Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spice Up Your Life!

Let's get SPICY today!... and, anyone up for some spicy 'show and tell'? (and noooo, not that kind of spicy s&t, you saucy naughty-minded bunch) :)

Dreena's first up, so here is my Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew with Figs from the set of recipes. Though I've called this recipe a stew, truly it's a cross between a casserole and a stew. It's prepared like a stew on the stove top, but its consistency is not soupy, so is more similar to a casserole. Whatever you want to term it, this dish has a captivating bouquet of spices and seasonings, and I really want you to try it. Whether you love quinoa, or don't know what to do with it, or think it's bland... give this recipe a whirl!

And this isn't a "hot" spicy dish... this is an aromatic, earthy, slightly sweet-spiced dish with curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, and allspice. The quinoa and chickpeas are simmered in a wine and vegetable-based broth, married with onions, garlic, bell pepper, and spices. The dried black mission figs (purchase them organic if you can, in the section of your natural foods store where you find dried apricots, raisins, etc) are incorporated just as the stew is finishing so they can soak up the juices and get plump and moist. The finished dish is embellished with pistachios, and fresh herbs if you like. One-pot meals don't get much easier, nutritious, and tasty than this - lotsa' bang for your cooking buck!

1) I have posted edits to the recipes. The link is also on the sidebar. I'm not certain when the edits will be completed on the foodtv site, so please refer to the link when preparing the recipes.

2) Also, please provide the link to these recipes:

on your own blog if you like, as well as on any chat boards/forums you frequent. I regularly hear, mostly from young vegans and college students, that they aren't able to afford new cookbooks. So give 'em this link! (as well as the link to my sample recipes.)

Now, it's YOUR TURN to show and tell! - - - I received an e-mail asking about how I organize and contain my spices. uh-oh. As I explained in my reply to this e-mail, I also do not have an ideal spice system. I have a rack holding 12 spice jars (can a spice rack really hold all the spices we use regularly?), then a drawer holding additional spices I use a lot, and then larger amounts of spices in my pantry (bay leaves, whole nutmeg, cumin seeds, etc). Certainly not idyllic. Knowing that many of you are superb organizers, and bursting with creative ideas... how do YOU organize your spices? If you have a blog, snap off a photo and post it! I'll update this post with a link to your blog! Will be fun to see who does what - and which set ups are very efficient!

Before I sign off, I want to mention another spicy bit! Robin Robertson has just released her new "Vegan Fire & Spice" cookbook. I haven't seen this cookbook myself, but if her sample recipes in VegNews are any indication, your taste buds will be smokin' with flavorful and fiery dishes from around the world. So, if you're one of those people that wants some heat, and enjoys exploring new seasonings and bold spices, have a look at Robin's new collection of recipes. (btw, I am awed by how quickly and steadily this woman can churn out cookbooks! She's phenomenal.)

Now, pull out your measuring cups and spoons and cook up this aromatic, flavorful quinoa recipe...

and go eat, drink & be vegan!


Urban Vegan said...

Oh my, that quinoa stew looks warming and comforting.

I have a spice rack and three shelves in my cupboard devoted to spices. Scary how much I've amassed. What's scarier is that I use them all in rotation. The only thing that I haven't used in years is dill, because I'm not a fan.

Judy said...

I can't wait to try that quinoa recipe, as I have recently re-ignited my love for the grain.

I might just snap a photo of my spice jars, I think they work quite well!

VegMomma said...

Ah, I love quinoa.

My spices are all in little Ikea jars on big wall-mounted shelf next to the stove. The names of each spice are written on the lid of the jar with a sharpie. The spices that I have in larger amounts (garam masala, curry powder, cinnamon, etc.) are either in my baking cupboard, or with my grains and flours. Not so much order. :)

Ashasarala said...

Mmm... That quinoa looks utterly delicious! I've been craving some the past few days.

I am horrible with my spices, I don't think I can participate. LoL I have some in one cabinet, some in my pantry, some in the actual spice rack, some on my stove. It's just awful!

The Veg Next Door said...

That looks yummy. Anything with chickpeas gets my attention.

The Veggie Vixen
P.S. I'm blogging again --

Dark Faerie said...

that looks amazing!!!!

I have all my spices on a lazy susan next to the stove....not the most organized way to have them but it keeps them handy.

russ said...

That looks like a very creative recipe! Sounds great, so I'll definitely try it! Never really thought of combining figs and curry, so it should be interesting!

SuperWife said...

i just made this for dinner tonight, and it's delish! i sub'd a sweet potato for the fennel bulb and added a can of corn because i had it lying around. i'll be making this again for sure!

Alison Cole said...

Ok, with my limited kitchen space and over 50 spices (pretty much every spice available), I had to make some sort of organized system to keep track of them. I have 16 of the most common ones kept in my revolving spice "caddy", and then others in little bottles on a shelf in my kitchen cupboard, more (the large quantities) in jars on my microwave, and yet more in bags (including 'extras' of what are in the bottles) in my cupboard. So how to keep track of these spices and know where to look for them when I need whole coriander seeds, white mustard seeds, or Chinese 5 Spice? I made a table on my computer that lists each spice in alphabetical order, followed by its location, and then followed by if I have extra quantities in storage and where those are kept too. I then printed out this table and keep it taped to my cupboard that holds most of my spices, so I can easily reference it when I need to know where a certain spice is.

Dreena said...

Urban vegan, I rarely use dry dill as well. I like dill, but sparingly, and fresh is much better. And in recent years, I prefer dill seed to flavor things rather than fresh dill. It's just a little smokier and not overpowering I guess! But... I have that lil' bag of dill seeds hanging about in my drawer. :)

Russ, the figs are excellent in this stew - though if you don't have them, dried apricots are a good sub (use unsulfured apricots if you can - the ones that are brown, rather than bright orange!)

Veggievixen, three times a charm, right? I'll swing by.

Awesome, superwife, so glad you enjoyed it!!

Alison, can you come organize my spices - office too please!! I need that kind of directory for my pantry, spices, freezer, and well, house! :)

(p.s Judy, yes, take a pic for your blog!

russ said...

I actually did make this dish on Sunday, and it was really nice! I think next time I do it (and there will be a next time!) I might try throwing some chilli in it too, and possibly some fresh herbs, like parsley or taragon (something green, not sure what would go!)

Thanks !

Dreena said...

Russ, parsley or basil would work very well, esp since there is some dried basil in the dish. I prefer flat-leaf parsley to curly - but both would be good to either stir in just before serving, or to sprinkle over top!

Kumquat Peekapoo said...

I certainly could use help with my spice system. I have a lazy susan next to my stove that holds all my begginer's spices, but as culinary world has grown, my spices have spread to fill 2 shelves in one cupboard and are now spreading to a third! Everytime I cook, I end up knocking half of them off the shelves!

Dana said...

This is yummy! My husband is not a big quinoa fan and he liked it. I'm allergic to gluten grains, eggs, and dairy, though, and our agreement is that I keep "regular food" around for him at breakfast and lunch, but dinner is all about me! So good quinoa recipes make everyone happy. :)

I don't eat meat about half the time, either, so while I'm not vegan (yet??), I do spend a lot of time on the vegan cooking blogs.

Thanks again! I'm going to try the roasted veg with polenta and balsamic maple sauce tonight...

Stefan said...

Good Job!: )