Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moroccan Chickpea and Carrot Stew

...or, Back in the Saddle Again

Zephyr is now 8 weeks old, and I'm starting to get the hang of having him around. That said, cooking still takes me a bit of planning (unless I opt for yet another "pasta night" or "takeout night"). This is why I've decided to start doing what busy moms and dads have been doing for generations: the one-pot meal. Yes, I feel like a failure admitting it, but the one-pot meal is kind of a Thing.

Not just for cowboy camping anymore, a humble pot of beans (chickpeas, in this case) can be elevated to something you actually want to eat with the simple addition of a few choice ingredients. Carrots, shallots, garlic, homegrown heirloom tomatoes (that I canned during my nesting frenzy last fall), ginger, cumin and cardamom all combine easily with garbanzos to make a hearty, warming stew fit for a dark January Thursday.

I started mine early in the day and let it simmer over a low flame to thoroughly soften the dried chickpeas. The softly spicy scent of ginger, cumin and cardamom floated through the house all day, stimulating my postpartum appetite and filling me with a sense of Having Done Something.

Enjoy with warm, buttered flatbread and a chewy, raisiny garnacha.

*****

Unless you take it to its hallucinatory extreme, sleep deprivation is not great for creativity. Preparing meaningful food, presenting it artfully and writing about it thoughtfully require both a rested mind and free time, for which new mothers are seldom known. Zephyr occasionally grants us a 4-hour chunk or two, but my evenings are generally broken up into 2-3 hour naps, interspersed with dozy, twighlit nursing. Being a good blogger means getting a good night's sleep, and this rarely happens these days. At this point, it's either slowly getting better or I'm slowly getting used to it.

As days lengthen, though, I'm finding myself more interested in thinking about things like combining ingredients instead of just filling my time with such enthralling activities as staring at the baby or waiting for Scott to get home from work. I am setting a goal for myself to update both of my blogs once a week - let's see how I do.

22 comments:

Peter G said...

Welcome back Heather! I must admit to lurking around Zephyr's blog the other day. Nice to see you enjoying motherhood and all...one pot meals are the best..."just set and forget"...

Dia said...

Oh yes - these look GOOD! & I'm drinking similar spice blend in my chai . . .
Welcome back & congrads on being a new mom! Rice & lentils were one of my standby one pot meals - still love em!

Foodycat said...

One pot meals are excellent - even if you don't have a new baby. I've been trying to remember how my mum used to do red beans & rice (she doesn't remember either) which was one of my faves.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Great to see you again! Your food stuff has always been awesome, so you don't need to be making any apologies. Plus, of course, you're now entertaining us with The Legend of (the Beautiful) Zephyr, too, which I'm lovin'. Such a characterful babe! Now who does he get that from, I wonder... ;)

Bellini Valli said...

Totally understandable that you would have your days full with your beautiful bouncing baby boy. Mom needs healthy and delicious foods too so we will understand and tune in when you find the time. You rock!

Eric Hensley said...

Looks delicious Heather, welcome back! This is not a one pot meal failure. If it was mac and chee with hot dogs it might have been. Not that there isn't a time and place for that.

We Are Never Full said...

YYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY you're back! one pot meals are great, just don't become rachael ray on us. this looks nice. i'm sure if you pureed it zephyr could eat it too!

glamah16 said...

Hey Mama. Good to see you back to blogging. Im all for the one pot meal. It still has your stamp all over it.

Dana Treat said...

It may not feel like it but you will get your groove back. Once you get a bit more sleep, and you can count on getting more sleep, the creativity will come back. Hang in there.

Tia said...

i need more 1 pot meals in my repertoire! this looks awesome.`

Nicebroom said...

Welcome back!

I am just at the beginning of my mama journey (9 days), and have yet to find the energy to cook. I've been going the take-out route or having The Man do the cooking (not always wise). I miss my own food. Glad to hear one gets used to it. This dish sounds wonderful, like a bowl full of comfort.

Toni said...

Yes, life gets insanely busy for a new mom. The fact that you can find time to blog at all is something of a miracle. I've reduced my blogging to once a week as well, and I'm not even a new mom!!

Love chickpeas in any form, and when you add the word "Moroccan" to it - well, it's downright irresistible.

B & D said...

i love chickpeas ...its always a life saver when ur in hurry...we eat alot of it here in kuwait :)

Lo said...

Welcome back, my dear. And just in time too. I've been craving Moroccan food. And this looks sooo... good. Nothing wrong with a one-pot meal every now and again (she says as she stalks off to the kitchen to start a pot of cacciatore).

Manggy said...

Hah! I'm sure if the baby is as attractive as Zephyr, staring at him would be enthralling indeed :) Don't stress out. Even if you have to write a post over the stretch of a few days (weeks?), I'll still be waiting and reading :)

Only you would feel failure at admitting the one-pot is a thing, lol :)

Simply Life said...

wow this looks so delicious and satisfying!

lostpastremembered said...

A lovely photo.. great recipe... who would know you were sleep deprived!

Kathleen said...

Oh man this looks good!

Sook said...

Oh chickpea is one of my new favorites! I love the texture and pretty much one of very few kinds of beans I like and enjoy. The stew looks fabulous!

Ken Albala said...

So nice to see you're cooking! And we gotta love them beans.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Good luck. I'm sure no one will fault you if you don't blog once a week.

Heather said...

Thanks everyone, for the kind words and encouragement! I'll try to keep it up.