It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Chickpea-Spinach Soup

This is a fairly new recipe to me, but I cannot for the life of me remember where I found it. Cook’s Illustrated, I’m thinking, except I’m not seeing it in my more recent issues as I skim them quickly. Anyway, here it is!


2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon (5g) cumin
1/2 teaspoon (3g) hot pepper flakes

2 cups (500mL) cooked chickpeas (that’d be a 190z/540 mL can; I soak/cook them from dried)
4 cups stock (recipe calls for chicken; use vegetable for vegetarian)

1 pkg (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and chopped (no need to squeeze out excess water)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 t lemon juice

1. In large pot, cook onion, garlic, cumin and pepper flakes gently till soft.

2. Puree chickpeas with stock in food processor or blender*. Add to onion mix. Bring to boil.

3. Add remainder of ingredients. Simmer till hot through.

*This, of course, is my adaptation, to the tastes of my family. You may opt to put the chickpeas in whole, in which case, once you’ve cooked the onions and spices, you simply plop everything else in and let it simmer. I think it may be because I puree the chickpeas rather than put them in whole, but I tend to find it needs more lemon juice. Thick and rich and nourishing.

February 13, 2012 Posted by | food | 3 Comments

Baking Powder Biscuits

Ask, and you shall receive. Cate wanted the recipe for baking powder biscuits, so here it is. I make these all the time — so often that I don’t use the recipe any more, just toss things in a bowl until it looks right, so I had to go look it up for the proportions. My version is from the More With Less cookbook (where it’s called simply “Basic Biscuits”). I got the recipe from a cookbook, I got the name from my grandmother, who made them without a recipe for decades, but I never got her to show me how! Silly.

Anyway. Baking Powder Biscuits

Preheat oven to 400F

Sift together:
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

Cut in:
1/4 cup shortening

Add all at once, stirring till a soft ball is formed:
3/4 cup milk.

Plop dough out onto floured counter, knead lightly 20 – 25 times.

Now the recipe tells you to “roll or pat to 1/2″ (1 cm) thick and cut with floured glass or cookie cutter“. Sometimes I do that, particularly if there’s some reason we want shapes — hearts for Valentine’s Day, that sort of thing. But usually what I do is make a double batch and then rip off golf-ball sized chunks, and plop them into an ungreased 8×8 or 9×9” pan. I love the texture of the golden-brown rough surface, and the contrast of the soft and white insides. (It’s also a personal quirk: To me, if you roll it, it’s a cookie, not a biscuit. Cookies are flat(ish); biscuits are round.)

However you form them, put your biscuits on an ungreased pan and bake: 10 – 12 minutes for the rolled biscuits; 18 – 20 for the balls.

Good with butter, good with jam, good with gravy. Fancy them up by adding a half-cup of shredded cheese, and then they’re cheese biscuits. Easy!

February 13, 2012 Posted by | food | , , | 10 Comments

Menu Monday

A new tradition! Menu Monday. Enough of you have asked me what I feed the kids that I figure there will be some interest in a weekly Menu post. If there’s something that interests you enough to want to try it, let me know and I’ll post the recipe.

You’ll note about half of them are vegetarian. That’s how I like to eat, so that’s how the children eat. My family, too, for that matter, since what the children eat for lunch is generally what my family had for dinner the night before. (Neener, neener, I’m the chef. My kitchen, my rules.) It’s simpler to make extra than to cook twice.

I usually prepare my family’s dinner during nap-time. These days, there is usually at least one child awake during nap-time, but if I didn’t know how to get things done with children around, I’d be a pretty poor excuse for a caregiver, I figure. The child either amuses themselves, or ‘helps’ me.

So. This week, the children will be dining on:

Monday: Meatball soup and rutabaga-beet slaw

Tuesday: Squash-chickpea-apricot stew on rice
(When I serve chickpeas to toddlers, I mash them slightly. I figure they’re just large enough to be a choking hazard, so I err on the side of caution.)

Wednesday: Vegetarian shepherd’s pie, kale salad

Thursday: Roasted chicken salad, Greek potatoes
(Greek potatoes are unpeeled potatoes cut into bite-sized chunks, spiced with mint and dills, and roasted in water and lemon until the water evaporates entirely. Nom.)

Friday: Spinach-chickpea soup, baking powder biscuits
(The original recipe calls for whole chickpeas and my son doesn’t like their texture, so I puree them into the broth, making this a nice, thick soup.)

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments