Isn’t it strange how distance can sometimes make you closer with someone? It’s like because you have to make more of an effort to maintain the friendship, you end up making concrete plans more often. Or call them on the phone to catch up and end up talking forever. Whereas, when a friend lives around the corner, sometimes you get lackadaisical about making plans because you just figure you can see them any time. My best friend, Emily, moved to New York a year ago. I was afraid we might grow apart. But it seems like we’re closer than ever. My friend Steve is about to move to California. And it’s got me changing out of my pajamas at 10:00 on a school night to go meet him at the bar just so I can hang with him a few more times before he goes.
When I moved into my apartment a year ago, I was excited to be a few doors down from my friend Kate. But when she came over for dinner the other night, she pointed out to me that we saw each other more when I lived 20 minutes away, vs. the 20 feet from my door to hers. Kate, our friend Melissa, and I would get together for monthly dinners. But since I’ve moved to the neighborhood, they’ve kind of died off. Maybe it’s just life that’s getting in the way, and not the distance… or lack there of. But we’ve decided to try to pick these back up. We had our first one on Tuesday night.
I made a chickpea and leeks salad (recipe courtesy of Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks) with a side of rice (recipe courtesy of my cousin Jaime). The two were not meant to be served together as one big entree, but that’s how I ate it the next night, and it was so much better than when I had Kate and Melissa over for dinner and we ate the two separately. I am posting the recipes for both. You can make and serve them mixed together or completely separately. It’s up to you.
CHICKPEA AND LEEK SALAD WITH CURRY YOGURT DRESSING
- 2 cups of chickpeas
- 1 large leek, sliced into fine strips
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or whatever kind of oil you prefer. coconut oil is my new obsession)
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup of low fat, plain Greek yogurt (or 3/4 of a cup will do)
- curry powder to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro
- roughly 1/2 cup of chopped red onion
- 1 cup of slivered almonds
Heat the coconut oil in large pan. Stir in the chickpeas and saute them until they start turning a golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and saute until they are soft. Stir in the garlic and juice from half of your lemon. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Set skillet aside.
To make the dressing, add curry powder and sea salt to the Greek yogurt to taste. I also added a bit of lemon juice to the yogurt to help thin it out. Heidi Swanson suggests adding warm water if you need to thin out the dressing. But I just used lemon juice. She also said to use lemon zest in the chickpea and leek saute, but I don’t have a lemon zester. So, there you go. I improvised.
Once the chickpeas and leeks are relatively cool, mix with the dressing, almonds, cilantro, and red onion. You probably will not need all of the dressing. Add it little by little until the salad is dressed however you prefer it.
You can serve this salad alone, as a side dish, in a wrap, or mixed in with the rice recipe below!
I don’t know what to call this recipe, so I’m calling it Jaime’s rice. Although, I really didn’t even follow the recipe she sent me. I just kind of made it up as I went along. But the general idea came from her.
- 1 cup of Basmati rice (or Jasmine), cooked according to package instructions
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- lemon juice (about 1/2- 1 lemon’s worth)
- a handful of plump, golden raisins
- 1-2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. (I used canola. The original recipe called for pistachio oil, and Jaime used avocado oil)
- a handful of pistachios (I didn’t have these, so I guess they are optional)
Cook the rice according to package directions. Once the rice is cooked and cooled slightly, add all other ingredients. Mix with a fork, otherwise it will all mush together. Eat as is or mix with the recipe above!