Confidence in the Kitchen

Confidence in the Kitchen

Cooking for people is one of my favorite things to do so I am excited that I get to do it three times this week! Alex overdosed on eating out last week so we wanted to do a week of eating at home but still see our friends, so I volunteered to cook.

Being the chef for a group used to freak me out because I felt like there was a lot of pressure to be successful – and it can still be scary to put down something new in front of people.

But it turns out that people are pretty forgiving; I’ve put down doughy biscuits, dry falafel, and too spicy soup among other sort-of failures, and people still ate them and enjoyed them. We are usually our own harshest critics. Usually, people are just happy to have someone cooking for them. I know I always feel that way!

Last night, our friends Trent and Shelly came over. They were our first friends in the city and I’m happy to say we have just gotten closer in the almost five years that we have known each other. I was a terrible photog last night and didn’t snap pictures of them or the food, so here’s an old school photo of their fabulous faces:

(This was after Movember – a monthlong fundraiser to raise money for prostate cancer research. Alex, Trent, and another friend dressed up like the Beastie Boys for the gala at the end of the month – and won best group mo!)

The recipe is one of my favorites; it was the first recipe I made that I raved about and repeated. It’s warming, sweet, spicy, and satisfying. You can serve it over a grain, or not. You can top it with yogurt, or not. Leftovers make a great lunch as the flavors mingle overnight in the fridge and just get better. I also have a friend who added lamb and said it was amazing. So invite some friends over and make it – you’ll be the top chef of the night!

Chickpea and Zucchini Tagine
adapted from Vegetarian Times

Ingredients

  •  2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2.5 tsp. honey

Method:
Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 3-5 minutes until onion softens. Stir in chickpeas, carrots, zucchini, currants, spices, honey and 2.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.

Serve over bulgur or couscous. Topping it with Greek yogurt and parsley would be a tasty addition.

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