Monday, January 17, 2011

Chickpea and Potato Curry

It seems I've taken a bit of a break from sharing my thoughts and cooking activity with the internet for the last many weeks. Upon reflection, there were a few reasons for this. There were, of course, the usual holiday related distractions. But also, I hadn't cooked anything I felt excited about, and then a nasty stomach bug got thrown into the mix rendering me completely uninterested in food. At one point, I found myself worried: "What if I never crave any kind of food again and I become satisfied with just eating white rice and with edammame beans and ginger everyday?" But, alas, my appetite returned and I am happily cooking, eating and perusing the several new cookbooks I acquired over the holidays.
I would be remiss in writing this first post of January without reflecting on the past year and speculating about the year to come. 2010 wasn't an outright bad year, but I was left feeling like I wanted more. I didn't achieve anything memorable or grow significantly in any aspect of my life. I'll provide a few of the less personal examples. Athletically speaking, I couldn't do much because of the structural issues I am having with my body. In my worklife, I was busy and got things done, but there was no one big accomplishment that stands out in my mind nor did I feel I learned much to help me grow professionally. And socially, I didn't see enough of my friends. There were some highlights: attending the Children's Book Writing and Publishing class; I finally found a yoga studio I liked and got into a regular yoga practice, and two trips to Colorado after not having been for a while. Luckily, I'm not one of those people who has my memories cataloged by year (It was back in the summer of 1992...) For me, things blend in and I recollect in segments of life, so it's not like 2010 will be burned in my memory as the Year of the Uneventful.
I also don't make New Year Resolutions. It seems a bit trite and resolutions don't have a good reputation. I think read one statistic that 95% of resolutions are given up on by the third week in January. I do have some intentions for 2011. I won't share them all, but I do intend to spend more time with certain friends (i.e. Susan), and I've already gotten a good start on this one. I plan to do something with the knowledge I gained at the above mentioned class from 2010. I have a love affair to re-kindle with my bike(s). I also plan to branch out with my cooking and perhaps take a Thai or curry class.
In the colder weather I find myself craving curries and foods with a heat and "heaviness" in general. After having a vegetable korma at a local Indian restaurant, I found myself wanting more for days after. I tried making one, and it was fine, but it didn't satisfy me in the way the restaurant one did. I also made some curry flavored lentil burgers and those were also ok, if a bit dry. Then I made a lentil loaf with some heat to it, and that was fairly nice. Last night, I finally made a Curried Potato and Chickpea Soup that I found pretty satisfying for the amount of time and effort it took. My friend, Lauri, had sent me a recipe to which I made a few modifications. It's less a soup and more a curry to pour over rice. This batch had a lot of potatoes in it since I was wanting to use up the stash in my pantry that was approaching the end of its little veggie life, so I would want to use less next time, but I do think there will be a next time.

Chickpea and Potato Curry
2 Tblspns olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 tspns (at least) curry powder
1/2 pound small red skin potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup veggie broth
1 14 oz can light coconut milk
1 14 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 14 oz can diced tomatoes or a big handful of chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup packed spinach leaves, chopped, or about a cup of frozen spinach thawed
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in heavy medium soup pot over medium heat. Add onions. Cook until just starting to brown. Add curry powder and stir for a minute.
2. Add broth, coconut milk, potatoes, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then turn to a simmer and cook for 2o minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
3. Add spinach and salt. Let spinach blend or wilt. Serve over basmati rice.

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