  It was so good, I was determined to replicate it to the best of my ability.  While my version is not quite as good as the chef's, it is still delightful, and fairly easy.  Getting a full rise is tricky, and mine could still use a little more height.  While these are not that healthy, they are not that unhealthy either and provide a lovely treat as a starter, or make more for a main dish.  

Some souffle tips and tricks:
  1. Allow eggs to come to room temperature
  2. After buttering the dishes, return to refrigerator while you cook 
  3. Do not open the oven during the first 3/4 of the baking time
  4. Do not over-whip your egg whites, they will not be able to rise in the oven
  5. Pre-measure all of your ingredients, you will not have time to do this while you are cooking
  6. Have everyone seated, as the souffles will immediately begin to fall when they come out of the oven
Lemon Goat Cheese Souffles
Makes 6 1 cup Ramekins 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (about) dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 5 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), very coarsely crumbled
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub inside of six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes or ramekins with 1 tablespoons butter. Coat with breadcrumbs; tap out excess. Set aside, preferably in the refrigerator.
  2. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in milk.
  4. Increase heat to medium. Simmer mixture until very thick, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Add half of goat cheese and whisk until melted and smooth.
  5. Mix in zest, salt and pepper. For a more intense lemon flavor, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  6. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot soufflé base. Cool 5 minutes.
  7. Place egg whites in bowl of stand mixer and beat until foamy.  Add cream of tarter and continue to beat until stiff but not dry. Mix 1/4 of whites into soufflé base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites. Fold in remaining goat cheese.
  8. Divide mixture among prepared soufflé dishes. Place in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.
  9. Bake soufflés until puffed and golden brown on top and softly set in center, about 20 minutes. Serve soufflés immediately in their dishes. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bread That Almost Makes Itself: No Knead Bread

Happy Friday everyone! The holiday season is rapidly approaching.  Christmas lights are strung, ornaments are out for sale, snow is falling here in Denver, and Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away.  Today happens to be another holiday: Veteran's Day.  I have a lovely late start today, and I am thankful for the causal scheduling error.  While downloading food pictures from the past couple weeks, I am struggling to decide which recipe to post.
I recently discovered the wonderful invention of Jim Lahey two years ago: no knead bread.  However, there seem to be endless modified versions floating around cyber space.  The original recipe calls for 14-20 hours of rise time.  My patience is much too short for that.  I found a recipe derived by Mark Bittman, columnist for the New York Times that called for only 4 1/2 hours of rise time.  I have changed it a bit to use part whole grain flour, and that addition required an additional rise time.  The bread is a dense, hearty, country-style loaf that pairs perfectly with soups, stews and pastas.  It is a bit small for sandwich bread, but I have used it alright. 

Speedy No Knead Bread
  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Olive oil as needed
  1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water and stir until blended, dough should be "shaggy."
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or bread towel and let rise at warm room temperature (70 degrees or more) for about 5 hours.
  3. Lightly oil a work surface and gently roll dough out of bowl onto it, fold the dough over one or two times, cover with plastic wrap or towel again and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes.
  4. At least 30 minutes before baking, put a dutch oven or one of these alternatives in the oven and let it heat to 450 degrees.
  5. Slide your hand under the dough and transfer to dutch oven.  Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for about 15 more minutes or until crust is browned.
  6. Transfer to cooling rack and cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

A web search for enchiladas verdes produces many results from cream sauces to use of canned soup to home-made marvels. I have been working for the past year now (about five attempts) to perfect a lighter and authentic version of this dish that has been over-Americanized.  While it still uses cheese, the dish is somewhat healthy, and I finally got the salsa to my liking. They go great with some mexican rice.  The steps seem a bit complex, but the end result is worth it.

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ of an onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1.5 pounds tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 large Jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
  • ½ cup Cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • Thin corn tortillas
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 avocado, for garnish
  • 1 tomato, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, for garnish
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add ¼ onion and salt
  2. Reduce heat and add chicken breasts and cook about 15 minutes or until no longer pink when cut
  3. Drain and set aside chicken to cool
  4. While the water is boiling, peel the tomatillos, then slice in half and place on a baking sheet lined with foil
  5. Peel the cloves of garlic and add to sheet
  6. Slice jalapeno lengthwise, and remove a portion of the seeds (this was perfect for a medium temperature salsa), add this to the baking sheet also
  7. Place under broiler for 5-7 minutes until skin of the tomatillos is blackened
  8. Combine tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime juice, sugar and oil in food processor and pulse until ingredients are finely chopped and mixed, salt to taste
  9. Once cooled, shred chicken into a bowl, add cumin, chili powder, and about ¼ cup of the salsa
  10.  Place 16 corn tortillas in the oven at 250, tightly wrapped in foil for 5 minutes to warm

To Combine
  1. Make an assembly line: tortillas, salsa, chicken, cheddar cheese, pan
  2. Spread about ½ cup of salsa to coat the bottom of the pan liberally
  3. Take each tortilla and spread about a teaspoon of salsa, chicken and cheese inside
  4. Roll gently, and place in pan seam side down, repeat for rest of tortillas
  5. Spread remaining salsa over the top of the enchiladas, and top with queso fresco
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese is melted, and just beginning to brown
  7. Serve topped with avocado, tomato and cilantro

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin! (with orzo and sage)

It is official: I am finally done with my PT classwork.  Crazy and exciting all at the same time.  Now I am spending my days working at a pre-school for blind children for the next 16 weeks.  It has surprised me so far, and I am actually enjoying it.

Even though I have been getting home late, I have been trying a few new recipes, and this one turned out quite good.  For a little more punch, I would increase the sage and the garlic.  I found this recipe through The Kitchn, and thought that it would make a lovely fall pasta.  It is fairly light but maintains rich fall flavors.  Enjoy!  

Pumpkin Orzo with Sage
  • 2 cups orzo 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped finely
  • 1/4 pumpkin (make the rest into pumpkin puree)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Tomato
  • Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 375
2. Peel pumpkin using a potato peeler
3. Cut 1/4 of the pumpkin into small squares, about 1/2 inch thick.
4. Toss pumpkin squares with 1 part of the olive oil, cinnamon, sage, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, and pepper
5. Spread in a single layer in a baking dish for 30-35 minutes until easily pierced by toothpick
6. Heat water until boiling, then add orzo and stir occasionally
7. After 8 minutes, drain orzo and put back into pot. Add pumpkin cubes, pine nuts, and rest of olive oil.
8. Garnish with tomato, Parmesan, and fresh basil

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Settling In and Peach Crisp

The craziness has ended.  Wedding fun has wrapped up, I am basically finished with my classwork for PT school, and fall is approaching fast.  The HE needs a new name, but I am not feeling witty at the moment, so he will have to wait.

This summer has been amazing, and ended with a wonderful wedding.  We were so lucky to have all of our friends and family gather to celebrate our marriage.  My mom and some great friends and family took on the task of preparing the food, which turned out fantastically.  I will post some recipes soon.  All of my energy, heart, and soul went into the wedding, and I was so pleased to have it turn out beautifully.

Now we are back to sanity, and settling in as husband and wife. Still sounds funny. I have realized how much I miss cooking. Over the past two weeks, I have been making all my favorites: roasted chicken (I still need to actually write down how I do that), stuffed squash, grilled vegetables, and homemade pizza. I was going to post the pizza recipe, but I attempted my own crust that was very far from perfect, so that will have to wait. Today was drizzly and northwest-like in Denver, so we made simple baked potatoes followed by easy, single-serving peach crisps. Palisade, Colorado is famous (apparently) for their peaches, so this is in honor of local peach season.
Fall is my favorite food season (yes, each season has a reason I love it), so look forward to deliciousness.

Peach Crisp
Serves 4
  • 2 medium to large peaches
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Pre-heat oven to 350
2. Roughly peel peaches and dice into 1/2 inch cubes
3. Combine peaches, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Stir well
4. Drizzle honey over top, and mix again until all peaches are coated
5. In a separate bowl combine butter and brown sugar with a fork, until reasonably mixed
6. Add oats, and mix with hands or mash with spoon until oats begin to clump together
7. Divide peaches into 4 small ramekins
8. Divide oat mixture into 4 and press onto tops of peach mixture
9. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown and warmed through

Monday, June 20, 2011

Welcome Summer: Artichoke Pasta Salad

Hello followers.  It has been a long time since I have posted.  The brief update of my past few months follows.  The HE and I have been frantically planning our upcoming wedding, I spent April and May living in Gunnison, Colorado with no internet access unless I was at the coffee shop, at the end of May we spent 2 weeks in Turkey with our dear friends Matt and Mackenzie (see Mackenzie's photos here), and we just returned from a long weekend in Telluride for the Bluegrass Festival.  All of this chaos has left little time for my dear SG.  I am sorry.

To make it up to you, I am posting my all time favorite pasta salad recipe.  I am a little bit obsessed with it actually.  It is light, tasty, and so easy I take it to a few more potlucks than I should.  Using the marinade from the artichoke hearts ties the flavor together and decreases time spent making elaborate dressing.  Win-win. So enjoy, and I will try my hardest to get something else delightful up here soon.

Artichoke Pasta Salad
Modified from

  • 2 cups whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped if desired (save ½ of marinade for dressing)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup pitted olives (green or kalamata)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add pasta and boil until al dente. Drain well and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, artichokes, pepper tomatoes, olives, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic.
  3. Dressing: ½ of the artichoke marinade, vinegar and oil.  Mix well then pour over salad.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Before serving, season the pasta dish with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nearly Perfect Bran Muffins

The past month has flown by; I can't believe it has been that long since I posted on SG.  So much has happened.  That guy formerly known as the boyfriend gets a new name "Husband Elect" HE for short, therefore I have become a wedding-blog-stalking nut.  I also finished my sixth semester of classes in grad school, meaning I have had the entire week free of school.  

While wandering aimlessly about the grocery store today, I thought of the perfect afternoon activity: bran muffins.  I grabbed some bran and some eggs and went merrily on my way.  When I got home, I was shocked to find that every bran muffin recipe I found required buttermilk.  Determined to not return to the store, I convinced myself that yogurt would work.  Searching yogurt and bran muffins actually revealed a link to  This recipe had way too much oil and sugar, so I added honey, removed the sugar and threw in a banana for good measure.  The results were far better than I could have guessed.  The best news is they are pretty healthy.

Yogurt Bran Muffins
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups unprocessed bran (find in bulk bins)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

1.       Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside
2.       In a large bowl mash the banana, add eggs, honey, vanilla and oil, and thoroughly combine; mix in bran until coated
3.       Add yogurt ½ cup at a time to the banana-egg mixture, alternating with flour mixture
4.       Mix until just combined, add pecans if desired
5.       Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly brown around the edges, move to cooling rack and store in airtight container

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Brief Tale of Corn, and Cornbread of Course!

From Cheap, Healthy, Good
Happy Thursday!  Tomorrow is Friday, and I have self-determined that by 8 AM my annoying case of the sniffles will be gone.  Instead of playing in the mountains and working on my fantastic tan line today, I spent the day watching a Disney movie and reading Stieg Larsson's murder mystery: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  While the day was fantastically relaxing, it was also rather unproductive.  Therefore, this post is my productivity for today.

Corn.  Discovered in Cuba by Christopher Columbus, corn was subsequently introduced to western civilization.  According to the boyfriend's current read: The Omnivore's Dilemma, corn is everywhere.  The stuff is so cheap, its made into adhesives, sweeteners, oils, clothing, livestock feed, and much more.  However, we primarily consume this versatile food unknowingly in its most processed forms.

Cornbread uses cornmeal, which can be found in two varieties: steel-ground and stone-ground.  Stone-ground cornmeal is the healthier choice as it retains some of the hull and germ (read: more fiber).  This recipe is another that I adjusted a bit from Cheap, Healthy, Good.  It goes perfect with some chicken chili!


  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal, divided
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated white sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 7/8 cup low-fat buttermilk (3/4 cup plus two tablespoons)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ tablespoon flour
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • Oil to coat the pan
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey

1.       Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with oil, and line the           bottom with parchment covered in more oil.
2.       To a medium bowl, add 1/3 cup cornmeal. Set aside.
3.       In a small bowl, combine remaining 2/3 cup cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk it all together. Set aside.
4.       Go back to the first bowl, with the 1/3 cup cornmeal. Pour water into it. Stir until it's thoroughly combined and stiff. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk until the mixture is lump-less. Whisk in egg and butter. Pour the flour mixture into the cornmeal mixture and stir until everything is barely moist. (If desired, before adding batter to the pan, stir corn kernels with flour in a small bowl until just covered. Then, add corn to the batter, stirring lightly until just mixed.)
5.       Pour batter into pan and drizzle honey over the top. Bake 20 minutes or so, until it's risen slightly and top is golden brown. Remove from oven. Remove bread from pan. Cool on wire rack at least 5 minutes. Serve.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Spice-Rubbed Tempeh Wraps

On Monday, the USDA released the 2010 dietary guidelines for Americans.  Americans are being encouraged to reduce obesity by eating less and eating better.  While these seem like common sense principles, this is a huge move for the industry-funded USDA.  One way to eat better, and consume fewer calories is to go vegetarian a few days a week.  So try tempeh!

Tempeh is one of those "meat-replacement" foods that frequently appears in vegetarian restaurants, but I never seem to cook it at home.  Similar to tofu, tempeh is soy-based.  However, tempeh is made from the whole soy bean, and therefore has a firmer texture, more dietary fiber, and higher protein content.  

Sorry, the tempeh is kind of hiding
A few weeks ago I spotted a package of tempeh when stocking up on my weekly quantity of tofu, and grabbed it figuring inspiration would follow.  It sat in my fridge for at least a week before I mustered up the energy to get creative with my little block of goodness.  At first, I planned on baking these little tempeh sticks, but it was taking too long, and looked very bland.  The best thing about these wraps: they take about 15 minutes, start to finish.  

Spice-Rubbed Tempeh Wraps
Makes 4 wraps
  • 1 8oz package of tempeh
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon  coriander
  • ½ onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • ½ can black beans, rinsed
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 4 leafs lettuce, torn or chopped into large pieces
1.       Slice tempeh into sticks, ¼ inch wide and about 3 inches long (width of package). 
2.       Combine paprika, chili powder, cumin and coriander in a bowl, and rub each tempeh stick in the spices (if they are not sticking, get them a bit wet). 
3.       Put olive oil in sauté pan, and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and any remaining spices. 
4.       Once the onion begins to soften, increase the heat to medium-high and add the tempeh.  Cook until browned on all sides.
5.       Pour black beans into a pot and warm over low heat (~3-4 minutes)
6.       Warm tortillas in oven 1-2 minutes
7.       Lay tortilla flat and add tempeh, onions, avocado, bell pepper, beans, cilantro and lettuce.  Fold over one end and roll from sides.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SG Returns with North African Chickpea Salad

Happy 2011, and I apologize for the neglect. With ski season (and my goggle tan) in full swing, I seem to overlook food experimentation for nachos and slope-style. Also, there is that little thing called grad school. 

However, I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks at home over Christmas and in celebration of Christmas Eve Eve (the boyfriend’s holiday with my family), we made some grilled Mahi Mahi and I remembered this lovely chickpea salad. 

Awhile ago, while perusing archives of Cheap, Healthy, Good, a favorite food blog, I found this delightfully simple recipe that looked straightforward and tasty. I ended up making a few modifications (enter: more carrots and honey), resulting in a fresh and mildly spicy dish. It is best made a day ahead of time to allow the dressing to soak into the beans, but I never seem to be that timely.

North African Chickpea Salad (6 servings)
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about ½ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and ground black pepper
1) In a large mixing or serving bowl, combine chickpeas, grated carrots, raisins and mint. Stir. 

2) In a separate small bowl, combine oil, honey, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and paprika. Whisk it together, like you would a dressing. Pour over chickpea mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or a little chilled. Great for picnics.