Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone had as wonderful of a weekend as we did. This 3-day weekend came at a really good time – last weekend we were super busy, and two days would not have been enough this weekend! We were able to do lots of things AND still find time to relax and unwind.
On Thursday night we went to see the fireworks in our town. It was perfect – we were able to lie down on a picnic blanket by the water and watch the fireworks almost directly over our heads. So much better than the usual crowded fireworks experience.
Then on Friday we went hiking to Bear Mountain with a couple of our friends and since we didn’t have to rush back we got to relax at the top of the mountain for a while before hiking down. And we treated ourselves to some well deserved ice cream at the Bear Mountain Inn before we headed home.
On Saturday we went to see my mom in Brooklyn. We pretty much relaxed all day, and then headed to my grandma’s for supper and to pick her up on the way to the Coney Island fireworks. We strolled down the boardwalk to the fireworks, met up with one of my mom’s friends, and got there just a few minutes before the fireworks started – it was perfect timing so we wouldn’t have to stand around for long and wait. It was super crowded, but the fireworks were great, and I don’t mind the crowd since we were walking and wouldn’t have to sit in traffic. It was a beautiful night.
We slept over my mom’s place and went to the beach on Sunday morning. I love going to the beach in Brooklyn because (1) you don’t have to sit in traffic for an hour on the way down to the shore and (2) there are no waves so you can actually swim. It is also less crowded there, even on a holiday weekend. We were able to find a parking spot a couple of blocks from the beach after only a few minutes of looking, so I consider that a success.
On the way from the beach I picked up a 3-lb pack of farmer’s cheese at the store so I can make more syrniki. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was one of my favorite foods ever.
On a totally unrelated note, I wanted to share this chickpea recipe that I made last week. Nope, it is not red, white, or blue. It is not even an American recipe. But it is perfect for summer days when you are really busy with fun activities and don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The total hands-on time for this recipe is only 10 minutes – just throw the ingredients into a large saucepan or wok, and let it simmer for a half hour. Voila, dinner is ready!
Makes: 2-3 servings. Total time: 35-40 minutes. Hands-on time: 10 minutes.
- 1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinse
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 small-medium carrots, chopped into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped (or use baby spinach)
- 1 teaspoon berbere
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular paprika will work too)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. In a large saucepan or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the diced onions. Stir for 2 minutes, then add all the spices – berbere, coriander, cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Saute the onion in the spices for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Lower the heat if it starts to smoke a lot.
2. Add the chickpeas, chopped carrots, vegetable stock, and salt. Stir well, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until the carrots are fully cooked and there is only a little bit of the liquid left.
3. Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped spinach until it is wilted.
Serve over couscous, rice, quinoa, or if you are brave enough – try making some injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread that is used to eat the food instead of utensils.