MARINATED CHICKPEAS WITH SLOW-ROASTED RED PEPPERS

I follow a group of food bloggers I completely trust. Kelly from Inspired Edibles is part of this group. When she raves about a recipe, I usually jump on making it. This is the most recent example, and I know if you make it you will rave about it also. Two things: do not be tempted to use canned chickpeas. And go for the slow-roasting of bell peppers. These two small details make the dish shine.

MARINATED CHICKPEAS WITH SLOW-ROASTED RED PEPPERS
(adapted from Inspired Edibles)

for the veggie mixture:
1 + 1/4 cup dried chickpeas (from 1 1/4 cup dry)
2 large red bell peppers, cut into strips
110 g Feta cheese
60 g pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
parsley to serve

for the marinade:
⅓ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
¾ tsp salt or to taste
black pepper to taste
½ Tbsp honey

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water. Next day, drain and rinse, then cook in slightly salted water until tender, but still al dente – about 40 minutes. the chickpeas in a large pot with lots of water until desired consistency is achieved (for this recipe, I prefer the chickpeas to have some texture – not too mushy – so I aim for al dente, it takes over 1 hour). This step can be made in advance.

Heat oven to 300F and prepare the marinade by whisking together all the ingredients. Make sure when you add the honey that it gets fully integrated with the other components.

Place the cooked chickpeas (ideally still warm) in serving platter with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. intermingle with tomatoes, onion, olives and half of the feta. Pour the marinade over top, tossing gently to combine.

While the chickpea mixture marinades at room temperature, spread the sliced peppers out on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1.5-2 Tbsp olive oil and add a couple shakes of salt, and roast for about one hour. Add them to the chickpea mixture, and serve, sprinkled with parsley leaves.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This recipe is a winner, all the way. Leftovers were fantastic next day and even better on the second day. I warmed everything in the microwave, just barely, and there was no compromise in the texture, the taste of the marinade just got more intense. Perfect.

Make sure to stop by Kelly’s blog and read her post, as she offers a different way to enjoy it, with cucumbers in tzatziki sauce. The key is to cook the chickpeas from scratch. Totally different from canned, which works fine for other preparations such as hummus. The slow-roasting of the bell peppers is another great twist, they develop a milder flavor and very soft texture.

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ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

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GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH TAHINI DRESSING AND CHICKPEAS

Another food trend I kind of twisted my nose at… grilled lettuce. How wrong can a person be? Very. I am here to gently invite you to the bright side. Don’t eye-roll, just trust me. It is absolutely delicious! You can do it on the outside grill or in the comfort of your kitchen using a non-stick grill pan, which is what I did. I don’t remember the husband getting so excited about a salad, but he gave this one two very enthusiastic thumbs up and insisted it must become part of our regular rotation. I am more than happy to “make it so.”

GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH TAHINI DRESSING AND CHICKPEAS
(inspired by several sources)

2 heads of Romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed, sliced in half lenghtwise
olive oil to rub on the surface
salt to taste to season
for the tahini dressing:
1/3 cup yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt to taste
water to adjust consistency

for the chickpeas:
1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
olive oil spray to coat chickpeas
salt to taste
smoked paprika to taste (or other spice of your choice)

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients except water in a blender. Blend until smooth, then add water until it reaches the consistency you like. Reserve.

Make the chickpeas: coat them with oil, season and air-fry for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Alternatively, roast them in a 425F oven until done.

Grill the lettuce: rub olive oil on the cut surface of the lettuce, season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill for about 3 minutes, flip the pieces and grill for just a couple of minutes on the other side. Transfer to a serving platter, opening the leaves a bit so that the dressing can reach in between them.

Drizzle the dressing, add the roasted chickpeas, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You can grill the lettuce 30 minutes in advance, and just allow it to sit in the serving platter waiting for showtime. You must use Romaine, other lettuces cannot stand to the heat as well, although I did see some recipes using little butter lettuce heads cut in half. I have not tried to use them, to me they seem a bit too delicate. The dressing is so good I could eat it with a spoon. And of course, fried chickpeas take the concept of croutons to a whole new level. A little tip for you that worked super well for me: I air-fryed the chickpeas twice. After they were first made, I let them sit at room temperature, and then right before adding to the salad I fried them again for 2 minutes. The crispiness factor went off the charts. I have to try that again and write down some specific timing but keep this in mind if you own an air-fryer. Elaine and Karen, I am winking at you both!

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SHEET PAN CHICKEN THIGHS WITH GARBANZO BEANS AND CAULIFLOWER

Every blog should have an OMG FOLDER. Mine does not. If it had, this recipe would be rushed into it with great enthusiasm. Normally I bake chicken thighs low and slow, but this method won my heart because it gave a full meal with side-dish included, with very little effort. This would be great for company. Keep that in mind, if dinner parties are coming back to your world.

SHEET-PAN CHICKEN THIGHS WITH GARBANZO BEANS AND CAULIFLOWER
(adapted from several sources)

6 chicken thighs, bone-in, with skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small head of cauliflower, florets cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil

Season chicken parts with salt and pepper to taste. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric and water in a large bowl, add 1/2 tsp additional salt. Add chicken and toss to coat evenly. Let sit at least 2 hours in the fridge, up to overnight.

Heat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, mix the oil with the spices (fennel seed, cumin, remaining teaspoon of turmeric). Add the garbanzo beans and cauliflower florets, toss well to coat. Add the veggies to a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, open small spaces to fit the chicken pieces, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the chicken is golden brown, and the skin starts to get crispy.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best meals of 2022. I did not touch the veggies during the roasting time, although I intended to. But a lot was happening and I never got to it. It turns out that some of the garbanzo beans caramelized so intensely that they had this delicious crunchy texture at the bottom. Same for some pieces of cauliflower. So I advise you to keep an eye on it, but don’t worry about mixing things often. Let the oven do its magic.

If you want to make a full meal just with this sheet pan, I advise on doubling the amount of veggies. We paired it with a simple salad. Couscous would be perfect, if you don’t mind some carb-indulgence. Tahdig rice would take this into sinful territory. I intend to explore that territory in the near future, because life is short, and tahdig too good.

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CAULIFLOWER-CHICKPEA PICCATA

I saw this recipe not too long ago at The New York Times and knew I was going to love it… I wasn’t sure how the husband would feel about it, but decided to take my chances. Glad to report he thought it was “totally blog-worthy.”

CAULIFLOWER-CHICKPEA PICCATA
(slightly adapted from The New York Times)

1 cauliflower, cut into large 2-inch florets
grapeseed oil, about 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the cauliflower florets onto a sheet pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, and roast for 25 minutes, add the chickpeas and roast for 5 minutes more. Reserve.

Heat a medium skillet to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the shallot, and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the stock into the pan and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then stir in the butter, capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper.

To serve, place the cauliflower and chickpeas on a serving plate. Top with the lemon caper sauce. Serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The preparation of this recipe goes a bit against logic. Why roast the cauliflower until it’s all crispy and brown, and then soak it with sauce? Seems counterproductive. BUT it works. Roasting concentrates the flavors and make the veggies stand better to the luscious lemony sauce. We loved it! For vegetarians, a little couscous on the side would make it a pretty nice meal. We enjoyed it with grilled pork tenderloin and a bit of tahdig rice, made in my favorite, quick way. A great mid-week dinner…

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BUFFALO CHICKPEAS

This could be served cold as a salad or right after mixing the cooked chickpeas with the other ingredients. It is delicius on its own for a light lunch. Chickpeas have that earthy flavor I find addictive, and when paired with the heat of Sriracha – another passion of mine – it gets even better… And let’s not even mention the tahini, so I don’t lose my composure.

BUFFALO CHICKPEAS
(adapted from Skinnytaste)

15- oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large carrots, shredded on a food processor
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 Tbsp Sriracha (or to taste)
3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp tahini
mixed baby greens to serve alongside (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the carrots with the celery, squirt a little lemon juice, season lightly with salt and mix gently. Reserve.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add the chickpeas, spreading them in a single layer, and let cook undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they brown a bit. Stir, season with salt and cook for a minute more. Transfer the chickpeas to the bowl with the veggies.

Make the dressing by mixing the yogurt, lemon juice, Sriracha and tahini. Add to the bowl of chickpeas and veggies, and fold gently. Serve with baby spinach/lettuce right away, or refrigerate and enjoy later as a salad, but in that case do not add the greens.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Depending on the thickness of your yogurt, you might have to add a little water to thin the dressing a bit. Mix it as described, then adjust if needed. As I mentioned, this dish could stand on its own for a vegetarian meal, but we enjoyed it with grilled pork tenderloin for a nice and easy weeknight dinner. Leftovers were my meat-free lunch two days later, barely passed by the microwave just to break the cold from the fridge. The carrots mellow quite a bit after a couple of days in the fridge, so if you like a bit more texture, grate additional raw carrots on top. Crumbled blue cheese would be quite appropriate also…

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