January 2018 - Birdseed Kitchen

Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas

Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas - birdseedkitchen.com

Tangy, savory, and spicy, these crispy Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas pack a punch of spicy and savory Thai flavors. Baked in the oven, they are a protein-packed healthier way to satisfy your salty snack craving.

Ever since I tried Trader Joe’s Thai Lime and Chili Cashews, I have loved the flavors of tangy lime, spicy chili, aromatic lemongrass, and Funky Umami (new band name!) in a snack food.

But here’s my problem: the nearest Trader Joe’s is over 100 miles away.

So I set forth into the kitchen on this long holiday weekend to try to replicate those flavors, or at least come close. And here’s the point in the post where you might expect a fun story about how I came up with the recipe, or a bit of backstory about a particular ingredient.

But I’m not going to do that.

Because you need this recipe… RIGHT. NOW.

Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas - birdseedkitchen.com

So let’s get to it: these flavors are soooo good. And if you haven’t had roasted chickpeas, you’re missing out on a super-tasty, high-protein snack. I barely had enough of these left to photograph, because everyone munched on them right out of the oven.

Make sure you let them cool completely before storing them in a sealed container, because you don’t want any steam to reduce their crispness.

So here they are: Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas. Also known as: your newest snacking addiction. Enjoy!

Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas - birdseedkitchen.com

Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas - birdseedkitchen.com

Thai Lime and Chili Roasted Chickpeas

Tangy, savory, and spicy, these crispy roasted chickpeas with Thai flavors are a healthier way to satisfy your craving for a salty snack.

Course Snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Author Rachel


  • 1 can (29 oz) chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegan option)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp lemongrass finely minced
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves finely minced
  • zest of one lime


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Spread out on a clean kitchen towel or a baking sheet lined with paper towels and pat to dry thoroughly. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add chickpeas to the bowl and toss with oil mixture until well-coated.

  4. Pour chickpeas onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Be sure to scrape the bowl - don't leave that flavor behind!

  5. Roast for 45-50 minutes, shaking pan every 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

  6. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. (If they last that long!)


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What to Cook When It’s Just Too Damn Cold (Recipe Roundup)

a composite of warm meals for cold weather

It’s cold. SO. VERY. COLD.

Like, eyeball-freezing cold. Why-does-nature-hate-the-humans cold. It’s been negative-something-ridiculous for days here in Central Illinois. I get it: it’s winter, so what did we expect? But it’s like we’re having ALL the winter at once. Oof.

It’s too damn cold.

A lot of the U.S. has been locked in this deep-freeze together, but for the entire eastern seaboard, from Florida to New England, last week was a lot worse. The region was hit with what weather professionals call a “bomb cyclone.”

I’m sure you’re wondering, as I was, “What the heck is a bomb cyclone?” If you’ll allow me to “nerd out” for a minute, the technical term for this weather phenomenon is explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis. It happens when the central barometric pressure of a storm system drops VERY quickly, allowing the system to gain a large amount of energy, and thus, precipitation and strong winds. Like, snowfall rates of up to 3 inches AN HOUR. Accompanied by 50-80 mph winds. Yikes. New York got ten inches in one day.

It’s shaping up to be a long, cold winter, and it’s only January. So I hope you are someplace warm. And if you feel like making something HOT to eat, these recipes are just what you need. I hope there is something to please just about everyone here, including meals that require only basic pantry ingredients if you’re snowed in, plenty of soups and stews, and recipes that are simply a good excuse to crank up your stove or oven.

And if you’re considering snuggling onto the sofa with a hot bowl of something, you’ll want to check out this genius sewing pattern I just encountered: a SOUP BOWL COZY. Apparently, I’m into both being cozy, and creating cozies. These quick little crafts will hold your hot bowl of soup in style while you’re book-reading, binge-watching, or just waiting for spring. I’m totally making them for gifts next year in all the nerdy fabrics.

Ready? Let’s WARM THINGS UP!

Turkey Sweet Potato Cashew Curry

Turkey and Sweet Potato Cashew Curry

This velvety, sweet-sour-spicy, umami-rich Turkey and Sweet Potato Cashew Curry has all the right Thai flavors and spices to chase the chills away. It’s delicious over hot jasmine or basmati rice.


Brie and Fig Grilled Cheese - The Organic Kitchen | http://www.theorganickitchen.org

Brie and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Linda at The Organic Kitchen must be feeling my brainwaves from across the Internet, because I’m usually thinking about bread, cheese, and fig jam at some point in the day. That’s about all you need to make this Brie and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I have orange cardamom fig jam in the fridge RIGHT NOW, but I’m taking a break from refined sugar this January, so this toasty, cheesy beauty will have to wait!


Authentic Posole - Bowl-Me-Over.com

Authentic Posole

This Authentic Posole recipe from Souper Chef Deb at Bowl Me Over simmers for about 4 hours. That pork is going to be SUPER tender. And, it’s going to warm up your kitchen all day. I LOVE hominy, slow-cooked pork, and all of these flavors, so this fragrant Mexican stew is on my list this January!


30-Minute Minestrone Soup - funfoodfrolic.com

30 Minute Minestrone Soup

Hina’s 30 Minute Minestrone Soup from Fun FOOD and Frolic uses a lot of ingredients you probably have in your pantry, and a few clever tips – like using pasta water to thicken the soup. Great tip! This veggie-rich soup would be a great option if you’re snowed in, or if it hurts your face too much to go outside.


Braised Short Ribs - www.theanthonykitchen.com

Braised Short Ribs

We love short ribs in my house. They are a fairly inexpensive cut of meat that transforms miraculously in a dutch oven into a fork-tender delight. Kelly Anthony of The Anthony Kitchen braises her ribs in a red wine sauce with mushrooms and fresh herbs. Pass the mashed potatoes!


Smoked Sirloin Chili - chili with smoked beef

Smoked Sirloin Chili

If you’re into thick, hearty, meaty chili, this one’s for you. The ground beef is briefly smoked for added flavor.


Vegan Thai Green Curry Soup - funfoodfrolic.com

Vegan Thai Green Curry Soup

I’m a firm believer that, if you have a can of coconut milk and some curry paste on hand, you have most of what you need for a great meal! This Vegan Thai Green Curry Soup from Fun FOOD and Frolic would be quick to make on a cold weeknight.


Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup - neilshealthymeals.com

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Neil from Neil’s Healthy Meals created this veggie-rich, ginger-spiked Carrot and Sweet Potato soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, soups like this one are a good reason to pick one up. Sautée aromatics. Simmer veggies. Blend. Your healthy soup options have just expanded exponentially!


Mulligatawny Soup - masalaherb.com

Easy Mulligatawny Soup

According to Helene’s recipe on masalaherb.com, Mulligatawny soup “doesn’t have any special rules.” If you haven’t had this British-Indian soup, it couldn’t be easier to get started than with this recipe.


Thukpa Tibetan Chicken Noodle Soup - masalaherb.com

Thukpa Tibetan Chicken Noodle Soup

Helene D’Souza describes Tibetan Thukpa as “usually made with chicken, veggies and noodles. What gives it the little extra is the addition of some soy sauce with lemon juice.”


Roasted Pumpkin Cream Soup with Crispy Chickpeas - vibrantplate.com

Roasted Pumpkin Cream Soup with Crispy Chickpeas

Okay, you had me at “crispy chickpeas”, but I also love a good creamy pumpkin soup. And this one from Vibrant Plate includes some GREENS, too.


Vietnamese Beef Stew - supergoldenbakes.com

One-Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew

Lucy from Supergolden Bakes shared this One-Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew. I can’t imagine how great this smells while it simmers on the stove.


Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew (Kimchi Jjigae) - pupswithchopsticks.com

Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)

My colleague at work brings delicious lunches, and Kimchi Jjigae is one of them. I’m a newcomer to kimchi, but I’m down for anything that looks as stunning as this recipe from Pups With Chopsticks.


Roasted Hatch Green Chile Pork Stew - flavormosaic.com

Roasted Hatch Green Chile Pork Stew

I did not know that the Hatch Green Chile, a hot chile from New Mexico, has such a devoted following. This stew from Flavor Mosaic makes great use of them!


Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon and Cheddar - savorytooth.com

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon and Cheddar

This classic creamy potato soup from Savory Tooth reminds me a lot of a classic chowder. And then, it adds BACON and CHEESE. This low-carb recipe would also be great the next day… if it last that long.


Spicy Chickpea Kale and Potato Curry - yayforfood.com

Spicy Chickpea Kale and Potato Curry

I love a good curry to warm up in the winter, from head to toe. This vibrant curry from Yay for Food (yay!) with chickpeas, kale, and potatoes would do just that. Add some naan or paratha, and dig in.


Brownie Batter Sipping Chocolate - suchthespot.com

Brownie Batter Sipping Chocolate

Let’s finish our list off with a little dessert, shall we? I’d like to curl up under a blanket with this luscious hot chocolate drink from Such the Spot any time.


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Quick Pickled Red Onions

Quick Pickled Red Onions

Colorful, crunchy, and convenient, these Quick Pickled Red Onions take about ten minutes to prepare, and last for a month in the refrigerator. They are a piquant accompaniment to pork, a brilliant sandwich topping, or just the thing to brighten up a simple plate of scrambled eggs. Because they are so versatile, they are the second recipe in our series, Brilliant Basics.

**This post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

I am a fan of pickles from all parts of the world, and an avid collector of pickle recipes. (Visit my “Pickles from Around the World” board on Pinterest to check out some of my favorites!)

There’s nothing quite like the salty-sour (or spicy, or sweet) crunch of a homemade pickle. They make a great palate cleanser and condiment. My favorite Mexican restaurant in town serves a small side of pickled cauliflower, carrots, and jalapeños with their delicious tacos. I always order extra pickled daikon and carrots next to my banh mi sandwich. When I order a burger, it’s usually with extra pickles. And my mom still cans homemade pickles every year – mostly pickled red beets, and old-fashioned, bright green, sweet cinnamon pickles that we refer to as “green oil pickles.” (Has anyone else heard of Green Oil Pickles? I can’t find a recipe on the web for them anywhere. Leave me a comment if you have seen them around.)

I don’t can pickles myself (yet!) but I LOVE making refrigerator pickles. These Quick Pickled Red Onions couldn’t be easier. We serve them with tacos, pulled pork, and Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas. I like to make them right in a wide-mouth quart mason jar. If you don’t have access to a jar, any non-reactive container will do. They should marinate for at least an hour for best flavor, and will keep well in the refrigerator for about a month.

This recipe is based on a recipe from Rick Bayless, one of our favorite chefs, and comes from his book entitled, “Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico.”

Quick Pickled Red Onions

Quick Pickled Red Onions

This recipe makes one quart of pickled red onions. They keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator, and are even better the next day.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 16 1/4 cup servings


  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp light amber agave nectar


  1. Slice onion into thin half-moons, about 1/8 inch thick. Pack into a quart-sized Mason jar or other non-reactive container with a tight-fitting lid.

  2. In a glass measuring cup, combine remaining ingredients. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

  3. Pour brine over onions in jar. Close the lid, and gently shake the jar to distribute the brine with the onions. If necessary, pack onions down with a spoon so they are submerged in brine. 

  4. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, or overnight, before serving. Store for about a month in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Based on a recipe by Rick Bayless that originally appeared in "Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico."

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Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas are your new favorite filling for burritos, tacos, or taco bowls. Crispy edges, tangy citrus and tasty spices, and smoky flavors are yours with your pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

(Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.)

I don’t own an Instant Pot. Not yet.

I’m sure I’ll get one eventually, but for now, I’m happy with my traditional 6-quart Presto Pressure Cooker. VERY happy. Pressure cooking is like bending time. If you’re a busy working parent, or just plain busy, either a stovetop pressure cooker or an Instant Pot would be a worthwhile investment.

Pork shoulder was the first meal I made in my pressure cooker, and I’ve enjoyed cooking pork with it ever since. It’s like a time machine. Meat braised in a pressure cooker comes out tender and juicy, in a fraction of the time it takes to smoke or braise the same cut. It’s all about long-cooked texture and flavor.

These Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great example of just the right texture and flavor. The extra step of frying the shredded meat in a skillet is worth it – you’ll love the crispy edges. I love some smoke flavor with pork, so I started out with a little bacon. Not much, just one strip. And I used the bacon fat to brown the chunks of pork shoulder, so all that flavor is put to good use. Mmm.

The citrus juices and spices in this recipe make for some fantastically-flavorful and juicy meat. Adding the reduced cooking liquid to the crisped meat makes it more than a filling for tacos or burritos. We served ours without tortillas, with a side of Mexican Cauliflower Rice (recipe coming soon!), chopped avocado, and my new favorite condiment – Quick Pickled Red Onions.

The next night, we made fresh polenta and served leftover Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas on top, with some hot sauce and more pickled onions.

Next time, I’m going to try a Chipotle-style burrito bowl. And you can be sure this recipe will be in our family’s frequent rotation.

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 slice bacon diced
  • 3.5 lbs pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 oranges juiced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Cut pork shoulder into 8 pieces. Season on all sides with salt and black pepper.

  2. In a pressure cooker over medium-low heat, render diced bacon until brown and crisp. Add pork pieces to pressure cooker. Brown on all sides.

  3. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf to pressure cooker.

  4. Stir together orange and lime juice, chicken stock, cumin, coriander, chipotle, cinnamon, and oregano. Add to pressure cooker.

  5. Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.

  6. When pressure has released, open pressure cooker. With a slotted spoon, remove pork and place in a bowl. Discard bay leaf.

  7. Place pressure cooker containing remaining juices over medium heat and  boil gently to reduce and concentrate the liquid, about 10 minutes.

  8. Meanwhile, shred the pork with two forks, or with your fingers.

  9. In a wide skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat. Add shredded pork, and fry until it begins to crisp along the edges, turning occasionally.

  10. Measure out 1/4 cup of reduced cooking liquid, and add it to the pork in the skillet. Remove from heat.

  11. Serve with rice (try Mexican Cauliflower Rice!), chopped avocado, and Quick Pickled Red Onions.

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Spiced Persimmon Pomegranate Salad Recipe Sketch

Most of my illustration experience is digital, and related to my career as a web designer. I’m improving as an artist (I hope!) through deliberate practice. I’ve discovered that I enjoy sketching recipes – drawing food, and exploring different illustration and lettering styles.

This is my second sketch, for my Spiced Persimmon-Pomegranate Salad recipe.

I hope you enjoy the illustrations!

Spiced Persimmon Pomegranate Salad - a recipe sketch
Spiced Persimmon Pomegranate Salad recipe sketch
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