Recently I was invited to a party by Harvard Common Press to meet blogger Michael Natkin and given a copy of his brand-new cookbook, Herbivoracious. First let me say what a nice guy Michael is. The book is gorgeous, and I couldn’t wait to get home and give it a try. I’d signed up for a potluck being thrown by Zokos and Cookstr to celebrate Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day, so I decided to try a recipe from Herbivoracious called Chana Masala with Mushrooms. Of course chana masala is a traditional Indian chickpea dish, but this version seemed more substantial to me with the addition of white mushrooms. It also seemed really easy to follow, a nice thing because sometimes Indian cooking can be a little intimidating to newbies like me.
I stuck pretty closely to the real recipe. Well, I didn’t have cumin or coriander seeds, so I used the ground version of the spices in the blend above, and it didn’t seem to cause any problems. I also had to improvise a bit because I was making six times the normal recipe for the potluck — the cooking times had to be altered quite a bit because my cooking pan was really full.
You top the dish off with fresh cilantro to serve. So how did it turn out? Well, let’s put it this way. I brought it to the potluck and won a prize for the dish that offered the “best bang for the buck”! So I guess it was a hit. Special thanks to Zokos and Cookstr for the prize, which was an Analon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick 12-inch Skillet. I can’t wait to try it out.
Speaking of winners, my friend Dan of Renegade Kitchen won the other prize for “best use of a local ingredient.” That’s his dish on the bottom-right, a cornmeal cake with an amazing apple-radish salad served on top. (He definitely deserved to win.) Some other favorite dishes included the black rice salad made by Margaret of Savory Sweet Living, and Andrew’s guacamole, both pictured above.