I’m not sure how long I can coast on the “ack, we just moved!” excuse. There are boxes of books lining our hallway ready to give away or sell. Our art prints are stacked up against the floor in the dining room. Even all my beloved cookbooks are still packed away. We’re not sure where to put our dozens and dozens of board games. A housewarming party? Not even in the near future! Let’s face it, things are moving slowly. I know it’s silly in a world of blogs and pretty pinterest boards to try to even think of keeping up with what others have done, but I just want a pretty house too!
I’m pretty social by nature. I love to surround myself with good food, good friends, and great conversations. Meaning, I love having people over! So after our move I was really hesitant with my invites. First, of course, came our in-laws and everything went smoothly. I remembered how much fun it was to cook for others and how much of a home it makes to share the laughter and good times with more than just the two of us. Then my friends slowly started to trickle in. I made slaws and crumb bars and was forgetting about the idea of The Perfect Home. My friends came over and oooh’d and aahhh’d at our new space and congratulated us on our first home. They didn’t care about the boxes or the fact that we hadn’t found the perfect hoosier cabinet for my kitchen.
This lovely looking meal is one I put together for a friend. It comes from Heidi who says that this dish is a non-fancy affair. Well, for me, it was a bit of a fuss. Sure, I changed her recipe a lot, but there were quite a few elements to prepare. While I may not have the patience to put together a home, putting together a spectacular lunch is totally within my realm of expertise!
The key here is to give yourself time. Have your quinoa steamed and fluffed (or brown rice). Set up little bowls of julienned carrots, sliced green onions, and toasted almonds. While the potatoes are roasting, mix up your mint sauce. Pour your drinks! I made a lovely whiskey sour with some of the leftover mint leaves. It was perfect! The last thing you should do is roast the asparagus since it can go to mush super quick. You want them bright green and snappy.
If I was serving this meal with just me and the husband, I’d serve this in deep bowls. Quinoa on the bottom, potato & chickpeas next and the asparagus last. But since I was having a friend over, I served it Heidi-style, on a pretty vintage platter. It certainly made the meal look even lovelier, I think.
I liked the addition of carrots and onions sprinkled over top of everything since it made this more into a salad bowl and less wintery. I liked the crunch and textures of everything all combined. The original recipe called for chopped dates to be sprinkled over top. I wish I had set out my dates on the table because I’m sure it would have been a tasty addition. Next time. If you add the dates, let me know how it goes!
So I don’t have the ideal storage solutions yet. I’m still checking Craigslist and I’m even dreaming about all the potential thrifting goods that we’ll stumble over on our summer road trip. It’s okay, because I’ve got a good weekend lunch at the ready. So get over your insecurities and have some pals over, okay? Okay!
elsewhere: Over at Poppytalk I make a quinoa & kale tabbouleh and it’s awesome. More power and happiness in a bowl, hip hip!
potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce
(adapted from 101 cookbooks)
1 c fresh mint leaves
1 or 2 dried chilis, crushed
2 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1 t honey or agave syrup
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T olive oil
10 small new potatoes, cut into 1/2 pieces
salt & pepper
1 can of chick peas, rinsed & drained
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed & chopped into 2″ bits
1/4 c almonds, toasted
1 carrot, julienned
2 green onions, sliced
quinoa or brown rice, cooked
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toss potatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast evenly on a large baking tray until nearly tender, about 15 minutes. Using the same bowl, dump in the chickpeas and the red peppers, adding a bit more oil if necessary and toss. Add this onto the baking tray with the potatoes. Bake for another 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender and crisp and the chickpeas have a bit of colour. Remove from the oven when done.
2. Meanwhile, using an immersion blender, whizz up all the mint sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.
3. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and rub with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 5 minutes until bright green and crisp-tender. Careful, asparagus can turn to mush quickly!
4. On a large serving platter, scatter the potato/chickpea mixture on the bottom and top with the roasted asparagus. Drizzle with the mint sauce. Serve with quinoa or brown rice and use the julienned carrots, almonds and green onions as toppings to sprinkle over top each bowl.