Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love/Hate - Cumin & Rice soup, Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins.

Man do I love cumin.

Lately I can try it out it on anything (see here) and it's amazing.

Should I ever find myself going to a place where my life would be guaranteed, but the food would be questionable cumin would definitely be on my top 5 list.

I love Lists


1. Cumin - sure I love a dried herb like the rest of 'em, but this warm spice can change any bland dish to pure magic. It's good in soups, stews, on fish and veggies.

2. Tubers - I have a love affair with potatoes. There's no denying it. If I had my choice I'd bring some waxy yellow wonders, divine fingerlings, orangey garnet yams, and some good old russets. They're also easy to grow!

3. Dark Chocolate - Mmm Mmm how could I live without some nice 67% cocoa chocolate.

4. Canned Tomatoes - Add cumin and tomatoes to any piece of pigeon meat or giant spider and it would make it taste great! Pour it over some potatoes... yum!

5. Salt - Necessary. Basic. awesome. Nothing can alter the flavour of a dish quite like this. An absolute essential.

And now, what you've all been waiting for:

Gotta love Kickpleat over at ELS I can search anything in her recipes and she'll provide the guidelines for a simple delish dinner.

I had $20 and a fairly filled pantry (including 2 cups of old cooked rice) to get me though this week, so I dropped 12 dollars at Choices and made these two dishes.

chickpea, rice & pasta soup (adapted slightly from ELS)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
4c vegetable stock
1 T cumin
1 t red chili pepper flakes
1-2 c cooked leftover brown rice
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper
fresh parsley sprigs, chopped

In a large pot, heat up olive oil over med-high heat and add in onion, garlic, and celery. Let them get soft and translucent and then add in the salsa and the spices. Add in rice, chickpeas and pasta and cover with vegetable stock, adding more stock if needed. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer. Taste and add in salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

---- You could add anything you have in your fridge or pantry to this soup. Kickpleat enjoyed it with alphabet pasta, I would've added carrots if I had them.

This took about 10 minutes to put together. Easy Peasy. Definitely lunch and freezer material.

On to the hate.

I hate spinach. I think I ate it while super sandy once, and it's ruined it forever. When I eat salad I cram the bottom of the bowl with spinach (because I will admit it's probably pretty good for you) and then layer it with mescalin lettuce (not to be confused with mescaline), carrots, raisins, cranberries, beets, mango, kiwi, anything to cover the horrible blandness of spinach.

This being said, I was seduce to this recipe on Noshtopia by pine nuts. Sweet, sweet pine nuts. Creamy and flavourful they teamed up with my lifelong love raisins.
  • 1 bunch of fresh spinach (or a .5lb container of baby spinach)
  • 2 tbsp raisins. (Golden would be best, but I used normal)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (dry heat on stove)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt

Go For it:

Soak the raisins in some hot water for about 10 minutes to plump up the raisins. Drain and set to the side. Prepare spinach by trimming the stems, picking over the bunch and rinsing the spinach well. Don't worry about getting the spinach too much, you'll need the water left on it once it's rinsed in a colander to help it cook later.

In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onion in a medium heat until everything gets slightly golden about 2-3 minutes. Throw in the raisins and toasted pine nuts with the garlic and onion, and mix around for about a minute. After mixture is heated through add spinach to pan. Stir occasionally while spinach wilts over about 5 minutes. If the spinach is not wilting well, or you're using pre-washed spinach, add a tiny amount of water (1-2 tbsp) to help it steam. As a gome ae loving girl, I like my spinach super wilted, but please, adjust to your tastes.

After you've reached your optimum spinach consistency, remove from heat immediately and move to a serving dish. discard any leftover water. Taste and salt as needed (In my case A LOT!)

Serve right away.

Enjoy. I did!
If you're an amazing cook like me, your kitchen will end up looking like this! Aspire folks, aspire.

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