Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 32 of 52: Tasty molasses spiced chickpea kale bowl recipe

This past Wednesday, I attended one of Cook Culture's cooking classes with a friend of my great blogger nemesis, Chris (@TheCesspit). The classes are not "real" cooking classes but resemble more of a chill social event. It is like hanging out in the kitchen of a cooking show (the kitchen was stacked yo!), except it's better because instead of being on some lame-ass scripted cooking show you get to relax (participation was voluntary) and learn from an amazing knowledgeable Chef who teaches you loads of stuff about cooking, answers all of your simple beginner cooking questions, and will not criticize your less than stellar vegetable dicing skills (I super suck at cutting vegetables). And then the best part of all of this (other than learning about food and cooking from a Chef) is you get to eat all the awesome delicious food. OMG! So good! 

Molasses spiced chickpea & kale! So yummy!
Although the class was themed around a BBQ cookout and most of the menu items I would not normally eat during half marathon training (i.e. meat, dairy), I made an exception in this case. Mostly because I wanted the opportunity to learn from Chef Michael Williams, whose cooking philosophy is basically aligned with mine: food is to be tasty, nutritious, simple to make, and most importantly it will fuel you (in my case it will fuel my long distance running). Basically Chef Williams is like the gourmet version of Sarah Cuff. Which means he is awesome, in case that wasn't clear. If that was not clear, I encourage you to read my post on Kale Slaw where I explain the awesomeness of Sarah Cuff and kale (obvs). As for me, my dietary preferences fall somewhere in between these two awesome human beings.

Basically, I like to eat food that does not upset my body, tastes good and still meets my specific dietary requirements. My requirements vary based on where my body is at in that specific moment in time (e.g., when I train I stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, which means no meat, wheat, dairy, refined sugar, or coffee).  And sometimes, when I train, I make a rare exception, in the case of the Cookout class and that is ok, it is all part of my new "chill-the-fuck-out-and-stop-being-so-anal" philosophy I'm trying out.

Naturally. what I eat and how I eat confuses a lot of people, as most believe I'm vegan, which I can't blame them, as usually when you see me I'm eating some food stuff of the fruit or vegetable variety. And then those same people happen to run across me when I'm out for breakfast and then see me eat bacon and it just doesn't compute for them. I get it, as I too used to subscribe to our regimented dietary categories, like vegan and meat eater (How can you possibly be both?!). And now, I've decided sure those categories are helpful when you are ordering food on a plane or whatever but for the rest of the time, I don't find it so helpful as I do restrictive/controlling and kind of judgmental actually. I just like to eat what makes my body happy, which is primarily a plant based diet with a piece of bacon thrown in every now and then, which is apparently referred to as the flexitarian diet (I read this on twitter so it must be a real category). I'm flexible with my diet, I refuse to fit into your box, please get over it!

Moving on…

At the Cookout class we made a dish called molasses spiced beef cabbage rolls (of course I volunteered to cook because I wanted to learn stuff and use all the awesome kitchen gear). Basically the molasses spiced beef was the taco filling to put inside taco shells made of cabbage leaves. It was very tasty and surprisingly light. So the next day, I decided to make the Andrea version of this tasty dish.

My latest food obsession!! (King Soba noodles)
So here we go, get ready for yummy deliciousness!

Molasses spiced chickpea kale bowl

Recipe adapted from: Chef Michael Williams’ “Molasses Spiced Beef Cabbage Rolls”

1 small onion (diced)
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (minced- fun fact you don’t need to peel the skin off the ginger! To wrap my head around this concept, I just think of the ginger root as a carrot)
1 can chickpeas (meat version was 450g ground beef)
2 tablespoons organic molasses (I stuck with the molasses because I was feeling lazy that night but in the future I would like to try this with date puree)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon of sea salt
2 teaspoons turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne (use more if you want more spice) 
1 bunch of kale (de-stemmed and ripped into pieces)
8 mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 red pepper (diced)

I decided to scrap the cabbage taco shell idea and put the mixture on a bed of pumpkin ginger rice noodles (my latest food obsession)

1.     Fill a pot with cold water and bring to a boil (this will be for the noodles).
2.     While you are waiting for the water to boil in the pot, you can pre-heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Add oil (I use coconut oil). Add onion and sauté until onions are lightly browned. Add ginger and sauté for a minute longer. Add mushrooms and red pepper and sauté for a few more minutes.
3.     Add molasses and spices. Add chickpeas and sauté until the molasses and spices have coated everything in the pan.
4.     Around this time you can add the noodles to the boiling water, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
5.     Add kale and stir together until the kale becomes bright green and softens (about 5 minutes).
6.     Let the ingredients in the frying pan simmer while you strain the noodles and rinse them with cold water. Place noodles in bowl and pile on as much tasty frying pan ingredients as you would like (PS don’t follow this advice if you are trying to lose weight!)
7.     Eat and enjoy!

Suggested serving: For those with the sedentary lifestyle this would probably make around 6 servings, moderately active I would say 4-5 servings and for highly active/training types (like myself) I go with 3 servings….I eat a ridiculous amount of food when I train. Everyone has different caloric needs, so figure out what you need to sustain yourself and portion your food accordingly!

Comment on terminology: I have no idea if this dish is considered gourmet cooking; however, I do know that it was inspired by gourmet nutrition cooking!That's kind of the same thing right?!

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