Sticking to a cleanse is easier when you’re eating steak!

Seared Striploin, Orange-Parsley Chimichurri with Roasted Beets and Carrots.

Seared Striploin, Orange-Parsley Chimichurri with Roasted Beets and Carrots.

As you all may know, I’ve been participating in the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse. The refined-sugar-and flour-free eating plan has resulted in several dreams involving fudge and bread but so far I’ve managed to make it through without a single cheat. Of course, it’s fairly easy to stick to a cleanse that involves (at least a little) red meat.

Yes, this beautiful steak dinner was still part of the 2014 FLC and it was so satisfying it nearly made me forget about wanting a beer. Nearly.

The recipe was Hanger steak with Orange Oregano Chimichurri but I made a few substitutions. The first issue was that I hadn’t bought hanger steaks from work and trying to find them at the nearest grocery store was totally unsuccessful. I turned instead to another steak known for its leanness, the striploin. In the chimichurri, I used some home-dried thyme instead of dried oregano because that’s what I had on hand. I also added a bit of mint because I live on the edge.

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Before summer is gone…

This week I noticed it’s getting dark by 8 o’clock and you can feel a certain chill to the air. My driveway is littered with fallen leaves, I have begun to see Halloween candy in the supermarket and I finally had to start using a bike light for my evening commute.

These things terrify me because it means that fall is approaching. Now I have no problem with autumn — we get along okay. I like the changing of colors and snuggling up on the couch with my kitties while a chicken roasts in the oven. My problem with fall is that winter is close behind it, and well, let’s just say it’s my least favorite season.

But before I get too sad, there’s still some leftovers from summer here to enjoy. One of my favorite things is tomatoes — delicious, sweet, warm tomatoes. Growing up in Alaska, I had no idea how good a tomato could be until I moved to Oregon. I was astonished.

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Meet my new favorite thing ever — green chickpeas!

So, up until last month, I honestly had no idea that “green chickpeas” existed. I mean, I’d heard my husband talk about buying fresh garbanzo beans before, but things never really clicked in my mind. And so I was unaware of not only their existence, but also how awesome they are. This obliviousness continued until my trip to Seattle a few weeks ago. The first meal I had there was part of an Iberico pork luncheon at Lark restaurant where Chef Johnathan Sundstrom prepared an amazing dish using green chickpeas.

Iberico pork lomo (loin) with green chickpeas and olive oil

My co-worker Ariel, who has never been a fan of canned chickpeas, was very intrigued. And honestly, so was I. I have always liked “regular” chickpeas — but these were somehow entirely different while being very similar. The taste was a bit milder and the texture a bit softer. Their shape was the same, though the green ones had a bit more variance to their size, much like fresh peas.

After that meal, it seemed as though green chickpeas followed us everywhere. We ran across them at Madison Park Conservatory (in a fabulous chicken dish) and again at Altura, served with their rabbit entrée. Every time we saw them, Ariel and I exchanged glances and vowed to find out if they could be sourced anywhere in Portland.

And, happily, they are. Upon being enthusiastically quizzed about green chickpeas, my husband said something to the effect of, “Yeah, I’ve been using them for years. That’s what they look like when they’re fresh.” Apparently I had even been with him numerous times when he had bought them.

Oh.

Well, that clears some things up, I guess! My next project was now to buy some and experiment with cooking them. And, as luck would have it, the following weekend I found some at Winco, the last place I would have expected.

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