Tag Archive | spiced chickpeas

More Roots and Bulbs–when life brings you kohlrabi

Fall Vegetables and Condiments

I am always on the lookout for more kinds of hardy vegetables to grow for fall and winter harvest. All kinds of cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, endive and escarole, radicchio, leeks, fennel, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips…why did I never think of kohlrabi?

This year, when I stopped by a local grower’s greenhouse to pick up some seedlings for the fall garden, she sent me home with a dozen little kohlrabi plants. “You’ll love them! They’re really good raw in salads,” she assured me. I was skeptical, because Kohlrabi is a strange vegetable that grows like an aboveground turnip and looks like a small spaceship with green leaves sprouting out the top…or a small cabbage with a topknot. But, she was right: they are mild-flavored and crunchy–something like a cross between a cabbage and a turnip–and make a delicious salad ingredient. Along with the kohlrabi, I planted a package of seeds from Beth and Annalie’s garden in Sweden for something called “Rotvit” that turned out to be a crisp red turnip.

Fall vegetables have a range of deep flavors–earthy, sweet, sharp, hot, sometimes bitter. They are juicy and crunchy raw; sweet and mellow steamed, braised, or roasted. Their flavors, colors, and textures complement each other and can be combined to make great salads. Since I had never grown kohlrabi before and didn’t know much about eating rotvit or turnips, I went traveling in my cookbooks for ideas.

I admit that I have long lumped kohlrabi with other homely sounding vegetables like turnip, rutabaga, and mangold…things grown by northern European peasants to feed livestock and hungry farm families when there was nothing else to eat. But it turns out that these roots and bulbs are valued by many cultures around the world, and the ingenious recipes that have evolved are an adventure in unexpected combinations. How about a stir-fry of young turnips and dates seasoned with cumin seed? Or daikon (substitute turnip or kohlrabi) and pomegranate seeds with toasted sesame oil?

When I play with these recipes, I use my roots interchangeably. For instance, if Moroccan Date and Orange Salad is good with matchstick carrots, why not with turnip, daikon, or kohlrabi?  Or, how about letting sweet young turnips stand in for cucumber in a Shirazi Salad with red onion, olives, and pomegranate seeds? And, if an Iranian mung bean soup calls for kohlrabi, why not try turnips or parsnips instead? Come to think of it, I’m sure any of them would be good in mung beans salad, too.

Root Slaw

Root Vegetable Slaw

This salad is inspired by a photo of a confetti-like pile of vegetables in Jerusalem, the Cookbook. The humble roots rise to a new level with the combination of brilliant colors, lots of fresh herbs, and bright lemon juice. The vegetables are cut into thin matchsticks, which keeps the flavors distinct and delivers maximum crunch.

Ingredients: 3 medium beets, 2 medium carrots, 2 medium turnips, 1 kohlrabi

Dressing: 4 Tbs lemon juice, 4 Tbs olive oil, 2 tsp whole black mustard seeds, 3 Tbs sherry or white balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt

Herbs: 2/3 cup thinly sliced mint, 2/3 cup roughly chopped parsley, 2/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro or arugula, 2 tsp lemon zest

Peel all the vegetables and cut them in thin slices. Stack a few of the slices at a time and cut them into 1/8-inch matchsticks. Put the strips into a bowl and drizzle the lemon juice over them. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and mustard seeds until the seeds begin to sputter. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the hot dressing over the vegetables and toss gently. Allow to cool before chilling in the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Before serving, toss the vegetables with the chopped herbs, lemon zest, and freshly ground black pepper. Serve on a bed of curly endive or escarole, with a bowl of quark or thick yogurt on the side.

Herbed Carrot Salad with Chermoula

Fall Carrots

Warm North African spices meet sweet fall carrots and fresh herbs.

Ingredients: 6 large carrots (about 1 1/2 lbs), 1 thinly sliced small red onion or 2 shallots, 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro, 3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley, and 2 Tbs chopped fresh mint, 1 cup arugula leaves

Chermoula: 1 tsp cumin seed, 2 tsp coriander seed, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp sweet paprika, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 Tbs lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1/2 tsp sugar, 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Make the chermoula: Dry roast the cumin seed on a hot skillet, stirring until fragrant and lightly toasted, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder. Dry roast the coriander and black pepper about 2 minutes, stirring until toasted. Transfer to the mortar and add the paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne. Grind to a coarse powder. Use the mortar or cutting board to mash the garlic to a paste with the salt. Add the lemon juice, zest and sugar and let sit 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and olive oil. Set aside at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Peel and slice the carrots 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal.  Steam until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes (or cook in boiling water 1 to 2 minutes). Drain well and transfer to a bowl. Add the chermoula dressing, herbs, and onion and toss well. Arrange the salad on a platter and garnish with arugula leaves.

Note: The carrots could be replaced with raw fennel or kohlrabi or roasted parsnips, turnips, sweet potato, potato, or a medley of root vegetables. You might replace the cilantro and parsley with chopped fennel fronds.

Fall Vegetables and Spiced Chick Peas

This salad is adapted from a chopped Middle Eastern salad called Fatoush made with summer vegetables: cucumber, tomato, and bell pepper, but I think it is equally good with sweet fall roots and bulbs. The crunchy raw vegetables pair well with warm, spicy chickpeas.

Ingredients: 1 fennel bulb, 2 carrots, 1 kohlrabi, 1 small red onion, 3 or 4 radishes, 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, whole wheat pita bread and plain yogurt

Spices: 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander

Herbs: 1 cup arugula leaves, 1/2 cup chopped mint, 1 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup chopped fennel

Dressing: 1 garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or 2 Tbs lime juice and 2 Tbs orange juice), 1 tsp dried mint, 1/2`tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp red chile flakes, 1/4 tsp sugar, 2 Tbs sherry vinegar, 5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp sumac powder (reserved)

Trim the fennel bulb, peel the carrots and kohlrabi, and cut the vegetables into small dice or thin matchsticks. Thinly slice the onion and radishes. Put all the prepared vegetables in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.

Make the dressing: Mash the garlic and salt to a paste with a mortar and pestle. Add the citrus juice and let sit 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, reserving the sumac.

Make the spiced chickpeas: Mix the spices together with 1/4 tsp salt and toss with the chickpeas to coat well. Heat 1Tbs oil in a skillet over medium heat and fry the chickpeas 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan so they don’t stick or burn. Remove from the heat.

Drain and dry the vegetables in a salad spinner or towel. Put the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the dressing and herbs. Arrange the chickpeas on top and sprinkle with sumac powder. Serve with toasted pita bread and thick yogurt.

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Little Plates: Community Mezze Meal

A Gathering of Friends

Sharing a meal with friends is always a treat, and cooking the meal together is even better. “Let’s make flatbreads and have a Mezze party,” was my idea for a meal for a gathering of friends. Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid wrote about the Eastern Mediterranean mezze table in one of my favorite cookbooks, Flatbreads and Flavors, “Mezze is a way of eating; as with tapas and antipasti, almost anything that is small and tasty qualifies as a mezze dish, even main dishes if they can be served in small portions.” But the mezze table is not just about the small plates. It could be called the welcome table, as we learned on our travels in Turkey many years ago. Wherever we went, a table was set…a cloth spread, utensils laid out, bowls of food placed in the center, flatbreads stacked for all to take… and all were welcomed–family, travelers, relatives, neighbors.

A mezze table can be very simple. One of our first meals in Turkey was a pile of very thin flatbreads, coarse salt, green onions, and a bowl of yogurt soup. We rolled the green onions in a piece of bread, dipped them in salt, and scooped up some yogurt to eat with each bite. The meal is a good memory… the end-of-winter generosity of this family sharing the first green onions of spring, their fresh homemade bread, and milk from their cows. Simple gifts from the earth made a feast.

The feast can be large or small. Start with a basket of fresh pita or lavash breads, some crumbled cheese or thick yogurt, hummus and olives, and a salad of spicy greens and fresh herbs. Add some grilled or roasted vegetables, kebab or meatballs for a more substantial meal. Keep going with pickled and marinated vegetables, lentils or pilaf, salsa and dips. I call this the add-a salad menu…soon you have a feast.

A mezze meal has no order or rules. Everything can be set out together, and the diners are free to pick and choose. I love it that every bite can be different–do I want a marinated mushroom with my green onion, or perhaps preserved lemon and harissa? Our mezze party guests brought gifts from their kitchens…marinated mushrooms, pickled grapes and onions, eggplant caponata, and cornbread from homegrown Hopi blue corn. We made meatballs and pilaf with wild rice from Minnesota. Our conversations were as eclectic as the dishes…logging and beekeeping, gardening and tree grafting, global warming and drought in Colorado, painting and woodcarving…a mezze table encourages discussion and discovery.

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

Ingredients: 2 cups warm water, 1 tsp yeast, 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 2 cups hard whole wheat flour, 2 tsp salt, a couple of friends

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the white flour, stirring around in one direction for about 1 minute. Cover with plastic bag or tight lid and let ferment at room temperature 4 to 6 hours. Add the salt and 1 cup whole wheat flour to the sponge, stirring to incorporate. Gradually add the rest of the whole wheat flour until the dough can be gathered into a ball. Stretch and fold the dough for 3 to 5 minutes, until it is smooth and cohesive. Fold the dough into a ball and place it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with a plastic bag and refrigerate 12 hours, or up to a week.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least 2 hours before baking and allow to warm to room temperature. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest 5 minutes.

Heat a large griddle over medium-high heat. On a floured surface, press a ball of dough with your hand to flatten it into a circle. Roll or stretch the dough to make a disk less than 1/4-inch thick. Ask your friends to keep rolling out the pita while you start to cook them.

Lay one or two breads onto the hot griddle. You should see bubbles forming in the dough almost immediately. Flip the breads over after 15 to 20 seconds. Cook about one minute, until you see large bubbles pushing up the surface. Flip again and cook another 40 to 60 seconds. Push gently on the edges of the bubbles to help them expand. Ideally, the breads will fill with air, but un-inflated ones are still delicious. Wrap cooked breads in a thick towel to keep them warm and soft until ready to eat.

Lavash: Roll the dough out as for pita, let it rest for a minute, and continue to roll it thinner. Alternate rolling and resting until the dough is about 1/16th-inch thick or less. Heat a large wok upside down over a gas flame. Transfer the dough onto the surface of the wok. Cook 20 to 30 seconds, flip and cook the second side another 20 to 30 seconds.

*Kuku/Koukouye

This is a recipe from a special Turkish meal we ate in a village named Opium, where we also were served poppy seeds ground up like peanut butter. The kuku was full of herbs, wild greens and dried cherries. We tore off pieces of flatbread, wrapped up slices of kuku, and dipped them in yogurt. Like frittata, kuku can be made with a wide variety of vegetables and herb combinations, such as lightly steamed cauliflower or broccoli or sautéed mushrooms, leeks, or summer squash. The inclusion of barberries or sour cherries is a typical Persian touch.

Ingredients: 6 large eggs, 3 Tbs yogurt, 1 Tbs flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/4 tsp red chile flakes, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 2 Tbs olive oil or butter, 1 finely chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, one or two bunches wild or cultivated greens (spinach, kale, chard, chicory, borage, mustard…), 1/2 cup chopped scallions, 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, dill, garlic chives, fennel, mint…), 3 Tbs chopped dried cranberries or sour cherries, salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kuku may be cooked in a large skillet on top of the stove and finished under a preheated broiler, or baked in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, baking powder, and spices. Whisk together lightly and set aside. Warm the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Wash and chop the greens into narrow strips. Put the still-wet leaves into the pan. Cover and steam to wilt, 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions, herbs, and dried fruit. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the greens with the eggs in the mixing bowl. Lightly oil the skillet and pour the kuku back into the hot pan. Cook the kuku over low heat 6 to 10 minutes and finish under the broiler to brown the top, or bake in the oven 15 to 20 minutes, until the eggs are set.

Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into narrow wedges

*Marinated feta (or fresh mozzarella)

8 oz crumbled feta cheese, 1 tsp each cumin, caraway, and fennel seed (toasted and lightly crushed), 1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano, thyme, or mint leaves, 1/4 tsp red chile flakes, 2 or 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top

*Pickled Habanero-Ginger Grapes a la Joe

Marinated Tomatoes

These were a huge hit. I found they make a wonderful salsa combined with cucumber or mango, chiles, and red onion. Joe adapted this recipe from the book Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys and Chowchows, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.

In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 2 Tbs crushed coriander seeds, 1 Tbs ground cinnamon, 7 whole cloves, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add about 1-inch piece thinly sliced ginger, 1 thinly sliced habanero or 3 jalapeno chiles. Pour the mixture over 3 cups green and red seedless grapes (Joe cut them in half), and let stand 1 hour before serving. The pickled grapes keep beautifully in the refrigerator.

*Tunisian Caponata

Tapenade

Suzy based her caponata on a recipe found in Mollie Katzen’s Still Life With Menu, a book of meatless menus and original art. It is equally delicious on pita, bruschetta, or cornbread.

Ingredients: 1 large sweet onion (chopped), 1 1/2 lbs eggplant (unpeeled 1-inch cubes), 2 diced celery stalks, 3 or 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 3 or 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, 2 to 4 Tbs red or white wine vinegar, one 14-oz can crushed plum tomatoes (or 2 to 3 Tbs tomato paste), one 6-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, 2 Tbs capers, 1/2 cup cut up black and green olives, 2 Tbs fresh mint or parsley.

Warm 2 Tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté 5 to 8 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add 1 more Tbs oil, eggplant cubes, celery, and salt. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender. Stir in the tomatoes or tomato paste and vinegar to your taste. Heat to a simmer and stir in the olives. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the capers and artichoke hearts (drained and chopped). Sprinkle the herbs on top. Serve at room temperature.

I like to make this by grilling or roasting the vegetables separately before combining them with olives, vinegar, capers, and herbs to make the caponata. Sweet red peppers are a welcome addition. Arthur Schwartz describes an easy-to-use baked version in his book, The Southern Italian Table: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut onion, sweet red peppers, and celery into 1/2-inch dice. Cut the unpeeled eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Toss the vegetables with 4 Tbs olive oil, 2 Tbs vinegar, and 1 tsp salt. Mix in the garlic and tomatoes. Scoop the mixture into a roasting pan and bake 60 to 90 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the pan juices are thick. Stir in the remaining ingredients (artichokes optional), except the herbs, and let cool. Sprinkle on the herbs before serving.

*Spiced Chickpea Salad

Ingredients: 2 cups cooked chickpeas, spice mix (1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground allspice, 1/2 tsp ground coriander), 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt, 2 Tbs olive oil, 2 tsp whole cumin seed, 1 finely chopped medium red onion, 1 Tbs chopped garlic, 1 Tbs minced fresh ginger, 1 minced jalapeno or serrano chile, 1 diced red or yellow bell pepper, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 cups chopped curly endive (optional)

Vinaigrette: 2 or 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Drain the chickpeas, put in a shallow bowl and toss to coat with the spice mix and salt. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seed and cook about 20 seconds. Add the onion, stir to coat with oil, and cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and chile and stir 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, toss with the diced pepper, herbs, and endive. Drizzle with vinaigrette

*Yogurt Soup

Ingredients: 2 cups plain whole milk or reduced-fat yogurt, 2 garlic cloves, 1 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, chives), 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions, 1/2 tsp sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 minced jalapeno (optional), 1 large cucumber, milk or water to thin

Crush, peel, and chop or pound the garlic into a paste with a pinch of coarse salt. Mix the garlic paste and all the other ingredients into the yogurt. Add the peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber. Season with salt and black pepper and thin with milk or water, if you like.

Meal in a Bowl: Central Asian Rice and Beans…

  …what to eat with your fabulous chile sauces (see previous post)!

Dinner in a Bowl

Pilaf, Pulao, Pilau, Polow, Palov–these are all names for the grain dishes of Central Asia, culinary cousins of Spanish paella or Italian risotto. The names change from country to country, but the preparation techniques are similar: grains are sautéed in oil or butter with aromatic spices and cooked with various other ingredients to create a dish rich in flavor and beautiful to look at. Add beans or lentils, and you have a meal in a bowl.

Long grain white Basmati rice is the traditional grain of choice for many pilaf recipes because it is refined, fragrant, and has the perfect texture for absorbing seasonings and remaining distinct. Other grains can replace the white Basmati with delicious results, and combining two or three grains in one dish makes for interesting variations in taste and texture. Special pilaf dishes are often made for celebrations and holidays–infused with saffron and decorated with flower petals, pomegranate seeds, and candied orange peel. Even a more humble pilaf  is rich with flavor and makes a festive and aromatic centerpiece for any meal.

Grain Close-up

Making pilaf dishes provides a good opportunity to explore the qualities of different kinds of grains as well as the wide selection of rices available. Long-grain rices are preferable for pilaf because their grains become fluffy and distinct when cooked. I often cook with brown basmati and brown jasmine rice, which are mild and tender but chewier and more assertive than white rice. California wehani and Bhutanese red rice are both good in pilaf, adding earthy, nutty flavor and beautiful red-brown color. My pilafs often include farro, kamut, pearled barley, bulgur, quinoa, or wild rice.  Be sure to cook grains with different cooking times separately. Soaking brown rice or other whole grains 1/2 to 2 hours in room temperature water allows the grains to swell more fully and reduces the cooking time somewhat.

Indian Rice and Beans Pullao

Ingredients: 3/4 cup mung beans (or substitute split mung beans or red lentils), 2 bay leaves, one 2-inch cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, 1 Tbs oil, 1 Tbs butter, 1 tsp coriander seed, 2 cardamom pods, 1 1/2 cups diced onion, 1 cups diced carrot, 1 1/2 Tbs minced ginger, one chopped serrano chile, 2 cups water

Tarka: 1 1/2 Tbs oil, 1 tsp cumin seed, 1 tsp black mustard seed, 1/2 tsp fennel seed, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seed

Wash the beans or lentils in several changes of water. Drain and put in a saucepan with 3 cups water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 15 to 25 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat, drain excess liquid, and stir in 1/2 tsp salt.

Wash the rice in several changes of lukewarm water, drain, and set aside. Warm the oil and butter in a Dutch oven or similar pot over medium heat. When hot, add the coriander seed and cardamom pods; cook 10 to 20 seconds. Add the onion and cook 5 or 6 minutes. Add the carrot, ginger, chile, and rice and stir-fry 1 or 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt; bring to a boil, stirring gently. Reduce the heat, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat 20 to 25 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit 10 minutes.

Make the tarka: Warm 1 1/2 Tbs oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the spices and cook about 30 seconds. Add the cooked rice and stir to distribute the spice-oil. Gently stir in the beans. Season to taste with salt, cover and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Garnish: Chutney of chopped cucumber, diced tomato, minced shallot and ginger, and chopped fresh mint; dressed with fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of salt, with a bowl of fresh chile-garlic sauce on the side

Persian Rice and Lentil Polow

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, 1 cup small brown or green lentils, 2 Tbs oil, 1 tsp cumin seed, 2 tsp coriander seed, one 2-inch stick cinnamon, 2 cardamom pods, 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion, 2 carrots cut in short matchsticks, 1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned), 1/2 cup currants or dried cranberries, 1/2 tsp ground allspice,  1/2 cup chopped parsley

Garnish: toasted walnuts and quick pickled lemon slices

Wash the rice. Put the rice in a pan, cover with plenty of lukewarm water, and set aside to soak 1/2 to 2 hours (this helps the rice absorb water more easily when it cooks). Wash the lentils and check for grit or small stones; drain. Put the lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer gently 15 to 20 minutes, until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom; stir 10 to 20 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onion, stir to coat with oil, and cook 6 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots and drained rice; stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, currants, and allspice. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer 30 to 35 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, 10 minutes. Stir the lentils and parsley into the rice and fluff gently with a fork.

Season the polow with salt and freshly ground black pepper, transfer to a serving platter, and top with toasted nuts and lemon slices. Serve with zhoug or other fresh salsa.

 Three-Grain Pilaf with Spiced Chickpeas

OK, two of the three “grains” are not true grains–wild rice is a grass (if you are really lucky, someone will harvest it for you from their canoe), and quinoa is the seed of a plant related to lamb’s quarters.  Each has a unique texture and flavor to contribute, and the combination becomes more interesting. Because they require different lengths of time to cook, the grains need to be cooked separately.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup wild rice, 2/3 cup quinoa, 2/3 cup farro, pearled barley, or coarse bulgur wheat), 1 1/2 Tbs oil, 1 Tbs cumin seed, 2 tsp mustard seed, 1 cup finely chopped onion, 3/4 cup diced carrot, 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomato, 1 Tbs chopped garlic, 1 Tbs minced ginger, 1 minced fresh hot chile, zest of 1 orange, salt, and water

Garnish: chopped toasted nuts or seeds, chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, dill…), lemon slices

Wash the wild rice, drain, and put it in a pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed–15 minutes for truly wild rice, about 40 minutes for cultivated wild rice. Toast the quinoa  in a dry heavy skillet 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan with 1 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat 15 minutes. Note: true wild rice and quinoa may be cooked together, as they cook in the same length of time.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook 10 to 20 seconds. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the carrot, tomato, ginger, garlic, chile, orange zest, and grain, stir-fry 2 or 3 minutes. Add 1 1/3 cups water and 1 tsp salt, bring to a boil, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed–15 to 20 minutes for bulgur, 25 to 35 minutes for farro or barley.

Make the spiced chickpeas. Toss 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas with 1 1/2 tsp curry powder. Heat 1 Tbs oil in a skillet. Stir-fry 2 tsp cumin seeds 10 to 20 seconds. Add the chickpeas and cook 1 to 2 minutes.

Gently combine the chickpeas, wild rice, and quinoa with the cooked grain. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and top with toasted seeds or nuts and a generous handful chopped fresh herbs. Serve with fresh or quick pickled lemon.

Wild Rice Pilaf

Wild Rice Pilaf

A quick and easy pilaf…make it with freshly cooked wild rice, or use some other rice or kernal grain. It’s a great way to turn leftover rice into something delicious.

Ingredients: 1 cup wild rice, 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 finely chopped medium-large sweet onion, 2 or 3 diced carrots, 1 diced red bell pepper, 1/3 cup dried cranberries or currants, 2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash the wild rice in several changes of water, drain, and put in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed and the grain is tender. Cook true wild rice 15 minutes, cultivated wild rice 40 to 50 minutes. Add more water if needed.

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and cook a few minutes until translucent. Add the carrot and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked grain and dried fruit to the pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.

Serve with harissa, preserved lemon, or a bowl of yuzu kosho.

Welcome additions: steamed green beans, snap peas, shelled peas, or fava beans