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  • Writer's picturecoffeeandwoodsmoke

weather report (and cheater chana masala)

Winter rain, now tell me why, Summers fade, and roses die. The answer came; the wind and rain. Golden hills, now veiled in grey, Summer leaves have blown away Now what remains? The wind and rain.

Weather Report Suite, The Grateful Dead

I’ve felt this before. The disorientation, the tumbling, not knowing which way is up. The rules that appeared to govern the world torn asunder; scattered, fluttering to the ground. The feeling okay one moment, the tears the next. The uncertainty and unpredictability.

Circumstances differ, and yet here I find myself–here we find ourselves–once again. In times like these, what can we trust?

The peace of a morning snowfall. The fog that envelops the mountains before tumbling down to blanket the valley. The deepest blue of morning clouds promising rain as the sun rises. The embrace of a loved one. The wag of a dog’s tail. A song.

The snow is melting around the edges, brown grass peeking through the ice.

Spring is coming.

Winter gray and falling rain, We’ll see summer come again, Darkness falls and seasons change (gonna happen every time). Same old friends the wind and rain, Summers fade and roses die, You’ll see summer come again, Like a song that’s born to soar the sky.

Weather Report Suite, The Grateful Dead

cheater chana masala serves 2-3

a nourishing meal. the spices of chana masala, grounding and warming. i have been craving this dish, but in a time of dwindling produce, wondered if i could pull it off. this pantry-based, gluten-free, and vegan version provides all the flavors you know and love, and uses a minimum of perishable ingredients. the three it does use, onion, garlic, and lime, also could be replaced by pantry staples: dried onion and garlic, and a splash of red wine or white vinegar. otherwise, the spices all are the dried variety you may have sitting in your spice rack. i hope this recipe provides a cozy and comforting meal for you and yours. should you need more, just double or triple the ingredients.


  1. 1 T olive oil

  2. 1/2 medium onion, diced (or 1 Tbsp onion flakes, or 1 tsp onion powder)

  3. 1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/3 tsp garlic powder, or 1/2 tsp garlic granules, or heaping 1/2 tsp garlic flakes)

  4. 1 tsp ground cumin

  5. 1 tsp ground coriander

  6. 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  7. 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  8. 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  9. 1/4 tsp sea salt

  10. ground pepper to taste

  11. 1 14.5-oz can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

  12. 1 14.5-oz can tomatoes*

  13. 1/2 C water

  14. juice of 1/2 lime (or 1 T lemon juice, or 1/2 tsp red wine or white vinegar)

* you can use any canned tomatoes you might have on hand: diced, fire-roasted, pureed. i like to use tomatoes canned with chiles to give a little bit of heat to the dish; you could also add a tablespoon or so of canned chiles or jalapeños along with the tomatoes for the same effect. if you use whole canned tomatoes, chop them up with a spoon while the dish is cooking to spread the flavor more uniformly through the dish.

to prepare:

  1. heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed, 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat.

  2. if using fresh onion, sauté the onion until translucent, 5-6 minutes.

  3. add the fresh garlic and all the spices, and cook for one more minute. if you’re using dried onion and garlic rather than fresh, just add those along with the spices and sauté for one minute.

  4. add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes with their juices, and water. turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil.

  5. reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the dish has thickened to the consistency of a stew.

  6. add the citrus juice or vinegar during the last minute or two of cooking time.

  7. serve over rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or with some thick bread or naan.

  8. enjoy.

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