Mom has always been supportive of my food choices. When I was thirteen and declared that I no longer wanted to eat meat, she didn’t throw her hands up and complain. We met in the middle: she agreed not to serve beef, lamb, or pork if I agreed to eat fish and fowl.
And when I (like nearly every other bride-to-be) decided to cut carbs a few months before my wedding, she didn’t roll her eyes and tell me that was a terrible idea. She just helped me to stock the fridge with what I needed and reminded me to listen to my body.
And as Sharon and I have become increasingly environmentally-minded eaters, Mom and Dad have not only supported us, they have joined us. As you’ve probably noticed, there are a lot fewer meat-centric dishes on our blog these days. We’re all eating a lot less of it and (to our collective surprise) not really missing it. Sharon and Tony have been part of a CSA for years. This summer Andy and I joined one too.
A few weeks ago, I decided to take my healthy diet commitment one step further, joining more than 5,000 people who have pledged not to eat processed foods for the month of October (read more about October Unprocessed here). I shared my decision with Mom.
From someone whose mantra is all things in moderation, she was rightfully dubious. She was curious about the parameters and interpretation of “unprocessed.” There was lots of debate and discussion over coffee around the kitchen island.
And as we grocery shopped together this weekend, we read the back of cans, boxes, and bags and learned a thing or two. We realized that even though we eat a mostly balanced, whole-foods diet, there’s lots we consume without even realizing it’s processed (think unpronounceable ingredients). While I don’t think I’ll be a lifelong unprocessed food purist (after all, I’m my mother’s daughter!) I think it’s a good exercise. It’s making us both more aware of what we’re eating.
When it came to my October pledge, Mom, once again, was supportive. She planned a weekend of whole-foods meals, and we ate like royalty. One of the best thing she made was this delicious chickpea curry which she served over baked sweet potatoes.
Chickpea Curry-Topped Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
This chickpea curry would be equally satisfying spooned over a baked potato or rice or served with naan bread.
4 medium-large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon each: garam masala and Thai red curry paste
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin and turmeric
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes on a large foil-lined baking sheet and bake until fork-tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Add onions; sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno, and ginger; sauté until fragrant, about a minute longer. Add garam masala, curry paste, cumin and turmeric; continue to cook until fragrant, just a few seconds. Add tomatoes, broth, and chickpeas; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer to reduce to thick stew consistency, about 15 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and let stand a few minutes to blend flavors.
To serve, halve each potato and scoop out the flesh. Add some of the curry to the potato and stir to combine. Return sauced flesh to the potato shell, and spoon a generous portion of curry over each potato. Top with a portion of yogurt and sprinkle with a little more cilantro.