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To start, three gluten-free links:

And now, the non-gluten-free links:

Moroccan spiced chickpea soup

Everyone I’ve ever told about this recipe have raved about its taste. It’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s easy to make, only uses one pot and it tastes damn good. I discovered it one day when watching Good Deal with Dave Lieberman on TV.

“Wow, that looks simple and delicious,” I thought. And so I immediately went looking for the recipe on the US Food Network website. I’ve made it enough times now that I’ve adjusted some ingredients to fit my own personal taste.

Moroccan spiced chickpea soup

Moroccan spiced chickpea soup

Moroccan spiced chickpea soup
Adapted from Good Deal with Dave Lieberman
Makes approximately 4-6 large servings.

Ingredients
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 large onion, roughly diced
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (original recipe asks for just 1 tsp but I like the additional cinnamon taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if you want heat)
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
1 can chopped tomatoes (796 mL/28 oz, original recipe used half of this amount though)
2 cans chickpeas (540 mL/19 oz per can), rinsed and drained
1 carton (900 mL) reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth… or use your own stock of course)
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-washed baby spinach

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent (lower the heat if browning starts to occur). Add all your spices spices and sauté for a minute. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, broth and sugar. Add a pinch of salt and approximately 10 grinds of fresh pepper.

Don’t forget to stir as you add each ingredient. The chickpeas should be just covered with liquid; if you don’t have enough liquid add some water.

Bring the soup to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Basically, you want the chickpeas to soften enough so that there is no bite.

Remove the soup from the heat and use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas (but not all of them) right there in the pot. Spoon out your soup and add plenty of spinach to each bowl, stirring until the heat just starts to wilt the leaves. If you’re serving the entire pot, go ahead and add your spinach to the pot instead of into individual bowls. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary, and serve the soup lightly drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.

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A birthday and Coraline button cookies

Coraline poster - see the button eyes?

Coraline poster - see the button eyes?

One year ago today, I posted my first food blog entry here at The Brûlée Blog. I picked this date on purpose as it’s also my birthday. (And this way I remember when I started the blog. Anything that overcomes my horrible memory is always a bonus.)

I’ve made 144 posts (or 145 if you include this post) and had people find me by the most interesting search terms. I’ve never actively advertised this blog, but I’ve gotten more visitor stats than I originally expected.

To celebrate my birthday, I’m dragging my friends to go see the movie Coraline. The movie is based on a book by one of my favourite writers, Neil Gaiman, and today is the opening day. I figure it’s fate.

And to celebrate this blog’s birthday, I baked cookies. Chocolate almond button cookies in honour of Coraline, to be exact. I based the recipe on the Almond Apricot Cookies and changed it up. They’re wonderfully chocolatey, not too sweet, and nutty.

Coraline button cookies

Coraline button cookies

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Vegetables and fruits and whole grains, oh my!

I suspect that eating healthily is starting to make me grumpy. If I’m eating the same things over and over again, bordom sets in. With eating 4 fruits and 4 servings of vegetables every day, there are only so many times I can tolerate a steady diet of apples and celery. And so I’ve been trying to become more creative with varying my food.

This morning, for instance, I combined my fibre goal and my fruit goal by eating a (light) peanut butter and banana sandwhich on whole grain flax seed bread.

A couple of nights ago, I was trying to figure out what to do with a container of baby spinach that I hade bought over the weekend. A salad would be easiest, but frankly, I’m tired of salad. That’s when I stumbled on this sautéed spinach and garlic recipe on Simply Recipes. I’ve eaten variations of this before, and the recipe was a good reminder. The sautéed spinach was so good that I didn’t even bother added salt to the dish. Didn’t bother taking photos either, as my spinach looked just like the ones on the website. I think I’ll have to buy more spinach soon….

See link for recipe