About a year ago, I started frequenting a discount grocery store in our area that tailors its inventory to its Latin American and Afro-Carribean clientele. This store carries a really interesting selection of produce and seasonings for international cooking, and it is always an education for me to browse there.
The most remarkable of my discoveries at this store has been the fresh chickpeas. I think it is very safe to say that I’ve never met a chickpea I don’t like. If you’d asked me, I would have told you that my chickpea world seemed pretty complete. My chickpeas either came dried, and I cooked them myself, or canned, in which case they had been previously dried and cooked. Fresh chickpeas are so different from dried chickpeas that I have a hard time considering them the same product. This contrast is probably analogous to the contrast between a green pea fresh from its pod and a dried split pea.
When KC’s aunties started to help her paint pumpkins this past weekend, I was staunchly in observer mode. A paint brush does nothing to stir my soul. But a rainbow of fresh produce? Now we’re talking!
When I posted about Stir Frying Fall Flavors, I failed to provide photos. Tonight, though, I was ready! The basic premise for the meal was that I was broiling some white fish, cooking up some brown rice, and stir frying an assortment of some beautiful veggies, all to be accompanied by a very simple curry sauce. After I started the rice, I prepped the veggies…sweet potato, purple cabbage, onion, sweet red bell pepper, and curly kale.
As much as I like to try new cuisines and new recipes, I tend to be boxed in by some “purist” thinking when it comes to combining flavors within a single recipe or meal. For example, when my sister recently raved about a recipe for ginger risotto balls, I had a difficult time wrapping my mind around an Asian flavor like ginger in a classic Italian streetfood.
So, tonight’s dinner represented a big step for me. I passed by some of the usual suspects when considering veggies to stir fry as a side for our orange chicken and cardamom rice, and julienned some cabbage and sweet potatoes. The resulting Cabbage and Sweet Potato Stir Fry was pretty (sorry, no pictures!), nutritious, and it really showcased some of our seasonal produce at its best.