Thus, when we moved to Houston, we pared down our kitchen, minimalist-style. Minimalist, in comparison, because I am not willing to compromise in the kitchen, either. Do I need 5 different whole grains all the time? No. I will repopulate my kitchen with my favourites. Quinoa, brown rice and oats. Beans? Right now, I have been mainly munching on canned beans (we don’t have containers/bags to freeze beans yet and time has been a bit sparse). OK, I will still have many beans (don’t forget, I can order from Rancho Gordo directly!) but my collection will not as big as my last.
I still don’t feel deprived in the slightest. There are constant permutations and combinations to try out. The recipe may look the same, but a change in spice can make all the difference.
While still in Toronto, I was had a cook-date with a friend after work. I suggested making Heidi’s Moroccan chickpea and carrot salad. No cooking required, it was filled with my typical pantry staples. However, not everyone always has a lemon on hand, grows mint in their backyard (I don’t have that anymore), stocks prunes (um, yeah, not me either) or has a spice grinder. So we made do with what she had. Lime instead of lemon, cilantro instead of mint, dates instead of prunes and we kept the cumin seeds intact.
It may just be a label, but I wondered whether these changes would make this salad less Moroccan. Dates, cumin and carrots are very common in Moroccan cooking. However, I typically ascribe cilantro to Indian and southeast Asian cuisine. Turns out, cilantro is pervasive in Moroccan cuisine as well. Moroccan, with a twist, perhaps. With the mix of sweet dates, earthy cumin, tart lime, bright cilantro and crunchy carrots, it was very good.
It should not come as a shock, since it is very similar to my beloved Curried Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Currants with a smattering from my Moroccan Carrot Salad. Next time, though, I think I will try the original recipe. A tasty variation on a similar theme.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 -3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp honey/agave/your choice of sweetener
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
3-4 large carrots (8-10 oz) carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2/3 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1. In a small frypan, toast cumin seeds over medium heat. Remove from pan when fragrant and toasted, approximately 3-5 minutes. Grind cumin seeds, if desired. In a small cup, combine with the olive oil, lime juice, sweetener, cinnamon (if using) and salt. Stir to dissolve.
2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine carrots, chickpeas, dates and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing. Adjust seasonings, to taste. Allow to marinate a few hours in the fridge, if possible.