Something that has come out of COVID that is positive?
Working at home and having a little extra time to create new foods. Some of you who see my social posts have seen that I enjoy trying new things. Some things surprise me and I can't believe I am using those ingredients. Other times I am surprised by how I can use common things in new ways.
Some of my favourite 'new' ingredients are: chickpeas, farro, spinach, coconut milk, curry, Indian spices, sweet potatoes. Not all of these are new new, but they are not things I recall from my childhood or even early married life.
It has been fun to find recipes and then twist them a little. My daughter is a vegetarian so it has forced me to look up more vegetarian dishes - which i have enjoyed. My daughter-in-law is celiac which has forced me to look up new ways to cook certain foods and to be more aware of what i am using in a recipe - also good. My husband has also enjoyed cooking up new things. He usually takes weekend meals and creates lovely things for me to enjoy!
Our supper club - going on over 20 years has also brought us to new levels of 'trying'. We meet four times a year and one time it is our turn to wow and chow. We have to make food we haven't made before - so it has really been a test of our imaginations/creativity and a testament to all our supper club-mates that they have tried everything that everyone else makes!! This club is not only fun and challenging - it is a life line for me. This group has created bonds that are so strong and so special that we even have travelled together.
I believe I have said it before and will say it again - get yourself into a supper club. Do it how ever you want: 1) you make ALL the food that night and supply ALL the drinks. 2) the hosts set the theme and create a main course and then alternate with the other folks who makes an appetizer, salad/soup, dessert and BYOB. Either way you will learn and grow and experiment. Sometimes your food will fail - I made a garlic aioli that was so disgusting... ugh. BUT you learn. It took me awhile to try again, but i did and it worked!
Today I just want to share with you a recipe I made last night that just had great ingredients and even so, it surprised me with the amazing flavours! The base of the recipe comes from https://www.thecuriouschickpea.com/roasted-sweet-potato-and-farro-salad-with-garlicky-chickpeas/ Thank you, Eva. I altered it a bit for my liking and what i had for ingredients and from what i have learned from other recipes - but the original is fantastic - and she has other amazing looking recipes on her site! Check it out!!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Bowl with Garlicky Tomatoey Chickpeas
3 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp dry mustard (These last two were my sub for dijon mustard - so the original has 1 tsp of dijon - if you have it - use it!)
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp honey - (I substituted honey for maple syrup - need to pick up at Costco next time i am there!)
3/4 cup olive oil
Roasted Sweet Potato
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled (I peeled) and cut into 1/2" slices
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper
2 Tbsp cornstarch
sprinkle (a good sprinkle) of 'slap yo mamma https://store.slapyamama.com/collections/frontpage?gclid=CjwKCAiAjeSABhAPEiwAqfxURXaCj6HF-gdOQQD2qxDgkc_gt91yZSmYILW-kwnqwkpXaSZIoIWtUBoCDz8QAvD_BwE
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp of parmesan/garlic mix spice
(Really - you can choose the spices you would like.)
1 cup farro (I use Bobs (I always call him Uncle Bob) Red Mill: https://www.bobsredmill.com/organic-farro.html
2 garlic cloves - crushed but whole
1 branch of fresh dill
1 tsp olive oil
3 cups water (Check your bag of farro - mine asked for three... however, in the end i had to drain some water, so two might work.)
1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup minced sun dried tomatoes (reserve oil to use)
Oil - I used the oil in my sun dried tomato jar plus a little olive oil when that ran out
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
We had leftover avocado spread (avocado/lemon juice/salt) that we used.
- but you could use whole avocados
2 eggs - we did just 2 servings - the recipe probably makes 4 servings. (The leftovers are ok without the egg!)
- in tall cup, combine the ingredients (not olive oil) and using an immersion blender, blend till combined. Then SLOWLY, pour in the olive oil and keep blending until it is creamy and emulsified. Leave in fridge to chill.
- Preheat oven to 425' F and spray a cookie sheet or line with parchment.
Place your cut sweet potatoes in a large container. Add a glub of olive oil. Close container and shake to cover all your potatoes in oil. Then mix your dry spices with the cornstarch and throw into the large bowl - again close container and shake to cover all the potatoes. This helps to give the sweet potatoes a crunch.
Pour onto baking sheet and make sure it is in a single layer.
Bake for about 15 minutes -then flip and bake another 10-15 until easily pierced with a fork.
Rinse the farro and put into a pot with 2-3 cups of water, 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp salt, fresh dill stick(but can try fresh rosemary or other?). Bring pot to boil over high heat then turn heat to low and cover. Let simmer 20-25 minutes until farro is tender.
Heat large skillet with the sun dried tomato oil - when hot, add chickpeas and let them cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are lightly golden in spots. Add the minced sun dried tomatoes, minced garlic, salt and cook an additional 1- 2 minutes stirring so you don't burn the garlic. Done.
Bring water to boil.
crack an egg into a very fine mesh - helps to eliminate the strands of egg.
When water is boiling - stir it to create a funnel and gently drop egg into it.
I boiled mine about 2 minutes and then put in a bowl of warm water to keep it warm. You can boil to whatever hardness you like your poached eggs.
NOW YOU CAN ASSEMBLE:
Lay some slices of sweet potato at bottom. Cover with Farro, top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with chickpeas. Add a side of avocado. drizzle some vinaigrette over the whole kit and kaboodle. Top with some green onions if you happen to have some sitting at the bottom of your vegetable drawer (and they don't look mushy yet!).
Mmmm.... look at that awesome egg!!
... and that is not bacon - those are pieces of sun-dried tomatoes. The sweet potatoes are just peaking out at the bottom.
Thanks again to @thecuriouschickpea for the recipe.
AND FOLKS - get out there and try new things!! If you love the ingredients, how far wrong can you go?