Tag Archives: garbanzo beans

Moving Beyond Meatless Monday and a Mediterranean Farro Bowl

Let me start by saying, I am proud to be a carnivore. As this site attests, meat, in all of its forms is my friend, however, there is more than enough room in that  circle of friends for non-meat members. This site can attest to that as well. I’ve often shared recipes that don’t feature beef, pork or poultry in a starring role. Beans, grains, eggs, and dairy are well represented in the Recipe Archive.  Lately I find myself drawn to more recipes that do not feature meat at all. I have completely embraced “Meatless Monday” and I’m working towards Meatless Wednesday or Thursday on occasion.

Speaking of Meatless Monday…how did we come to call it that? We have to look back to both World Wars when rationing food was the law of the land and Meatless Mondays happened in every home. Entering into the new millennium, the concept was revised to improve people’s eating habits. The story goes that Monday being the first weekday was a time to get back on track after a weekend of indulgence. Think of all those diets we’ve started on Monday morning…it kind of makes sense.

Personally, I’m probably in that camp. I tend to eat more on the weekend and often look upon Monday as a clean slate, but that’s not the only reason. Meatless meals tend to be less expensive and some are downright cheap. Especially when there are beans involved. Mama D does have a “thing ” for beans. Soups and chilies of course, but she’s dipped her toe into the pond that is the veggie burger, just look at the Black Bean and Cannellini Burgers from some time back. Besides being low in fat, high in fiber and full of protein, beans are versatile and dare I say (again) cheap.

So, today’s entry into the Meatless Monday category is a Farro Bowl that has a distinctly Mediterranean flair. Farro of course, comes from Italy and many of the other ingredients originate from not too far away in Greece. It has the bright vegetable colors that are featured in both cuisines and then there are those Chick Peas,  Garbanzos, or Ceci, whatever you choose to call them.IMG_1195

It’s quite an easy dish to prepare. While the farro is cooking, the topping comes together in a skillet. The onions and the squash went in first, followed shortly thereafter by  a little garlic (yes, a little… I know) and the beans. I think that garbanzos taste wonderful when they are cooked to a light golden brown. It gives them a nutty, creamy taste that doesn’t happen with most other beans.IMG_1200As the picture indicates, a good many ingredients came out of jars…not that there’s anything wrong with that. Coarsely chopped, they waited on the sidelines until the time was right.IMG_1202Once the garbanzos and squash were what I considered the perfect color, the rest of the veggies went into the pan.IMG_1205All that was needed now was a little lemon juice, a bit more olive oil, some Italian herb blend and fresh rosemary. The farro created a rich brown bed of grainy goodness (absolutely love this stuff) that cradled the vegetables nobly. Some crumbled feta  sat on top in blinding white splendor. This was truly a meal for the gods…Greek or otherwise.IMG_1213The beauty of this recipe is that is the entry-level to so many other creations. Try it with your favorite veggies and grains; go for a different ethnic flavor; or just give my recipe your own personal spin.

Mediterranean Farro Bowl
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Mediterranean Farro Bowl
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Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Rinse farro and drain. In a medium pan, combine the farro with 1-1/2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the farro is as tender as you like. This will take 20 - 30 minutes. While the farro cooks, prepare the vegetables.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the squashes and the garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes until everything begins to soften and become fragrant.
  3. Add the garbanzos and continue to cook until the beans are beginning to brown. This should take around 5-7 minutes. Make sure you stir often so that they brown evenly.
  4. Add a little of the reserved stock to keep things moving. Add the olives, peppers, and artichokes to the skillet, tossing to combine. Continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes, adding more stock if necessary.
  5. Add the lemon juice, herb blend, and rosemary to the skillet and toss one more time and heat another coupe of minutes.
  6. Divide the farro between 2 bowls creating a little well in the middle. Top each bowl with half of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle 1 ounce of the feta on each bowl and serve.
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The best part of this is you don’t have to wait for Monday to make it. You can go Meatless any day of the week…Can you say Meatless Sunday Supper?

Summer Vacation and Italian Three Bean Salad in the Kitchen of Love

It’s hard to believe that my summer vacation will be over in a week. As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. To be honest, I will still have a generous portion of each afternoon to do all the summer type things that I am remembering how much I enjoyed. While I’m not riding my bike or trying to go “over the bars” on a swing, I am taking time to enjoy the simpler things that made the Midwestern summers of my childhood so special, warm days, long evenings, and now, time in the kitchen.  I am loving the time that I can spend planning and preparing meals. Produce abounds from the garden, farm stands, and the grocery store. The colors and textures paint visions of meals that are vegetable driven, healthy and dare I say it, fabulously delicious.

I’ve gone back to dinners around a theme. Recently we had an Italian inspired dinner. Okay, lots of my dinners have an Italian vibe. What do you expect? I’m Italian and proud of it. “Italian-ness” aside, I do love pork. Tenderloins are my current favorite because they are versatile, quick cooking and the perfect size for two. I wanted to do another version of the pork wrapped in pork that is always so succulently yummy. I had a little thin sliced pancetta that I carefully uncoiled to create a delicate casing for the pork.

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The seasoning for the meat had a very sausage like taste…red pepper flakes, fennel, and Italian herbs. In the summer, if you are Italian, and you think sausage, the next thing to pop into your head is peppers. Of course, peppers fried in olive oil with a bit of onion had to become the side.

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Now what? In what I feel was a stroke of brilliance, a bean salad came to mind. Then the gears in my Italian brain meshed and I decided to make an Italian version of Three Bean Salad. We all remember the traditional Three Bean Salad that often appears at picnics and many salad bars. Varying combinations of green and kidney beans swim in a decidedly sweet vinegar dressing. Can this become a Paisan? I kept the green beans and added garbanzo and cannellini beans. The dressing went from sweet to tangy with the addition of lemon juice and white balsamic vinegar. Garlic and olive oil completed the transformation.DIGITAL CAMERA I opted to use rosemary and parsley as the herb component because I love how they taste with lemon. I chose red for the onion and pepper because they’re pretty and it gave a little nod to the Italian flag. As with any marinated salad, I made it early in the day so that everything had time to become as friendly as the goombahs from the old neighborhood.

Italian Three Bean Salad
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Italian Three Bean Salad
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the green beans in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. You want them quite crisp, but with a tender heart.
  2. Drain the beans and cool quickly in a bowl of ice water. Drain well again and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the cannellini and garbanzo beans to the bowl. Let the peppers and onions join in the fun, too. Toss everything together.
  4. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice & zest, garlic, mustard, rosemary and parsley in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until the dressing is completely blended.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat everything. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight if you have the time.
  6. Give it one more good toss before you serve it and taste again, making any adjustments. It's ready.
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This was a wonderful partner for the pork and peppers, but it would go well with any grilled meat and would be a hit at any party you brought it to. Another plus for this dish is that it can easily function as a one dish meal. The beans provide plenty of protein and fiber, but if you wanted to up the ante, add some cheese.

I did just that for lunch the next day. A little feta cheese, some tomatoes and a nice bed of baby greens from the garden made for a lunch that was as tasty as it was pretty.

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Musings on a Small Kitchen and Dinner in Seven Layers

In less than four weeks we will be moving to our new home. It is a beautiful two bedroom apartment with many amenities. I know that it will be perfect in many ways; location, fitness center, and beautiful grounds. Still, at the back of my mind I keep coming back to that tiny kitchen. I also keep scolding myself for dwelling on it. I spent most of my adult life using a tiny kitchen, and I can say from experience that they are efficient and convenient, even if the last 12 years has altered my perspective.

There is however, a movement afoot, a covert plan of sorts that wants to convince me that small kitchens are a blessing in disguise.  I recently opened a magazine to find a four page spread on the wonders of a kitchen that is no bigger than my future home’s. I’ve also seen respected celebrity chefs extol the virtues of their New York City mini kitchens. It’s enough to make me reevaluate my new Kitchen of Love’s assumed short comings. This may be a case of less is more…

The philosophical debate will be raging in my head for some time, but in the meantime, I’m practicing working in a smaller space. Short of taping off parameters, I’m working on keeping things close at hand and being conscious of using space efficiently, and it’s not so bad…

Fortunately, all of this isn’t interfering with the creative cooking that is happening. There are so many things that are whetting my culinary creative juices. Lightening the pantry (and the freezers), coming up with healthy and tasty dishes for two, and having something interesting to write about, are all contributing to positive production (and thoughts) in Mama D’s Kitchen.

A recent dinner featured a Seven Layer Salad. These have been around in one form or another for years. From the earliest incarnation featuring iceberg lettuce and peas, to recent versions that feature every kind of vegetable imaginable, they have earned a permanent place in many cooks’ arsenals.

I spun this concept ever so slightly by using Farro. I’ve shared the virtues of this grain before, so I’ll spare you the details and get on to the dish. Garbanzo beans, red bell and cubanelle peppers, grape tomatoes, olives and red onion joined in the fun.DIGITAL CAMERATraditionally there are seven distinct layers including the dressing. I wound up with slightly more, but I repeated some ingredients to create an even serving of all the flavors. DIGITAL CAMERAFarro went in first to act as a sponge for the veggies and dressing to come. This was left over from my last farro foray. It emerged unscathed from the freezer and proudly took it’s place in the bowl.DIGITAL CAMERARed bell peppers and garbanzos piled on (in an orderly manner, of course).DIGITAL CAMERARed onions contributed their mild flavor and a welcome pop of color.DIGITAL CAMERAThe cubanelle peppers topped more farro.

DIGITAL CAMERATomatoes and ripe olives were the final ingredients, that is before the balsamic vinaigrette Everything spent a lovely afternoon in the refrigerator before a sprinkle of Italian Cheese Blend added a lacy finishing touch.DIGITAL CAMERAAs always, choose the vegetables that appeal to you. Use rice, pasta or quinoa as your grain or leave the grain out. Whatever you choose you have my blessing. This was a Meatless Monday dinner, but ham, bacon, or cooked chicken could easily provide the protein. I added some grilled sourdough bread mainly because there was some in the refrigerator. I must say it added a nice crunchy accent.

DIGITAL CAMERAThis is almost a unrecipe, but if you like written guidelines, here they are.      

Seven +/- Layer Salad
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Seven +/- Layer Salad
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Light Balsamic Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a deep glass bowl layer the ingredients beginning with the farro. Layer them at your whim, but aim for appealing color combinations. The only sort of rule is to end with the olives and tomatoes, but again that's up to you.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until everything has blended together.
  3. Pour the dressing over the layered salad. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, top with the shredded cheese. Sprinkle with a few fresh herbs if that tickles your fancy, and serve.
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One of my favorite sayings these days is: “Embrace the Change.” It’s time to take my own words to heart and embrace my new small kitchen.                                                                                                                                                                Mama D

 

The Salad Days of Summer

When I was growing up, summer signaled the change from basic iceberg lettuce salads to something a little more interesting. Whether it was green bean salad flavored with mint or tomatoes in a garlicky vinaigrette, my mother’s summer salads were a welcome treat. In my newly healthier approach to cooking, salads are a big part of most meals and I seem to be discovering different combinations almost daily.DIGITAL CAMERA

Now that Summer is almost officially here, and I’m committed to healthier meals, salads aren’t just another pretty side dish. They are taking center stage and I have to say, I rather like it. Many of these salads are a  generous serving of lean protein accompanied by various vegetables and a light dressing. DIGITAL CAMERAWhile these creations are delicious, sometimes they are a little too light. Something is missing. Carbohydrates! I do love my carbohydrates and I embrace them in my healthier lifestyle.

“Good Carbs” are an important part of a healthy diet because of their nutrients and fiber rich whole grains. So now, many of my salads have the added benefit of whole grains. DIGITAL CAMERAFarro, quinoa, and brown rice have all found their way into my salads. I’ve seemingly turned my back on pasta. As an Italian, how can that be?  While not intentional, I’ve been so enchanted with the ever-expanding selection of grains and the never-ending quest for more fiber, that pasta has been sitting on the pantry shelf feeling neglected.

DIGITAL CAMERAI started to change that the other day when I invited whole wheat pasta to be part of my DIGITAL CAMERAmain dish salad. Instead of it being the principal ingredient, it was a supporting player and going out on the proverbial limb, I invited lettuce to be a supporting player as well. This salad boasts Romaine Hearts and Whole Wheat Farfalle pasta (that packs an impressive 6 grams of fiber per serving).

The colorful array of ingredients included artichoke hearts, red onions and multicolored tomatoes and peppers. Grilled chicken and garbanzo beans provided the protein and Sicilian olives gave it a little extra punch.DIGITAL CAMERASo, I combined the veggies and the cooked pasta in a large bowl.DIGITAL CAMERAThe dressing was a simple vinaigrette that included some fresh herbs and just a bit of anchovy paste. DIGITAL CAMERAThe lettuce waited on the sidelines until the moment of plating so that it could provide the necessary crunch. A dusting of Romano cheese finished things off.DIGITAL CAMERA

Italian Salad with Pasta and Romaine
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Pasta salad meets lettuce salad in an easy one dish meal. This serves two very generously. Use the cut whole wheat pasta of your choice. The same goes for the herbs you use in the dressing.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Italian Salad with Pasta and Romaine
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Pasta salad meets lettuce salad in an easy one dish meal. This serves two very generously. Use the cut whole wheat pasta of your choice. The same goes for the herbs you use in the dressing.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse and put in a large bowl.
  2. Slice the onion lengthwise into narrow strips and add them to the pasta in the bowl.
  3. Slice the peppers into thin strips abut the same size as the onions and add them to the bowl.
  4. Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on the size of the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
  5. Add the garbanzo beans, chicken, and olives to the bowl and toss to combine everything.
  6. Dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to blend everything. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  7. When you are ready to serve, add the torn lettuce leaves and toss once more. Divide between two plates and sprinkle with the Romano cheese.
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Summer stretches ahead for the next few months. There’s plenty of time to create more interesting salads. If you haven’t tried a healthy salad supper, give it a try. If you have, let me know what you’ve created.   Love, Mama D

 

More Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), More Love

There’s been a natural progression in my posts lately. The Vegetable Stock led to Minestrone and now the Minestrone has resulted in the need to revisit Garbanzo Beans. I made a large batch of beans and I was bound and determined to use them all. Mama D owed it to herself to be frugal and creative. So the fiber rich adventure continues.DIGITAL CAMERA

The article from Fine Cooking Magazine featured a number of recipes. The pasta recipe inspired me to come up with my own pasta and chickpeas dish.

I love bacon. I love it on its own and in the company of other ingredients. Lately my favorite is thick cut pepper bacon. I’ve been using it in many savory recipes. There are all kinds of dishes that benefit from this peppery pork product and pasta is a great canvas.Pepper bacon

 

The magazine article used the liquid that the garbanzos were cooked in and I had saved my cooking water, so I used it too. A word about the cooking water. It was gelatinous and a lovely amber color. Quite different from the slightly slimy water in the canned variety. So this liquid would be the base of my pasta sauce. Onions and garlic had to join in the fun along with some red pepper flakes and spinach. Penne pasta seemed like the perfect partner with its ridges to hold what was sure to be a tasty sauce and a size that was geometrically complimentary  to the chickpeas. So, here’s Mama D’s newest pasta creation.

Penne with Chickpeas, Spinach, and Bacon
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This dish has lots of flavor for not much money.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Penne with Chickpeas, Spinach, and Bacon
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This dish has lots of flavor for not much money.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan, Add the bacon and cook until it is lightly browned. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings, then add the onion, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onions begin to soften and the garlic is fragrant. Add the chickpeas and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to pick up some color,about 5 minutes Add the spinach and cook until it wilts 3 minutes or so.
  2. Add the chickpea cooking water and raise the heat to medium high. Simmer for 5 -7 minutes. The sauce should thicken and reduce slightly. Bring the heat back down to medium and add half of the Romano cheese and stir until it melts.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat it with the sauce. If it seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Check the seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Top each serving with the grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.
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I had more chickpeas left and wanting to waste not, there was one more recipe to try, Hummus. Hummus is so versatile. We all know it as a party appetizer, but it is also great as a sandwich spread instead of mayonaise or as my friend Dave suggested, on your morning bagel. The basic recipe uses chickpeas, tahini which is sesame paste, and olive oil. There is usually lemon and garlic in the mix as well. Herbs, spices and any other additions that tickle the cooks fancy are welcome to the party.  For this go around, I opted for Cumin, Smoked Paprika, and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce.DIGITAL CAMERA

Smoky Hummus Dip
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Smoky Hummus Dip
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, water, tahini, and olive oil in the bowl of the processor. Pulse until everything is combined, then process steadily until the hummus is as smooth as you like.
  2. Add the measured amounts of cumin, smoked paprika, and chipotle sauce. Process long enough for the spices to be incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper to your taste. Process again. Taste and add more of the seasonings to you preference.
  3. Chill for at least several hours. Serve with home baked salted tortilla or pita chips. It is also good with fresh vegetables.
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The garbanzo beans, having provided several delicious meals, are gone. They will not be forgotten. They will grace the stove in Mama D’s Kitchen, again soon. They really are a pot of golden love.