Shaved Carrot Salad

I don’t have too much to say this week. Things are busy as usual. This is a nice little Jamie Oliver recipe adapted to be a simple carrot salad (the original included lamb). Pretty tasty!

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adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home cookbook

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

1 pound carrots

Start by toasting the cumin seeds in a pan over medium heat. They’ll toast quickly, so the minute you start to smell them, pull them off.

In the meantime, start peeling carrots. I shaved mine with a vegetable peeler, but you could also grate them on a box grater. Since the carrots are raw, you want a finer cut so that the carrot doesn’t overwhelm the dressing.

Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle, then add the garlic and ginger. Smash a little more, then add a glug of olive oil. In a separate bowl, pour in the mixture from the mortar and pestle in with the rest of the olive oil, garam masala, and vinegar. Stir well to combine. Pour over carrots.


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Moroccan Chickpea & Millet Salad

Part of being back in school with a totally new schedule is figuring out how and when to eat. I used to have a pretty routine schedule – breakfast at home, sandwich for lunch, run, dinner at home. For one, I’m pretty sick of sandwiches. I just can’t eat them anymore. And two, I’m not home or away at such predictable times anymore. One thing I have been doing to make sure I always have food with me (after all, now that my income is about a quarter of what it once was, we and I cannot afford to just go buy a $10 lunch whenever I am hungry) is to make a big batch of interesting and nutritious salads. I’ve also been carrying around homemade granola that is pretty awesome – I’ll share that recipe soon also.

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Anyway, this recipe was inspired by this Moroccan Chickpea recipe I saw recently on Serious Eats. I changed it up a bit and added some millet to add a little more substance for lunch. Millet is a new favorite of mine. It sort of feels and tastes like couscous, and it cooks up very quickly. I’ve also been looking for a way to use the preserved lemons that I made at the beginning of the summer, and this recipe fit perfectly. You can make your own by following this recipe or just use some fresh lemon zest and a little salt.

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Moroccan Chickpea & Millet Salad

Extra virgin olive oil
~1/2 pound spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 large tomato
diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 preserved lemon rind, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 cup millet
salt and pepper

Combine the millet with 2 1/2 cups water in a pot, let the water come to an almost boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let it sit for 20-25 minutes. Sauté the garlic in a little olive oil in a large pan for a minute or two, then add the chickpeas. In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, tomato, cumin, red pepper flakes, and smoked paprika. Add this mixture and the red wine vinegar to the pan with chickpeas and garlic and stir to make sure all the chickpeas are covered in this mixture. Now add the spinach and continue to cook until there is no more liquid in the pan. Pull off the heat and set aside. When the millet is finished, toss it with the chickpeas, preserved lemons, and salt and pepper.

Almost Bibimbap

This life of mine has gotten busy. Whew. Here’s what has been on my plate lately:

  • School – 16 graduate credits, 4 classes, 5 papers/assignments due in one week
  • Work – I’m still trying to work 8-12 hours per week at my engineering job
  • Research Assistantship – I started working for a lab that is researching agent-based modeling of groundwater resources for use in the public sector. That’s a mouthful – and that was the shortened version. This job takes about 10 hours/week of my time, but in exchange, I receive a small stipend and a tuition waiver. That’s right, I don’t have to pay tuition. So worth it.
  • Engineers Without Borders – I just got involved with this group for a project they are doing in Guatemala. They are working to install a new pump for their water distribution system. The project is an integrated effort among planners, engineers, and public health students. My work will involve taking a community census and I’ll be traveling with the group to Guatemala in January. For now, in my spare time – ha! – I’m writing a plan for the work while I’m down there and trying to develop a collaborative team with professors and other public health and planning students.
  • Moving! Yes, we moved! When we found out our landlord was defaulting on her mortgage, we thought it best to try to find a new place to live that we liked rather than scrambling to find something passable when we get kicked out. We didn’t have a lease anymore, so we weren’t totally sure of our rights and just figured it be easier to start the long, drawn out search for a decent apartment in the summer/fall yet. And we did! We found a pretty neat space only 4 blocks from our old place. In that same week I had five assignments/papers due, plus all the other above stuff, Eric and I were busy packing all our belongings into boxes. Talk. about. stress.


So we’re all moved in with just one shelf to put together and a few more pictures to hang. So far, we’re really liking our new place, and the cats are really enjoying running up and down and up and down our new stairs at night. Seriously.

I made this bibimbap at the old place a number of weeks ago – before the craziness (see above) set in. It’s not a very authentic recipe, which is why it is called Almost Bibimbap, but it certainly tasted good. For me, one of my favorite parts of a good bowl of bibimbap – a Korean dish of rice, veggies, meat, egg, etc etc – is the crispy rice that gets all crusted to the side of the stone bowl. This is hard to replicate at home, but I think I came pretty close with the method outlined below. Oh, and I made it vegetarian because that’s what Little Blue Hen did! The Korean pepper paste – gochujang – is essential for authenticity. Try to pick it up at an Asian grocer or perhaps Whole Foods.

Almost Bibimbap

inspired by Little Blue Hen
Toppings

Spicy Cucumber Salad

1/2 english cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder or
gochujang pepper paste (or I just used red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Whisk together salt, pepper paste, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Toss with cucumbers.

Cabbage and Bean Sprout Salad

Approximately 1/4 – 1/2 head of a large Napa cabbage, chopped finely
2 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon rice vinegar
salt

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in cabbage and bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute. Meanwhile, whisk together the other ingredients minus the salt. Drain the veggies and mix with the dressing.

Seasoned Mushrooms

1 pound portobello or white button mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons or more of a neutral oil like grapeseed oil

Heat the neutral oil in a pan and saute the mushrooms and garlic, adding more oil as needed. When the mushrooms are almost cooked through – they should reduce quite a bit in size – pour in the sesame oil and sesame seeds.

Bibimbap

Cooked brown basmati rice
3 tablespoons neutral oil
Spicy cucumber salad
Cabbage and bean sprout salad
Seasoned Mushrooms
1 egg for each serving, fried
gochujang

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or pan. Heat the oil in a pan and put the rice in the pan, packing it down. Let the rice crisp up on the bottom, then stir it around a bit and let it sit for a few more minutes. Work in batches like this until all the rice is nice and crispy.

Divide the rice into bowls. Top with each of the salads, and then top the whole thing with a fried egg – make sure the yolk is nice and runny. A big scoop of gochujang goes on top. Serve like this, but mix it all together before eating!