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A Meatless Monday Meal

Lots of cooking going on in my kitchen today.
Lots of cooking going on in my kitchen today.

Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ.  After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it.  Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours.  A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition.  Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding.  It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.

~ David Tanis, Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys

A new cookbook.
A new cookbook.  Author:  Diane Kochilas.

I have always, for as long as I can remember, wanted to travel to Greece.  I don’t know when I first thought that.  Maybe when, as a child, I was enchanted by mythology, particularly Greek mythology.  Or maybe when I grew up and first tasted Greek food.  I’m not sure, and it doesn’t matter.  The results are the same.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to Greece, but I can learn to cook Greek food.  With that in mind, I treated myself to a new cookbook. Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die by Diane Kochilas (with photography by Vassillis Stenos).  (My apologies for cutting off those important credits when I took the photo of the book.)  The book is beautiful, and I am looking forward to exploring the recipes.  It is not a vegetarian cookbook.  There are recipes with meat and seafood.  But I’m good at adjusting recipes that call for meat and making them vegetarian (or vegan, if I’m in a vegan frame of mind).

Chickpeas.
Chickpeas.

Yesterday I dipped into the book and made a dish with zucchini, a mix of fresh, baby greens (kale and spinach), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice.  It was a simple dish with complex flavors.  I loved every bite, and will make it again.

Inside.
Inside.

Today, for dinner, I made Eleni’s Baked Chickpeas.  It takes a while to put together and to cook, but judging from the scents coming out of my kitchen right now, it was well worth the work.  It has been a while since I’ve used dried beans and legumes, mostly because it is so much quicker to open a can.  I’d forgotten how beautiful chickpeas look when they are transformed by water.

Onions and fresh rosemary.
Onions and fresh rosemary.

I used fresh herbs from my garden.  The vegetables are from a local farm market, but they are not in season here yet.  I usually try to cook seasonally, but this is the time of year when there are few vegetables to harvest.  Asparagus, of course, is in season now.  M and I have about had our fill of the green spears and are going to let the spears fern out, thus ending the asparagus season here on the ranch.

Colorful peppers.
Colorful peppers.

There are a lot of onions, peppers, garlic, and (of course) chickpeas in this recipe.  I am looking forward to eating it later.  I started it early in the day after reading the recipe and realizing it would take about 3-4 hours total cooking time.  Add to that the time to prep and I needed to start it early so it would be ready by dinner time.

Slivers of garlic.
Slivers of garlic.

Before I started cooking, I went out for my usual morning walk.  I did not take a camera.  I am taking more walks without the camera so that I can spend more time just walking and being, and enjoying the walking and being.  The morning was lovely.  Cool, sunny with a few cloudy spells.  Our resident wild turkey, whom we’ve named Frieda, was in the front yard when I stepped outside.  Nick and Nora, two of many bunnies, were also out and about, munching on whatever it is the rabbits munch on for their morning meal.  I recognize them because Nick has a little nick in one of his ears, and Nora always seems to be with him.  To be honest, I have no idea which of the two is male or female, or if they’re both the same sex.

All it needs now are some tomato slices on top, and into the oven it goes.
All it needs now are some tomato slices on top, and into the oven it goes.  This dish cooks for 3 hours in 325°F oven.

We’ve named the house sparrow that keeps trying to pirate the purple martin houses.  Jack Sparrow, of course.  Blackbeard wouldn’t have suited him at all.

Make a wish.
Make a wish.

I guess that’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch on this lovely Monday.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Sunset tonight is at 7:50 PM.  Join me on the dock if you want to watch the show, and stop by the house first to try the chickpeas.  I’m pretty certain it’s going to be scrumptious.

Nick.  (If you look closely at his right ear, you'll see the little nick in it.)
Nick. (If you look closely at his right ear, you’ll see the little nick in it.)

Note:  Outdoor images are from the weekend since I didn’t have the camera with me on my walk today.

Looking for Nora.
Looking for Nora.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Here she is!  Meet Nora.
Here she is! Meet Nora.

 

 

 

 

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

27 thoughts on “A Meatless Monday Meal

  1. This not only looks beautiful but it also sounds delicious. Let me know what you think of the cookbook. I’m thinking it might be a nice gift for my son and daughter in law. They enjoy cooking together and trying new things and they honeymooned in Greece so they might like this.

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    1. I love it so far, Corina. The baked chickpeas were wonderful, and I think the delicious smell from having them slow cook all afternoon will last a few days. Hope you’re feeling better, day by day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love using chickpeas, but I have to plan ahead since I like to cook them in the slow cooker. They are so easy and carefree as long as I think ahead just a bit. (Not always an easy thing to do!) 🙂

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      1. Don’t know about other beans, but chickpeas don’t need overnight soaking for the slow cooker. It seems like they’re done in roughly a few hours on high. I generally forget to time them, so I just try one or two to see if they’ve softened enough. Most of the time I use them in hummus, so the timing isn’t at all critical.

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  3. Greece? For me it’s the lure of bright blue waters and those white white buildings on the posters. And the music. Sigh. Luckily we have a large Greek community around here, so the food we can find. But that cook book looks and sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing! (and I am putting the cookie down now….)

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    1. It’s all that and more for me, PhilosopherMouse. When we were renovating our last house, I bought a book about Mediterranean colors and decorating, and it had some gorgeous photos from Greece. All that blue and white was mesmerizing. Lucky you, being able to find good Greek food locally. 🙂

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  4. Mediterranean cooking – yes! I might have to see if I can find your chickpea recipe. I keep several dried beans on hand because I like to cook them in the slow cooker, vacuum seal in one cup portions (because there’s just one of me) and freeze them. Bunnies – adorable. I see them around, but in my yard I see only jackrabbits. I think it’s a side effect of having dogs and cats.

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    1. That’s a great idea, Carol. I have a lot of leftover baked chickpeas from last night’s dinner. The recipe claims it’s six servings, but looks more like eight to me. I wasn’t sure beans would hold up well with freezing. I’ll give it a try. 🙂

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  5. I adore Greek food – all Mediterranean food for that matter – what fun to have a new cookbook that inspires you and then rewards with fabulous complex tastes!! It certainly looks delectable – the camera obviously not absent on the kitchen patrol! Enjoy, enjoy!! xo

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    1. Thank you, Pauline. 🙂 The only problem with bringing the camera into the kitchen is that I always, always forget to take a picture of the finished product. I don’t think of it until after I’ve eaten which is, of course, too late.

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  6. I see I’m late for the sunset. Hope the chickpea meal was delicious. I’m sure it was. I love cookbooks. Sometimes I like to just read them..and dream. We have bunnies in the yard this year too..haven’t for a couple of years, probably because of the fox we’ve seen around. We are behind you in seasons…asparagus just starting here. Yummy!

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    1. So glad spring is finally arriving in your area, Dawn. 🙂 The baked chickpeas were wonderful. I think it would make a great Sunday dinner type of thing.

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  7. Ooh, supper sounds wonderful, I’m on my way! 😉
    Nick and Nora are lovely – there may be cute little babies soon. 🙂 Good thing Mr. Bobcat isn’t around there, eh?
    I often leave my camera at home for the same reason. I may miss some good shots, but the meditation is worth it. Just being.

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    1. I think Mr. Bobcat would grow fat on bunnies here, Eliza. We do have bobcats on the Eastern Shore, but if last year was any indication, they don’t come around here. We had an explosion of bunnies last year, and would count twenty or more just along the driveway. Who knows how many more were in the meadows?

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      1. Sounds like predator heaven. It’s been interesting to watch the balance of nature ebb & flow here the past 25 years. It seems everything runs in cycles. If there are a lot of bunnies, perhaps now you’ll be seeing more predators.

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  8. It’s probably a good thing we are not neighbors. You would be hiding from me. And smell proofing your house so what you’re cooking for dinner was not escaping for me to smell and invite myself over. 😉

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  9. Dinner sounds delicious! I had the absolute privilege to spend about a week in Greece for a high school trip. We saw Athens, Rhodes, Crete, and my favorite: Santorini! The black sand beaches, the white buildings with blue rooftops, and the FOOD were definite highlights. (I also bought one of my all-time favourite silver rings there, so yet another notch in the ‘reasons to go back to Greece one day’ belt.)

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  10. You have to go to Greece, not only for its food, but Greece is very nice. And if you like tasting new meals… DO COME to Spain, besides our large quantity of different meals are very good, and my country is wonderful to visit. Thanks for sharing your Monday meal… the rabbit is lovely!

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  11. Love your approach to cooking … and cheers to the flavors of the world. I imagine you will pick up flavors in Greek cuisine that you will transfer into other dishes. We’ve never been to Greece, but I imagine we will someday.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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