Crispy, Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

>> Thursday, July 30, 2009

I had a can of chickpeas sitting on my shelf for ages and couldn't decide whether to make hummus or the recipe below. I decided on crunchy versus creamy and went with this awesome snack. It makes a great MUCH healthier stand in for popcorn when watching a movie. Give it a try!

- 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 1-2 sprigs chopped fresh thyme
- pinch of garlic salt

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Drain and rinse chickpeas then dry them well using paper towels.
Pour them into an even layer on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil.

Roast in the oven at 425 for 20 minutes then remove them and let them cool for a few minutes.
Pour into a bowl and add olive oil, salt, garlic salt and fresh thyme and mix until the beans are all nicely coated.

Pour them back onto the baking sheet and roast for another 10-15 minutes until all the beans are caremely-golden brown. You want them crunchy so make sure they are all nice and dark brown but not burned.

Pull out the baking sheet and let them cool then pour back into the bowl. Once they are ready to taste, tweak the seasoning to suit your palette.

You can play with seasoning on this, try fresh garlic, rosemary, cayenne or cumin. The possibilities are endless!
I used fresh thyme from my poor, struggling herb garden.


Stone Fruit Sangria

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

It's hot in LA. It's finally Summer. June was gray and gloomy and we all whined about it so much that mother nature is getting back at us now, erasing all clouds and keeping the sun dialed up to 10. No biggie. Sit back with this delicious fizzy drink and enjoy life in the best city in the USA (although Money Magazine gives that title to my hometown. Represent, Louisville, CO!)

For this beachy, peachy drink I sought out every variety of stone fruit I could find. We got yr peaches, yr apricots, yr plums and more. Find whatever is in season at your farmers market, chop it up and toss it in. You can't go wrong with this one!

- 1 large peach
- 1 large nectarine
- 1 apricot
- 1 black apricot
- 1 red plum
- 1 black plum
- 4 strawberries
- 1 handful of blueberries
- 1 cup peach schnapps
- 1 bottle prosecco

Pit the stone fruit and cut them into small chunks (1/2 inch or smaller.)
Hull the strawberries and cut into smaller chunks.
Place all fruit in a pitcher or bowl and pour the peach schnapps over the top. Mix and muddle gently with a spoon then refrigerate for at least an hour, a few hours would be ideal.

Remove the mixture from the fridge and pour into a glasses filling about halfway. Fill the rest with ice cold prosecco, mix with a swizzle stick and serve immediately.

This stuff tastes easy-breezy but it packs a punch so pace yourself...or just go crazy and knock yourself out!


Bananas Foster

>> Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sometimes I just get a craving for something and I absolutely have to make it right away or I'll be cranky and distracted until I do. Does this ever happen to you?

A few weeks ago the thought of bananas foster popped into my head and would not go away. I'd never made it before but I've had it a few times and the idea of gooey caramel sauce and warm sweet bananas with cold, creamy vanilla ice cream would not leave me alone. I had to make it.

This recipe is pretty straightforward with a few easy to find ingredients. There are a lot of variations out there with cinnamon or vanilla but I wanted to let the butter and sugar star. I did add a little kosher salt to bump up the caramel taste but you can add or subtract anything you like. This was the sous chef's first time trying this dish and he gave it two thumbs up.

- 4 bananas, not overripe but not green (I like mine a little tart but they need to have enough sugar in them to get a little mushy and soak up the yummy sauce)
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 2 tbsp banana liqueur
- Pinch of kosher salt to taste
- Vanilla ice cream

Peel bananas then cut in half across the middles. Slice the halves lengthwise so you have quartered the bananas.

Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet or pan large enough to hold all the bananas in without having to pile them on top of one another. (my skillet was too small. It worked OK but would have been better with a larger skillet so the sauce could get a little thicker and coat the fruit more evenly)

Once it's melted add the brown sugar until it's mixed and has begun to melt and bubble.
Spread the bananas in the mixture face down and let them simmer about 1 minute.
Flip bananas over so the other side can caramelize and let cook for another minute.

Pour in the rum and the banana liqueur and tilt the pan toward you so the liquor pools near the edge then light the liquor using a long kitchen match or long lighter. Careful! It may flame up pretty high.
Shift the pan so the booze distributes then let it burn out. Stir a bit to incorporate the sauce and bananas.

Place bananas on top of vanilla ice cream then pour remaining sauce over the top. Serve fast, the ice cream starts to melt right away! So rich!