Friends. Let me tell you about this yummy little lunch I made myself and my roommate today. But first, I need to talk about something. As I write this, I can feel myself sinking and slouching farther and farther down the couch. My brain, my body, my energy…totally checked out. A hot, humid day off after a SUPER fun weekend celebrating the wedding of one of my best friends. So much fun.
A beautiful wedding at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, one of my all-time favorite places, followed by the most relaxed, enjoyable for all reception. We didn’t stop dancing for hours. Oh, and the cake-cutting ceremony revealed the sex of the baby that my friend is expecting! A little baby girl. So freaking exciting.
The groomsmen rented the most insane mansion in Newburyport that seriously could have been in Vegas. Dancing, grilling, swimming, laughing, music, old friends…a little mini vacation. I couldn’t think for a better way to ring in their new life together. After all the jazz this weekend, we had a supah great staff dance party at Short and Main. It’s been a bit non-stop. A winning week for dancing. Today was finally time for some life plans, vegetables, and good old-fashioned laziness after a couple coffee dates and catch-up sessions. I couldn’t even get myself to go to the beach today. You know you’re tired when that happens.
So. I want to eat this every day. At least for a while.
Serves 4-6 depending on portion
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 cups rice
- marash pepper
- castelvetrano olives
- a couple spoonfuls of yogurt
- 2 cups chickpeas, dried
- a handful of castelvetrano olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 bunch parsley, picked
- 1-inch or so nub of ginger, to taste, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 preserved lemon, optional, rinsed of salt and pulp removed, roughly chopped
I call for more chickpeas than you’ll need for this recipe, because I think it’s handy to have some leftover for other dishes. Use less if you feel otherwise.
If you’re like me and didn’t soak the chickpeas overnight, cover them in a pot with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil, then drain and cover with water again. Salt liberally, until the water tastes like you’d want a soup to taste, and add half an onion, a couple crushed garlic cloves, some dried hot peppers if you have any on hand, and a little drizzle of olive oil. Bring up to boil, then turn down to simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes or so, give or take some, until they are tender but not falling apart. Store the chickpeas in their cooking liquid, and feel free to use that liquid for soup bases etc.
While the chickpeas are cooking, get some rice going on the stove. I used wild rice.
Slice the eggplant into 1-inch strips, spread out on a baking sheet, and somewhere between lightly and liberally salt the eggplant. Let sit while you prep the rest. Preheat the oven to 400.
Chermoula is a delicious North African sauce typically with cilantro, parsley, ginger, and garlic, and sometimes other ingredients.
In a food processor, combine garlic and ginger with a bit of olive oil to get it going. Add in 3/4 of the bunch of cilantro, setting aside some sprigs for garnish, all of the parsley, and the garlic and ginger. If you’re using preserved lemon, toss that in, too. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in oil until the mixture becomes loose enough to drizzle, but not runny. Taste to see if it’s to your liking, and add more ginger or any of the other components until you think it’s delicious and you want to keep eating it.
Rub about 1/2 of the chermoula onto the eggplant, reserving some for the finished veggies. Sprinkle liberally with marash pepper. Roast the eggplant for about 20 minutes or so, checking it and tasting it along the way until it is velvety, roasty goodness.
Toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, and whole cumin seeds. Roast in the oven until slightly golden brown with just a bit of bite.
When everything is done, plate with a little drizzle of yogurt and more chermoula on top. Scatter the chopped olives and some chickpeas around the plate, sprinkle everything with marash pepper and garnish with the ol’ cilantro springs. Yep, this makes me a very happy, nourished girl. I think after I have a second helping I may be able to venture back into public again. Wild.