What a year this past week has been. The COVID-19 outbreak has fundamentally changed the way we live in a matter of days. This is a stressful and uncertain time. Over the weekend I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, thinking about what would come to pass, for me personally, for Ottawa, for Canada, and for the world.
As someone who works in business development and my salary is tied to the amount of new business I bring in, the prospect of an economic recession of undetermined length is terrifying. We aren’t there yet and of course there is an outside chance that we’ll be able to pull the nose up on this thing through stimulus spending, effective social distancing, or better yet, a vaccine. And, fortunately, I have had a very good year to date and am grateful to have a very supportive team – I likely won’t be out on the streets any time soon.
What I learned was that the more time I spent running through all the doomsday scenarios, the worse I felt. I called my parents and spoke to them for 45 minutes, word vomiting all my fears and anxieties, and was endlessly reassured by the sound of their voices.
While many of us, myself included, will be self-isolating to try to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, I am going to try to focus on investing in my community. Having daily calls with my coworkers, FaceTiming with my friends, and now, hosting a virtual happy hour.
I read that Japan has created something called Om-Nomi – the practice of drinking online with friends through video conference. Inspired by that concept, I’ve started hosting virtual happy hour on my Instagram stories nightly at or just after 5 p.m. I’m going to be using a variety of ingredients and trying to limit myself (somewhat) to spirits and liqueurs folks are likely to have on hand.
For me personally, the things that have helped calm me down when I get into an anxiety tailspin are the small joys and points of connection that reassure me that it isn’t all doom and gloom. My virtual happy hour is just a small gesture to try to create a sense of community to help make self-isolation feel just a little bit less isolated.
Today, aside from the cocktail I’ll be mixing up on Instagram this evening, I’m sharing a main that will put some of your canned goods and long-lasting veg to tasty use. Made with canned chickpeas, hearty sweet potatoes, fennel, and sour cream – these Chickepea Bowls with Fennel Slaw are healthy and achievable.
If you don’t have sour cream, feel free to swap for plain Greek yogurt. These come together in about 45 minutes and make four generous portions – great for leftovers if you’re all by your lonesome for the next couple of days and want to spend your time “working from home” actually working.
Stay healthy and connected my friends. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you just want to chat during this difficult time.
Chickpea Bowls with Fennel Slaw
- 2 garlic cloves finely grated
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 3 medium/large sweet potatoes cut into 1/2″ wedges
- 2 15- oz. cans chickpeas rinsed
- Kosher salt freshly ground pepper
- 1½ cup full-fat sour cream
- 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice divided
- 1 medium fennel bulb halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños diced
- 1 cup very coarsely chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse chickpeas and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Mix garlic, coriander, cumin, and 6 tbsp oil in a large bowl. Add rinsed and dried chickpeas and sweet potato wedges; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Transfer chickpea mixture to a rimmed baking sheet. Wipe out bowl; reserve. Bake, tossing halfway through, until chickpeas are golden brown and sweet potatoes are tender, 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix sour cream, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and a big pinch of salt in a small bowl.
Toss fennel, diced pickled jalapeños, parsley, sesame seeds, and remaining 3 Tbsp. lemon juice in reserved bowl; season with salt.
Spread sour cream mixture in serving bowls. Top with spiced chickpea mixture. Scatter fennel salad over, then drizzle with oil.
Recipe adapted from: Baraghani, Andy, “Chickpea Bowls with Lemony Yogurt.” Bon Appetit. March 2020.