Dinner for Two


I just had a wonderful opportunity to write (and eat!) a few recipes for dinner for two on Valentine’s Day for the Bay Weekly Newspaper! If you are looking for a romantic dinner for two, or two servings for one, check out my recipes for Lobster Bisque, Lamb over Pomegranate Couscous, Braised Artichokes, and Chocolate Mousse here!  You won’t be disappointed.



Chickpea and Root Vegetable Tagine


Tagine is a flexible North African stew that has many versions containing meat and vegetables. This recipe makes use of beans and winter roots, but feel free to add in or substitute cauliflower or other types of roots for carrots and potatoes. The spicing here is also flexible – if you don’t have an ingredient, just leave it out, and the stew won’t suffer. If you keep precooked beans around (I do in the freezer), or have cans, this stew can be incredibly easy. Chop some veggies, throw everything in a pot or slow cooker, and wait for a few hours while you do other things. I often chop up vegetables for a slow cooker stew the night before and leave the base in the fridge, then turn on the crockpot in the morning for a hot dinner when I get home from work. For a cold day, this was a wonderful warm stew of so many flavors!

Serves 4.


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 cup raw)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1″ piece fresh ginger
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes and pulp
  • 1/4 cup olives
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, diced very small
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander seed, smoked paprika to taste
  • cilantro and parsley to top


  • Cook the chickpeas. Soak them in a bowl of water overnight or cook straightaway, covered with water with a teaspoon of baking soda. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the chickpeas until tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes and carrots into large bite sized pieces. Add them to a casserole dish with a cover or a large dutch oven. Add the tomatoes (fresh or from a good brand of canned), olives, raisins, and lemon. Give everything a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, and add some spices – start with 1/4 teaspoon each of paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander seed. Wait to add more spice until you have added the stock in the next steps.
  • Peel the onion, ginger, and garlic and rinse the celery. Finely dice the onion, celery, garlic, and ginger, and combine in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Saute this base over medium heat until it is just starting to become translucent, then add to the casserole with the other vegetables.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F, or get out a slow cooker.
  • Drain the cooked chickpeas when they are done and add them to the casserole. Give all the vegetables a good stir until they are evenly distributed. Pour the stock over top to just cover the vegetables, and stir again. Taste and adjust the seasoning, but keep in mind not to add too much, as the spices will infuse more and become stronger when cooked into the broth.
  • Cover the casserole and bake for 2 hours, or turn on the slow cooker for 6 – 8 hours.
  • Right before the stew is done, chop some parsley and cilantro for a fresh topping. Serve the warm stew into bowls covered with herbs. You can also prepare some rice for the bowls or serve with a good bread!