Saturday, October 02, 2010

jazz-inspired chickpeas

Listen to music when you cook and see what happens

Music, to me, is just slightly less important than food and water on my hierarchy of needs; the older I get, the more I realize how it truly feeds my spirit and centers me. I feel panicky when I forget my iPhone ear buds, probably because music always takes me to a good place.

Case in point: last night. As I listened to Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue," I faced a refrigerator brimming with CSA-share veggies – and no defined plan for dinner.  Improvisation is at the heart of jazz, so I decided to allow the same spirit of serendipity to infuse my cooking.

And so Chickpeas with Tomatoes, Eggplant and Kale was born. This chickpea- and veggie-laden dish is reminiscent of something you'd find in southern Europe or North Africa [especially if you add harissa]. It tastes best if you allow it to simmer on low for a few hours and allow the flavors jam and get to know each other.  In this recipe, olive oil, onions, and garlic are the drums, piano, and bass: the three essential instruments. That said, so don't fret if you only have 2 tomatoes. And if you feel a strong urge to toss in a red pepper, do it in the true spirit of jazz! This entree is substantial enough on it's own, but you can also serve it over a whole grain, like brown rice, or pasta. Don't forget the music...

Chickpeas with Tomatoes, Eggplant and Kale

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped and 6-7 garlic cloves, peeled. Make into a paste by whirring in a food processor [Try to use a sweet onion if you can get one. It really makes a difference]
  • Dollop of harissa [Optional, but wonderful]
  • 3 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • About 1 cup kale, trimmed and chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, place on cookie sheet in heated oven and roast for about 45 minutes or until it's pooped. Remove from oven, slice in half and allow it to cool. Then scrape out the insides, chop, if needed, and set aside.
  2. In a large casserole or high-sided pan, heat oil over medium low. Add onion/garlic mixture, and harrissa, if using. Cook about 10 minutes, or until everything is translucent. Be careful not to burn.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including eggplant pulp but excluding the chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to low. Cook for 1-2 hours, adding more oil [or water or veggie stock, if you are less inclined toward decadence] as needed. This is the most important part of this dish...the longer it simmers, the better it will taste, since the flavors need to meld.
  4. Add the chickpeas about 30 minutes before you want to eat. Cover and simmer, adjust the seasonings, as needed, then enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Funny spelling error in step one fyi

LeLa said...

It looks delicious, should try it but we don't have kale in Estonia. I think I'll grow it next year in my garden! Have some more inspiration!

Millie said...

muy delicioso...It is too deliciously looking, I can only imagine how it was scrumptious too. I must print this one out...hee...hee...hee.

urban vegan said...

Anonymouse: Where's the typo? I don't see it...gimme a hint

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

That sounds and looks absolutely fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Not the same anon as before...but whew! Tired eggplant ;-)

LilyLouMom said...

This looks yummy. But what kind of store would carry harissa? I've gone to two "gourmet" stores and they hadn't heard of it.

urban vegan said...

Not sure where you live, LilyLou, but Wegman's carries it here on the Right Coast. I'd also imagine that any Middle Eastern market would carry it.

Also, my cookbook has a recipe for harissa, if you are into making your own. If you can't find it, just add a splash of hot sauce.

Anonymous said...

unless its a preparation method that I don't know of:
"until it's pooped"
seems to be a typo :)

Carrie™ said...

Oh Dynise, my kindred spirit. If I don't have my ipod with me when I'm headed out on my own, I panic. Our tastes in music are quite different, but it is equally important to both of us. I can appreciate most genres, even if not my music of choice. I cannot imagine a day without music - especially when I'm chopping & stirring & cooking, etc.
I don't really like eggplant, but when it's all smooshy and spiced up, like in this dish, then I quite enjoy it.
This sounds incredibly delicious. Urban Vegan strikes again!
BTW, I liked your little music references in this post. "allow the flavours to jam", "don't fret" ;o)

urban vegan said...

Anonymouse, "Until it's pooped" is absolutely intentional. I've never been a politically correct food writer; I call 'em like I see 'em. When the eggplant is pooped/wilted/flaccid....whatever verb you choose, it's done :)


Meredyth Willits said...

My new website is a place for all things wonderful for the body and the Earth. Currently I feel that vegan and vegetarianism is all spread out!

It is my goal to create a simple and single place for blogs, website, products, books etc. that are geared towards sustaining and helping the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle.

I would be honored if my current & future subscribers could get to know you and your work.

I hope you can take a moment and look at the site.
Membership is free.
Advertise your site and all that you do. I just want a common place for all things vegan and veg!

And no, it is not just for moms...I just liked the name.

Thank you,
Meredyth O. Willits

Erica said...

can i write music while i cook? ;)

Deer Prudence said...

I'd just admit to myself how cool is cooking chickpeas.
So i'm really looking forward to test it in everything, and your recipe sounds great to me :)
Thanks for everything, your blog rules ;)

Sarah S. said...

thanks for the inspiration. i went straight to the store at lunch and picked up an eggplant!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oh man, that looks SO good!

Millie said...

I am planning to spotlight and feature throughout the month of November cookies that vegans can enjoy for the Holidays. These cookies are all made by my blogroll vegan friends.

I would like to include you as one of my blog guests for that month.

Every 4 days I will highlight one of my vegan bloggers from my blogroll with one of their best holiday cookie recipes. I will highlight their blog on my blog for 4 days.

I will post the written information they sent me for the month of November for 4 days. Then I will highlight another blogger friend. Once I have highlighted you, you then need to post it on your blog sending your blogger friends towards my blog to see your guest post.

Make sure your recipe is not complicated.

If you are interested to join me on this month of great vegan or raw cookie recipes please email me all the information I have requested by October 20th.

Your entry must be in writing and sent to me via email. I need you to send me a photo of yourself and a photo of your family. In your summary tell me a little bit about yourself, where yo live, your marital status, your career and of course your recipe complete with a photograph of your cookies.

Thank you.

Maija Haavisto said...

I love how the dish looks in the picture!

I recently moved to the Netherlands and I've only managed to find kale sold chopped in tiny shreds and have been wondering how to use it. Now I know!

Mihl said...

Oh, wow! I love that the recipe calls for kale!

dreaminitvegan said...

This looks delicious and so beautiful!

CWrites said...

You NEVER cease to amaze me..I will DEFINITELY be trying this recipe..!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info

Maija Haavisto said...

I'm not the biggest fan of chickpeas, but this was very tasty, in a comfort-food kind of way.

P.S. Maybe a time to update your blogroll? Quite a few of the blogs seem to no longer be updated. I wonder if it's too much to ask you to consider my blog Vegventures but it would work great with the international theme of your blogroll. :->

Anonymous said...

Easy to read, and at the same time, many new, important information. Just what you need:)

Anonymous said...

Tak, prawdopodobnie tak jest

mayajo said...

the design is pretty nice, it takes my breath away lol

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