Snowed in. Again. Yesterday, I accomplished precious little, other that spending hours lost in a stack of great books and cookbooks… one of the joys being unexpectedly house-bound. Somehow, I had never read Lois Lowry’s The Giver, a gorgeous, deeply haunting little story, which is required reading in classrooms all over America. And I finished the novel Pioneer Girl, a thoughtful window into the immigrant experiences of a young Vietnamese-American woman, and a fun nod to the Little House books. I won’t even try to list the fabulous cookbooks I have piled up, but I have scores of new recipes to try, and I promise to share them with you as I wander through them.
Oh, and I managed to make my way from one couch to another to watch the latest John Oliver episode (he’s brilliant, but terrifying… do you have any idea how bad our infrastructure in this country is?), and a movie. My son has been badgering me for weeks to watch Whiplash (seriously, I received text every other day or so from him: “Mom, did you and dad watch Whiplash yet?). Wow. OK Luke, I get it now. What a cinematic ride. Thanks. Now I’m going to be pestering all my friends to watch it – it’s extraordinary.
All this lounging about made me quite hungry. Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty was in my stack of books, and had me dreaming of warm, Middle-Eastern inspired flavors. And Katie Quinn Davies took me down under with the sun-drenched photos from What Katie Ate at the Weekend. This soup is a bit of a mash up between a tomato, lentil and chickpea soup from Katie, and a Moroccan carrot salad from Yotam. Odd, I know… but trust me here. I was intrigued by the spice combination in that salad, and thought: What if I roasted some lovely veggies with those spices? Red peppers, carrots, a red onion and a bit of garlic? And then blended them tomatoes and veggie broth? And what if I roasted some chickpeas in zahtar and salt, and popped them on top with a bit of greek yogurt? Because soup is always more fun with jazzy toppings. Ladies and gentleman, we have a fragrant, delicious bowl of warm spiced happiness here… and it was a snap to make.
Which is exactly the best way to survive a snow day. OK, back to my books. It’s time to start Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family and Forgiveness. Anyone read that one? I can’t wait…
Thank you to those of you who have already voted, but if you happen to have a spare 30 seconds in your life, I would love you forever if you’d cast a vote for me in the Saveur Blog Awards.
One year ago: Split Pea Soup with Ham and a Bit of Sherry
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped into approximately 1-inch pieces
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into approximately 1-inch pieces
- 2 red peppers, cut into approximately 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 28 ounce can roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- plain greek yogurt and spiced chickpeas, for serving
- The spiced chickpeas:
- 1 14 ounce can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons zahtar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine all the spices and salt into a small glass bowl, and mix to combine.
- Place the chopped onions, carrots, red peppers and garlic into a bowl. Toss with the olive oil, then sprinkle the spices over the vegetables, and toss until all the vegetables are evenly coated with the spice mixture. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the oven. Roast the vegetables for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and beginning to brown a bit on the edges.
- While the veggies are roasting, prepare the chickpeas. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Pour the chickpeas into a colander to let the liquid run out. If needed, put the chickpeas on a clean kitchen towel or several paper towels and dry thoroughly. In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with the salt and zahtar and toss again. Transfer in an even layer to the prepared baking sheet. Pop in the oven with the veggies, and roast for about 30-35 minutes, until the chickpeas are crunchy.
- When the veggies come out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes, then place in a blender with 1 cup of the vegetable broth and 2 cups of the crushed tomatoes. Puree until smooth, and pour into a large saucepan. Whisk in the additional vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes, and warm through.
- Drizzle a bit of greek yogurt onto your soup, and garnish with warm toasted chickpeas.