Yesterday afternoon, I called the HH at work and proposed. (No, no, silly, not that kind of proposal! We are quite content with our “been there, done that, never going to be legally married again” status, thank you.) What I proposed was this: “HH, I just noticed that Joan Rivers is performing live tonight at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. Would you like to go?”
And lo and behold, the HH said, “YES.”
Now, why is that scenario so surprising? Well, for two reasons. First, the HH actually said, “yes.” But more remarkable was my own invitation in the first place–my impulsive decision to attend the show.
You see, I’m a Libra.
One of the defining traits of Libras (or so the HH, my astrological expert, informs me) is indecisiveness. As the only sign represented by an inanimate object (the scales), Libras’ minds are like teeter-totters alternating between two nearly-equal entities: first, all the weight falls to one side; then it shifts and all the weight moves to the other end. Meanwhile, the poor Libra keeps vacillating between the two: Should I wear the black shoes? They match my black turtleneck. Then again, the brown shoes pick up that brown stripe in my pants. And the brown shoes are more comfortable. But the black shoes look better. Of course, the brown shoes are more sturdy, and I’ll be walking on cobblestones. Still, the black shoes were less expensive, so it won’t matter if they get a little worn out. . . .
You see my point. (Well, maybe you don’t. But then again, maybe you do. But you might not.)
This propensity to shift between alternatives can also manifest itself as an “all or nothing” mentality–in other words, Libras choose either one extreme end of the seesaw or the other. For example, I might spend an entire day creating a single pepperoni pizza, counterbalanced by some über quick Mex-Ital tofu scramble the next. Or I’ll while away the better part of an afternoon playing with Vanilla vs. Vanilla (muffins vs. cupcakes), even whipping up my own sour cream for the experiment–then ditch the complexity for quick and foolproof LaRaw Bars (Cocoa Nibbles), effectively made with only 3 ingredients.
Unfortunately for me, this “all-or-nothing” habit extends to eating, as well. I’m one of those people who, when I indulge in sweets, feels compelled to consume the entire batch at once (which explains why I haven’t made my fudge in a while. Though I did try out Kim’s healthier black bean version instead. Nope, pretty much wanted to eat that entire batch, too.)
I’m not sure why, but the culinary balance seems to have shifted to “simple” once again. Could it be that I spent so much of the past few days attempting a “cheese”-filled, gluten free, ACD-friendly bread recipe that my kitchen is now permanently coated in a patina of amaranth flour? Or perhaps it’s that my holiday from the college has encouraged recent marathon sessions in front of the TV (am I the only one who’s disappointed with Ellen on Idol? Or is she actually as noncomittal and insipid as she seems to me? And will Jack and Carly get back together–again? And how about that Liz Lemon? And why am I so jazzed to watch the Oscars when I haven’t seen any of the movies?). Or maybe it’s that I finally started working on the puzzle the HH got me for Christmas and I’ve spent far too many hours hunched over the card table, scrutinizing scalloped pieces of cardboard for subtle shifts in hue from black to grey to tan. Too many “all” activities, perhaps?
Whatever the reason, lately I’ve opted for quick and easy. And I found this wonderful recipe in–of all places–Vegan Yum Yum, the cookbook based on the blog of the same name by Lauren Ulm. Now, if you’re familiar with Lauren’s blog, you know that many of her recipes appear quite elaborate, or even intimidating (Knit Night Cupcakes, anyone?). That’s why I was totally delighted to discover that there are more than a few straightforward, simple recipes in the book–and this artichoke salad is a stellar example.
While the original employs marinated artichokes (my assumption, as it’s not specified), I adapted the recipe for the ACD and added my own seasonings. Made with staples already in most pantries, this deceptively simple salad is anything but simple in flavor and texture. Browning the chickpeas adds a slightly nutty undertone, balanced nicely by the acidity of the lemon and artichokes (and I’m all about balance). As I scooped up the first forkful, I wondered if the recipe was perhaps too basic for a blog entry. But then I found myself returning to it again and again–even, in fact, after I’d already packed the leftovers in a container and placed them in the fridge. It was that good.
Lauren notes that the salad serves four, or “one as a meal,” which is how it turned out for me. Well, I suppose it only made sense: I had to eat it all–or nothing.
“Mum, dogs don’t have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, you know. It’s more like, ‘all or everything.’”
With chickpeas in a co-starring role here, I’m submitting this to Lisa and Jacqueline‘s No Croutons Required event for March. This month’s host is Lisa and the theme is soups or salads made with chickpeas. The event runs until March 20, so there’s still time to enter if you’d like to participate!
Blog Note: I finally completed updating the “Blogs I Read” page. I know there are also lots of blogs I may have missed, so if you have a blog that fits into one of the listed categories, please let me know. I’d love to check it out!
Warm Chickpea and Artichoke Salad (ACD Phase I and beyond)
adapted from Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm
To render the salad ACD-friendly, I used canned artichoke hearts, which are not marinated. The flavors also develop as it sits, so the salad is even better the next day. If you’re not following an anti-candida regime, however, you might like to try this with the jarred, marinated hearts and eliminate the herbs and garlic for an easier and more intensely flavored salad.
5 Tbsp (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp (10 ml) dried basil, or use 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) fresh, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt, or more, to taste
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) cooked chickpeas, well drained (canned are fine; rinse well before using)
6-8 artichoke hearts (about one large can), drained and sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup (55 g) natural almonds with skin, coarsely chopped
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together 3 Tbsp (45 ml) of the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, oregano, parsley, garlic and sea salt. Set aside.
In a large frypan, heat another 1 Tbsp (15 ml) oil. Add the chickpeas and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until they are all golden brown (this takes about 10 minutes). Add to the bowl.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 ml) oil in the pan and add the artichoke hearts, cut side down. Cook until they are browned, stirring only once or twice to avoid breaking them up, about 5-10 minutes more. Add them to the bowl as well.
Toss the salad gently until the chickpeas and artie hearts are well coated with the dressing. To serve, spoon the salad onto serving plates and sprinkle with some of the chopped almonds (add any leftover almonds to the bowl and toss again). Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.
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