LET'S GET FRESH!

Pass the Chickpeas please!

In the week and a half since my introduction post I have been busy in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. My ingredient of choice to start with has been chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans or if you ask my girls…chicken butts! Yes, my girls call them chicken butts and they will giggle and carry on about it for a good while once they get started. But through all the snickers and giggles, they’ve come to enjoy a couple of the recipes I’ve made.

Here is a sampling of what we’ve tried so far:

Hummus (the best I’ve ever made thanks in part to my fabulous Vitamix)

Chickpea kale soup (I could eat this every day for the rest of my life)

Peach Mango salsa chickpea lettuce wraps (it was ok but the girls weren’t fond of it)

Salsa avocado chickpea bowl (I ate 3, yes 3, bowls of this yesterday it was THAT good)

Oven roasted dill chickpeas (WE HAVE A NEW SNACK FOOD WINNER!)

The oven roasted dill chickpeas has been our favorite by far and a batch disappears very quickly! I think I need to double the batch next time I make it. I found the recipe through Pinterest. I LOVE that site! I have found so many wonderful ideas and recipes there. It’s not very often that I actually follow a recipe to the T and even this one I’ve tweaked a bit. I’ll usually just skim the recipe and make changes based on our tastes or what I have on hand. The more I do that the more comfortable I become with just creating dishes of my own which I do most of the time with soups.

I think I’ve finally figured out how to successfully soak and cook my own beans too. Of course canned beans are much more convenient but I enjoy learning how to do things the “old-fashioned” way. There’s something strangely rewarding about taking a bag of dried beans and turning them into a snack or meal. Yes, it takes extra time but I’m blessed to have that time available to me so I want to use that time to do something worthwhile. To me, preparing healthy whole foods plant-based meals and snacks for my family are certainly worth my time. It’s also a great way to save money and cut down on waste. It’s much cheaper to buy a bag of beans than the equivalent in cans.

So, let me tell you more about these delightfully crunchy dill chickpeas! The recipe I followed I found at the Kid Tested Firefighter Approved blog. I have made this twice now but they disappear before I can get a picture so I’ve borrowed this picture from April’s blog.

http://kidtestedfirefighterapproved.com/2012/06/11/dill-pickle-roasted-chickpeas-oil-free/

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Here’s the recipe as it appears on the Kid Tested Firefighter Approved blog: (my additions are in bold)

Basic Brine:

1/2 Cup Cold Water

1/2 Cup White Vinegar

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

2 – 3 Teaspoons Light Agave Nectar

3 Cups Cooked Chickpeas OR 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (SAVE THE LIQUID!)

Seasonings:

2 Tbsp leftover bean cooking liquid OR canned chickpea liquid

1/4 Cup Roughly Chopped Fresh Dill

3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

1/2 – 1 tsp Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

1/2 tsp Mustard Powder

1/4 tsp Ground Coriander

1/4 tsp Celery Seed

1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Pinch Red Pepper Flakes

Place all of the ingredients for the brine in a medium-sized jar, including the chickpeas, shake it up, and place it in the fridge. Allow the brine mixture to infuse into the beans for 12 – 24 hours. As one might presume, the longer the chickpeas soak, the more strongly they’ll be flavored with vinegar. It’s up to you whether that’s a good or bad thing. Bear in mind that the bite will mellow significantly after a trip to the oven, so don’t be afraid of having very vinegary beans at this stage. I let mine sit for a little over 24 hours and they turned out GREAT!

Once the chickpeas have been “quick pickled,” drain them thoroughly but do not rinse. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while you measure out and prep the seasonings. Toss the chickpeas into a bowl along with the bean liquid and all of the aromatics, stirring so that every last bean is thoroughly coated. Transfer to a jelly roll pan or large baking dish (anything with sides. These edible marbles will want to roll right out otherwise) and spread them evenly in one layer on top of parchment paper.

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, stirring every 15 or so, until the chickpeas have shrunken in size and are golden brown, with darker spots in some areas. It can be hard to tell when they’re done since the chickpeas will continue to crisp up as they cool, but listen closely and they should rattle when you shake the pan. Remove from heat and let cool completely before snacking and/or storing in an airtight container.

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*The substitutions I made: instead of using agave nectar I used maple syrup and in place of the leftover bean cooking liquid OR canned chickpea liquid I used organic vegetable broth. The first batch I made stuck to the pan because I forgot to use parchment paper. The parchment paper is key to getting the beans crunching without burning or sticking to the pan because there’s no oil used in this recipe.*

Now that I’ve figured out this flavor I want to experiment with some others as well. I have a whole spice rack just waiting to be played with! I’d really like to find a good “buffalo wing” seasoning since I’m totally obsessed with hot sauce lately too. I seriously could put that stuff on everything!

Between my stints in the kitchen I’ve been watching documentaries, scouring blogs and visiting the library in search of more plant-based vegan books and cookbooks. It’s almost too hard to focus on the cookbooks though. I see so many recipes that look SO yummy that I want to make them ALL RIGHT NOW! I really liked how this last week worked out by trying a bunch of different recipes centered around one ingredient. It helps to keep the grocery budget under control because I’m not buying 30 different new ingredients all at once. So I think I might try to do that each week because it worked so well. I’m not sure what my next main ingredient will be but we’ll be busy for the next week or so as school starts back up again. I need to switch my brain back to our “normal” routine again. So even if I don’t get to do as much experimenting in the next couple of weeks I still want to post at least once a week and share something about my Passion for Produce!

LET’S GET FRESH!

~Ann Marie

Believe it or not, this blog is the result of a text conversation I had with my hubby tonight. He lovingly makes fun of me for my quirky passions in life such as how much I love homemade veggie soup. He has called me everything from the Eco-Police to a Barefoot Hippy and I wear those labels proudly! He frequently asks me if I want to “take a picture of my plate and post it on Facebook” before I eat. And you know what?? I very often do! I love the foods that I eat. They make me happy and healthy and I want to share that with others.

This year has been the most exciting for me food-wise. I started juicing and making green smoothies daily and my passion for produce and whole foods has snowballed from there. I’ve had some friends on Facebook ask about my smoothie recipes so I figured a blog would be a great place to share my recipes and my passion for living a plant based life.

I don’t claim to be an expert in health or nutrition. I’m just sharing my life, experiences and recipes that excite me! So join me if you’d like and

LET’S GET FRESH!

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