basmati + wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs

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A few months ago I read an article about what it means to be a good stranger. The author recounts an episode where he might just be walking behind The Slowest Man in the World, and how deeply this rattled him. Why couldn’t this man walk faster? Didn’t he know the inconvenience he caused simply because of the speed in which he moved his limbs? Upon further introspection the author starts to question himself,

It’s telling that I only become interested in the Ethics of Proper Sidewalk-Sharing in moments when I’m being personally inconvenienced. Even though the issue undoubtedly affects millions of people every day, it never seems to be an important topic to think about at any other time. Many or most of our internal moral complaints about others are really just petty reactions to being inconvenienced, and not any kind of meaningful examination of personal ethics or how to run a society. I’m learning to distrust these kinds of thoughts when I have them, but I still have them.

I related to this scene because at different points in my life I was both the annoyed person and the one who couldn’t move fast enough. Whether I’m coming out of the subway or trying to navigate my way home in the cold, I’ve found myself incensed with people who simply couldn’t move. On the other hand, there was a time when I’d injured my knee and was trying to hide a limp, and do you know I felt guilty that I was inconveniencing people because I could bound up the stairs? Couldn’t move, move, move?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’ve been feeling this constant urge to slow down. I’ve been treating my whole life as a race worth conquering, but for what? We know what’s at the finish line, what awaits us six floors down: a box beneath the earth or the cool copper of an urn. What is the reward for our accelerated personal velocity? Death? Seriously? I have this one giant life to live and why would I push through it for the sole purpose of losing it? Do I “win” because I’m the victor over the loss of my own breath? I read this quote from Marcus Aurelius, and it’s chilling because it’s honest, frightening and real (for those of you whom, like me, are frightened of death):

Were you to live three thousand years, or even thirty thousand, remember that the sole life which a man can lose is that which he is living at the moment; and furthermore, that he can have no other life except the one he loses. This means that the longest life and the shortest amount to the same thing. For the passing minute is every man’s equal possession, but what has once gone by is not ours. Our loss, therefore, is limited to that one fleeting instant, since no one can lose what is already past, nor yet what is still to come. (via)

15853969724_629b8f49c2_oYesterday, over breakfast, I tell my friend Angie about shopping at Whole Foods after work on a Friday evening. It was a perfectly perfunctory day–I leave a work session with my client and walk to the nearest grocery store to pick up some food for the weekend. It’s Friday, it’s Chelsea, and everyone has somewhere to people. As soon as I walk through the door of the market I’m immediately shoved, pushed and nearly run over by a grocery cart. Someone behind me in produce sighs audibly when I linger in front the blueberries too long. I love food shopping. I love thinking about all the meals I could possibly make, and instead of enjoying this bit of luxury, I have to be aware, dexterous, efficient and FAST. I simply cannot linger. God forbid I contemplate. And after navigating lines, subways and sidewalks, I come home, depleted.

I’ve lived in New York my whole life and my god, people move so fast. How is it that I’ve only noticed this? How is it that it’s taken 39 years for me to be bothered by this?

All I want to do is slow down. I want to hear exhalations of breath. I want to cook rice for 40 minutes without having an anxiety attack. Maybe this is one of the many reasons why I plan on leaving New York this year–this desire to not squander or race through time.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook.
½ cup wild rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup basmati rice (to be candid, this was A LOT of rice for me. I ended up using 1/2 and storing the rest)
1 ½ cups boiling hot water
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 ½ tsp curry powder
1 ½ cups (or 15oz can) of cooked and drained chickpeas
4 tbsp canola or sunflower oil for frying
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ tsp of gluten-free flour
2/3 cup dried currants
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Place the wild rice in a small saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring the water to a boil and then leave it to simmer for 40-45 minutes until the wild rice is cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.

While the wild rice is cooking cook the basmati rice: In a medium saucepan that has a tight fitting lid warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Once the oil is heated add the rice and ¼ teaspoon salt and stir to warm up the rice. Carefully, add the boiling water, and decrease the heat to low. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the rice covered for 5 minutes.

While the basmati rice is cooking prepare the chickpeas: In a small saucepan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and curry powder and wait for a few seconds till the seeds start sputtering and you get the aroma of the spices. Add the cooked chickpeas and ¼ teaspoon salt. Do all this quickly, so that the spices do not burn. Mix everything well together (1-2 minutes) until the chickpeas are heated through. Remove the chickpeas and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Wipe the same saucepan clean, add the canola or sunflower oil over high heat. While the oil is heating toss the onions with the gf flour. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the onions in batches until they are golden brown. Do not let them burn. Place the cooked onions on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Add both types of cooked rice to the chickpeas. Add the currants, herbs and fried onion. Mix everyone together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Center Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo.

32 thoughts on “basmati + wild rice with chickpeas, currants and herbs

  1. My daughter is a noticer. That means she notices things and watches them which makes it seem like she’s moving slow all the time. I try to be like her more now and slow my world town instead of rushing through everything and not enjoying anything.also I’m going to be brave and actually try to make this recipe it looks lovely. Anything with rice and chickpeas has to be good.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Felicia. I made the recipe you posted today. It was really good. That was the first time ever where I made a recipe I found on someone’s blog. You inspired me!

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      2. Oh wow! I’m so glad it came out well. I was surprised just how much I loved the fried onions.

        It also holds up the next day. I had it for lunch today with some chicken.

        On Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM, love.life.eat wrote:

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      3. I was thinking about adding chicken to the leftovers. Will do! Also, I’m going to write a post about my experiences actually cooking (instead of just heating up some prepackaged burrito).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree- slowing down, letting go of the rat race, and giving yourself time to focus on what is truly important to you is really the only way to live. Also your photographs are always so beautiful! Recipe looks delicious 🙂

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    1. I completely concur! I read this article today on why people hate work and it made me think that if we gave people time to think, purpose and rewards, they would feel more gratified in what they do. A bit off topic from my post, but worth the read:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. awesome NYT article! I wish as a society we could hit a huge reset button and find a way to make work-life balance a true reality…

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  3. I absolutely agree with this post! Everybody is in such a rush – physically and emotionally – and people never seem to see the point in slowing down or even stopping for a moment! Sometimes I feel like I’m getting swept up in it all, which is when things like cooking or gardening give me the opportunity to have a little pause. I also love the sound of your recipe – definitely one to try! Love reading your blog! 🙂

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    1. Katy- I agree. For a long time I loved this kind of pace. It felt thrilling just to move and feel the world around you in a rush. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve gotten older or I tire easily or what, but I don’t want mass acceleration. I want to feel each breath as I breathe it. I want to be present in a way that I haven’t previously. You know? I envy the fact that you garden. One day! One day 🙂

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  4. “I’ve lived in New York my whole life and my god, people move so fast. How is it that I’ve only noticed this?”

    Of course, the fish think that life inside the fishbowl is the whole world, the real world, the true world. Everyone else knows that it’s a different world.

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    1. Hey Keith — I’ve never thought (or said) that New York was the whole world–that would be rather ethnocentric and close-minded of me. Nor do I think it’s reflective of the rest of the world.

      On Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 6:43 PM, love.life.eat wrote:

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  5. I’m sorry for being less than clear. That’s not what I meant. What I was trying to say is people like me (who was also born and raised in a major American city) notice upon a first visit to New York that “people move so fast” in comparison to where the visitor is from but for New Yorker’s that fast is normal and doesn’t seem fast. Again, in what may be a poorly worded comparison, I’m reminded of the people who descend upon my home town with cameras to make ruin porn. To them it’s something fascinating and exotic. To us it’s normal. When I said the whole world, the real world, the true world, I meant that it’s what’s normal to us. Again, in what may seem tangential, I’m reminded of the 2008 presidential campaign. Racism’s huge part in Detroit’s history and the fact that the city is 85 percent black means that the black residents of Detroit often view every little thing through the lens of their own experience living in the city which means that they often find it difficult to believe that there are white people who are not racists. I know better than that but the city’s black population lives in an echo chamber similar to the one occupied by the far right devotees of Fox News. I had to argue over and over again with Detroiters who could not believe that ANY white person would vote for Barack Obama.

    It’s possible, too, that I misunderstood your comment. I took your comment to say “how could you not notice that people moved so fast in the city” and all I was saying was that the reason might be that it’s what you grew up and therefore seemed normal as opposed to fast.

    I apologize for any offense and for being less than clear.

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    1. No worries at all, Keith. I spoke more from the point of not being present for much of my life, and it’s when I’ve been with myself, in the moment, have I noticed the increased speed in which I live and how it’s actually not benefitting me, at all. 🙂

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  6. It’s not my style to cook something that looks like a handful of twigs and leaves from the forest floor with added rice, but girl, I could read what you write all day long. Your narratives just FLOW.

    I am in your camp – I don’t see why everyone has to go so fast and push so hard either. I’m digging the slower life.

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  7. Great post. I think moving faster is a habit we pick up, maybe from circumstance? I can still remember being the slowest eater in the world as a child, probably walked slow too. Then, first independent holiday to a big city and the pace had to increase to keep with everyone else. Now, I am ashamed to admit that I would happily mow someone over if dawdled in front of me. Slowing down can be a hard thing to do..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. After reading this, I wonder if you shouldn’t skip your planned time in the West and just move to Provence instead. Working 35 hour work weeks (!) plus les vacances, buying food at the market then cooking it while talking with a friend, four hour lunches plus naps, walking in the country after…everything, everything slows you down here. Ok, except for maybe the driving. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Heather! I pretty much ruled out Europe because of all the pet quarantine laws. If my cat can’t come with me, I’m not going 🙂

      Also, while I loved, loved Provence, much more suited for Spain or southern Italy.

      Sounds divine though :)!!

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  9. I remember seeing this recipe on a friend’s Jerusalem cop much after I invented something similar from Lebanese food leftovers. I thought to myself, “Why couldn’t I have made it this awesome?” So glad this is on the internet. It looks wonderful and I will make it just like this the next time

    As for your writing, I completely understand what you mean. The thrill of a fast-paced life is very (ironically) short-lived. I lived in Mumbai for six years (SIX! Wow): I was scared at first, immersed eventually, and then worn out. You get treated badly by complete strangers, molested, and have the time of your life all on the same day. I do miss it. What I think I miss the most is the way I was. Bombay/Mumbai is still the same. I am different.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a big fan of this cook book and now of your blog. Glad I found the link, as I’ve just perused several posts and enjoyed them all! I’m currently visiting my daughter in Jerusalem, so this first post seemed particularly good right now! The food here is so brilliant! Beautiful blog.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The food is divine! There are plenty of complexities about Israel (again, my daughter lives here, so it’s a subject that’s big in our family), but there is no arguing that the food is simply magic. I have a series of posts about my last trip here (January 2013) with lots of food stuff. Not nudging you, but if you’re curious. My favorite sandwich is sabich, and yesterday a local told me to try a small store near my daughter’s apt… it was incredible!! I’ve been dying to go get more since. 🙂

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