Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Potato, Spinach and Garbanzo Bean Curry {GF + Vegetarian}

Potato, Spinach and Garbanzo Bean Curry

A spicy, healthy Potato, Spinach and Garbanzo Bean Curry.  Gluten Free** (omit naan bread) and Vegetarian recipe!
**For Gluten Free, omit naan bread (or use GF version) and always make sure the ingredients you use are clearly labeled Gluten Free, including your spices!


• 1/4 cup olive oil (or to taste)
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds or mustard powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 1/2 tablespoon cayenne (or to taste)
• 6 tablespoons curry powder (or to taste)
• 6 tablespoons garam masala (or to taste)
• 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
• 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 2 minced jalapeno peppers
• 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes
• 1 can garbanzo beans
• 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 2 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped
• 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves; finely chopped


1. Wash and peel potatoes. Place them in boiling water to partially pre-cook, about 10-minutes. Remove from water and cube. 
2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until they pop. Or, add mustard powder if you don't have the seeds. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric cayenne, curry powder and garam masala and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds until fragrant. 
3. Add the onions, the (cubed, partially pre-cooked) potatoes, garlic, ginger and jalapenos and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes. 
4. Add the garbanzo beans followed by the spinach; cook until the spinach is wilted. 
5. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat until curry is thickened, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. 
6. Add the cilantro and stir well. 
7. Serve hot over quinoa or rice if following a Gluten Free diet OR with naan bread if not on a GF diet. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Three Courses of French Vegetarian Goodness

Three Courses of French Vegetarian Goodness:

Braised Baby Artichokes over Brown Rice with Tomato Coulis & Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Tomato
Now, anyone familiar with French food will probably be wondering how I could pull off a decent, multi-course French dinner given my status as vegetarian and subsequent lack of desire to prepare, let alone eat, a meaty dish.  

But, happily for me, one of my more productive means of procrastination is perusing online cooking and recipe sites for recipes that sound particularly interesting, challenging, or which meet some other criteria I've deemed of the utmost importance (most recently, I've been pursing BBQ'd meat substitutes). 

On one of my many sojourns through the wonderful world of online cooking resources, I came across a set of recipes on Food and Wine magazine's website, intriguingly titled: "French Provincial Vegetarian."  I clicked the link excitedly and found myself anything but disappointed.  

In fact, I was quite happy to be staring at a French Vegetarian menu developed by Chef Alain Coumont.  

The menu included:

As usual, I made some alterations to the original recipes (links found above, next to the bulleted menu items) but given my unfamiliarity with French cooking a I was less comfortable than usual with making too many spur-of-the-moment changes.  

Chilled Zucchini Soup
My major cooking intervention came in the form of adding greater quantities of spices than the recipes called for, and occasionally adding an extra clove of garlic or bit more chopped onion or basil.  This was all in the service of producing a more robust flavor and I would recommend that anyone embarking upon these recipes start off with recommended amounts and slowly adapt things to their taste.  

The other major changes I made were to reduce serving sizes and I opted to use canned whole artichokes (HEB brand) rather than preparing fresh artichokes for the artichoke dish.  This eliminated the need to pare the artichokes and then soak them in lemon-water (although I drizzled lemon on the canned artichokes prior to cooking).  This adaptation necessitated that I add the artichokes later in the cooking process than originally called for in order to prevent them from becoming overdone. 

NOTE: Every recipe I made could be made Gluten Free if you are following a GF diet.  It would require using certified GF ingredients but no other alteration to the recipes.

Although I don't typically tackle multiple dishes when I make dinner (I usually opt for a one course, one-food meal), I found Coumont's recipes to be relatively easy to make (balking popular conceptions of the complexity of French cooking), if still time consuming.  

I was able to make two of the recipes, the chilled zucchini soup and tomato coulis, the day before the dinner and enjoyed the fact that I was able to tackle things across two days rather than slaving away in the kitchen nonstop for a full day.

Mocha Pots, fresh out of oven
Overall, my experiment in vegetarian French cooking was a success.  The artichokes with tomato coulis and brown rice combo. was a hit, and the oven-baked tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese are absolutely heavenly.  

The chilled zucchini soup was good, but less of a pleaser than the other dishes.  It is a nice, light first course, but I feel it needs something like a nice crusty, toasted bread paired with it to be really successful.  

The Mocha Pots for dessert also turned out well.  I made them fresh after dinner so they could be consumed while still warm and I put a healthy dollop of reduced fat whipped cream on top before serving.  All in all, a great night of foodie decadence of the Provencal French Vegetarian variety.