I use my iphone to take pictures and unfortunately this weekend I dropped it and shattered the screen. It is going to be repaired, but for now, I can’t access the images I have from my trip to Maine. Therefore, my recap of Portland adventures will have to wait.
Until then, I’ve been experimenting a lot with vegan dishes and have been inspired by a wonderful restaurant and chef in Portland and a wonderful vegan curry I dish I tried while there. Above is a meal I put together with minimal ingredients we had in the house once we returned from our trip. It’s important when cooking with a few ingredients to try and keep your flavors clean. I’ve learned from many years of experimentation and practice that it’s way too easy to get muddled flavors from over-spicing and from mixing spices that don’t mix well. For me, I separate my flavors and group together family of spices so as not to create a muddled and strange flavor. However, I have placed two spices together that actually create a cool cohesion, but this is usually only attempted in small batches.
The above dish is Indian spice inspired and used: 1. dried chickpeas 2. red cabbage 3. spinach 4. garlic and 5. rice. We had dried chickpeas lying around and decided to use a simmer/boil method in order to cook them faster (as opposed to soaking overnight). Once the chickpeas were done, I roasted them in a baking sheet at 400F for 25 minutes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt&pepper to taste and red chili paper flakes (to taste). Dried chickpeas have a much cleaner, fresher taste as opposed to canned which pack more sodium and a metallic flavor.
While the chickpeas were busy in the oven, The rice was cooked with about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, garam masala, paprika, and cumin. The yellow color that you see in the photo comes form the turmeric (which I love cooking with!). Once the rice and chickpeas were finished, I sauteed the red cabbage in a skillet with about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, salt& pepper to taste 1/2 tablespoon of red curry paste + a splash of balsamic vinegar and two pinches of sugar (raw). Simultaneously spinach was being sauteed in another skillet with some garlic and chili pepper flakes. Instead of olive oil for the spinach, I used coconut oil. Now, here is where I feel I experimented. Normally I don’t like to mix oils, however I thought the coconut oil would provide a cleaner flavor with the spinach, allowing the spinach to shine through more against the strong flavors of the cabbage and rice. It worked! The meal came out clean, delicious, and just what we needed after a few days of eating out!