harissa chickpea hotdish (vegan!)

(you are a hotdish!)

It feels like we are living on a cloud or another planet right now. Outside the window it’s just all white, there’s no real dividing line between the snowy ground and the air and the white sky, it’s a total snow globe and it’s been like this since last week. Driving into town has been the trippiest thing because it’s as if we’re floating down the road or in a bright white roller coaster tube, a Buick LeSabre roller coaster, which I guess would be the knock off of the Back to the Future DeLorean ride, but instead of going to 1955 you go to the Super Target.

We’re basically in a snow cocoon. A+ for coziness, but I’m starting to run low on indoor activities to do: over the weekend we brunched with friends, went to the gym, went to the toasted frog for pizza, made a new friend at pizza who gave us UND basketball tickets (omg! So fun!), went to the Valentine’s Day candy section and inhaled the unique Valentine’s Day candy smell, and danced on the dance floor at Eggboy’s trombone gig. It was all very good times!!! But this morning I woke up stressed that it’s still been too cold to practice our skiing skills or test out the new ice skating path at the park and nervous about my vitamin d levels and now I’m just hitting refresh on the Nike website over and over until their podium set is for sale. I don’t think I’ll buy it I just want to admire everything in depth. I asked Eggboy if he’d like to take up a new indoor sport like racquetball but he has something going on with his leg that makes him sound like he is 97 years old, so it looks like I’m on my own for running around. Maybe I’ll finally take up swimming at the gym. Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to buy a Mara Hoffman bathing suit. Maybe I’ll take up fondant. 

This slight restlessness came out last week at the grocery store when I went to replenish my tater tot supply to make this chickpea hotdish. I just got a little bored with tots and wanted to explore other potato nuggets, namely those smiley faces that I’ve seen around the internet. I didn’t find the smiley faces but I did find potato letters!!! So cute. I bought all of them. I wanted to write “chickpea hotdish” but there was no “k” so I thought about “chic-pea,” like a fancy chickpea, and then tried out writing “fart” over and over after Kristin suggested warning people that they will fart a lot if they eat this, but decided against it and went with something more valentine’s day appropriate.  

Wouldn’t you rather be called a hotdish than a q-t pie? Or at least rather eat a hotdish than a conversation heart?

You want to eat this hotdish!!!! It’s chickpeas, braised in a little wine and smoky harissa, that go swimming in a delicious, just-spicy-enough tomato sauce. And everything gets soaked up with potato nuggets. It is an awesome hearty filling comforting meal that oh just happens to be vegan. I first made this at camp last summer as the vegan option on hotdish night, the only difference was that I used some of eggmom’s tomato squash soup, thickened with a little potato starch, as the base instead of the tomato sauce (find that recipe in Molly on the Range). That was delicious too!! The tomato sauce version is way less time consuming and equally tasty but if you happen to be making a big batch of that tomato squash soup, I’d highly recommend using the leftovers for this. 

I love serving this with feta, which de-veganizes it, but it’s not necessary, or you can use your favorite vegan cheese. And grilled lemon adds a great hit of smoky brightness at the end (and it looks cool). Also, this dish requires ingredients that are all pretty easy to have on hand so if you don’t want to go out in this snow, look in your pantry because you probably have at least most of the ingredients already??

A harissa note: any harissa will do here but I've made this with Ray Restaurant's Harissa and NY Shuk's Fiery Harissa Spice, both are on the spicier end of the Harissa spectrum and I'd def recommend both!

A potato nugget note: the letters are really good but they don't get as crispy as tater tots! And if you're gluten free, check the label because the ones I bought contained wheat flour but the nutritional facts on the website didn't list it as an ingredient. "Adventures in potato nugget googling" was the title of my afternoon.


harissa chickpea hotdish

serves 4-6

ingredients

Chickpeas:

2 tb + 1/2 c olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tb harissa
1/2 c dry white wine
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 sprigs thyme
Black pepper

Sauce:

2 tb olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 tb harissa
1 tb tomato paste
2 tsp aleppo pepper or paprika
1 (28 oz) can or carton chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
 

About 1 1/2 lbs tater tots or potato nuggets
1 lemon, to serve
Fresh cilantro and parsley, finely chopped, for serving
Optional serving accoutrements: crumbled feta or other cheese/vegan cheese of your choice

clues

Preheat the oven to 425ºf. 

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and harissa and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the chickpeas, 1/2 cup olive oil, thyme, a bunch of turns of black pepper, and a few good pinches of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are soft.

Meanwhile, make your sauce. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic, harissa, tomato paste, and aleppo or paprika and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chickpeas to the tomato sauce, draining the chickpeas of excess olive oil (and discarding the thyme twigs when you come across them). Transfer the mixture to an 8x12 casserole dish and cover with tater tots. Season with salt, pepper, and more aleppo and bake until the tots are golden, 30-40 minutes. 

At some point while it’s baking, grill your lemon: heat a skillet over medium high, cut the lemon in half and then place it face down on the skillet until it gets nice brown marks. 

When the hotdish is done baking, let it cool slightly, top with fresh herbs, squeeze with lemon, and serve with feta or other cheese/vegan cheese as desired. Enjoy!


-yeh!

 

Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish

I am so far down the road of sufganiyot testing and hallmark movie watching that I have to remind myself that thanksgiving still hasn’t happened or else I’ll get confused about the turkey cupcakes on my Instagram feed. Still I have no regrets about having moved forcefully in the direction of holiday cheer from the moment that Halloween ended. I mean, let’s hear a round of applause for this bagel macaroni noodle menorah and this narwhal address stamp and the new Sia Christmas album. zooomg. 

We are going to Chicago for the long weekend, where we’ll celebrate Eggboy’s birthday, Stoopie’s birthday, Thanksgiving obviously, and the National Dog Show hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Oh, and my high school reunion, to which I will be wearing the closest thing to adult footie pajamas that Eileen Fisher gift cards can buy

I am extremely ready for my Thanksgiving routine, which goes like this:

Wake up to Stoop placing her small dog, Audrey, on my head (Eggboy has been up for hours, chatting with mum and reading the newspaper),

Flop down stairs, pour a coffee, migrate to the couch, struggle for five minutes with mum’s remote controls, and then finally find the Macy’s parade. Sing and dance along when the Camp Broadway kids come on.

Exchange sup dudes with Stoop husband. Alternate between the parade, twitter, pickin my nose, and Audrey being placed on my head until it’s time to oversee Eggboy’s annual pumpkin pie production. (He plans to repeat last year’s success, which consisted of Sarah’s filling and Yossy’s crust.)

Assist with stuffing tasting, vegetable chopping, etc. 

Gush over the sheep dogs during the dog show.

Check Instagram. Crimp Eggboy’s pie, tweet about his progress. Decide if he is a pieboy or not a pieboy this year. 

Ad lib until it’s time to eat and then just keep my head down until it’s clear that everyone’s forgotten about going around the table to say what we’re thankful for. It’s just so mushy 😭😭😭😭😭

Fall asleep in front of a movie, any movie. Maybe Elf this year??

Here is a perfect way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, a turkey wild rice hot dish that is topped with leftover stuffing!! It's soo cozy and good, and it's basically a thanksgiving sandwich that you can eat from a bowl. The thing about this wild rice hotdish though is that it should be made anytime during the winter months, not just when you have leftovers. Around here we pretend like it’s a little more of a grownup hotdish since it has ~local wild rice~ adding bite and nutrition, but it’s just as buttery and creamy and rich as, say, its tater tot counterpart. You can totally sub out the turkey for roasted chicken or ground beef or a vegan meat substitute (as so many of you did with the tater tot hotdish)!! And when it’s not stuffing season—which is sad to think about because stuffing should be eaten at all times of the year, right??—go ahead and top this with the traditional crushed cracker topping. Eggmom uses saltines! I bet ritz would be good too. Or cheez-its. Mmmmm.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!!!


Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish with Stuffing (AKA Thanksgiving Leftover Hotdish)

makes 6 - 8 servings

ingredients

3/4 c (135g) wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 c (480g) water

Kosher salt

6 tb (84g) unsalted butter

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

3/4 c (95g) all-purpose flour

3 c (715g) whole milk

2 tb vegetable, or chicken soup mix (i prefer the orrington farms brand, but something similar, like a bouillon cube or better than bouillon or a homemade bouillon will work)

Black pepper

1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped

4 c (about 515g) cooked shredded roasted turkey*

4 c leftover stuffing (I like this recipe)*

*Since it's impossible to predict exact leftover amounts, don't fret if you have a little more or a little less stuffing or turkey! These amounts are just a ballpark.

Leftover cranberry sauce, for servinng

clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a medium saucepan, combine the wild rice, water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until al dente. Drain the rice and set it aside.

To make the creamed soup, in a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in half of the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the remaining milk and cook, stirring, until very thick. Add the soup mix, a bunch of turns of black pepper, rosemary, and salt to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, 1/3 soup on the bottom, then 1/2 the rice, and 1/2 the turkey. Repeat and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the soup mixture. Top with stuffing and bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly. If the stuffing is getting too browned on top, cover with foil.

Serve with leftover cranberry sauce. 


classic cookie salad

I’ve been watching so many '60s period dramas that dressing up to make cookie salad felt like a fun thing to do. And it totally was! I figured since we had so much fun with classic tater tot hotdish, it was also time to make another classically upper Midwestern delicacy, the cookie salad. Cookie salad blows the other upper Midwest sweet salads, like candy bar salad, out of the water. Easily. It’s not like hotdish, where wild rice and tater tot would definitely make for an edge-of-your-seat 7-game neck-and-neck series. It’s truly more like a UND hockey team versus every team in their conference situation, where they are just in an entirely different league and there are fireworks at every game. 

A typical cookie salad consists of the following things:

Fudge stripe cookies 

Canned Mandarin oranges or sliced bananas

Vanilla instant pudding mix stirred into buttermilk

frozen whip

They all get mixed together into a fluffy puddingy dessert and then topped with crushed cookies or cookies broken in half and stuck on top to look like little tombstones. This is an important distinction. Your family either crushes or breaks and there’s not a whole lot of overlap except for now because Eggmom crushes and look, I break. I just like the aesthetic, ok? Eggmom taught me both though. She also taught me that mini marshmallows and jelly beans are acceptable mix-ins (I love the textural sensation that marshmallows add).

And,

Ok,

Here is where things get a little…different: Eggmom serves this with the main course. And so does everyone else!!!!! I thought I was hearing things when she said she serves it with the ham (!!!!) but as I dug further and further it slowly became clear that this. is. actually. served. with. the. salads. and. not. the. desserts. 

This is a next level sweet/savory relationship, right???? 

If ham and cookie salad can work as a marriage then surely we aren’t all doomed.

I present to you, my audition picture for women laughing alone with salad:

On my journey to a homemade cookie salad, I did the following:

Made homemade fudge stripes! I went with a simple buttery shortbread that’s sweet and crispy and has a hint of almond. And rather than dealing with the mess of getting chocolate on the bottom, like regular fudge stripes, I gave them thicker-than-usual stripes on top. 

In place of the pudding + buttermilk combo, I experimented a bit with making homemade buttermilk pudding but found the buttermilk to be just too sour for my tastes. I don’t remember it being this sour when Eggmom made me hers. I wonder if something in the instant pudding packets offsets the sourness of buttermilk. Instead I went with a rich vanilla pastry cream.

And instead of frozen whip I obviously went with a good old fresh whip because duh. I’ve always been a sucker for fresh whip, it is the heavy cream at its best. I’m using Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream here which has a deliciously pure flavor. 

I stuck with the canned mandarins for this but you could definitely go with fresh mandarins as well. 

Lastly, here is a pro-tip: make this the day before so the cookies soak in the pudding and take on a cake-like texture. It is so satisfying. I love it forever. And of course the fact that this can be prepped a day (or even two days!) ahead of time makes this a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. I mean salad! Omg. 


Classic Cookie Salad

Serves 8

ingredients

For the pudding

3 tb (24g) all-purpose flour

6 tb (75g) sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 c (360g) Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

 

For the cookies

1 1/4 c (159g) all-purpose flour, more for dusting

1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

1/2 c (113g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed

5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

For assembly

1 1/2 c (360g) Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 c (30g) powdered sugar

2 (11 oz) cans mandarin orange slices

Sprinkles, optional

Clues

To make the pudding, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the egg yolks and then the heavy cream. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until it’s thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, pour into a heat safe bowl, and cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour or overnight. 

To make the cookies, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the vanilla and almond extracts and then gradually add the butter. Mix until the mixture comes together into a dough, slowly increasing the speed once you’re confident that doing so won’t result in flour flying everywhere. Divide the dough in half, press into discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. (If you’re impatient, fine, skip this step.)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8”-1/4” thick. Cut out 2” circles with a biscuit cutter and then use a big piping tip to cut out 1/2” holes from the center. (Re-roll scraps as needed.) Place them on the baking sheets an inch apart and then bake until they’re jusssst starting to brown around the edges, start checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Let cool on the pans. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each. Let it cool slightly and then pour it into a piping bag. Snip off the tip and then pipe on 4 thick chocolate stripes. Let the chocolate harden at room temp or in the fridge.

To assemble, first make the whipped cream. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. In a large bowl, fold together the whipped cream and pudding. Crush the cookies by hand or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin or other blunt object (reserving 6-8 for the topping) and fold them in. Drain the mandarin slices and fold those in (reserve some of these for the topping too). Top with remaining cookies, mandarin slices, and sprinkles. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. 

-yeh!

thanks to land o’lakes for sponsoring this post!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

turkish coffee brownies

Ok some little life updates!

The snow is here to stay, I believe. I keep seeing the high of 37º that’s in the forecast for the middle of the week and get very nervous that the snow will leave but Eggboy has assured me that because the ground is frozen the snow likely won’t be going anywhere.

I wear one kind of sock now. They are thick hiking socks, made by Stance, that hug my feet and will never get holes. I never thought I would feel so satisfied about finding a good sock but then again I also never thought that I’d be living in the north pole. 

It’s floor length parka weather!! 

I am in a fantasy figure skating league. I didn’t rank so well for the Cup of China but I’m hoping to be as familiar with this year’s competitors as possible so that the Olympics are that much more exciting. I’ve also obviously begun planning my Olympic party menus, which, no offense to my friends, will probably be served during all of the other sports besides figure skating because when the Shib Sibs come on I’ll need to be in silence and alone so that I can weep. 

An embarrassing amount of my time these days is spent looking for an outfit for my 10 year high school reunion. Do I wear a dress that shows that I’ve been going to the gym an average of 3.5 times a week and eating my yogurt? Or do I wear a wool romper that says that I don’t care if they care that I’ve gone to the gym an average of 3.5 times a week and et my yogurt? Or do I just wear my winter going out uniform of a dark grey turtleneck and dark jeans because it’s comfy and this is about seeing my old friendsies?????? Do they even want to see me????? Will there be name tags??? Should I wax my eyebrows?? Plz send help. But mostly Shopbop gift cards. 

Macaroni have let themselves go. It gets dark around here practically right after lunch and then doesn’t get light again until after my twelfth coffee so there is basically just enough sunlight to foster the entire Macaroni flock laying a collective one egg a day. It is so dumb!!!! The ones who lay the blue eggs have just stopped. 🙄 Come on you silly birds. 

It’s fine though cause I’ve also let myself go and went to bed at 9:50 last night. Yolo!

So in keeping with the theme of letting ourselves go, let’s make something that will be ready by the time the sun goes down. It always blows my mind how quickly and easily brownies come together and I wonder why I don’t make them more often. But easiness does not equal a lack of fanciness in this case, no way. These brownies are based off of my mom’s fudgey schnapps brownies (in Molly on the Range) but instead of schnapps, they’re taking on a flavor profile inspired by Turkish coffee, which often has cardamom mixed in. I first had a Turkish coffee brownie at Fargo’s cute little bagel shop, Bernbaum’s, and recognized its beauty right away. Coffee and chocolate are an obvious good match, but coffee and chocolate and cardamom??? That is a power trio on par with Haim, ya dig? I’ve added a bit of cinnamon as well to help drive home the warmth of the cardamom and the result is one truly fancy brownie.

And a fancy brownie needs a fancy nut!!! Here I’ve added Heirloom Walnuts, which are part of Diamond of California’s new line of Heirloom Reserve Nuts (Pecans and Marcona Almonds are the other two nuts in this line). These walnuts are a varietal that have remained unchanged for generations and have natural, beautifully rustic irregularities. They lend wonderful flavor and texture to these brownies!!


turkish coffee brownies

makes 16 brownies

ingredients

1/2 c (64g) all-purpose flour

1 c (200g) sugar

1/3 c (27g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

2 tsp instant espresso powder

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, melted but not hot

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c (90g) toasted chopped diamond of california heirloom walnuts, plus more for topping

 

for the glaze:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

3 tb (15g) cocoa powder

3 tb unsalted butter, melted

1 tb brewed coffee or 1/4 tsp espresso powder + 1 tb water

1 tb (21g) honey

1/4 tsp cardamom

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

 

Sprinkles, for topping

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8” by 8” pan and line with parchment paper, allowing 1” wings to hang over the edges.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and espresso powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the walnuts and pour the mixture into the pan. Spread it out evenly (it will be quite a thin layer) and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Lift them out of the pan and place on the rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Pour the glaze on the brownies, spread it around, and top with walnuts and sprinkles. Let dry and then cut into squares. Enjoy!

-yeh!

Thank you to diamond nuts for sponsoring this post! Starting this month, their new line of Heirloom Reserve Nuts are available in the produce sections of fine grocery retailers. To learn more about Diamond of California, visit their website and follow their Instagram and Facebook.

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

pictured: plate, pan, pot, pastry cutter