I like to think of myself as a self-taught cook. Although, technically, I took the introductory course in George Brown College’s Culinary Arts Program a few years ago. Exploring new vegan meals through cookbooks and blogs has been the real way that I have learned so much about cooking and my kitchen. I continue to share my recipes, hoping to share the little tips and wisdom that I have picked up on the way.
While I am fairly adept in the kitchen, the garden still remains a mystery to me. Sun, shade, companion plants, pests and bugs, oh my! Then there’s the proper way to grow them, how to feed them water and other nutrients… and finally how to properly harvest. It feels like there are so many things to learn about even after picking out the so-called “easy” plants I want in my garden.
Last year we had our first garden and not everything was successful. This year, in a new home, a new garden, we decided to keep things simpler: potted herbs, beans, zucchini and kale in the garden with more kale and collards interspersed amongst the garden. Then there’s the impulse buy of kabocha squash. Four tiny plants have morphed into GIGANTIC plants, seemingly overnight (hey, we were in Colombia). After a month, my plants are at least 5 feet long, with numerous flowers. Upon further reading, I am kind of regretting the purchase. Most people recommend covering the plants to keep away the pests. They suggest opening the covers for only 2 hours so that the blossoms can be pollinated, it must be pretty bad. Furthermore, did you know that squashes need to be dried while on the vine? Kabocha squashes, in particular, need to be stored initially at a high temperature and then again at a cool temperature for long-term storage? Sounds like these crazy vines are staying here all summer, oh my!
Another mystery to me is that I cannot seem to grow dill. Dill weed. It is supposed to be so prolific many consider it a weed. Both this year and last, my seeds did not sprout. This year, I also bought some seedlings. After returning from Colombia, they disappeared. I am guessing they died. I know they don’t like to be transplanted, but I was hopeful. Oh dear.
My other herbs are doing well, so I will have to rely on the grocer (and friends!) for my dill fix.
Have an abundance of dill? Or just a lover of dill? Definitely try these garlic-roasted chickpeas with a creamy lemon-dill dressing. It had been a while since I’ve had pan-roasted chickpeas, which were a favourite of mine 2 years ago, so I decided to break them out with this creamy lemon-dill dressing from Angela. She used it with tofu but the garlicky chickpeas worked well, too. This was glorious fresh from the pan, but due to the creamy nature of the dressing, it was absorbed by the chickpeas as leftovers and became a bit dry. If you think you might be going the leftover route, consider only adding the dressing just prior to serving.
Anyone have tips for growing dill weed? Should I try again?
Garlic-Roasted Chickpeas with a Creamy Lemon-Dill Dressing
Adapted from Oh She Glows
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp dill pickle juice (or water)
1.5 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup fresh dill weed, large stems removed & roughly chopped
1 cup quinoa, for serving if desired + 1.75 cups broth
1. If making quinoa, start it first. Bring vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Keep covered for an additional 5 minutes to steam. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick pan over high heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until lightly brown. Add the chickpeas and cook until browned, stirring every few minutes. This will take around 8-10 minutes. You may need to decrease the heat if they start to burn.
3. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. In a food processor, combine the garlic clove, lemon juice, tahini, dill pickle juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil and dill. Pulse until well combined and smooth.
4. Once the chickpeas are browned, remove from heat. Toss with the sauce just prior to serving. Serve warm with quinoa or your favourite grain. This dish is best eaten fresh.