Friday, April 22, 2011

Chickpea Salad with herbs and parmesan

We're upping the fiber ante in this household these days and this has been my week for legumes. Tasty lentils on Tuesday and today I wrap up the week with a spectacular chickpea salad recipe. I've really been enjoying Molly Wizenberg's (of Orangette) articles in Bon Appetit these days. Her writing style is so straightforward and down-to-earth with topics that always strike a chord. They each include a recipe that fits into her larger narrative piece in such a thoughtful way and it's always seem to be pure comfort food or an assembly of ingredients I use every day. 

My first reaction to this chickpea salad recipe, for example, was that it was made from such familiar ingredients that I must have had them combined in this way at some point in my life. I can assure you, I had not — I would have remembered. The key in something this simple is using the freshest, highest quality ingredients you can manage. So bust out that special olive oil you've been saving. I didn't have basil, so used more parsley and added just a small bit of both mint and cilantro. Perfect!     

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs
Bon Appétit | April 2011 | by Molly Wizenberg

1 15-to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse kosher salt

Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Chickpea salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Raleigh Tornado Fundraiser

The folks over at Indie NC are organizing an online fundraiser to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Raleigh whose locations in Southeast Raleigh were severely damaged during the recent bout of tornadoes that hit the area. The club serves as a hub for that neighborhood's children and 100% of the proceeds from all sales at will go to the club. Their goal is to reach $5,000 by May 20. Not only is it a great cause, but there are some mighty fine offerings by some mighty generous artists.

Orbicular Jasper Necklace by Eluna Jewelry Design 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Carolyn Reed Barritt

Beekeeper by Carolyn Reed Barritt
The Ann Arbor Women Artists Spring Exhibition is on view on the third floor of the Downtown branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library. I was at the library on Monday researching a few things and stumbled on this show. I was so happy to discover among the works that of local artist Carolyn Reed Barritt. Working in watercolor and pencil, I like Barritt's quirky yet quiet subject matter, as well as her treatment of everyday objects. The piece above took first place in the juried exhibition. Check out the show if you have a chance. It's well worth the trip and is on view through May 1. 

Floral Horse from the Lost and Found Childhood series by Carolyn Reed Barritt
Monkeys Fist from The Essence of Things series by Carolyn Reed Barritt
Herring-Gull from The Essence of Things Series by Carolyn Reed Barritt
Gold Raven by Carolyn Reed Barritt

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Red Wine Lentils with Herbs

This is a big old bowl full of comfort. I absolutely love lentils—the boy, however, does not, so I rarely make them. This lentil recipe filled with greens and packed with flavors made me do it. I made it for lunch one day last week and happily ate it for several days more. It also reminded me how much I adore arugula and I found myself eating it up by the raw handful every time I dipped into the fridge. I hope you'll give it a try. While I really like brown lentils when they turn a bit mushy, French green lentils are really best in this recipe as they're firmer texture melds well with the wilted greens and herbs. I substituted sour cream for the crème fraîche and it worked out just perfectly.

Red Wine Lentils with Herbs

1 1/2 cups French green lentils (12 ounces)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 packed cup baby spinach (2 ounces)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
4 lightly packed cups mâche (2 ounces) or arugula
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and simmer over moderate heat until tender, 40 minutes. Drain the lentils.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the red onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils and the wine and simmer until the wine has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche. Add the mâche, parsley and cilantro and cook until barely wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The City of Bridges

Hello Monday! It snowed all morning here and actually stuck to the dang ground. Can you believe it? There's a good inch and a half coating the pert little daffodils and other early bloomers. all around the neighborhood. All this after a weekend spent in a city where the flowering trees were already in bloom and the temperatures were in the lovely balmy mid-60s when I left yesterday. Ah well, it makes it feel pretty cozy inside today! 

I spent the weekend in Pittsburgh for the Handmade Arcade and had a blast. The city had such a great feel to it and the show was fantastically well-run with a really great turnout. And—to top it all off—I got to spend some quality time hanging out with two super-sweet, extremely talented crafty gals: Sarah of Hip to Piece Squares and Amie of Enamor and Enamor Weddings. Here's a look at my setup, including a little closeup with some of my newer designs.

On Sunday, I braved some super gusty winds and took a little bit of time to explore. I took a quick spin around the Strip District where I had a delicious sweet potato scone from this little bakery at the public market.

And then I wandered the streets of the hipster 'hood of Lawrenceville.   

I was a bit early for Wild Card, where I was dying to have a look, but the owner, Rebecca, saw me out front snapping a photo and came out to invite me in though the store didn't open for another hour. How darn nice is that? And I am so glad she did because the place is a goldmine of handmade crafty goodness! 

I loved the look of these chairs in the window at a gallery opening on Friday night. I can't wait for another excuse to head to Pittsburgh — there is so much more to explore!