It started innocently enough, as affairs often do. A blog post here. An email there. Then it descended into a full throated affair. But I should begin at the beguin.
I was an avid reader of a Kim O’Donnell, a former writer for the Washington Post. She had one of the earlist food chats, What’s Cooking, and wrote a terrific blog, A Mighty Appetite. She’s done wonderful work for tasty vegetarian cooking and I try to follow Meatless Mondays and have done a couple of Eating Down the Fridge weeks. The Post killed her chat and she eventually relocated her blog to TrueSlant (since purchased by Forbes).
One of her blog posts caught my eye: Superfly Fries. Panisse are akin to French fries made from flour from dried garbanzo beans. I buy mine at Indian groceries where it’s known as Besan. You bring chicken stock up to a simmer, stir in the flour, and cook until it thickens. Then pour out the batter in a pan and refrigerate. Cut into segments like home fries and deep fry. Serve with a bit of mayo.
I then proceeded to buy too much of the flour and didn’t want it to go to waste. Turns out that a 50/50 blend of wheat flour and besan is great in many recipes. I’ve done some homemade pasta and it’s wonderful. Nice and nutty. Also makes great pancakes. This stuff was definitely in the rotation.
The capper came this past week. We’ve started doing the South Beach diet. Or rather, the lovely Keen is doing it full bore and I’m trying to be supportive. So, I make SB compliant meals and limit my consumption of carbs to finishing up after the boys or catching happy hour on my own. Thing is that not having any kind of bread or rice is difficult. I’ve made some nice discoveries. Tofu goes nicely into a beef stew (adds the missing satiation of mashed potatoes and picks up flavor from the sauce). Still, sometimes you want some bread.
Enter the humble garbanzo bean. Or rather, the chick pea. I did say this was an ode to a chick. It’s allowed under the diet for reasons unclear to me. Perhaps it’s the protein content. I don’t know. However, Keen found an amazing recipe for a chickpea flatbread called socca. It’s absurdly easy and sensational. Probably takes about 20 minutes to make. Put a cast iron skillet in the oven and turn it up to 450. Do a basic mix of chickpea flour, water, salt, and pepper. If you like them, add some onions and a bit of rosemary. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet, swirl, and then pour in the batter. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn on the broiler for a minute or so to finish.
Unbelievable. The stuff is amazing. Here's the relevant links as I have nothing to do with this recipe.
So, I’m in love with a chick, even though it’s a pea. Fortunately, my wife is willing to allow this affair of the stomach.