It’s definitely here. As winter creeps upon us and chills our insides, it is important to stay warm from the inside out. This is the time of year that I reach for thick leggings versus pants, as I need extra layers of warmth like I need extra heat in my belly. This borscht recipe is one of my all time favorite ways to seek comfort, and I’ve been making it for the family ever since I’ve been lucky enough to have one (it’s been a few years). Continue reading
Category Archives: Soup
So it happened again (so many high fives)!
A group of folks got together to spend just under two hours with a group of kids from our fair city’s toughest neighborhood to cook together. To cook real food ~ food that needs no more than a few basic skills to make, skills like peeling, chopping, stirring, boiling, cutting, slicing, and best of all, caring. Continue reading
Healthy, delicious, vegan, gluten-free & Italian. Need I say more? I mean, really? With so many wonderful things all packaged up into one, it might seem almost too good to be true. If I told you also, just how mind-bogglingly easy this recipe was, well you might just freak right out. Don’t do that. Instead, read on to find the recipe that could literally help you simplify your life, be healthier, all the while impressing your friends and family as well. Lofty promises I know.
I first posted a chickpea flat bread recipe back in September, fresh off our glorious family holiday in France. That recipe, as well as today’s, came directly from our time in a comfortable Provencal apartment, when on the last day there I chilled alone on the terrace with a (1/2) bottle of rose and a few of the apartment owner’s cookbooks (a most wonderful and sophisticated Australian woman).
A few hundred iphone shots later (not even kidding you) and I had what might be the best collection of authentic French and Italian recipes ever. Not to mention a never to be forgotten few quiet moments to myself in paradise.
And now I am so excited to share some of that paradise with all of you, with my surroundings slightly different of course, but you all know what I mean! Chickpea flour is fairly inexpensive and can be found in most any Asian, Indian, or health food store. So do seek it out, it will be well worth your while!
Less wheat flour based diet staples less irritants for those sensitive. Less grains in the diet can mean less trouble for the stomach, digestion, and comfy body weight. Fewer ingredients in your food means more control of what you are eating, so sourcing ingredients of quality stays paramount.
More simple recipes to prepare means more reasons to make them. More old world foods means more old world wisdom. More alternatives to bread means more ways to feel satiated, without paying a price in equilibrium.
Authentic Italian Chickpea Flat Bread:
- (2.5) cups chick-pea flour (also called gram or garbanzo flour)
- (3.5) cups fresh cold water
- (1 tsp) salt & black pepper, or to taste
- (1/4) cup extra virgin olive oil
First, prepare to be blown away in a few hours, as this recipe calls for the mixed batter to sit a little while. I’ve made this recipe now several times and have had great success with mixing it up mid-day on a weekend for cooking in time for dinner.
In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. Add the water gradually as you whisk the flour to keep any lumps from forming. Once all the water has been added, mix until completely smooth and add salt and pepper as desired (just not too much salt and this recipe doesn’t need much).
Let the mixture stand on the counter for 3 hours or so. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the mixture with a slotted spoon. Prepare a large rimmed cookie sheet by pouring the olive oil onto the bottom (if you can, do not be shy or skimpy here with the olive oil, it is wonderful in this recipe).
Once the oven is hot, pour in the batter, making a layer about (1/4) inch deep. Careful, this is going to move a lot when you pick it up! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven when done and let cool a little before cutting & serving.
Now the original recipe (to which I have made no changes to) calls for the ‘cake’ (called chick pea cake or ‘Torta Di Ceci’) to be served piping hot. It is of course, completely delicious straight out of the oven, plain or with (just a little) grated Parmesan on top.
Personally, I think it is divine smothered in the Broccoli Pesto from my last post, but it would be equally good with my favorite Kale Pesto or a tomato based chutney or even a good sharp cheese (I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t ridiculous with Gruyere). The trick here is not to double up on the beans – for balance I would avoid hummus or any other bean related dip with this one, bit that might just be me
This recipe makes a generous amount, and the
good great news is it keeps incredibly well. Just cut and store in the fridge until needed. To heat, simply broil the amount you want until hot and brown. Perfect.
In addition to being amazing freshly baked, I was thrilled to learn that the textural integrity of this cake is still amazing with left overs. It is a heavenly and welcome substitute for pasta or beans in soup too and won’t dissolve or disintegrate when added to liquid and cooked. Simply cube and add to whatever liquid based sustenance you happen to have on hand.
My sustenance this weekend was just this. Hot, cozy tomato soup with cubed chickpea flat bread and a nice sprinkle of olive oil and black pepper. Perfect for a rainy winter weekend
- Have you cooked with chick pea flour before?
- Have you tried the broccoli pesto yet?
Now you can do both at once!
Yours in Less,
Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend!
I am sure many of you are enjoyed a nice rest and took some time to enjoy the rest of the delicious posts from Vegan Blogger’s Potluck that went down last week (with great success I might add). Great work and a giant fist bump to all involved!
Today’s recipe is another fave of ours, and it’s one that should make itself super comfy in anyone’s meal repertoire. Chock full of spicy delicious flavors, this classic straight out of Vikram Vij’s first cookbook won my heart straight away. I think you will soon see why!
I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
~ Thomas Edison
Ginger, tomato, jalapeno, cumin, and coconut…I mean what could be better?
Whipped up in just a few minutes, I challenge you to not want to curl right up into a warm bowl of this curry with a soft blanket and your favorite company…right away
Less complicated meals means easy & healthy are at your fingertips any day. Less heavy, dairy-based curry means more light plant-based goodness. Less heavy meat-based dinners means more satisfied tummies without digestive difficulty, so dinner time leaves you feeling spiced just right.
More high fiber chickpeas means more filling, hearty proteins. More spicy foods in winter means more warming for your insides. More warm bowls of nutrition means less clean up & complicated prep work, so one pot does the trick every time
Easy Coconut Kale Chickpea Curry:
- (1/2) cup canola oil
- (1) tbsp cumin seeds
- (1.5) cups finely chopped onions (1 large yellow should do)
- (2-3) medium tomatoes, chopped
- (1.5) tsp salt
- (4-5) tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- (2) finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
- (4) cups cooked chickpeas
- (1) can coconut milk
- (1) bunch green onions, chopped
- (3-4) cups curly green kale, chopped very finely
Heat the oil in a medium to large pot on medium high for one minute. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 seconds (the seeds will start to sizzle and become fragrant). Add the chopped onions and continue to cook on medium high for about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are soft and brown.
Stir in the tomatoes, pepper, ginger and salt, and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, stirring well. THe oil should start to glisten on the top.
Add the chickpeas and coconut milk and stir well. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium low, keep the pot covered and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring here and there.
At the last minute, add the chopped green onions and kale and stir in well. Cook the mixture for one to two minutes further until the kale turns bright green.
Serve this curry right away to retain the color in the kale and enjoy it freshly cooked.
Slightly spicy (or quite spicy depending on your idea of spicy), the fresh jalapeno add a kick of warmth to jump-start digestion and the coconut milk and tomatoes make a comforting & delicious sauce to match it.
Serve this dish on its own, or with this delicious homemade Naan Bread…this fabulous and creative (vegan) recipe was originally brought to us by Vegan Richa and has recently been beautifully celebrated again over at Kristy’s wonderful blog. I’ve been looking for a homemade naan recipe to try, so I am excited for this one!
I’m looking forward to trying this at home soon and love the great inspiration that is coming in these days.
Stored in the fridge, leftovers will keep for up to a week and all this needs is a gentle re-heating for an easy and satisfying weekday lunch or dinner. Perfect for these cool (and dark) winter days (over here in North America anyways)!
The greatest wealth is to live content with little.
On another note..this is one busy month for me and the crew at Not So Fast!
We’ve got (2) cooking classes coming up this month, the first being on the horizon in precisely a week from today – November 13th marks the first class!
We’ll be cooking the basics of a healthy day of delicious food on a limited budget with 8 youth here in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. For those of you interested in supporting our efforts…feel free to send a donation our way..every little bit helps, and as little as $5 goes an awful long way towards filling little tummies!
I’ll be sharing all of the details for this as we go along….but for now wish us luck! (THANKS!)
- What’s your favorite warm & spicy winter meal?
- What would a ‘basic day’ of food necessities be to you?
We all have those things we can’t live without, I’d love to know what your ideal healthy food day would look like from a necessity stand point. I’ve a feeling a few of those things might be included in today’s recipe…
Wishing you all the very finest of weeks as always! Love all of your guts….
Yours in Less,
It’s really that easy.
But is it? I am telling you this girl thinks so!
In the midst of a busy life, many of us can too easily succumb to feelings of pressure ( I know I can).
Pressure to perform. Pressure to please. Pressure to be who we want to be. Maybe even pressure to be what we think others want us to be. Staying cool and calm amongst all these pressures can be tough. But it’s the only way to win (in my very humble opinion).
Staying grounded starts with good nutrition. If we are fed well, our brains work and our bodies work. We can see things for what they really are.
We are all alike, on the inside.
~ Mark Twain
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Being well fed need not be complicated.
Mixing together compatible ingredients that taste great, feed our bodies, and can be pulled together easily with (just a little) know how, is really all it takes.
The trick is to just keep it real . This recipe is the perfect start.
French lentils make beautiful firm mouthfuls out of this dish, but any green or brown lentil will do, though cooking time will vary.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Less pressure to be fancy means more simple hearty foods. Less hard to find ingredients means more easily at hand meals. Less cooked, canned, and processed protein means good fuel is cheaper, cleaner, and more healthful. And when it’s this easy to cook, why not?
More hearty warm comfort food means more comfort for the soul. More easy ways to fill up means more reasons to make it habit. More simple herbs and spices means creating variety is easy, so making delicious out of (just a little) quickly becomes second nature.
Hearty French Lentils:
- (2) tbsp good olive oil
- (1) large onion, chopped medium (2 cups chopped)
- (1 – 1.5) tsp salt, or to taste
- (2) tsp ground cumin
- (3-4) carrots, peeled and cubed
- (2) Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3-4 good-sized cloves)
- (3) bay leaves
- (2) tbsp tomato paste
- (1) cup Puy or French lentils
- (3-4) cups water (I used 3)
Start by putting up the olive oil to heat in a medium pot on medium high. When hot, add the chopped onion and salt, and cook, stirring for 5-8 minutes or so until the onions are translucent.
Add the carrots, cumin and garlic, and cook a further 5 minutes, stirring often, being careful not to let the garlic burn.
Once all the veggies are glistening and the cumin is smelling fragrant and delicious, add the water, lentils, tomato paste, and bay leaves and stir to incorporate.
Bring to a boil on high.
Once boiling, turn heat to medium low (not low) and cook with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice from the bottom up. After the first 20 minutes, remove the lid and rest on the side of the pot so a little air can escape. Cook another 20 minutes (total of 40 minutes) stirring here and there.
Serve piping hot with crusty fresh bread, and top with your choice of olive oil, black pepper, fresh herbs, chopped chives or scallions, fresh tomato, or slices of red onion.
You really can’t go wrong.
This dish will keep for up to 5-6 days in your fridge (it gets better the longer it languishes) and freezes well too. So double it up if you want leftovers. Seriously!
It could be because I grew up eating lentils, but I don’t know of a greater comfort food than this. There are endless variations to the uses for them, limited only by what is in season, or what you have on hand.
They are cheap. They keep forever. They are for real.
Not all those who wander are lost.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
This dish will make a special appearance at an even more special event this weekend, stay tuned for that – I’ll be sharing!
- What is your ultimate easy comfort food?
- Got a favorite way with lentils?
I’d love to hear how you keep it real from day-to-day.
Even with all the pressures we face, staying cool and calm is always helped by (just a little) of the right fuel at the right times.
And it needn’t ever be expensive or complicated (unless you want it to be).
I hope you’ll try this one!
On a small side note – apologies to all of my beloved blogging buds for falling behind (just a little) in my comments and visits this week, I’ve got a fairly big project on the go that is demanding my attention, one that I will be sharing with you all shortly! I’ll look forward to getting back in the groove with you all in good time
Yours in Less,