A semi-retired editor and writer, Heath learned to cook by working in restaurants as a waitress and editing cookbooks. She loves trying new recipes and collecting kitchen gadgets. The recipe she submitted to the Cookbook Project is Moroccon Chickpea Salad.
Tell us a little bit about the recipe you submitted?
It's a Moroccan Chickpea Salad I've been making for probably 40 years. It's adapted from a recipe that I found in the Oregonian newspaper. It's a great potluck staple.
You make the dressing first. It's basically yogurt and some olive oil, yogurt, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and flavoring spices—turmeric, cumin, and coriander—and the usual salt and pepper. Then add some chopped bell peppers, green onions, garlic, and ginger to rehydrated raisins and the chickpeas and mix in the dressing. And there you have it.
What inspired you to submit this recipe?
It's the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking of something interesting that I could share. And it's got a little international flair to it. Whenever I serve it, people love it, and it's flexible.
Sometimes I put potatoes in it because they go well with garbanzo beans. Other times, I add tuna or salmon at home for a twist and to bump up the protein.
What are some of the ingredients you always have in your kitchen?
I like fresh spices and herbs, but I don't use them that often because they spoil too quickly for me. It's hard to buy herbs for one person, and they just seem to go to waste in my home.
I use a lot of fresh garlic and onions. Lately, I've been using garlic powder for expediency, and I find that it gives off a good flavor. And I love to bake with cinnamon and cardamom. I wish they made a cardamom perfume because I would wear it all the time. And I'm gravitating more and more toward chiles. I've been trying to find sauces I like that will spice things up just a little bit.
Do you have someone either personally or a celebrity chef who inspires you?
I often go online to look for recipes. I usually will pick a Martha Stewart option first because I find that her recipes always turn out just the way I expect them to. And she has a recipe for everything.
Do you have any favorite dishes or food memories from when you were a child?
My mother was a great home cook. While maybe not my favorite dish, her spaghetti and meatballs is always the first one I think of. I don't know why. Perhaps it's just because I remember her at the stove making that big pot of sauce.
She made a great brisket, a fabulous chicken soup with matzo balls, a luscious Hungarian goulash, and a delicious pepper steak. I have yet to meet anybody who could bake chicken breasts on the bone that were as good as hers. I still make them the way she did.
What's the importance of sharing a meal around the table.
I love my independence. I love being able to cook what I want or eat what I want when I want. But sitting around a table and enjoying a meal with people is another type of joy that I would not want to live without. I don't want to be alone all the time, of course, so it's great to have meals to share. And everybody pretty much loves to eat. Shared food tends to elicit a wonderful sense of conviviality.
What's the most memorable meal you've ever made?
I made a leg of lamb with orzo for my parents when I was a young 20-something, just starting my career in book publishing. We ate in my rented apartment at a little café table that my parents had given me, one of those little 30-inch round tops with ice-cream-parlor-style chairs. It was the three of us, and it turned out great. And they were very happy.
Try Heath's Moroccan Chickpea Salad recipe and share your adaptations and recipes on the GetSetUp Club cooking page.