Good friends came to visit The Philosopher and I soon after we moved to Columbus. They were moving west to find a new home and jobs and decided to take a cross-country road trip. We were the fortunate first stop on that trip and enjoyed experiencing some of our favorite Columbus restaurants and sites with them. When they moved on for the next portion of their journey, they kindly left a gift that has become incredibly useful in our home. The cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a great gift on its own. What made the leaving of a cookbook so special, was that they also left helpful hints within the pages of their favorite recipes and suggestions. While I have been known to pull the cookbook off the shelves only when I need basic measurements for muffins (yes, I once made dark chocolate muffins with heavy cream using this cookbook. Vegans, I accept your vengeance), I have also been fortunate to have it for some menu items that quickly became household staples. While her peanut sauce is out of the world, it is not allowed right now. So, I decided to try her recipe for Moroccan Tagine with Spring Vegetables. Of course, I made some changes.
Moroccan-Inspired Veggie Stew
First I sauteed 2 onions in olive oil until translucent. I diced 2 carrots and 1 serrano chili (without the seeds) and added them to the pot. I minced 3 cloves of garlic and grated 2 T of fresh ginger and added then to the pot.
I measured two heaping tablespoons of tomato paste into the pot as well as 2t ground cumin, and 1 t each ground turmeric and ground coriander. After all the veggies looked like the picture, I added 2 cups of homemade vegetable stock, 2 cups of water, and one cup of dried lentils. Additionally, I added 2 cinnamon sticks, two bay leaves, and freshly ground pepper. I let the pot rise to a boil and then turned the heat back to medium low to simmer uncovered while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.
In the meantime, I prepared 1 cup of fresh green beans cut ~1 inch thick, 2 cups of halved grape tomatoes, the leaves of 1/2 bunch of swiss chard, and one zucchini (halved and sliced ~1/4″ thick).
When the lentils are fully cooked (I tasted them to check) add the vegetables, 1/2 c raisins, and salt to taste. I felt I wanted a little more liquid, so I added an additional 1/2 c water to the pot. While that is simmering, coarsely chop 1/2 c fresh cilantro and 1/2 c fresh mint. I also chopped the chard leaves. When the raisins are plumped and the green beans are nearly as cooked as you prefer, add the herbs, chard, and a few handfuls of fresh spinach. When the greens have wilted, turn off the heat. Remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. I served this with a helping of brown jasmine rice on the bottom of the bowl and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top.
The Philosopher and I agreed that the savory and sweet combination was our favorite part of this dish. The fresh mint and lemon juice contrasted nicely with the backdrop of cinnamon. And each raisin was like a little surprise in our mouths!
Tomorrow I am going to focus on school work and will not be updating the blog. We still have fresh fruit and granola for breakfast as well as leftovers that we will eat for lunch and dinner tomorrow. After taking an inventory of our leftover supply, cooking will likely commence again on Tuesday. Have a great evening and a great meal!