I’m one of those people who just loves to collect stuff for the kitchen. Anything from orange peelers to woks to decorative pots… Sadly, I’m limited by the size of my kitchen. GEEZ. When we moved to this house, the kitchen was about 50% smaller than the previous one, so I had to selectively discard quite a number of gadgets. Fortunately, I actually haven’t needed the stuff I donated, but still. So now I have to carefully select what will or will not be added to the kitchen.
One item I doubt will ever discard is this old copper mortar and pestle. I’m not sure how I got it – if it was something in my family, or something my parents got on a vacation long ago, but I ended up with it. It’s one of the decorative pieces that I usually have sitting in the dining room (though currently it’s in a box ready to move). Every time I see it, I see my family. We had another one – at my parents’ house – but sadly, it was stolen in a robbery back when I was in 6th grade (not sure why; it’s not worth very much except in sentimental value). So I have the remaining one. And guard it well, I do.
I also have various cut Czech crystal platters and glasses, a lovely salt and pepper holder from Chile (from a friend of my mom’s), a spice scooper from Malaysia (from my sister), my grandmother’s old coffee set, and other things I sprinkle around the house that have sentimental value to me. It’s a combination of the things I love most: family and food. 🙂
Often when I’m considering getting another item, I now consider if I can use it as decor somewhere – so it has both form and function. I found just that in a fun, handmade, beautiful tagine from Clay Coyote Pottery. (Be careful looking at the site- you’ll likely want to buy everything!) (a pic of mine is below) It’s something I bought initially to use as a bread baker, but figured I might try an actual tagine recipe at some point, too. And when not in use, it sits in the dining room, on the buffet, looking pretty.
We looked at various recipes online. We tried a few, but not one was just right. So we finally took the closest one and tweaked it by adding this, removing that, upping/lowering this other… And now – it’s perfect. And now is also the perfect time – as it has fresh pomegranate seeds sprinkled over it, and it’s also now the tail end of pomegranate season, so make it quick! I guarantee you’ll love the flavors.
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 T tomato paste
- 1 T cumin
- 1 T coriander
- 1 T crushed red pepper flakes (or less, if you don’t do spice)
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t ground ginger
- 1 t turmeric
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 8 sundried tomatoes, chopped (either air dried or in oil, both will work here)
- 2 small squashes (I used delicata), cubed
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 3 carrots, rough dice
- 15 dried apricots, chopped
- 3 dates, chopped
- 2.5 C vegetable broth
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 C sliced green beans or sweet green peas
- 1/4 C each parsley and cilantro, chopped
- pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Whew! That’s a lot of ingredients… But it comes together SO EASILY!! (And serves like 6-8 people, so leftovers are great.) It’s all done on the stovetop, though you could do the simmer phase in the oven, if you’d rather.
In the tagine, heat about 1-2 T oil. When hot, add the onions and cook about 10 minutes, until soft, golden, and starting to brown on the edges. Add the tomato paste through garlic and toast about 1-2 minutes, just to get nice and fragrant. Add the tomatoes through dates, coat in the oniony spice goodness, then add the broth and lemon juice. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover with the lid and cook for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender. Lastly, add the chickpeas, green beans or peas, parsley, and cilantro, cook a final 5 minutes or so, and then remove from the heat.
Serve over some gluten free couscous (I like the Lundberg Organic brand), or rice, or whatever you’d like. Finish with a good helping of the fresh pomegranate rubies, a little extra cilantro, and enjoy! The pomegranate adds a wonderful sweet, tart bite to the meal, so I’d highly recommend not leaving it out!