P1170074It is bitterly cold in Brooklyn this weekend. There is not even the promise of snow that could help me forget about how miserable this weather can be. The windchill is in the single digits and going outside seems like a very bad idea. I find myself stuck indoors, unprepared to face a weekend with only what I have in the cabinets. I opened, and re-opened the cabinet, hoping for something exciting I didn't notice the first five times I looked. Finally, I decided to reach towards the back and grab a can that had been in there for quite some time.  Canned chickpeas. No, I didn't want hummus. And, no making a salad wasn't an option, given the absence of anything green in my refrigerator. I decided today was the day to try making roasted chickpeas. Turns out, although it's not a quick fix for a snack, it is a versatile, economical, relatively healthy, easy option to know about when your best bet for something to snack on has to come out of a can.  P1170095 The recipe I used combined two different recipes for a Moroccan spice-mix version, to which I added a few adaptions of my own. It bears mentioning that a recipe for roasted chickpeas is like a game of telephone, each time the information is passed on, it changes a bit. I say this because I've come across tons of variations on how to flavor the little buggers as well as how hot your oven should be and how long to cook them. In fact, while I was prepping the chickpeas for the oven, and loudly cursing my crappy can-opener, my friend (who I was on the phone with) consulted her recipe for this dish and read me yet another very different interpretation of how to roast chickpeas.

That said, I think where this snack gets interesting is in how you choose to flavor the chickpeas. I liked the Moroccan spice mix just fine.  It did make my apartment smell like a shawarma restaurant, but it was an powerful flavor. I think these would also make a great Superbowl snack, flavored with some Creole seasoning as a nod to New Orleans, perhaps. Either way it was fun to make this little snack, and made me feel good about using what was already in my kitchen. I'm including a few different flavor options, depending on what's within your reach that day.

Roasted Chickpeas For flavor options, including the Moroccan Spice Mix I used, see below. Recipe adapted from Kalyn'

2 can chickpeas, preferably organic 2T olive oil 1/2 teaspoon - 1 teaspoon spice mixture of your choice (go lighter on stronger flavors) salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Drain chickpeas into a colander and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain for 5-10 minutes, then pat dry (crucial step to avoid mushy chickpeas) and rub off any of the translucent skins that may be falling off.

When beans are well drained and dried, toss with olive oil, spice mix of your choice, and salt. Arrange in single layer on large baking sheet. Roast 40-50 minutes, or until they are slightly browned and make a rattling sound when you shake the baking sheet and appear crunchy enough for you. Testing one is your best bet. Serve warm or let cool.

Moroccan Spice Mix 1 3/4 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. ground coriander 1/2 tsp. chile powder 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. ground allspice 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Creole Spice Mix 2 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoons salt (I lowered this because of salt in the original recipe) 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cayenne 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Other Ideas Spicy version - add 2 teaspooms of chili powder + a few dashes of hot sauce. Salt &Vinegar - toss roasted chickpeas cider vinegar and sea salt to taste. Indian inspired version - add 2 teaspoons of garam masala.

Roasted Chickpeas With A Creole Spice Mix on Foodista

Zucchini linguine martini bikini Fritters

P7310198.JPGI made zucchini fritters the other night. A fine thing to make to use up some of the mid-summer abundance of squash. While I was standing there with my box grater, grating up zucchini I kept hearing Vince, this hysterically energetic infomercial guy who sells some chopping kitchen gadget. At one point in this particular commercial while he's demonstrating all the things you can grate, he says things like, "fettuccine, linguine, martini, bikini". Hey, what about zucchini, that rhymes too! (This guy has a ton of ridiculous lines one of my favorites being, "stop having a boring tuna, stop having a boring life" that I can't seem to get out of my head, probably cause his commercial is on once a morning while I'm trying to watch for the weather.) Anyways, if you haven't seen Vince in action, it's kind of funny in that infomercial way. Watch it here (localappetite does not endorse the use of this product, only the use of this kind of enthusiasm for cooking). P7300187.JPG In case you hadn't guessed by now, I've been on a one-dish kick this summer. It's insanely hot in my kitchen and basically when I have the time to cook, I'm not making entire meals. Something fresh and tasty that utilizes my CSA produce is basically the only thing that has been motivating me this summer. I've just been rounding out the meals with more cheeses, eggs, dips and fruit. It has been a good way to handle eating at home without being in the kitchen for too too long. I was a little hesitant to fry for these fritters. But, Nigel Slater's entry on the same in The Kitchen Diaries had been in the back of my mind for some time. The only essential step to this process is the time to allow the zucchini to sufficiently drain (see photo above) otherwise you'll end up with soggy fritters that will fall apart when you try to cook them.

The one surprising thing about this recipe was that it added an extra step, which although I followed, I think I would recommend you omit it. Instead of simply mixing the grated drained zucchini in a bowl with your binders, egg and flour, and then frying, he writes that you should saute it all in a pan first and then add the flour and egg and then make little balls and fry in a second pan. I thought he might be onto something (maybe it added extra flavor or helped to further dry out the squash?), but after cooking the recipe through, I think it was an unnecessary step, leaving you with an extra pan to clean. I wouldn't want to do that to you. Either way you do it, you'll end up with light and moist zucchini fritters, if you don't flatten them too much into more of a pancake shape. As you know zucchini works well with almost anything, but either feta or Parmesan would be interesting. I used dill for the seasoning, but definitely just go with what you like or have on hand. And just like zucchini itself, this dish is versatile and will go with whatever else was on the menu for that night. Or, if you're like me, it's ok to just eat this and save room for dessert. It's too hot to eat a big meal anyways, right? P7300193.JPG

Zucchini Fritters Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries, by Nigel Slater

3-4 zucchini, grated Salt 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove of garlic, minced 1/2 cup grated cheese, your choice 1 handful of fresh dill, chopped 1 egg, lightly beaten 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour Olive oil

Coarsely grate zucchini and place in a colander. Salt liberally and allow to drain for about 30 minutes. When ready to use take handfuls of it and squeeze out any additional water before placing it in a bowl.

Mix drained zucchini with the rest of the ingredients. It will be a slightly stiff mixture. Heat a heavy pan with enough olive oil for frying. Drop mounded tablespoons into the pan and allow to brown. Keep your eye on them as the oil gets hotter (they will cook very quick at the end) and take care when flipping the fritters as they fall apart easily (a spatula and a fork together worked best for me).