Thursday, April 09, 2020

So Good Chickpeas

 My loves! I am writing from here, on whatever day this is, to recommend a few things. 

Such as: A cat in a box!
  • The Marshmallow Test is a fun, easy trick-taking card game with these awesome squishy little marshmallow tokens. It's like Hearts, but low-key, without the whole Queen of Spades / wanting to die or murder somebody angle.
  • Honeyland is an incredible documentary unlike anything we had ever seen before. Fabulous, but intense. 
  • Wanderlust (the Jennifer Aniston / Paul Rudd one) is also a fabulous movie and not intense at all. It is also kind of gloriously nudity-filled and contains our all-time favorite movie line. ("Cut to: Car in the pond." Spoken by Jordan Peele no less.) Mostly when I watch movies and shows now I wonder why everyone is standing so close together and feel kind of stressed.
  • I'd recommend a book, but I seem to have developed this unsettling kind of attention deficit disorder right now where half my brain is reading and half my brain is catastrophizing. Like parallel play, but solo, mental, and not fun. I assume that will clear right up any minute.

My friend Judy and I text every day about the NYT spelling bee.
What else?

But mostly I'm here to share this. So good and easy and cheap and quarantiney. Be well, stay safe, enjoy everything you can, if you can, because even this is our real, actual life. xo

We've been delivering "Sunday dinner" to Ben's friends who are stuck here at college for the duration. I add tearful little notes to tell them how precious they are, etc., and they must think I am really careening off the rails over here. And maybe I am!
Maddie’s So Good Chickpeas
I went on a socially distant happy-hour walk with my friend Maddie (this involved a river and 6 feet and IPA-filled water bottles) and she told me about her chickpea curry, and even though I already make chickpea curry a million different ways, it sounded so good. I made her send me the details. And this is more or less her recipe, though maybe she doesn’t add the ginger? You could totally skip it. (I should add that I have made “The Stew”—the famous one from the NYT—and find it earthy and earnest but also slightly underwhelming, though I know that’s kind of heretical to say! And I LOVE Alison Roman usually, so.)

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil or ghee)
1 chopped onion (Maddie only uses ½ an onion “because frugality”)
2 or 3 cloves chopped garlic
A tablespoon or so of chopped ginger
½ a small can of tomato paste (freeze the rest in tablespoon-sized blobs)
2 tablespoons of curry powder or chana masala (I like it both ways)
1 can coconut milk (I’m just looking at Maddie’s text now, and she only used ½ cup. She and I seem to part company here.)
3-4 cups drained canned (2 cans) or cooked chickpeas (I cooked 2 cups of dried in salted water for 9 minutes in my very beloved pressure cooker)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat and fry the onion until it is fully translucent and even browning a bit around the edges—10 or 15 minutes. You can tend to the onion sporadically while you prep the other ingredients.
2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute or two until it’s all very fragrant, then stir in the tomato paste and curry powder and fry another minute or two until everything is kind of blended into the onion mixture and sizzling. Stir in the coconut milk and then the chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and then taste it for salt right now. It will cook down a bit (and get saltier), but if it starts out woefully underseasoned before the simmering, it will be harder to season it later.
3. Simmer on low for around half an hour to really get the chickpeas soft and to blend all the flavors together. If the pot is ever drying out, add some chickpea cooking water or some plain water. When everything is perfectly delicious (add more salt now, if you need to), serve the chickpeas with rice, quinoa, dosas, or just in a bowl with a blob of plain yogurt. The dosas shown here were made from the recipe at the bottom of this page. I recommend buying the book, though. Dosa Kitchen. So good.


  1. Listen, I would always go for more coconut milk but you know, frugality.

  2. If you need a few book recommendations ... try reading The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly. It's sort of apropos given that the main character is isolated, but he very beautifully finds a way to overcome. Or if you need a little more escapism right now, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is very entertaining. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is lovely. And if you want to completely diverge from the norm, John Scalzi's Old Man War series have the best dialogue I've ever read and are wonderful sci fi escape stories. I don't even like sci fi and I can't put them down.

  3. Tina G12:01 PM

    Just want to say I love the Spelling Bee! Also thanks for the recommendations Be well!!

  4. Anonymous12:02 PM

    YES to getting stressed out by how close everyone stands in TV shows and movies. And yes too to having trouble reading lately. I did read "Nothing to See Here" in a day this week though. Highly recommended.

  5. Making this for sure. Chick peas are the best. I also cannot seem to read, which is disturbing.

  6. Linda S3:20 PM

    I just read your "good enough holidays" article--it was beautiful, thank you so much! We (3 of us) had our sh'vach seder last night & it was surprisingly OK. We had very elaborate handwashing at the sink together (a la Sanjay Gupta) while discussing how ancient rituals can become relevant in unexpected ways & the theme carried through the whole thing. The 17 year old was all in, yay!

  7. Luckily the book I had randomly checked out from the "New Books" section of the library before it closed is about astronauts, so they are always in their hermetically sealed suits. I thought "The Last Astronaut" by David Wellington was going to be like "The Martian" by Andy Weir, but it's more like "Annihilation" with Natalie Porter. Still, they are not spreading anything to each other! :-)

  8. I can't seem to read either... And it has me so frustrated. All this time and I can't read.

  9. I wake up in the morning excited that there is a new Spelling Bee. And I also try cunt every time, just in case they've added it.

  10. My middle schoolers and I do spelling bee every day along with NYT crosswords. I am an artist ( and I have to say I cannot make art/paint or read right now - all my usual loves. All the time in the world right now puts a big "SHOULD' speech bubble above my head but I think it's also okay to allow ourselves to not function in any kind of productive way right now. There is just not room in my head for grief/paralysis/anger/anxiety AND creativity/focus. I can bake, walk the dog, or do a crossword or spelling bee. Small victories are all I can manage right now and I think I'm ok with that. (P.S. Thank you for your always lovely, real posts and love the messy house tour!)

  11. Made Maddie's Chickpea Curry last night and used your recommended Chunky Chat masala. (I gave these to me and my adult children as Christmas stocking stuffers.) This was so good. I used a full can Coconut Cream because that is all I had and it was perfect. Thank you again for making me laugh. I too have become overly anxious watching people get too close to each other on TV and in movies. Not sure we will ever get back to the way we were.

  12. Anonymous1:32 PM

    My daughter made this for us last night and it was delicious! It's very similar to another favorite of ours from the NY Times, except the Times one has pumpkin. Both easy to make with mostly ingredients we have on-hand, which is especially appreciated right now.

  13. Anonymous9:29 PM

    We are not a vegetarian family but I so could be! I made this for myself when you first posted, and my husband said it smelled so good, he tried it. I have now made it twice (with the entire container of lite coconut milk!). Thanks for this and making me smile. I have trouble reading lately also, although I did just start "When We Believed in Mermaids" and haven't had trouble reading...

  14. miryboo9:45 PM

    I made these chickpeas tonight and they were incredible! Another regular for the rotation.