I'm in the middle of a mid-Thanksgiving planning life crisis.
I almost bought six bags of cinnamon chips off Amazon yesterday. (The red convertible of the Thanksgiving crisis world. Obviously.)
This almost-spree was inspired by an unruly consumption of regular old chocolate chips that, in the middle of a chocolate-induced psychosis, seemed like they should really be the preamble to an unruly consumption of cinnamon chips.
Can we all breathe a huge sigh of relief that in my sugar stupor I somehow managed to grasp hold of my common sense and restrain myself? We all know where those cinnamon chips would have ended up. And, unfortunately, it would not be in a baked good of any sort and would totally be on my left hip. My hips have enough issues as it is and they really don't need "cinnamon chip overdose" to be added to that list. For realz.
Why the crisis?
Oh let me count the ways.
First, let's recount the Thanksgiving fail of yesterday.
I had every intention of being a good food blogger and presenting you today with a healthy vegetable side dish to grace your table that would make every last one of your guests feel so virtuous about eating it that they would then feel compelled to have an extra six slices of pie. Cause that's what I do. I'm all about balance. Obvi.
Really, it was gonna be good. There were gonna be concentrically arranged vegetables that were so carefully and artfully smushed into a 9-inch cake pan that you would think you were staring at an edible Jackson Pollack painting.
But there's a time and a place for everything, I guess, even to be let down by all of your favorite roasted orange vegetables.
That was handful of chocolate chips numbers one through six.
Let's go on, shall we?
Then, I spoke to my mother.
She said hello.
Handfuls seven through ten. Pre-emptive stress-eating. You understand.
After asking me six different times in six different ways when I was going to give her grandchildren and whether I ever really thought I was going to" meet someone" she then moved onto Thanksgiving. At which point it became increasingly apparent that she and I have very different definitions of what a "vegetarian option" is. To her...it involves chicken broth and pork. To me it involves...none of the above.
Conclusion? If I want to be eating anything next Thursday, I am going to have to make it myself. And given just how successfully my last Thanksgiving planning attempt went...I should invest in Nestle. (And close my Amazon account.)
Speaking of a balanced diet, stew anyone? I think we'll be needing it.
This dish may be the epitome of all things healthy, but it, unlike my disgusting side dish attempt, does not skimp on flavor. It is tart and a bit sweet from the tamarind and tomatoes...and so good that you'll actually find yourself wanting to eat your greens. Fancy that.
Swiss Chard, Chickpea and Tamarind Stew
Serves 4, adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty
- 1 lb swiss chard (stalks and leaves), cut into 3/8-inch slices
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 14 oz canned chopped plum tomatoes, with their juices
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked and boiled until tender
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander
- 3 tbsp tamarind paste
- salt and black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cups water
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the chard for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander.
- Put the onion, caraway seeds and olive oil in a large heavy pan and saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden. Add the tomato paste and stir as you cook it for about a minute. Add the canned tomatoes, water, sugar, chickpeas, ground coriander, chard and some salt and pepper.
- Add the tamarind. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes. When ready, the dish should have the consistency of a thick soup. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- While the stew is cooking, put the quinoa , coconut oil and a bit of salt in a medium pan and set on a medium heat. Stir to coat the quinoa with the oil. Add the water and boil, then cover the pan with a tight fitting lit and leave to simmer on a low flame for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 5 minutes.
- When ready to serve, spoon the quinoa into shallow soup bowl, creating a crater in the center. Ladle some of the soup stew into the middle of each quinoa hole. Finish with cilantro.