With the beautiful fall weather we've been having these past few weeks has come a renewed desire to spend time in the kitchen--and I'm quite certain it has something to do with the arrival of the cool weather, but it also seems like maybe life is slowing down just a little bit, and there is more time for just sitting and sipping warm things and reading. More time to spend stirring, roasting, smelling, and tasting. Almost like the cool weather is a small reminder to take a step back, put on a sweater, and remember what it feels like to relax. Gosh it feels good.
I'm not sure if life really does slow down in the fall, that could be completely counterintuitive, given that school starts again, and vacations are over, but there is certainly something to be said about the comfort of routine and warm slippers. Or maybe it's just because I adore this season so much...so I somehow make myself more present. Not sure. Either way, I want to cook. Lots of things.
Now concerning these chickpeas, I've admittedly never been a big 'bean' person. Might be the texture?My mom never served beans when I was growing up, save for the occasional baked ones from a can, which are not awesome, let's be real. Having given beans more than a few chances on my own, I still can't say that I'm sold on them...I don't want beans on my burrito at Chipotle, wrinkle my nose at cold bean salads, and am more or less terrified of the refried variety. I do love hummus, which may be the exception, but the relationship really stops there.
Now beans can be a great source of protein and fiber, especially if they're prepared well, and they are dirt cheap, especially if you buy the dried kind in bulk, so they actually are pretty great. They are most easily digested and utilized by the body when you take the time to pre-soak them before cooking. Beans contain an array of important minerals in addition to their fiber and protein, so they really are an excellent thing to include in your diet. It's just a matter of making them attractive to the palate...
|Claire's acorn squash she roasted with garlic and jalapeños...awesome.|
Enter my beautiful friend and fellow Spanish-speaking-artsy-food geek, Claire. The girl knows a thing or two about making good food, oh yes. I got to spend the afternoon playing in her kitchen the other day, and it was fantastic. I'm so lucky. I learned so much, and the time we spent was just lovely. These oven-toasted chickpeas are simply a revelation. They are so good. Ooh, and so easy! The sweet and spicy variation was what we went with this time, but you can really use any combination of spices, sweet or savory, tangy or spicy. They get crispy and chewy and salty and sweet...mmmm. Fabulous for snacking...and maybe even sharing. Thanks Claire, you're an inspiration :)
sweet & spicy oven-roasted chickpeas
You can use either canned chickpeas or those you cook yourself. For maximum nutritional benefit, pre-soak dried beans with a splash of vinegar, and cook them in boiling water. If you go for the canned ones, no worries, two 15-oz cans should equal roughly 4 cups.
4 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
4 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
If you're using canned chickpeas, drain them in a colander and give them a good rinse. Put them in a large bowl, add the olive or coconut oil and the next four ingredients and toss everything together really well--it works best when you use your hands, in my opinion.
Spread the chickpeas on a large baking sheet, and make sure there is enough room so they're not crowded--you want them to get crispy! You may also want to use foil on your baking sheet to help with the cleanup...just a suggestion of course.
Bake them in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, giving them a good shake after about 10 minutes, and making sure to keep an eye on them--they get toasty fast!
Try not to eat them all before they're cool, they get even better when they're more crispy!
"we cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy."