Chickpea, Cabbage, and Dill Soup

I’ve recently reintroduced canned chickpeas into my diet. I’ve been so excited to be eating beans again, even in this limited form. I needed to use up cabbage and dill from my garden that I picked before the cold front. I found this recipe for Middle Eastern Chickpea, Cabbage, and Dill Soup on page 313 Madhur Jefrey’s World of East Vegetarian Cooking. The recipe is super simple and I further simplified by using canned goods.

I made quite a few adjustments. I used canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes. The original recipe calls for you to cook pre-soaked chickpeas for 1 hour and then cook all the veggies with the chickpeas for another hour and a half. Instead, I just cooked everything together for 45 minutes. I thought the potatoes were a little too soft. Next time I’d cook for 30 minutes. I left out the onion. Since I didn’t have flavor from the onion, I used vegetable broth instead of water. Instead of a whole tomato and 2 tsp of tomato paste, I used about a can of chopped stewed tomatoes. Here’s my version:

2 can chickpeas

4 cups vegetable broth

1-2 medium sized boiling potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can stewed chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup chopped fresh dill, firmly packed

2 cups cabbage, cut into 1 inch squares

1.5 -2 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

  1. Put all the ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes
  3. Adjust salt and add pepper to taste

For something so simple, this was really flavorful and yummy, this was super easy. A really good weeknight recipe on a cold night. Ian liked it a lot too. The dill didn’t really stand out the way I thought it would though. I think next time I’d reserve 1/3 of the dill and add at the end, to see how that affects the flavor.


Spiced Eggplant and Tomatoes with Runny Eggs

The first time I had Shakshuka was at a Dr. Shakshuka, a famous shakshuka restaurant in Tel Aviv where pots and pans hang from the ceiling and shakshuka is served in cast iron pans accompanied by whole loaves of fluffy white bread. I’d never heard of the dish and the Israeli who took me was very excited to share it. I wasn’t immediately sold by the simple flavor and unusual texture. But in the years since it’s become a standby dish for me. Something I make often when I’m short on ingredients and want a satisfying meal. I rarely use a recipe and often add various spices and vegetables to suit my mood.

I generally enjoy the recipes in the New York Times. When I saw this twist on shakshuka with eggplant, I was intrigued, particularly since I’m getting an eggplant an week from my garden right now and am looking for recipes to keep up. I decided to make it without reading it too closely. Once I dove in, I realized it was going to need some adaptation. The baharat blend it requires is based on measurements of whole spices. I don’t have a spice grinder so I had to convert the measurements to ground spices. The recipe also calls for an absurd amount of oil. I cut down a lot on that (I probably ended up using 1 1/2 -2 tbsp).

I made the vegetable mixture ahead of time and then returned it to the pan one egg at a time when I wanted to eat. The recipe calls for cooking the eggs 8-10 minutes. I cooked for 9 and my egg was pure liquid. I suspect 10-12 is probably more accurate.

The result was good, not great. The dish is really pretty. And the velvety texture of the eggplant and tomatoes worked really well. The pine nuts added a very interesting layer to the dish. But it was too salty and the spice mixture wasn’t quite right. She has you put one tsp of salt on the raw eggplant and then a half tsp to the dish. Next time I’d only add 1/2 tsp to the raw eggplant and ad any additional needed salt at the end. I want to play around a bit with the spice mixture. I think I might leave out the cinnamon next time. That’s just a guess thought. I will be trying this again. Right now this recipe gets a B. But I suspect it will be upgraded to a B+ once I play with it a bit.

Here are the measurements I used for the Baharat Blend:

1/2 tbsp cumin
1/4 tbsp coriander
1/3 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
1/3 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg (I left this out since I didn’t have any)

Lemon Walnut Hummus

I’ve made hummus at home tons of time. It’s always good, never great. Then I ventured into this walnut hummus recipe from page 35 of Fresh Food Fast and…oh I couldn’t get enough. No more hummus leftovers growing mold in the back of my fridge. I think the secret of the amazing flavor is in toasting the walnuts before adding them to the hummus. It creates a surprising warmth of flavor that I don’t get in standard sesame hummus. I try to avoid using the oven in summer. I used the toaster oven to toast the walnuts and was happy with the results. I’ll definitely be making this again.

Tomato and Cabbage Tabbouleh

This tabbouleh is veggie-forward and very yummy. I had totally forgotten about it. My sister forwarded my email so I could add it to the blog. I have everything necessary to make it in my garden and am going to make it ASAP! used 2 cups mint packed. I know I would have cut down the olive oil but I don’t remember how much I used. My best guess is 1/4 cup? TBD