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Hitting the Road + Chana Masala with Carrots

Enough of this "I'm sick and not leaving the house" stuff. I left the house today to visit the grocer. Yes, I am posting yet another new recipe tonight (yawn), but I want to announce we have made plans to get in the motorhome Wednesday for a five or six day mini-vaca. Nowhere tropical. Nowhere even remotely warm. Our destination is not even predicted to have one day without rain all week.

We must be going to Eugene, Oregon!

Bingo!

The Magna Peregrinus is due for a beauty treatment - aka lube+oil+filter. As long as we are at Cummins Northwest, she will have her generator and AquaHot serviced as well. Please send your contributions to...

And, wouldn't you know it, Dear Sports-Minded Reader, there just happens to be a track meet in Eugene this weekend! Surprise! Surprise! The meet is called the NCAA West Region Preliminary meet... or something ridiculously similar. It is the stoopidestmeet ever contrived. The athletes have already competed in their conference championships. Wouldn't you think that would be enough to determine who continues on to the NCAA finals? Apparently not, because the NCAA has another "narrow-it-down" meet before the national championships. I think it just tires-out the already tired athletes - during finals week!

Bad idea. But who I am? What do I know about track & field? I'm just a fan. The NCAA never phones me to ask my advice.

Since there are several days until you get to read my further complaints about this ill-timed unneeded track meet, I will leave you this evening with a yummy, satisfying, filling vegan meal that is easy to prepare and will leave your house/RV smelling heavenly.

Assuming you fancy a curry.

My take on the classic Indian garbanzo bean curry - Chana Masala. Carrots are not a traditional ingredient in Chana Masala, but I like the texture, sweetness and color they add. Easy and fast - super low fat - vegan weeknight recipe. This dish is inexpensive, quite filling and is best served with rice and a little fruit. The veggie stock I normally use comes in one-cup portions, so I use a half-cup of water for the remainder of the stock requirement. Have the ingredients chopped and ready to use - this dish comes together quickly and benefits from frequent stirring.

Spice mixture:
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon paprika

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1½ cup vegetable stock (or water, or combination)
1 large tomato, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered-lengthwise, and sliced ¼-inch long
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Juice of one lime

Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, as a garnish (optional)
Basmati rice, brown basmati rice or jasmine rice, as an accompaniment. 

Mix the salt, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and paprika in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a 10-inch skillet (or saute pan) over medium-low heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil and saute the onion until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno stir well with the onion and saute for an additional minute. Sprinkle the spices over the onion mixture and stir well to coat. The mixture will seem quite dry at this point. Add the vegetable stock, chopped tomato and carrots; stir well. Bring to a simmer and let the vegetables cook for about five minutes, or until carrots are a bit soft. Stir in the garbanzo beans and ginger. Continue to simmer until carrots are soft and the sauce begins to thicken, an additional five-ten minutes. (Add additional stock or water if you desire a thinner sauce.) Remove from heat, stir-in the lime juice and serve.

With rice, this recipe serves 4.

Wine suggestion: Gin tonic or cold beer.

Until my next update, I remain, your spicy correspondent.