My friend, Alli, sprang a cooking challenge at the start of last weekend: I love cooking, so I decided to partake in the challenge. 🙂
HAPPY #1: PARTICIPATING IN COOKING CHALLENGES
I, of course, accepted the challenge with very little time to spare…so I chose to play with a relatively simple recipe I found online on She Knows: Miso Vegan: Saucy Pumpkin and Chickpeas with Jasmine Rice.
(I cheated a little bit, I know, as this recipe is already a vegan recipe!)
The recipe called for the following ingredients [text in brackets indicates where I modified]:
- 1 cup [Black Forbidden] rice / [1 cup distilled water]
2 cups water or vegetable broth
tablespoons[tsp] coconut oil + 1 Tbsp olive oil
- [1/2] onion,
halved, thinly sliced
- 2 cups diced [Delicata squash and white sweet potatoes]
pumpkin(or other winter squash or sweet potatoes)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground [Jamaican Allspice]
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
canfire-roasted diced tomatoes 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- [Mache for garnish]
When I look at recipes, I usually look for things I DO have, first. If I have something similar to an ingredient, I use that, instead. It saves me cash and it (sometimes) saves me a trip to the supermarket.
Looking at this list (and the picture this blogger presented), I knew immediately that the black forbidden rice in my cupboard would be both more nutritious (it boasts 18 amino acids, zinc, copper, carotene, and a delicious nutty flavor), and colorful (who can resist that COLOR?)
So I substituted jasmine rice for my heirloom Indonesian black rice (“Forbidden Rice”).
Next, I pulled some homemade veggie broth I had made months ago and jarred – a mixture of vegetable trimmings from various adventures in my kitchen 🙂
This recipe’s author may have used pumpkin in her recipe, but I like to mix it up…so I used a delicious, Delicata squash. Delicata squash is a winter squash that tastes like a sweet potato/pumpkin/acorn squash. It’s sweet and nutty. And was PERFECT for this recipe. I baked the Delicata and shaved its skin off to use its delectable, yellow meat. I also used 1 small white sweet potato to add variety.
The last time I used the full amount of onion a recipe called for (with the exception of Epicurious.com recipes), I ended up with an onion stew…it was gross. So I decided to use half of the onion this recipe calls for.
I also decided to “fire-roast” my own tomatoes – always a treat!
HAPPY #2: FIRE-ROASTING ANYTHING.
Finally, I am pretty against using canned anything in my recipes. The chemicals lining the inside of cans are toxic – especially when that can has been sitting on a grocery shelf for god-knows-how-long. But last night, I was want for time, so I caved and decided to buy a can of garbanzo beans. If I had had time, I would have soaked some fresh chickpeas overnight.
I skipped the parsley. I’m not a fan of parsley.
I also substituted the cloves for Jamaican Allspice – this is a great example of using what I have instead of rushing to the store to buy a jar of ground cloves for 1 recipe.
After prepping my ingredients…mincing ginger and garlic in a food processor to save time, slicing onion, measuring out spices, broth and oil…and putting equal parts rice and broth into a saucepan on the stove…I began to follow Michelle Borboa’s recipe. Again…I tweaked…because that’s the fun of cooking!!
Michelle’s Directions: [all text in brackets indicate my substitutions/tweaks]
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring rice and water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid absorbs.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, [Sweet potato] and [Delicata squash] and stir a few times. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes.
- Add coriander, [Jamaican Allspice], and [red] pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook [for up to] 1 minute.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute.
- Stir in tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until [squash and potatoes are] soft.
- Stir in chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes to slightly reduce the sauce.
Stir in parsley.
- To serve, pour rice onto a serving platter and top with [squash] mixture. Garnish with 1 mache cluster.
Instead of using the full 2 Tbsp of coconut oil, I used a little olive oil and 2 tsp of raw coconut oil (very expensive stuff, that raw coconut oil…I will preserve the quantity in my little jar without sacrificing the taste it promotes in a dish!)
So, into the saucepan goes my olive oil, coconut oil, pumpkin, and white sweet potato.
I followed Michelle’s instructions, stirring then covering the first ingredients for 4 minutes on medium heat. This temperature kept the onions from burning.
Next I added all of the dry ingredients: salt, pepper, coriander, Jamaican Allspice…and stirred for a little less than a minute, as I was eager to add the garlic and ginger! Yummy! I loved how all of the sweet spices mixed with the ginger and garlic smelled…VERY Caribbean-y!
I gave these ingredients some time to cook. If you do not let garlic have adequate time to cook before you plunge it into a sauce, the garlic ends up being too spicy/strong in the end, I have found. After about a minute of impatient stirring (GOD it was smelling good and I wanted to eat all.of.it.), I added my own oven-roasted tomatoes and 2 cups of homemade veggie broth…then followed Michelle’s directions.
12 minutes later (the potato had cooked through by then, and since I baked my squash first, I didn’t need for it to cook through) – in go the garbanzo beans! Wee! Waiting for the sauce to reduce, after 5 minutes it looked like this:
With everything ready to serve, I dished out two ice cream scoops-worth of the Forbidden Rice and ladled 2 ladles-worth of the sauce on top. Finally, to add a little green to this colorful dish, I added a sprig of mache lettuce – or as it is called in Germany (where my honey is from): Mäuseöhrchensalat (“Mouse Ears Salad”).
HAPPY #3: Mäuseöhrchensalat. It is so amazingly wonderful…a sweet, grassy taste and very delicate in the mouth. OMG. Delicious.