It's been awhile.....
well, sorta, let's just say it's been infrequent.
Something about the summer months just slows everything down to a crawl. It's too hot to go quickly, too hot to try to get a gazillion things done. Summer is a time to just mellow and go with the flow... watch a Harry Potter marathon, build a fort, have a nap on the couch, read a book...
I read the Hunger Games. Yes, I know. It took me a while to get around to it. Meh.... it was okay. Dumb teenage romance vibe ticked me off. But I couldn't put it down and spent a good part of 2 days reading. And I'm grateful for that. Nothing like spending a day with a book, even it if left me with American Idol guilt.
So, you probably already figured this out, I don't cook all that much when it is hot outside. My guy is a master at the grill so I let him cook. Remember those grilled veggies and pasta from a while back? Well, we did up the veggies again. This time I put them on a bed of fried quinoa and jasmine rice with chickpeas.
You will need leftover cooked grain for this. Leftover grain is less sticky so it will "fry." If you try to do this with freshly cooked grain it will be clumpy and maybe even mushy. Rice will definitely clump and mush. Quinoa will as well, but not nearly as much as rice. Any kind of grain will do - use all quinoa, all rice, brown rice, even couscous (which isn't technically a grain, but whatever).
I used Herbamare seasoning in this dish. It adds a nice savoury but also simple flavour. Because my veggies had pesto on them (and we are still using that BBQ sauce) I wanted to keep the rice seasonings simple. You could use salt and pepper to taste in this recipe instead of the Herbamare, but not in a one-to-one ratio. Use your judgement.
Here is what you will need for the rice...
- 4-5 cups leftover cooked grain, I used 3 cups quinoa and 2 cups white basmati rice
- 1 medium-sized sweet onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ teaspoon of Herbamare, or more to taste
- ¼ cup silvered almonds (or other nut or seed of your choice)
Heat olive oil a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to soften. You want the onions to caramelize a bit so you can really taste their sweetness. Whatever you do, don't burn them. You don't want black onions in this dish.
After about 5 minutes, add the carrots. Continue to cook the carrots and onions until very soft and fragrant - about 10 minutes.
Add chickpeas and garlic, cook for another minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant and chickpeas begin to warm up. You may want to put a lid on your fry pan at this point to keep the heat in.
Add the grain, braking it up with your fingers as you add it to the pan and stirring to distribute the carrots and onions throughout. Add the Herbamare at this point and just keep stirring. The rice should not be sticking to the pan. (And if it is, try adjusting your heat, adding a bit more oil, or I'm sorry it could be just your pan). Once everything is well incorporated, let the mixture cook to completely heat through, about 5 minutes. Stick the lid on if needed.
You can make this ahead and let it wait for your veggies. It's good slightly warm.
That seems to be a fantastically enjoyable meal following a nap, Harry Potter marathon and a few hours in blissful abandon reading a so-so book that nevertheless clearly has the ability to provide an enjoyable reprieve from heat and chores and other responsibilities. No guilt required.