We Bay Staters awoke this morning to clear skies and bright, almost overpowering sunlight. It almost seemed a mockery of yesterday's destruction and devastation. We were lucky here on the eastern side of the state: we had some wicked thunder and lightening last night, and nothing but wind gusts and a slight chill in the air today. And, perhaps, a certain amount of disbelief that such a disaster could happen all the way up here.
You could say that a storm has been raging inside me, too. More subtle, of course, than the aforementioned, but nevertheless wreaking havoc on my peace of mind. Perhaps it's because I'm approaching a crossroads: an end of an era, so to speak, and a beginning of another. The impending change frightens me, and I doubt my choices, my judgement, my path.
But this morning, as I stood regarding the light and the swaying branches outside, I felt a clarity enter me, still yet purposeful. For the first time in a long time, I did my work without complaint; even gladly. I walked through the neighborhood briskly, smiling, shoulders back and chin up. I had things to do, and I was happy to do them. Could you ask for anything better?
And all of a sudden, as though returning from a vacation -- I had an urge to cook something. Something warming, hearty, and comforting in the wake of the storm that had passed, but at the same time light and sweet: a hint at summer, sunshine, and the good things that lie ahead.
After the Storm Chickpea Curry
adapted from Mollie Katzen's get cooking
The bonus about stews like this is that if you can manage to save some leftovers, the flavors deepen over a day in the fridge.
ed. note: I halved the recipe; it worked just fine.
1 T canola oil
1 t butter
1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping T curry powder
1/2 t salt
2 15-oz cans chickpeas
2 heaping cups frozen mango chunks
a handful of fresh cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped, stems discarded
1 lime, sliced, for serving
A few dashes cayenne pepper, for serving
2 cups white or brown basmati rice, cooked, for serving (I prefer white rice here -- it's a little bit softer than brown, and provides a nice textural contrast to the heartier texture of the chickpeas)
Place a large heavy skillet over medium heat. After a minute, add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add butter, and swirl until it melts into oil. Add onion, garlic, curry powder, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
Meanwhile, drain and rinse the chickpeas in a colander.
Add the chickpeas to the skillet, stirring until they become coated with the onion-spice mixture. Then turn the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the mango (still frozen!) and some cilantro, if you wish, and cover the pan. Let it cook on its own for another 5 minutes. Stir once more.
Serve atop 1/2 cup rice. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, and cayenne pepper to taste. Smile to yourself.