Some of you have reported hunting down my bean recipes. Well here are some of my faves, all gathered in one place! Just click on the image to get to the recipe.
I am forever putting together cold chickpea salads for the summer.
Tahini is, of course, one of my favorite condiments for this purpose. For the uninitiated, it is a sesame paste, very thick, that keeps for a long time in the fridge and is critical to Middle Eastern cuisine. A tablespoon adds a depth of flavor, a teeny bit on the bitter side, and a thickness or creaminess of texture to sauces and dressings that I like a lot. Try a basic dressing from a Mediterranean Buffet , a version with soy sauce, or another with tomatoes and herbs. Which I guess means I should call this Chick Pea and Tahini Salad IV, but whatever!)
This time I had dill in the fridge needing to be used up so I figured I would try it. The result was fresh and good. Mint would be a terrific substitute or addition. You can really go in many directions with this one! You can mix it with rice or use it to top a green salad or just eat it right out of the mixing bowl with a spoon while standing in front of the fridge (not that I would ever do that. Uh-uh. Not me).
Chickpea and Tahini Salad III
1 Tbs lemon juice or red wine vinegar (start with half a tablespoon and increase to your taste)
1 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs dill, chopped
28oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs red onion (a quarter of a medium red onion), sliced thin
Mix or whisk lemon juice or vinegar and tahini together in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well.
Spring is definitely here – rain, fresh green smells, vegetable garden popping up all lively and bright, lily of the valley spreading lush fragrance low to the ground, lilacs towering above and spreading their own heady perfume, birds and bees doing their spring dances, kids going mental.
But there is still a chill in the air, especially at night, and there is certainly time for one or two more heavy comfort meals.
One of my favorite is Garbanzos con chorizo – chick peas or ceci with Spanish hot sausage. I don’t make it that often, because the little guy won’t eat garbanzos (yet), but after the crazed month or two I’ve just put behind me, I deserved to slather on some favorites.
Here it is – simple as pie and tasty as all get out.
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Tbs sofrito, if using prepared, 3-4 ice cubes worth if using homemade frozen (see Sofrito for Freezing) or follow the recipe below for making fresh sofrito to order*
3-4 oz Spanish-style spicy chorizo sausage (you may substitute hot dry Italian sausage, or one of those hot supermarket brands that comes fully cooked), peeled and chopped into 1/4” pieces.
2 Tbs tomato paste
15 oz can diced tomato
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs dried oregano
¼-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 pint soaked garbanzos (or 2 15 oz cans, rinsed and drained)
Heat oil in a large saucepan at medium-high until fragrant. Stir in onions to coat, then lower heat and sauté, about five minutes. Add garlic and sofrito and cook until fragrant. Add chorizo and heat until it begins to release its oil, then immediately add tomato, cumin, oregano, salt to taste and garbanzos. Cook at a lively simmer for 20 minutes and serve over rice.
*Here is a quick sofrito recipe that will work for this dish if you are actually making it to order. If using this sofrito recipe, do not use additional onion. The garlic stays the same.
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 3 oz ham steak or jamón para cocinar, diced (optional in this dish)
- 1 oz bacon, chopped rustically (optional in this dish)
- 1 green cooking pepper (cubanelle or Italian pepper), diced
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 6 culantro leaves (recao), minced
- 4 sweet small peppers called ají dulce in Hispanic markets (do NOT purchase Jamaican ají or scotch bonnet! They look the same but the Jamaican/scotch bonnet are HABANEROS, deadly hot and inappropriate for this dish!) seeded and minced
- ½ Cup cilantro leaves, minced
Heat olive oil in whichever sauce pan you are making your dish in. Add ham and bacon, if using; cook until done (bacon can be crisp) then add other ingredients and saute until soft and fragrant.
(Happy Earth Day, everyone! I am not trying to ignore it, nor am I not cooking at all at home, but I have had so many professional and personal events in the past week that I admit to not doing much new or innovative in the kitchen. I organized and moderated two events on campus; was the keynote speaker for an annual gala of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Metro NY chapter – what a terrific group of people!; — plus my teaching responsibilities; my son — we just went to a performance of Peter and the Wolf today in NYC and had to negotiate around the rain and the E line being nonoperational- ick!; the dictionary; which should be available this week as an e-book on Amazon and at the Apple store, more on that later;…in short, I have been up to my neck in it! However, I’ve always got something in my back pocket to tell you about, and here it is. Simple and basic, but delicious. And more excitement later in the week as I catch my breath!)
This is a nifty stove-top snack that is relatively — actually quite, very, absolutely – healthy. Except for the part where it gets addictive and people starting pulling the bowl towards themselves and not sharing (Yes, that was me). It can actually get kind of ugly…you might want individual little ramekins as a preventative measure.
For an oven-roasted version click here.
1 pint presoaked chick-peas*, patted dry (or a 28 oz. can of chick peas, rinsed, drained and patted dry)
generous gratings of salt and pepper (Mediterranean seasoned sea salt blend is really good here)
2 or more heaping Tbs cumin and garam masala (or other spice powder blend that you like)
Heat a heavy skillet on medium high until quite hot. Add chick peas and seasonings and toast until starting to scorch, , at least ten minutes, stirring or tossing very frequently. When toasted all around, adjust seasoning, pour into a bowl and serve as a party snack or accompaniment to cocktails (as you might serve peanuts) for two to four people.
Chick peas are my favorite pulses (legumes). In soups, as falafel, in salads…I love, love, love their density, their subtle nuttiness, their cute shape. So it is a great joy to discover yet another way to prepare and enjoy them. These superpower beans are easy to toast and just a bit of seasoning is all the enhancement they need.
These almost didn’t make it to the buffet table, because I kept snacking on them in that compulsive way that one snacks of popcorn or potato chips.
These I made from 1/2 lb of dry beans. Instructions for soaking follow the toasting recipe.
2 cups chick peas ( or 2 15.5 oz cans, rinsed and drained)
¼ cup olive oil (you may substitute vegetable oil)
1 generous tsp cumin
Several gratings of black pepper
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix all ingredients and lay in a single layer on a rimmed oven dish. Cook for 20-25 m until crisp and golden, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature and serve.
To soak chick peas: Rinse and sort through the chick peas, then place in a bowl with more than enough water to cover overnight. Change the water in the morning and leave for several hours. Rinse and drain, then simmer with enough water to cover for two hours, scooping off any foam. It takes a long time, but there are long periods of neglect involved, so don’t worry! The savings and the texture and flavor are terrific!
One of the few things I miss when winter finally gets out of my face for a few months is hearty soups. So, to celebrate (or bid adieu to) the tail end of the cold and damp, I made just such a hearty (and spicy) soup. I served it to late evening guests recently as a stodgy and substantial — but lively - counterbalance to late evening imbibing. It was very restorative the day after too! I actually served it in tea cups, which was kind of sweet and cozy, and just the right moderate portion for night-time. It’s also easier to handle than bowls when you are sprawled on couches and not seated at a table.
It is another riff on one of my favorite types of soup: a bean, a green and a sausage. This time the bean is nutty, firm garbanzo and the sausage spicy Cajun-style Andouille. The green is kale. If you are not familiar with kale, it is available pretty much year-round, another leafy-green packed with nutrients and fiber and all that good stuff. It is similar to spinach and chard when you cook it, but you have to cook it quite a bit longer for it to soften up. The advantage is that it won’t get mushy in your soup, but will retain a bit of crunchy character. The colors in this one are also really lovely!
Andouille Sausage, Kale and Garbanzo Soup
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ Cup red pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6-8 oz andouille sausage (or other highly seasoned sausage – I like spicy, but you can use non-spicy too), in ½ inch slices
1 bunch kale, washed thoroughly, stems removed and chopped
2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½ inch squares
32 oz low sodium vegetable broth (or however much broth you have, mixed with water to make 32 oz)
1 15.5 oz can chick peas (garbanzos, ceci), drained and rinsed
2 Tbs fresh thyme or 1 Tbs dried (may be increased or decreased to your liking)
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil until liquid and fragrant, add onions, stir to coat then reduce heat and allow to soften and become translucent. Add red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened. Increase heat to medium high, add sausage slices and cook through. Stir in kale and potatoes and coat well. Add vegetable broth and additional water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a lively simmer for 15 minutes. Add garbanzos and thyme and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread/a grating of parmesan cheese/a dollop of fine extra virgin olive oil.
I try to make one of my daily meals a salad and I have to admit, I’ve been in a not unpleasant but not particularly exciting rut: nice lettuce, grape tomatoes (if I have the heart to buy tomatoes out of season) and cucumbers with one of those dressing mixes you make in a cruet that my mom got me addicted to and I am only somewhat ashamed to admit to. I might add some cheese, some walnuts and cranberries, red onion, but don’t really vary it much. Sometimes I make the major move of opening a can of chick peas (we call them garbanzos in Spanish) and add some.
The other day though, I remembered how easy it is to make garbanzo salad and how long it lasts in the fridge getting tastier and tastier. A scoop of this salad (a slight variation on Molly Katzen’s version in The Moosewood Cookbook) adds spice, texture and protein to an otherwise boring salad (and eliminates the need for dressing). I also take it to BBQs and other potluck affairs where I know there will be plates and forks. It is also really nice mixed with rice and eaten cold.
I named my version for Greta Garbo because the name lends itself rather obviously, but also because it is distinctive, has a subtle and intriguing spiciness, has ginger (for her ginger hair) and because no one can ever leave it alone.
Greta Garbanzo (chick pea and ginger salad)
2 15 oz cans chick peas (aka garbanzos or ceci) rinsed and drained
2 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger root (more if you like!)
½ cup red onion, minced fine
3-4 cloves garlic, minced fine (I tend to use more)
Salt to taste (you might not need it if the garbanzos are salty)
Pinch of cumin (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar (cider vinegar subs in just fine. Reduce amount if using regular white vinegar)
¼ cup lemon juice (about half a juicy lemon’s worth)
Place chick peas, ginger, and red onion in a medium bowl or plastic storage bowl with a cover. In a small bowl mix the oil, vinegar and lemon juice with a whisk or a fork until emulsified (blended together). Pour dressing over chickpea mix and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate. It’s best made at least a day ahead, but you can also make it on the fly and it will be delicious. Gets better and better over the next week.