Last week, I arrived in the Great Lakes region. Lewis spends most of his summers here working for a camp he first attended as a camper and has tried, endlessly, to have me visit. It’s a part of the world I’ve never been to, and I saw the beautiful green and blue hues from my seat on the plane. Patches of trees and bodies of water, big and small, formed the stunning landscape beneath. I’d heard of how breathtaking it would be, and I finally saw, for myself, how wondrous this part of the world was.
One night, Lewis and I walked out to the dock on the lake. The stars were brightly shining and we watched my first-ever lightning storm. Bright flashes of red, orange, and white filled the sky, and the next morning, we awoke to pure sunshine and a clear blue sky. The night after, we canoed to the middle of Lake Nebagamon and went stargazing. Everything I saw left me in awe of nature’s beauty and power, a reminder that the Earth and Mother Nature are very much alive, despite the fact that we continue to poison the earth with toxins and trash, a result of our excessive lifestyles and the broken systems that structure our society.
At the beginning of 2015, I wrote a post about my goal to waste less this year. Here’s an update, eight months into the project: I now cycle, have a flourishing vegetable garden, and you will rarely find me without my water bottle, reusable cutlery + glass straw, and a grocery bag ready. The past few months have made me incredibly aware of how much waste we generate, and this applies not just to material things, but to food, as well. I shared a link to John Oliver’s segment on food waste in my last post, but I’ll share it again for those who missed it >> Last Week With John Oliver: Food Waste
As my blog continues to evolve, I hope to share more tips and recipes to help others reduce their waste. There are so many delicious ways to use ingredients that are normally tossed, and one of the ways I have reduced my food waste is by getting creative in the kitchen. This spiced chickpea stew is a great way of preparing kale stems that are often neglected and binned. Kale stem is, in fact, edible, and while it is extremely tough when raw, kale stem is actually quite enjoyable when cooked long enough. All you need is patience and some good seasoning! Although I tend to avoid stews and soups during the summer, this vibrant stew is the perfect dish to take advantage of tomatoes during tomato season, when they are the ripest and very best. Not that I need anymore warmth during the summer, but the spices pack some extra heat!
SPICED CHICKPEA + KALE STEM STEW
- 1 1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 large tomatoes, chopped or a large can of whole tomatoes (28oz or 796 ml)
- 1 1/4 cups kale stems
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Place the chickpeas, bay leaf, and a generous pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the chickpeas to cook until done, around 45 minutes.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil in a medium pot. Sauté the garlic and onion with the spices until soft and translucent. Add the kale stems, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium-low heat for 35-45 minutes.
- Season with sea salt and pepper and serve with bread, quinoa, or rice.
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,