Batter Licker

January 4, 2012

project wedding dessert bar: part 14 (moroccan-spiced crispy chickpeas)

I’m a crispy chickpea addict. A year and a half ago, this snack ushered me through weeks of studying for the bar exam during Summer 2010, and (especially after passing the exam) I’ve felt indebted to it ever since.

So in some weird way, it made sense to include this snack – which stood by my side in my mouth during some of my more miserable moments – in the dessert bar I created for family and friends to enjoy on an evening celebrating one of the consistent sources of happiness during the past decade of my life: my relationship with Jay. But the inclusion of chickpeas also made sense from another perspective.

In retrospect, I realized that the desserts I chose to serve at my wedding very much reflected a sugary timeline of my life and development.

Fudge and toffee represented the beginning, when I learned my mother’s precision and the importance of following candy recipes exactly. Sometimes, my mind would wander, my wrist would ache from stirring, and I would lose focus. That’s code for: I burned and threw out quite a few bad batches along the way. But if I hadn’t learned then, I probably would have scorched a lot of chocolate instead of melting it into delightfully rich truffles.

Quite a few years later, I began experimenting with caramels, and after quite a bit of testing, I finally came up with my own basic recipe. Eventually, that recipe blossomed into the fleur de sel and bourbon spice caramels friends and family enjoyed at our wedding.

In the past year or two, I have taken more risks – in life and in the kitchen – which was reflected in the more innovative cashew-bacon brittle and s’mores brownie bites that disappeared so quickly.

But back to making crispy chickpeas … (more…)

October 12, 2010

hummus trio – plain, roasted red pepper, and spinach

Filed under: appetizer,beans,mediterranean,veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 9:38 pm

Two summers ago, I got a fever. And the only prescription was more hummus. I had just discovered the wonder of quick, easy, delicious homemade hummus, which cost me a mere $1.30 for five servings, and I got a little excited. I went a little overboard. I ate hummus every weekday for lunch for a month straight.

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Hummus on a sandwich; hummus on a salad; hummus as a snack with carrots, cucumbers, or pita bread for dipping; hummus on a spoon. It was crazy. And incredibly creamy, easy-to-make, flavorful, healthy, and cost-effective. It kept me full but energized. Summer 2009 was most definitely the Summer of Hummus.
(more…)

August 5, 2010

oven-crisped chickpeas

Filed under: appetizer,beans,vegan — Tags: , — Kristen @ 11:56 am

Healthy crunchy salty snacks: always an oxymoron, at least until these little protein-packed balls of crunch rolled onto my baking sheet and crisped up in my oven. Would you ever have thought that tossing a can of garbanzo beans onto a baking sheet would create an addictive Corn Nut-like snack? I wouldn’t have, so thank you Anna for enlightening me.

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Oven-crisped chickpeas Words of encouragement received from family and friends were what kept me going during the last few weeks before the California bar exam. But those same words did not keep me awake while studying.

Crispy chickpeas, on the other hand, did their best to wake me up with a satisfying yet guilt-free crunch every time I was on the brink of nodding off. And on all three exam days, crispy chickpeas greeted me with a smile at the lunch break, promised to discuss anything but the content of the morning’s exam, and provided an energizing protein snack that kept me awake, focused, and full but food coma-free during the afternoon portion of the exam.

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As you can probably tell, I’ve become a bit obsessed. But there’s no reason to be ashamed about this snack obsession. (more…)

May 4, 2010

chana punjabi

You could say I have a thing for beans – spicy, flavorful beans – specifically of the lentil and chickpea variety, and especially those flavored with Indian spices. You might even call this an unhealthy obsession, except that the beans themselves are very nutritious and, even so, I make sure to eat other, non-bean foods too. Like saag paneer, or tikka masala.

Before Indian food, I never understood the allure of beans (being from San Diego, refried beans – a burrito necessity – were, of course, an exception). And before moving to San Francisco five years ago, I had never had Indian food. Go ahead and gasp. But, again, being from coastal North County San Diego, we didn’t really, um, have Indians there.

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I now recognize this to be a great tragedy – culturally, culinarily, and otherwise. But at the time, I didn’t know better, and so I was more than happy to chomp on the authentic Mexican food served up at Cessy’s and consider myself more “in touch” with and “appreciative” of other cultures than the kids scarfing down animal-style burgers from In-N-Out. Luckily, my post-grad job brought me up to the city, where Mehfil changed my life forever (more…)

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