Ladies Craft Beer Society Takes on Pickling (Weekend Update: How to Make Pickles)

This Saturday was our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society. For those of you who need to catch up, each month I meet with a few lady friends for a few craft beer drinks, and a new craft. (B calls this my witchcraft society … ’nuff said) This month’s craft was pickling! I don’t know if it counts like a craft or not, but it was definitely something I was pumped for.

For you Portlandia fans, here’s what I was thinking about all week:

We had it at the lovely home of Cuoghi – she has a great kitchen and knows how to entertain. I wish I had taken a photo of all the glorious food she prepared – brown butter nectarine bars, two different quiches, homemade hummus, homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert. So. Good. Oh, and some delicious frozen strawberry lemonades  made with the lemon vodka we’d made at a previous LCBS.

frozen vodka strawberry lemonades

ice cream sandwiches

all the igredientsWanna make some delicious pickles? Here’s what you do. First we all made the pickling spice, which was a combination of 1/2 cinnamon stick (crushed), 2 whole cloves (crushed),   2 dried bay leaves,  2 T mustard seeds, 2 T whole coriander seeds, 2 T black peppercorns, 2 t whole allspice,  2 t dill seeds, 2 t caraway seeds and 2 t chili flakes. Combine everything in a jar – easy peasy!

1

Then we made the pickles. She had prepared recipes for both dill and bread & butter, but the dill were more my kind. Here’s what we did:

2

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Here’s what you need:

  • 6-7  kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T pickling spices (above)
  • 3-4 fresh dill springs or 2 tsp dried
  • optional: 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, chile flakes, sliced jalapeño, you can add another teaspoon of dill seeds if you like them really dilly

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up cucumbers and put in clean jar.
  2. Add optional items. I made one with garlic and sliced jalapeño and one regular.
  3. In a medium sauce pot, put everything else stir, bring to boil so that salt is dissolved, pour over cucumbers, seal jar.
  4. Let sit out for about an hour, then refrigerate.  They’ll be ready in about 24 hours! Enjoy 🙂
pickling

ladies pickling!

The finished product - spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

The finished product – spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

And that’s it for my weekend update! Coming up next .. a race recap from the half marathon I ran on Sunday. Guess what – another PR!

Meatless Monday!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s something delicious you made or ate this weekend?
  • Have you ever made pickles?
  • What’s something fun you like that’s pickled?

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken For 2

I’m not a seasonal eater. What do I mean by that? I love soups year round. Chili? In July? Why not?! Ice cream in the winter? Of course! B, on the other hand, is very seasonal. We can’t eat soup in the summer. Crockpot? Stash that away from May-Aug (and sometimes September). BUT sometimes I can sneak in a slow cooker recipe in the summer and convince B it’s still seasonal. I didn’t quite do that with this one (there was no sneaking) BUT he did enjoy it. And would eat it again:) At last! A  crock pot meal that even B enjoys in the summer.

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken For 2 (with leftover for lunch)

Makes 2 large dinner servings, with a leftover lunch portion

Slightly modified from Family Food on the Table

Ingredients

  • 2 large, skinless chicken breasts (mine weighed a little more than 1/2 lb)
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, mostly drained and chopped a bit
  • 1 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp red curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

Instructions

  1. Combine everything BUT the fresh basil and quinoa in your slow cooker (chicken breasts through dried Italian seasoning).
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Once finished, use two forks to shred the chicken into large chunks.
  4. Serve warm, with fresh basil and over quinoa. NOTE: There will be a decent amount of liquid left – I liked mine almost soupy and used much of it. If you don’t, use a slotted spoon for removing the meal from the crockpot.
Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken

Sittin in the slow cooker …

Mediterranean Crockpot Chicken

Ready to eat!

Alright, your turn. A few questions for you:

  • Any favorite summery slow cooker recipes? Let me know!
  • What’s the best slow cooker meal or snack you’ve ever had?
  • Are you a seasonal eater?

Friday Five: Celebrating National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day

I just found the most amazing food calendar that tells me dates of the most important holidays – food holidays! And first up is one holiday that I certainly will observe – National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day!!

I wish I had more advance notice, but National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is Sunday, March 1. So, in early celebration, here are five recipes that I think look AMAZING (disclosure, I’ve made some of them) and the perfect way to celebrate:

1. Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies 

[recipe]

 

2. Reese’s Soft Peanut Butter Cookies 

[recipe]

3. Peanut Butter Brookies

[recipe]

4. Soft Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting

[recipe]

5. Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Caramel Club Bars

[recipe]

For more peanut butter recipes, here are a few on here. Apparently I have a peanut butter addiction because that’s a lot of peanut butter!

Some questions for you:

  • If you had to choose from one of the treats above – which would you want to eat?
  • Do you like peanut butter? Believe it or not, I’ve met people who don’t!
  • Favorite way to enjoy peanut butter? On ice cream. Or a tortilla with honey and granola. Or with carrots. Or as a peanut butter cup! Yum! 

Lemon Blueberry Bread

B and I have gotten a plethora of blueberries the past few weeks in our CSA. Two weeks in a row, therefore, we’ve had extra and I’ve gotten to bake with them! A few weeks ago (and then again this weekend) it was blueberry buttermilk scones. The newest recipe I have to share with you? Lemon blueberry bread!

lemon blueberry bread - i crashed the web

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries carefully tossed in 1/8 c. flour

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan (mine was 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch).
  2. Beat together melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture. Add ½ of this dry ingredient mixture to the batter. Add in milk and mix in remaining flour mixture.
  4. Using a spatula, carefully fold in lemon zest and blueberries (coated in 1/8 c flour). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

This recipe is a keeper. The bread was cakelike, and could be enjoyed for breakfast (as I may have done), as well as dessert. If you like lemony desserts (and I do! My next favorite lemon recipe? These lemon bars.) you’ll like this bread.

 

fresh from the oven

fresh from the oven

 

Whatchamacallit Bars

I recently asked a group of coworkers what their favorite candy was. You know, for scientific research purposes (my study will be coming out in a few years. It’s going to take a while to taste all this candy*). Anyway, one of my colleagues mentioned Whatchamacallit bars as being his favorite. Do you remember those Whatchamacallit bars? You know, they were peanut butter/rice candy bars with caramel and chocolate? I came across this commercial from the 80s to describe the bar (the sad thing is, I was definitely younger than these kids in the commercial when this was airing on TV):

Now do you remember?

Anyway, the bars sounded like a glorified Rice Krispies treat to me. So of course, I had to buy a few, sample them, and make a dessert after them. You know, for science!

whatchamacallit bars - i crashed the web

Whatchamacallit Bars
(AKA Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats with Caramel and Chocolate)

Inspired by this recipe. But not as much work 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • 7 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 8 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 11-oz bag caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil and set aside.
  2. Measure out Rice Krispies and pour them into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan over low to medium low heat, melt together marshmallows and butter. Melt until fully combined and fluffy. Add in peanut butter and continue melting. Stir the mixture to avoid burning.
  4. Pour the peanut butter/marshmallow/butter mixture into the Rice Krispies and combine the ingredients well so that Krispies are completely coated.
  5. Once coated, add the Rice Krispies mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the cereal throughout the baking dish and flatten out.
  6. In the same saucepan, add caramel pieces and milk. Heat until melted and combined. Stir so as not to burn the mixture.
  7. Pour melted caramel over Rice Krispies mixture and spread across, creating an evenly distributed top layer.
  8. In the same saucepan (I’m all about reusing my dishes) or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips over low heat. These will burn or change texture if you take too long so continue to stir the mixture until melted. Pour melted chocolate over caramel layer and spread across.
  9. Optional: Find real Whatchamacallit Bars and chop them up into thin slivers. Sprinkle slivered bars across chocolate layer when still wet.
  10. Cool for 30 minutes to one hour before cutting and serving. I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process slightly 🙂 Yes, I’m that impatient.

whatchamacallit bars - i crashed the web

 

look at those layers!

look at those layers!

 

Some questions for you:

  1. What’s your favorite candy bar? Heath bar, duh! 
  2. Favorite candy? (NOT candy bar) Peanut M&Ms, peanut butter M&Ms or Reese’s pieces. 
  3. What’s your favorite variation on Rice Krispies treats? Give me your ideas! These toffee nutella rice krispies treats are pretty good if you’re looking for inspiration. They combined nutella+Heath bar!
  4. Did you remember Whatchamacallits?

 

*Please note: I’m not actually doing a study on candy bars for science. Or baking for science. BUT HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?

Itty Bitty Baby Banana Muffins

Bananas. Love ’em? Hate ’em? I have a love hate relationship with them. Some days I can’t stand the sight or smell of them. But I ALWAYS love banana muffins and bread. Don’t you?

I wanted to bring something with me to Melgar’s wedding for when we ladies were getting ready. We had fruit, veggies, sandwiches, and other food coming, but I thought it may be nice to bring some snacks for us ladies to enjoy while getting ready in the morning. So the first thing that came to mind was mini muffins! I’ve honestly never made mini muffins and was a little nervous they’d come out dry or burnt, but this recipe worked out perfectly. The next time you need to bring an easy breakfast or snack that’s shareable, I HIGHLY recommend you bring these. Oh and if you aren’t looking for mini muffins, then I suggest you try these larger muffins that I’m also a big fan of: Banana Crumb Muffins.

mini banana muffins~i crashed the web

Mini Banana Muffins

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with mini muffin liners.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix mashed bananas, sugars, egg, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in flour mixture with a spatula, and mix until smooth. Do NOT overmix. I purposely mixed with a spatula and folded the flour mixture in. If you use your stand mixer, mix very briefly – overmixed muffins are tough!
  4. Scoop batter into lined muffin pans and bake mini muffins for 12 to 15 minutes. Muffins are done when lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean with no batter.
  5. For fun, I also added a few chocolate and peanut butter chips to the top of a few before baking. Definitely recommend that 🙂

mini banana muffins - i crashed the web

Groundhog Day Cookies!

Today is Groundhog Day! It’s a holiday that my employer celebrates (no, not with a day off, sadly) with pancakes, games, and more. Last year we watched Groundhog Day (probably one of my favorite movies) and played pin the tail on the groundhog (I didn’t win). Anyway, I’m celebrating with these cute groundhog day cookies. The’re super easy (all you need is brownie mix an some frostings) and come out looking super adorable. I used the same brownie cookie base as these football brownie sandwiches and they came out perfect.

groundhog cookies for groundhog day - i crashed the web

Groundhog Day Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box of brownie mix
  • Ingredients required to make brownies (according to the box) minus the water, I ended up needing 2 eggs and 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • Vanilla/white icing for the eyes and teeth
  • Chocolate frosting for cheeks
  • Black icing for nose and pupils

Here’s what you do:

  • Mix together ingredients for brownie batter according to package, WITHOUT the water. If your brownie box has options for “fudgelike” brownies v. “cakelike” follow directions for “fudgelike.” Place brownie batter in a piping bag, and cut  a small slit at the end of the bag.
  • Create a round-shaped stencil, or use a cookie cutter. Draw a circle, or the outline of groundhog’s faces on parchment paper. Be sure to leave space between each circle so that the circles don’t run into one another – they will spread some when baking.
  • Line cookie sheets with the parchment paper.
  • Pipe the brownie mix to fill in the circles (see photo).
  • Bake brownies at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Since they are thin, watch to make sure they don’t burn.
  • Cool completely before frosting! Use the white frosting to make the eyes and the teeth. Then use the black icing to draw on pupils and the nose. Then use the chocolate frosting and make the cheeks. I used a piping bag to make them extra cheeky. Get it? Hehe.
  • Makes about 2 dozen groundhogs.
  • Enjoy!
groundhog cookies for groundhog day - i crashed the web

batter on the cookie sheets

groundhog cookies for groundhog day - i crashed the web

finished product

groundhog cookies for groundhog day - i crashed the web

Aren’t they super cute?

Meatless Monday: Easy Eggplant and Squash Curry

“We haven’t had Indian food in a while,” said B the other day. He was right – we were on a stint for a while where we were having Indian food as our go-to takeout or eat-out option on a somewhat (not daily) regular basis. And it’s true, I can’t recall the last time we both went out for Indian food. OR Thai food. BUT I’ve been on a going-out-to-eat spree and didn’t really want to continue it. Between traveling for work, lack of groceries and birthday / friend / etc. meals, I’m somewhat getting tired of eating out. Just ask B – I go eat to eat 4 times in a row and I’m sick of it.

Anyway, that’s why I decided to make some semi-Indian/Thai-hybrid dinner from what we had on hand in our apartment. OK, it’s probably neither (sorry if you are an expert in either cuisine) – it’s just a vegetarian curry dish. Anyway, we go to the West Side Market nearly weekly and tend to stock up on a ton of veggies from our favorite stand – and last week I had gotten tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, onions and more. Keeping this in mind, and seeing a few fun recipes online, I decided to recreate the Indian/Thai/Going Out To Eat food experience right from our apartment.

eggplant and squash curry over quinoa - i crashed the web

Eggplant and Squash Curry with Quinoa

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided into 1TBS and 2 TBS
  • 3 TBS cumin, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced and seeded
  • 1 onion (I used a red onion), sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  •  3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 TBS curry powder
  • 1 teaspon ground cardamom
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (1 ½ cups) chickpeas
  • 1 c. quinoa, cooked according to package directions (typically with 2 c water)
  • ¼ c unsweetened coconut

Here’s what you do:

  1. Reheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel and cut squash into bite-sized pieces, about 1 inch squares. toss with 1 TBS of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and 1 TBS cumin.
  3. Place seasoned squash on a baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until squash is soft and starting to brown.
  4. While squash is cooking, heat  2 TBS olive oil in a large skillet. Add chopped pepper, onion, eggplant, ginger and garlic. Add salt, pepper, curry powder, cardamom and 1 TBS cumin. Cook for 3-5 minutes, letting vegetables start to get tender.
  5. Cover the skillet and cook for 10 minutes or until eggplant is softened. Add in roasted squash, canned tomatoes in juice and chickpeas. Add another tablespoon of cumin. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add in cooked quinoa and unsweetened coconut and cook for another minute.
  7. Enjoy!
eggplant and squash curry - icrashedtheweb.jpg

Add in the quinoa and coconut …

eggplant and squash curry - icrashedtheweb.jpg

Enjoy!

Some notes:

  • B thought this recipe was “so so” and when I asked him what he’d change he said “maybe a little less seasoning next time.” SO please use the curry/cardamom/cumin guidelines to taste – you can always add more as it continues to cook.
  •  B also doesn’t like coconut so I only added a handful to the final dish, and mostly on the portion I was eating – feel free to add more, and even some coconut milk if you prefer coconut curry to traditional curry.
  • I have used the powdered red curry, which is spicier than the yellow curry I have. Thus I didn’t add any chili powder. If you like it spicy and you only have yellow (not-so-spicy) curry on hand, feel free to add some chili powder as well!

Some questions for you: Share your answers in the comments – mine are in italic!

  • Do you ever just literally throw everything you have on hand into a dish to see what happens? Yes, too often. In this case I was actually kinda pleased with myself – it seems pre-thought out!
  • What’s your favorite Indian food dish?  I love Chicken Tikka Masala or anything Vindaloo.
  • What’s your favorite Thai dish? Any thai soup, or pad ke mao and I love their spring rolls!
  • How often do you go out to eat? How often do you feel is “too much?” I don’t know why, but after eating 3-4 meals out in a row I start to feel sick/gross. Even if I’m eating healthy, I just prefer homemade meals!

Cooking with Ali – Vegetarian Samosas

I don’t know when it happened, but one day I started to really enjoy cooking. I began to see cooking as an activity, not as a means to an end, and on any given weekend (or time that I wasn’t rushed), enjoyed taking the time to cook as a way of entertainment, stress relief etc. This isn’t always the case – we all know that after a day of working late and then a late workout, cooking gets pushed to the side burner – but when I have the time I love to take the time to enjoy it and be adventurous.

My former “work spouse” (don’t ask, that’s what we called one another) Ali, also feels the same way. I am in awe of her instagram – she is always posting so many fun, creative and healthy recipes. That’s why when we got together for dinner before the holidays and she suggested we get together in January, in honor of my birthday, for a day of cooking, I couldn’t have been more excited!

Enter, cooking with Ali. First let me introduce you to Ali:

20140111_140911

Can’t you tell how awesome she is? Her apron even matches her comfy zip up. And it wasn’t intended!

Anyway, we started out with a trip to the West Side Market to pick up supplies. We knew we wanted to make something Indian-inspired, and Ali had found a recipe for some vegetarian samosas that looked amazing. I admittedly have been intimidated by rice paper for years, so I figured there was no time like the present to get over my fear.

So here you go – I present to you, Ali and my slight modification of My New Roots’ fully loaded samosas. If you make these, you MUST make the mint chutney. I admit that I wasn’t so sure (I’m not always a fan of the sweet/spicy combo) but it was AWESOME.

  VEGETARIAN SAMOSAS - I CRASHED THE WEB

Vegetarian Samosas (with slight modifications from  My New Roots’ fully loaded samosas)

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 round rice paper wrappers, about 8.5”
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted cashews
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 ½ cup green peas
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast coconut until golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Dice onion and carrots to about the size of the peas. Roughly chop up cashews.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, cumin, mustard powder and minced ginger.  Cook five minutes, then add the garlic. Cook a couple minutes, then add carrots. Stir to coat with spices, cook five minutes, add peas and chickpeas. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, coconut and cashews.
  4. Fill a large bowl about halfway with warm water. One at a time, place a rice paper wrap in the water and let soften, just until it becomes somewhat pliable (NOT soggy! – as Ali told me you should still be able to see some of the pattern from the paper on it). Remove from water and place rice paper on a clean, flat surface – like your counter. Using a pizza cutter, slice the rice paper circle in half. On both halves, place a  scoop of the filling. Fold it up! This is somewhat hard to explain and do – but the original site recommends you: “Fold the bottom corner about a third of the way up the round side of the half), followed by the top corner to meet the base of the fold you just made, creating a triangle. Fold the round edge up onto the top of the package to seal it, and flip it over. This is now the top of the samosa.”
  5. Continue and repeat steps with the remaining rice paper and filling. Place samosas on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  6. Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping about halfway through in a preheated 400°F  oven. They should be slightly brown and somewhat crispy when done. To make them even crispier, brush samosas with a little melted coconut oil before putting int he oven.
  7. Remove from oven and serve with the Sweet n’ Spicy Mint Chutney.

For the Sweet n’ Spicy Mint Chutney (DEFINITELY MAKE THIS)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup firmly packed mint leaves (no stems, washed and dried)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 1 fresh serrano chili
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a food processor pulse garlic, ginger, and chili pepper until a nice paste.
  2. Add dates (you may need to remove the pits first!), mint leaves, lime juice and olive oil. Blend on high until your chutney is smooth.
  3. If it’s too chunky, add a little more olive oil.
  4. Enjoy! I dare you not to want to eat this with a spoon. Or your finger. YUM!
Some of our goodies from the West Side Market

Some of our goodies from the West Side Market. We also made stuffed portobellos.

vegetarian samosas

cooking the “meat” of the samosas. this filling was so good – i’d eat it by itself!

folding the rice paper

folding the rice paper

ready for the oven!

ready for the oven!

vegetarian samosas

ready to eat!

Three things happened after I made these:

  • I got over my fear of rice paper. Spring rolls, here I come!
  • My New Roots became one of my new favorite blogs. You must check it out. Not only because her food pictures are way better than mine, but because she has SO many good recipes I can’t wait to try – especially when I give up meat again for Lent!
  • I fell into a food coma. And was surprised that even B enjoyed these!

Oh, and this happened:

My apron clearly doesn't match

My apron clearly doesn’t match

we proceeded to take pictures of our food

we proceeded to take pictures of our food

Anyway, you MUST make these and tell me how much you love them. And how My New Roots is your new favorite blog.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any “work spouses”?
  • Do you wear an apron when you cook?
  • Any weird food phobias for cooking  (not eating)? Mine was rice paper, but now it may be seaweed to roll for sushi. Apparently I have a fear of things you roll?
  • Do you like cooking or find it just a necessary evil?
  • Favorite vegetarian recipes? I want them!

Meatless Monday: Chickpea Ratatouille

B and I have been watching old episodes of Julia Child’s The French Chef lately. That’s what happens when you don’t have cable. The show is in black and white, done in all one take, and all in all pretty funny to watch – not only because Julia Child is a funny character (her voice sounds like a muppet to me!) but also because the kitchen appliances are SO old and also because things don’t always work out as planned. There is no “cut” and then on to the next scene – meaning if something boils over or Julia uses vermouth instead of vinegar, we see it all! Why aren’t food shows like that today? So much more real, and fun, in my opinion.

Anyway, one old episode we saw Julia make some sort of french ratatoullie. I think I zoned out during the episode, but it reminded me that I hadn’t had ratatouille in quite some time and I was overdue. So, here’s a simple and easy meatless meal you can enjoy. I served mine over a quinoa blend, and B had his with chicken.

Chickpea Ratatouille - i crashed the web

Chickpea Ratatouille (Vegetarian)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into about 1-inch large chunks
  • 1 zucchini, cut into about 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 peppers (I used two red bell), sliced
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into about 1/2-1 inch slices
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped in half
  • 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • salt/pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine chopped eggplant, zucchini, onion, peppers and carrots in a large bowl. Pour olive oil over mixed vegetables and mix well.
  3. Pour veggie mixture, can of tomatoes, garlic, and salt in large roasting pan.
  4. Roast vegetables for 30 minutes, until lightly brown and softened. Check at about 15-20 minutes in and stir mixture to ensure evenly cooked veggies.
  5. At about 30 minutes in, add chickpeas to roasting pan and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Makes about 4 vegetarian main courses (again, mine was served over quinoa!) or even more side dishes (B had his with some balsamic marinated chicken I made).

Vegetarian Chickpea Ratatouille - i crashed the web

I’m also thinking about giving up meat again for Lent? What do you think – should I try it again? It wasn’t easy for me, that’s for sure!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite cooking show?
  • Vegetarian main meals – yay or nay? What’s your favorite? I’m a big fan of hearty veggie burgers, either homemade or store bought if I have to (my faves are Luna burgers and Morningstar).
  • Do you try to eat meatless once a week?
  • Do you give up anything for Lent?