Funny how your emotions play ups and downs when you have to part with certain items you have had for years. I'm cleaning out! Quite radically actually - I cannot believe how much stuff we have.
This week I sorted out several of my clothing items. Most of the stuff has been upstairs in our attic for - well forever. Nice dresses, fancy party outfits and my wedding dress! I parted with all of it. I gave it to the Weimar version of Oxfam. I came out feeling relieved like a weight had been lifted off. Yes I even gave my wedding dress away and felt quite good about it. It was a simple and elegant designer dress nothing with frills. I hope that another young girl finds her happiness in it with the man of her life. I found mine and I do not need a dress to remind me of it!
Then today I parted with other items. As I was sorting them out last night I could feel the melancholy rising inside. Some of my cookbooks have been with me for over 15 years. While these too were neatly stored up in the attic making room for the new ones down in the kitchen and living room, I somehow felt a kind of safety knowing they were there. See these were the cookbooks that not only helped a young girl of 21-22 learn to cook but also taught this girl the German language. I have not looked at even one of them in several years. I am beyond "Basic Baking" now - after all I am a Daring Baker. The basics have given way to more challenging cookbooks and I knew they had to go.
I wiped each one clean, removing the dust that had began to gather. Making myself comfortable, I opened a few and smiled at a few notes and post-its I had stuck into the pages. How I remember finding making a lasagna quite daunting back then and laughed at the funny scribbles on my post-it note! I packed each one carefully in a box and Tom helped me carry it to the boot of my car.
Today I brought them to a second hand bookstore and they took most of them. The others I'll be selling on Amazon.de. I do not feel relieved. I am still wondering if I should not have kept the one or two. I also know that this is a feeling I will have to get used to over the next few months as I part with several items.
To perk me up a little I decided to make a comforting meal. Nothing lavish or challenging, very basic actually, but extremely delicious. I love my legumes and try to add it where ever I can. I had a few chicken breasts in the fridge and a can of chickpeas and pinto beans in the pantry, the rest came as I went along. The result was a very satisfying and nicely spiced chicken legumes dish. Served with warm naans and a green salad, I am vitalized and am sure I will easily find a few good replacements for the cookbooks!
Recipe: Spicy Chicken Legumes with Pinto Beans and Chickpeas
Printable version of recipe here.
2-3 chicken breast, cut in strips
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and washed
1 can pinto beans, drained and washed
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 red chillies, chopped
1 medium sized red onion, diced
2 spring onions/scallions, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Pinch of ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
- Heat a large skillet add the oil and allow to get hot. Turn the heat to medium then add the onions, garlic, ground cumin and chopped chilies. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are transparent and the garlic fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes until the oils start to separate.
- Throw in the chicken strips and mix to coat with the spice mixture. Gently brown the the chicken until cooked. Add a bit of water should the mixture begin to stick to the pan.
- Put in the bell pepper strips, beans and chickpeas, add some water (not more than 1/2 cup), then cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
- Finally sprinkle with the spring onions, season to taste and toss well.
- Sprinkle with chives and serve hot.
Serving Tip: Serve with hot naans, whole wheat pitas or fresh baguette. A large fresh green salad is a great and refreshing completion to the meal.
Spicy, nutty and wonderfully simple. It's the perfect weeknight dinner and is prepared within minutes. We've been eating legumes quite a lot lately and Tom keeps saying "no more!" however, every time I serve up another bean, chickpea or lentil dish he digs in whole heatedly. Soeren and I laugh at him and say he needs a strong Indian stomach to hold up to all the legumes, to which we get dirty looks from him LOL! But then how can you stop eating dishes like this.
Srivalli, is also having a legumes love affair this month as she is hosting My Legumes Love Affair 7th Helping an event created by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. I'd like to send some of this over to Srivalli. Another event revolving around legumes, in particular chickpeas, is this month's JFI Chickpeas hosted over at Sometime Foodie. I'm sending a bit over there too.
You might like these legumes dishes from WFLH:
|Pea Soup||Minty Hummus||South African Chicken Biryani|
From around the blogs:
- Cannellini, Fennel & Olives - The Well Seasoned Cook
- Indian Spiced Black-Eyed Peas with Tomato and Curry Leaves - Kalyn's Kitchen
- Urad Dal Masala Vada with Spicy Dal Dip - Aroma!
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