Give me just a couple more sentences in praise of Trader Joe’s. Back in the day, one of my favorite convenience foods was TJ’s frozen channa masala. I liked it because it was spicy but also very sweet. I know many people make channa masala at home, but a quick web search for recipes was very, very fruitless. One recipe included ketchup and a sideways joke about authenticity. Although I appreciate the joke, I didn’t give that recipe a second glance.
I abandoned the search for simple authenticity and decided to make a sweet chickpea dish on my own without worrying about whether I can call it channa masala. I made a the Urban Vegan recipe aptly called Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Spinach, and I would have put a sweet twist on it but it already includes a teaspoon of agave!
I used cherry tomatoes in addition to crushed tomatoes, and between the sweetness of the tomatoes and agave, this was a really good dish. I feel like I’ve graduated to a stage of cooking where I’m able to seek out a recipe I want to make and adapt it slightly to suit my taste. I still need the guidance, but I can distinguish good from bad advice.
I’ve only cooked from that cookbook once before and, well, kind of laid it aside as other things caught my eye. Plus, I will admit to judging a book by its cover and I get totally distracted by the Whole Foods plastic bag dispenser front and center, even blocking the author’s arm. I also wonder if anyone recognizes the woman in back coming in to work. However, this tasty dish will have me looking a little more carefully at the recipes and trying some more soon.
And you know what, I can’t even really remember what that first recipe was that didn’t turn out well for me. Who says you can’t change first impressions?