Moroccan Pumpkin Chickpea Stew with Harissa - HAPPY HALLOWEEN


This year, I spent Halloween with my amazing friends, carving pumpkins, watching Hocus Pocus, giving candy to trick or treaters and eating delicous homemade food - like this delicious Moroccan spiced Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew with a white/black rice. My friend Lily found it on pinterest (recipe from Happy Hearted Kitchen). It uses one of my favorite spices - Harissa, which is a  spicy red Tunisian paste made from chili peppers with cumin and coriander (see also my post on chickpea salad or cous cous). The Stew tasted so delicious, I cannot wait to recreate it...

By the way, did you notice the fancy color scheme - orange stew and mostly black rice? :)

Oh, and I know that is now my third post with a side salad - Carl's Squash, Lily's Shepherd Pie and this Pumpkin Stew. But what shall I say? I love that salad, Lily's vinegrette and her Mom's pickled beans and peppers... 

Ingredients:

  • oil
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 knob ginger - minced
  • 3 cups pumpkin - cubed
  • 2 cups carrots - sliced
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cans tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/4 cup dried raisins or currants
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots - chopped
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
As topping:
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slices
  • fresh cilantro - chopped

Serve with a side of:
  • rice, quinoa or cous cous

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir, so that the garlic doesn't turn black and bitter. Sauteé till everything is soft, add some water (or stock) and stir. Add the pumpkin and carrots, spice with salt and pepper. Don't be shy on the salt. Cook for 5-10 min and keep stirring. Add the chickpeas and the remaining spices (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika) and cook for a few min. Stir, so that everything is coated in the spices. 
  2. Now, add the tomatoes, rest of the water (or stock), the raisins, apricots and harissa. If you like it spicy, add more harissa. Stir well. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 min till the vegetables are soft.
  3. In the meantime, cook the rice. We used a mix of white and black (wild) rice, fitting for Halloween. 
  4. Serve the stew with a side of rice. Top with almonds, cilantro and extra harissa.









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    Shepherd's Pie Lily Style


    While I was visiting, I was so lucky to be able to eat lots of the good food that Lily & Carl were cooking. One of the dishes was a delicious shepherd's pie. Traditionally, it's cooked with lamb, but I am happy that we chose ground beef, as I am not a big fan of lamb meat. Also, instead of mashed potatoes, we used fancy mashed sweet potatoes - a very tasty little variation.

    Ingredients:

    • 1l salt water
    • 4 sweet potatoes
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 500 g ground beef
    • 3 cloves garlic - minced
    • 1 big onion - diced
    • 2 leeks - sliced
    • 1 green bell pepper - diced
    • 3 carrots - sliced
    • 1 can peas
    • 1 can corn
    • 1 can chopped tomatoes (possible substitutes: tomato paste, marinara sauce, ketchup)
    • paprika, salt, pepper, oregano

    Preparation:

    Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
    1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in 2 inch cubes. Boil in salt water for 20 min or till soft. Drain, add butter and salt, and smash. Set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the ground beef and fry for 3-5 min. Add the garlic and onions and fry for another 3-5 min. Stir in leeks, bell pepper and carrots and fry for 10 min. Add salt, pepper, oregano and paprika to taste. When carrots are almost soft, add the peas and corn and heat up for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes and stir.
    3. Fill the ground beef mix in a baking dish. Top it off with a layer of the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake in the oven for about 30 min, till the top gets a golden brown shimmer. Let cool for 10 min before serving. 









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      Carl's Baked Delicata and Carnival Squash


      Carl and Lily had so many squashs (delicata and carnival), that one night we stuffed them with a mix of veggies, ground beef and a nice three color quinoa. Lily was working late, so I followed Carl's directions. We were a little creative with the toppings (marinara sauce and bread crumbs) and the side dish (spinach salad with walnuts and apples) and just used, what we found in the fridge. It was delicious :)

      Ingredients:

      • 2-3 squash (e.g. delicata, carnival) 
      • 1 onion - chopped
      • 300 - 500 g ground beef
      • 3-4 cloves garlic - minced
      • 3 carrots - sliced
      • 2 leeks - sliced
      • quinoa
      • salt, pepper, oregano (optional: paprika, cayenne) to taste
      • juice of 2-3 lemons
      • optional toppings: marinara sauce, cheese, bread crumps

      Preparation:

      1. Cut the squash in half from stem to root, scoop out the seeds. Place upside down on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
      2. Prepare the quinoa, cook in saltwater (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water). Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15-20 min.
      3. Fry ground beef until brown. Add salt, pepper, oregano (and other desired spices). Drain the fat and set aside. Fry the onions, carrots and leek for a 2-3 minutes. Combine the ground beef, vegetables and the quinoa.
      4. Fill the squash with the quinoa-beef-veggie mix. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Add a spoonfull of marinara sauce. If you have some cheese available (we did not), add some cheese. Top with bread crumbs. We used a delicious jalapeno bread. We toasted it and put it in the blender to make bread crumbs. Bake for about 45 min or till the squash is soft (depends on size of squash). If the toppings get too dark, cover with tin foil.
      Note: Alternatively, to prevent the topping getting too dark, you can also roast the squash for about 30 min beforehand, then fill it with the stuffing and bake for another 15 min. 





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      Hasselback Apples á la Jamie




      My friend Jamie told me she wanted to do "Hasselback Apples". I had never heard of the term before and had no clue what that was. She explained it to me and I googled pictures of it. It is just a delicious scrumptous dessert, tastes like apple pie. "Hasselback" is a cutting technique where you cut the apple halves in small intervalls, but not all the way through. So, if you top them off with some sweet mixture, it will seep into the slits while baking.

      This "Hasselback" technique can also be used with potatoes which you would top with butter or cheese. While baking, the cheese would then seep into the entire potato.

      Ingredients:

      • 4-6 apples
      • 4 tablespoons butter
      • 1 cup brown sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 3-4 teaspoons maple syrup
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • ice cream
      • optional toppings: oats, nuts

      Preparation:

      • Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
      • Peel the apples, cut in halves vertically and remove the core. Cut the halves in hasselback technique (see picture), this means that you kind of slice the apple half across in about 1/8 inch intervals, but you do not slice all the way through. The apple half sill stays together as one piece. Place the carved apple halves with the tops facing upwards in a baking dish. 
      • Prepare the topping: Warm up the butter till liquid, mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract. You can also pure a little extra maple syrup over the apple halves.
      • Now you will bake the apples in two steps: First, spread about 1/2 to 2/3 of the mix evenly over the apple halves. The slits will still be very rigid and you will not be able to really go between the cracks. However, after baking them for a while they will fan out and the mix will sink into the slits. Bake the apples for about 20 min. Then, take them out of the oven. If you want to use extra toppings such as oats or nuts, mix them into the remaining brown sugar topping. Brush the halves with another layer of the mix and bake for another 10-15 min till soft.
      • Serve two halves per person with ice cream. As we did not use further toppings such as oats or nuts, we used a decadent vanilla ice cream with almonds.

      Note: Use sweet-tart apples like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady. Fuji or Granny Smith are supposed to fall apart while cutting hsselback style... 






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      My Mom's Ćevapčići - Balkan meatballs



      Earlier I introduced an appetizer from southeastern Europe, the Balkans, which I cooked with my work-colleague. This is another famous dish from the Balkans. It is a national dish in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Serbia, but it is also common in other areas such as Slovenia. And that's where my parents know it from, as my father is from Slovenia. Ćevapčići has its origin in the Balkan and ćevap comes from the Persian word for kebab.

      Ćevapčići are known as Balkan meatballs. They are little rolls of grilled minced meat. Ćevapčići taste the best if you serve them with the right side dishes. My Mom always uses spicy sauces such as Ajvar, diced fresh onions, a juicy tomato salad and either crispy fried French Fries or a juicy Duvec rice, which is a Serbian tomato rice.

      Ingredients

      • 500g ground beef
      • 6 cloves of garlic
      • salt, pepper
      • pinch of flour
      side dishes: 
      • French Fries or Duvec Rice (Serbian rice dish)
      • Tomatosalad
      • Onions - diced
      • Sauces such as Ajvar, Harissa
      • optional: grilled chopped bell pepper

      Preparation:

      1. Prepare the meat rolls. Use a big mixing bowl. Add the ground beef, the minced garlic and the spices. Form little 4-5 inch long rolls, make sure that the ends are flat and not too thin as they would burn.
      2. Grill the meat rolls. We always use a Raclette grill for that. And we also add some chopped bell pepper and grill it as well.
      3. Serve the  Ćevapčići with approprate side dishes: the sauces (Ajvar, Harissa), French Fries/Duvec Rice, diced onions, tomato salad.







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        Little heart shaped Waffles...


        I was craving waffles this morning...  delicious. I have already posted My Mom's Waffle recipe, but this time I used a German waffle maker, producing one big round shaped waffle that can be cut into 5 little heart shaped pieces. How cute...





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