Meatless Monday: Sundal, A Special Chickpea Salad

My friend Amy recommended several years ago that I start a food blog.  At the time, I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump IMG_0871in, so I filed the idea away.  Now that I have been posting food porn, among other things for more than 4 years, I am finally taking the opportunity to thank her and recognize her for planting the seed that has become ATWTTL.  Amy’s food postings have always inspired me and recently she posted a picture of a delicious dish. I asked her to send me the recipe. It is a chickpea salad that is a spin on an Indian snack called “sundal”. The idea is basically to mix chickpeas with the veggies of your choice and make a ghee and spice sauce. The picture she posted looked delicious and I asked her to share the recipe with me.  And, by the way, Andrew took it for lunch two days in a row. I’ll make it again and remember to snap a picture.

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 small onion cut in a large dice

1 cup quarter cherry tomatoes

Black or Kosher salt

Juice of one lemon

1 small green chile, diced (Serrano, jalapeño, Anaheim, etc)

Sauce

2 Tbsp Ghee

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin

Mix Ins:

Grated coconut

Diced pineapple, mango, jicama, radishes, avocado, chopped mint or cilantro.

Directions:

1. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Warm the ghee in a small bowl.  To this warm ghee add brown mustard seeds, cumin and, hing/asafoetida. Mix well and add to the chick pea mixture.

3. Finally, add your mix-in ingredients, combine and serve.

A Note from Amy: You can find asafoetida in indian stores or amazon. You can omit it, if you like. Most Indians add asafoetida or fennel to bean dishes to prevent the side effects of eating beans(I am not sure if there is any scientific evidence for this, but I always did it).

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Untapped Talent

On a recent trip to Prescott, AZ for Ryan’s annual ride of the Whiskey, (check out my previous post) my friend Tara and I were discussing my plans to go to school and her current job as a reading specialist at her children’s school. Tara was explaining that she has it really good with her position because it allows her to still be a mom and enjoy fulfillment professionally. And then she said something that gave me one of those Oprah “Aha!” Moments: “There is immense untapped talent in SAHM’s who could work 9-3.”

With that sentence I realized that in our society’s archaic notion of an all or nothing work/parenting balance there are many parents, myself included who struggle with the professional desire to work and the emotional and logistical desire to be a present parent. I don’t NEED to work, but I desperately want to. I went to college for crying out loud! I had a career for 10 years! I don’t want to just look at that time of my life as “in the past” or “another time”. I enjoyed what those experiences gave me and did for me as a person.  Those experiences have made me the mom I am.

I am infinitely thankful that I did not have to go back to work when Chase and subsequently Andrew were 10 weeks old. I know that would have crushed me emotionally. I am glad that when I’ve had to pick them up in the middle of the day, the only inconvenience it causes is not being able to Barre 3.  I cannot replace the time I get with them when I pick them up from school and take them to one of the many, many sports they are trying out right now.

There is a pervading argument that states that we women can have it all, just not all at once.  I agree to a point.  I agree with that when I think about it within the confines of the all or nothing work formula that we modern women are forced to see our careers.  However, I vehemently disagree with that notion because of the fact that someone else is determining the parameters in which a woman can have it all. If we truly value what caregivers do for our families, we wouldn’t be so rigid about balancing our duties as parents.  Our work culture needs to respect the desire of mothers and fathers to have a more balanced existence.

As I embark on a new experience and a second chapter in my career, I intend to make my own way by filling in the 9-3 gap. I do not expect full-time benefits if I’m not working full time. I don’t expect to get paid full-time if I don’t work full-time. I know that this mindset will prevent me from moving up the professional ladder quickly but if Millenials have taught us anything it is that priorities can be different. Quality of life is my number one goal. In fact, I want to change the rules and encourage other parents to demand a true work/parenting/life balance. I want not only other SAHMs to pursue professional fulfillment and work fulfillment but fathers too. Once I start working, I hope Ryan can step back from full time employment to not only enjoy his own personal endeavors but also take part in more parental responsibilities. (Note: Ryan has never lacked in parental participation).

I cannot accept the notion that our years should be filled with non-stop work and crushing fatigue due to trying to balance working and parenting. The success I see for myself will be a equilibrium of parenting and professional work. I’m sure there are those of you who may think that it is naive of me to think that way, but I am not going to fold just because someone tells me no, once or twice.

We need to be in control of the narrative, now. I think People of my generation can start to make the decisions without someone patting me on the head and saying: “Your time will come.”  With all of the definitions of “success” out there, why can’t we add one more? How about this for an option: The present parent who is able to drop the kids at school at 8:30 am go work and then be there to pick them up at 3:00 pm for afternoon activities, homework and dinner prep?

What are your work/parenting/life balancing questions? Have you had experience in making this formula work? Comment below.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Root Veggies with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce

My in-laws live here in Tucson.  They followed us here about a year after we moved from Santa Fe, NM.  They live

Picture from Dishing Up The Dirt

Picture from Dishing Up The Dirt

10 minutes away and we have family dinners on a regular basis.  They watch Sara Belle we watch their yellow lab Henry.  Whenever they go out of town, they clean out their refrigerator and bring it all over to our house.  So, right now I have a large amount of fresh veggies that need to be used!  Sweet potatoes are the focus of this post so I went to one of my favorite sites for interesting veggies: Dishing up the Dirt.

Roasted Root Veggies with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce

PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES    COOK TIME: 30-40 MINUTES    SERVES: 4

Veggies

  • 1 cup chopped sweet potato
  • 1 cup chopped rutabaga
  • 1 cup chopped parsnip
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped turnips
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh minced thyme for serving (optional)

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated turmeric (or 1 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup water

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Toss the chopped veggies with the oil, salt and pepper. Place on two rimmed baking sheets and roast in the oven until lightly browned and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Rotate the pans and toss the veggies halfway through cooking.
  3. While veggies roast prepare the sauce. With an immersion blender or small food processor combine all the ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.
  4. To serve sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little fresh thyme and drizzle with the sauce.

Notes

*If you’re veggies are fresh from the market no need to peel them *Cooking times will vary *Taste test as you go *Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days

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Meatless Monday: Sautéed Asparagus and Snap Peas

I know it sounds embarrassingly easy but it has become one of Andrew’s favorite side dishes.  After a long love affair with green beans, Andrew is branching out into the vegetable world.  I wasn’t sure about the success of asparagus but if you try and find the really thin stalks of it, the flavor is delicate.

Ina Garten, a master in cooking, brings us this recipe.  It is simple, yet very satisfying.  I even let Chase jump in and stir this easy sauté.  With golf and soccer practices back to back on some days, this is an easy side dish to pull together after getting home at 6:45pm.

Sauteed Asparagus and Snap Peas

Ingredients:

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Meatless Monday: French Potato Salad

I am a Francofile at heart.  Though I love all cultures, The French truly have my heart.  Perfume, Rose, and now my new favorite potato salad.  This is Ina Garten’s version and it is delicious.  As I was making it, Andrew asked to assist…mainly by tasting each of the herbs I put in.  When we tested it…he sighed and said: “Finally, a potato dish I can like.”  I call that a win.  Here’s a note.  The recipe makes a lot of dressing.  When I make this again, I will definitely add another pound of potatoes.

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in 1/2 (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.
  2. Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I’ll Be Starting School This Fall…

…but not in the capacity you may have expected.  I didn’t get into law school for this Fall.  Now, before you say: “I’m so sorry!” It’s ok.  I’ll be fine…it will happen, eventually.

I did, however, get into a Masters in Legal Studies program at U of A!  It is a 30 credit hour 1 year program, which will hopefully put me on a good path!  Whether that path leads me to a job or law school, that remains to be seen, but, I’m on my way!

Everything I have been through in my life has pushed me to continue to look forward.  It is not in my nature to sit and wallow in self pity, so why start now?  I have a great husband, kiddos, family, and friends.   For those things, I am filled with gratitude.  It is also my ultimate goal to find something that fulfills me professionally and intellectually.  I’m only 40…my life isn’t over.  I don’t think of myself as wanting it all, but I don’t think that seeking professional and intellectual fulfillment is selfish or an abandonment of my responsibilities as a wife and mother.

This new endeavor will require some adjustments to our daily lives and logistical planning, but Ryan is supportive and I know we can handle it.  It will all be worth it when I reach my ultimate goals!

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Meatless Monday: Skillet Seared Green Beans with Lemon and Cotija Cheese

Tori Avey’s website has been a life saver being a shiksa married to someone who is “Jew-Ish”.  I want the boys to know about their heritage and be familiar with the rituals of Judaism.  Passover begins tonight and we are hosting a seder!  Below is one of the recipes that I’m using.  As soon as I saw the words: cotija cheese, I was in.  Make this for Passover, or any night because these green beans are delicious!

Skillet Seared Green Beans with Lemon and Cotija Cheese

Ingredients

1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp crumbled cotija cheese (optional – you may substitute feta or omit to make it dairy free)

Directions:

  1. Pour about 1 inch of water in the bottom of a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and cover the pot. Steam the green beans for 3-5 minutes until bright green and tender-crisp.
  2. Drain the green beans and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process, then shake in the colander to drain completely. Spread the beans out on a kitchen towel to get rid of excess moisture. These steps can be done 1-2 hours ahead. The rest of the cooking should be done just before serving.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high for a few minutes to get it very hot. Pour in the olive oil; it will begin to smoke slightly. Quickly add the drained green beans to the skillet and turn the heat to high. Sear the green beans for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans have color and are slightly blackened in places. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the beans with fresh lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place the beans on a serving plate and sprinkle with crumbled cotija cheese. Serve warm.

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A Weekend Dinner

Ryan had a vasectomy last week, it’s ok, insert jokes here.  So I decided to make a big dinner
IMG_0678for the family while watching the Final Four Basketball games.  Chase has been requesting an olive oil cake so I made that too.  Actually, I made two of them…but during the first one, someone turned the oven up to 500 and I ended up with an oversized hockey puck instead of a cake.  No pictures of that will be featured in this post.

The coordination of the recipes in this post is the key to its success.  All of the flavors are delicious.  The boys literally scarfed every bit of it down!  I am planning on making the cauliflower a regular item on the menu.  It is so easy, how could I not?

 

Potato and Wild Salmon Cakes with Ginger and Scallions

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
Sea salt
1 pound skinless wild salmon fillet
Safflower or sunflower oil, for greasing and frying
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions (about 6 scallions), coarsely chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs

Dill Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped dill

sea salt

mix in a bowl to combine.  serve with salmon and potato cakes

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water. Add a large pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly, then peel. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash.
  2. Meanwhile, put the salmon on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the salmon is medium-rare inside.
  3. Gently flake the salmon and add it to the potatoes along with the scallions, eggs, garlic, ginger, onion, tamari and sesame oil. Mix well, then fold in the bread crumbs. Season with salt. Form the potato mixture into fourteen 1/2-cup patties.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of safflower or sunflower oil until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the potato cakes over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining potato cakes, adding more oil and adjusting the heat as necessary. Bake the salmon cakes for about 15 minutes, until heated through. Serve with the Dill Sauce.

MAKE AHEAD
The uncooked salmon cakes can be refrigerated overnight.

SUGGESTED PAIRING
Citrusy, herbal Sauvignon Blanc is an expert pairing for fish—especially when the dish has an herbal component itself, like the creamy dill sauce here. Try one from France.

Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Cumin

Coconut Jasmine Rice

Red Cabbage Salad with Fennel, Orange and Pepitas

Mario Batali’s Orange Olive Oil Cake

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It’s Official…I am Raising Boys…Stinky…Smelly…BOYS!

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Don’t be fooled by their adorable smiles. They are stinky boys.

As I was carrying a basket full of dirty clothes out of the boys’ room this morning, I smelled something putrid.  I thought to myself: “Did something crawl in here and die?  Did one of them poop and not tell me?  Is there a rotting potato in the bottom of the basket?”

It turns out, that Andrew’s feet smell like vinegar.

It’s happening.  Our little baby boys are now disgusting, smelly, stinky boys.

I knew it would happen one day…but I thought it would be when they were in middle school.  Andrew is only 4!  He bathes regularly.  I make him put on clean underwear and socks each day.  What is happening to the sweet smelling little feet I once put near my face?

I remember being on a school bus as a cheerleader on our way to a basketball game and thinking, dang these guys stink!  In high school, i knew soccer players who would wear the same unwashed underwear for games all season because it was good luck.

I filled a bucket with cold water and grabbed all of the boys’ socks and threw them in.  I filled the bucket with water and dumped a scoop of Oxygen cleaner in.  If you want the name, let me know.  It’s magical.

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Meatless Monday: No-Knead Brioche Buns

It Sounds Crazy But I Made My Own Hamburger Buns!  If I’m going to eat bread, I want it to be worth it!  I want the bun to not just be a vehicle for itsIMG_0656 contents but part of the experience.  So, the other day, Chase asked for sliders and remembering that there aren’t very many good options for buns in this town, I decided to make my own.  I know its crazy but I did and they were delicious!  The recipe is a “no-knead” brioche bread.  It makes 10 large buns but you can make them smaller for sliders.  Just watch your baking time.  In addition, start this the day before you want to eat them.  The recipe requires that you allow the dough to rest for 16-24 hours.

Brioche is normally a long laborious process, thanks to Cook’s Illustrated, they have made Brioche an attainable outcome without a lot of guesswork.

According to Cook’s Illustrated, King Arthur Bread Flour works best with this recipe.  However, other high protein bread flours work as well.

No Knead Brioche Buns

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups bread flour

2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

7 large eggs (1 lightly beaten with a pinch of salt added)

1/2 cup water, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

16 Tbsp unsalted melted and cooled slightly

 

Directions:

  1.  Whisk flour, yeast , and salt together in a large bowl.  Whisk 6 eggs, water, and sugar has dissolved.  Whisk in butter until smooth.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir with wood spoon until a uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute.  Cover blown with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Holding the edge of dough with your fingertips, fold dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle.  Turn bowl 45 degrees; fold again.  Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times for a total of 8 folds.  Cover with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes.  Repeat folding and rising every 30 minutes, 3 more times.  After the fourth set of folds, cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 16 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.  Transfer the dough to well-floured counter and divide into 10 equal pieces.  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, pat dough into a disk.  Working around circumference of the dough, fold edges of the dough toward the center until a ball forms.  Flip dough over and, without applying pressure, move your hands in small circular motions to form dough into a smooth, taut round.  Add flour if needed. Dough can be tacky.  Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Arrange buns on prepared sheets, 5 per sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until almost double in size. 1 to 1.5 hours.  Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Remove the plastic and brush rolls gently with remaining egg beaten with salt.  Bake until golden brown and internal temperature registers 190 degrees, 15-20 minutes, rotating and switching sheets halfway through baking.  Transfer sheets to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer buns to wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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