Monday, June 9, 2008

Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans with a Side of FAQ

Hey folks – before today’s recipe, I’d like to answer a few really good questions that have come up about CHG lately. Please bear with them, and then WITNESS THE WONDER of Cooking Light’s Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans.

Q: What’s the point of the Comments of the Week?
(submitted by: reader Sarah)

A: Well, between the feed and random hits, CHG is currently pulling in about 2600 daily readers (whee!). Y’all have a TON of stellar recipe suggestions and strategy ideas – lots of stuff that doesn’t occur to me in my tiny corner of Brooklyn. My hope with CotW is to highlight the best tips, and hopefully encourage readers to submit even more creative, thoughtful, funny comments. (Which, everyone’s been doing beautifully.) If you commenters have sites of your own, I try to link, so you’ll see some traffic/get mad props, as well.

Q: I’m a PR person for a startup website. Will you link to this article I send you?
(submitted by: PR people for startup websites.)

A: If it’s a generic piece promoted by a generic pitch letter, fuggedabouhdit. If it’s a personalized pitch and the post content is truly relevant to the cheap/healthy/good theme, I’ll definitely take a look. If the pitch and/or article mention Anthony Bourdain, The Office, or the smooth sounds of “Purple Rain,” then yes.

Q: Can I e-mail you my favorite recipes, articles, or posts from other sources?
(submitted by: a few wonderful e-mailers)

A: OH HECK YES. Please. Seriously, I need all the help I can get. Special thanks to reader Becky for her efforts on the recipe front.

Q: Why does CHG concentrate so much on supermarket shopping? Aren’t farmers markets, CSAs, and gardens the way to go these days?
(submitted by: my own guilty brain)

A: Ooo. Ouch. Yes. Yes, they are. Alas, CHG reflects my cooking and shopping experience, which is pitifully limited by location and budget. I DO make it a point to avoid most packaged and convenience products, and my goal over the next year is to move away from Key Food and toward fresh, locally-picked produce, grains, and meat. But in the meantime, I’m making do with what I have.

Q: Is there a site redesign in the future? Can I do it? Will you pay me in sandwiches?
(submitted by: The Boyfriend)

A: Yes, yes, and possibly. Also, I like your new haircut.

Q: I’m a Nigerian Prince begging you to claim $200,000,000 in American money, payable entirely in $100 bills. All you have to do is give me your name, date of birth, and credit card number. Won’t you please respond?
(submitted by: Prince Nbubu of Niger)

A: Umm … mommy?

And with that - today’s recipe! I haven’t been grocery shopping in awhile, but have the good fortune to own 12,000 cans of cabinet-clogging beans. A quick Cooking Light search yielded this totally slamming legume-heavy recipe. It took less than a half hour, made two additional lunches, and smell-ified my apartment in wondrous, curryesque fashion. If you make it:

1) Curry powders are vary widely the world over. Mine is particularly spicy and potent. (NOTE: The way I like my men.) If your powder doesn’t have quite the power, feel free to double the spices and/or add a dash or two of cayenne.

2) The original recipe asks you to simmer for five minutes, but a commenter or two suggested 15. I went with the latter, and it was aces.

3) Pair it with brown rice for the most complete, filling, fiber-y meal you’ll ever eat. Seriously, your colon will thank you for it.

If y’all have anymore questions about CHG or suggestions for this recipe, I’d love to hear ‘em. Fire away!

Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans
Makes 4 heaping 1-cup servings
Adapted from Cooking Light.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced peeled gingerroot
4 teaspoons curry powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1) In a large nonstick pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and ginger. Cook 3 minutes, or until onion starts to soften. Add curry. Stir. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Stir. Cook until a tiny bit thick, about 1 minute. Add salt, black beans, and chickpeas. Stir. "Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes." Kill heat. Add parsley and lemon juice. Stir. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
277.5 calories, 4.4 g fat, $0.82

2 teaspoons vegetable oil: 88 calories, 10 g fat, $0.04
1 cup chopped onion: 67 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.16
1 tablespoon minced peeled gingerroot: 5 calories, 0 g fat, $0.06
4 teaspoons curry powder: 13 calories, 0.5 g fat, $0.20
¼ tsp ground cumin: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained: 82 calories, 0 g fat, $0.89
1/8 teaspoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1 (15-ounce) can black beans: 328 calories, 1.6 g fat, $0.50
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas: 507 calories, 4.9 g fat, $0.50
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro): 14 calories, 0.3 g fat, $0.66
1 tablespoon lemon juice: 6 calories, 0 g fat, $0.25
TOTAL: 1110 calories, 17.4 g fat, $3.28
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 277.5 calories, 4.4 g fat, $0.82


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