Roasted Chickpeas

Need a quick (and somewhat healthy) snack for yourself, or maybe your impending dinner party guests? Roast some chickpeas! This is a quick and easy recipe for the holidays, or, any time. I made mine a little garlicky and spicy, but, play around with the spices–herbs de Provence, crushed red pepper and curry, lemon pepper seasoning, or, whatever you like. There are endless flavor combinations.

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • dash or two of garlic salt

Line a rimmed baking sheet (or regular sheet) with parchment paper and set oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and drain chickpeas, pat dry with paper towels. Put chickpeas in medium sized bowl and fully coat with olive oil. Don’t add spices yet as they will burn in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes or, until the beans are crisp and browned. (Note: some may burst open and that’s totally fine). Get that bowl you previously used and pick up parchment/beans and transfer to the bowl. Add spices and stir with spoon until fully coated. These are good warm and will be crispy. They do tend to lose some crunch once they’re cooled. Enjoy!

roastedchickpeas2

roastedchickpeas

Browned Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

This recipe is different in that, I used browned butter, rather than vegetable or canola oil. The nuttiness of the browned butter lends another layer to the pumpkin and spices and has a more complex flavor than my normal pumpkin bread. Plus, I am on “team browned butter makes everything better,” because, well, it most certainly does.

  • 3 1/2 C AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice*
  • 1 C unsalted butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C mini semi sweet chocolate chips or, 1 C dark chocolate chips

Spray two 8″x4″ loaf pans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees

To brown butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool. (We don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

*Note: As always, you can adjust the spices to your taste. I didn’t have enough pumpkin pie spice, so, I had to add a little ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. When the butter has cooled, add to beaten eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin vanilla and milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and add chocolate chips. If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a little bit more milk. Divide dough between the loaf pans, bake at 350 for 45-50 min. Check the bread with a toothpick in the center to see if the bread is done. Cool on baking racks. Or, have a warm slice…like I just did.

Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits, Take II

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

I sit here with a cup of coffee, a purring cat by my side and blustery winds outside (it’s not really that cold, maybe 50 degrees, but my apartment is cold). The morning sun is reflecting off the houses and it’s very quiet outside. Saturday is my favorite day.
Sometimes I make mistakes…I mean, how else will I learn? After the first try, I decided to scrap the previous recipe and re-do it by adding more cold butter and substituting a little dark brown sugar for honey. I also made my own buttermilk (see below). These actually taste and look like biscuits. The previous recipe results looked like lumpy scones and didn’t taste very good at all. These are light, flaky, layered biscuits. The extra flour and butter definitely helps too. I think this recipe is far better!

To make buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 TB or fresh lemon juice. Add juice to milk and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or, until it thickens. Use as you would regular buttermilk.

  • 2 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 TB chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C. buttermilk
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. chopped, toasted pecans (in 2 TB of butter)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toast pecans in a skillet in two tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or, with hands, until butter is the size of peas or tiny pebbles, set aside (If you’ve handled it too much and the butter pieces are warm, chill the dry ingredients while you deal with the wet ingredients). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the buttermilk and brown sugar, add vanilla and pumpkin. Stir until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in toasted pecans. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, don’t fret, add a little flour and use your hands or a spoon to mix it. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and press into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 inch thick all around. Also, try not to over handle the dough, as the butter will warm up (which you don’t want). If the dough becomes too warm or sticky, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Press (don’t twist, or else the biscuits won’t have layers) biscuit cutters into dough and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough makes about 12-14 biscuits. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or, until slightly golden brown. You’ll be able to tell when they’re done. Serve warm with some whipped honey, or, like I did, with butter. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or, wrap up in wax paper and foil in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

Before I took the biscuits out of the oven, I switched on my Pandora Charlie Parker station…the song that played? “April in Paris.” Weird coincidence? I think not. My heart goes out to all the people of Paris. Je suis Français.

Baked Kale Chips

baked kale chips

baked kale chips—pretty good for my first try.

I’m not sure exactly how healthy these are…but hey, you gotta live a little, right? All things in moderation!

I used pre-packaged (washed) organic/local mixed kale. (Yes, I realize that I sound like a Brooklyn stereotype). I didn’t even bother to de-vein it or tear it up either.

  • 1 packaged kale, or 1 bunch of de-veined kale, torn into pieces
  • 1 1/2-2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkling of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper

Put kale in appropriate sized bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and crushed red pepper. (If you want spicier chips, use a mixture of chili powder and maybe some cumin). Massage oil and spices into kale until it’s well-coated. Evenly spread kale on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (hello? easier clean up) and bake at 275 degrees for about 20-25 min. About halfway through, turn kale over using tongs. It should be pretty crispy after 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it. What did I have for dinner? Um, possibly baked kale chips and beer. I’m not ashamed…it’s college football Saturday!

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

I love fall. Getting up before the sun rises and the moon is still out, cooler temperatures, not sweating to death or passing out while waiting for the subway at Jay Street, wearing a jacket, college football, baseball playoffs, hockey (sad face here) fall vegetables….

It seems almost cliche to write about using pumpkin in the fall. But, I really do love pumpkin: cookies, waffles, pancakes, brownies, muffins, bread, you name it. Recently, I came upon a vegan recipe from the Joy the Baker cookbook that I tweaked a bit. I used dark brown sugar, a dash of vanilla, low fat maple syrup and added some unsweetened vanilla almond milk while combining the wet and dry ingredients because the dough was too thick. I thought about adding cherries or cranberries too, but wanted to taste the pumpkin and not be distracted. So, perhaps next time I’ll add some dried cherries. I think I like the vegan version of the bread over any non-vegan versions I’ve ever made. It’s delicious. Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease (or use cooking spray) two 8x4x3 inch loaf pans and set aside.

  • 3 1/4C. all-purpose flour
  • 2C dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of each: Vietnamese cinnamon (or regular), freshly grated nutmeg, and allspice.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1C canola oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3C lite maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C almond milk
  • 1 can of pureed pumpkin (15oz)
  • 1C chopped, toasted pecans

Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the oil, pumpkin puree, syrup, water and vanilla in another bowl. Mix until well combined and it resembles applesauce. I prefer a fork over a whisk for this task because it’s easier. (Oh, and a note about apple sauce: You could swap out half a cup of oil for 1/2 cup of apple sauce). Add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix well with a spatula. At this point you might want to add a little bit of almond milk if the mixture becomes too thick/dry. You be the judge. After well combined, add the toasted pecans, mix and then divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 for about an hour and ten minutes, or, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the bread.

Let bread cool in pans and then when pans are ok to handle, pop bread out onto a plate or a cooling rack and cool completely. Or, if you’re like me, cut off the end of the pumpkin bread and gobble up with a slather of soy margarine. Or, if you want to be completely non-vegan: some butter. Whoops! Haha.