Sunday, August 14, 2011

triple threat chickpeas

a key project is due tomorrow.

methinks i am done with the project....yet, i'd like to sleep on it and then do a last pass through it tomorrow before i send it on. i've been focused on getting this project as well as another project that is due on the 22nd done. while i did take some time out on friday to hang out with some friends in at a baseball game in boxed seats no less...

most of the past few days have consisted of work, my kitchen, some break time reading, and a brief visit to the market. despite all of this craziness going on with large project deadlines, i've been ensuring that i've been taking care of myself food-wise. over the past few days i've been eating meals from batches of spicy chickpeas and red quinoa. having batches of grains, beans, and/or greens in my fridge on an ongoing basis is not new. yet, this is the first time that i've done the combo of spicy chickpeas and red quinoa though. i must admit that i've become a fan of the combo.

i started out with making a typical batch of spicy chickpeas.....which has been one of my standbys for years. it is a modified recipe from a 1999 issue food & wine. yup....that is how long i've been making and eating variations of this dish. i've upped the spice quotient quite a bit from the original recipe, added a few things like the whole chilies, as well as a "simmer stage" of the chickpeas with some water. the adding of the whole chilies is why i call it "triple threat chickpeas" (i.e., 3 types of pepper at this point.... cayenne, black pepper, + dried whole chilies). when i'm making it for me....i like to ensure that it is super spicy.

yet, the beauty of this dish is the flexibility of the core ingredients to make it however spicy (or not) that you want it to be. the core ingredients for this dish include......a can of chickpeas, oil (i used peanut this time), yellow onion, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, dried whole chilies, ground black pepper, salt, with a squeeze of citirus (lemon and/or lime), and chopped herbs at the end.

it is incredibly simple and fast. this dish also has a hot spicy heartiness to it that i enjoy quite a bit.

my having it with quinoa wasn't something i planned in advance. i just happened to already have made red quinoa earlier and already had it in my fridge.

over the next few days, i ate slightly different variations of the chickpeas and red quinoa. the first iteration included both with some cilantro which was lovely. it is also the herb that was recommended in the original 1999 recipe to use as a final touch.

my second variation included the cilantro again but then also having a side of the homemade carrot pickle (seasoned rice wine vinegar + buckwheat honey) that i had left over when making the foie gras banh mi.

the third variation included a topping everything with mint (rather than cilantro), a raita of chopped tomatoes, mint, and then more fresh slices of tomatoes....

and then the fourth variation which i didn't take a picture of included a melody of chopped herbs (i.e., cilantro, thai basil, and mint) and the rest of the tomato mint raita.

i enjoyed all of the variations quite a bit....and the methinks my favorite variation this time was the melody of chopped herbs. there is something about the mint in particular....that really adds a refreshing aspect to it.

i also discovered that without the raita.....the combination of the herbs, chickpeas, and red quinoa was very lovely at room temperature which makes me think about the potential to have this as a picnic dish at some point. this was a bit of an accident as i was eating this as i was the point where i was wrapped up in something and then realized after i took a bit that i had let the meal get "cold". i think i may try a picnic version of this....but perhaps include some chopped raw shallots for some additional texture, sweetness, and another type of "bite". sigh. there isn't any left as i ate the last of it today. but i wouldn't be surprise if i make another batch of the "tripe threat chickpeas" soon. i still have another project due next week and it would be good to ensure i have something quick, nourishing, tasty, and spicy on hand to help see me through some of these late nights.

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