Crunchy, Crispy Chick Peas

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This is a fantastically tasty, addictive, and healthy snack to have in your back pocket. I ate one can’s worth for dinner a few weeks ago and, although I was stuffed, I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it.

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The key to getting the beans to crisp is to dry them thoroughly before tossing them in the oil-spice mixture. If they are moist then they will not brown and you’ll have a bit of a soggy mess to deal with.

I like them with the below mix of spices, but you can mix it up and go with just garlic-rosemary, maple-cayenne, dill-dry mustard, etc.

Crunchy Chick Peas

borrowed from Menu Musings

1 15-oz can chick peas, rinsed, drained, and dried
2 T olive oil
1T minced garlic or 1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt (because canned beans are usually salted, be careful with how much you add in)
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t Italian seasonings
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix the oil and all of the seasonings except for the rosemary. Add the chick peas and turn to coat them thoroughly. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Shake them up a bit and bake for another 10 minutes, or until sizzling and crispy. Take them out and toss with the rosemary and, if you like, some grated Parmesan cheese.

They will be very hot, so try to resist. I know– it’s very difficult. I burned my mouth because I have the patience of an angry rhino.

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Blue Cheese Crackers

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I was looking for cupcake recipes this past weekend (Seth and Mia’s wedding is coming up! Cupcakes for all!) and stumbled upon dear Nigella’s Irish Blue Cheese Crackers.

Dear Nigella does seem to have a tiny issue with being a little, ah, forthcoming. But by gum the lady does know how to make a mean cracker.

I thought this would be a nice treat for my coworkers, who just spent a week training strange East Coast people in D.C. Poor souls need something comforting to help them forget the bad weather and flirty females!

You will need:
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Irish Cashel)
1 stick butter
1 egg yolk
3/4 c flour
1/4 c cornmeal (Nigella calls for blue cornmeal, but the only way that would happen in my house is if the yellow kind grew mold)
Pinch salt

Cut up the butter and let it soften to a seriously mold-able substance.

Add the blue, erring on the side of more.

To avoid getting blue cheese all over your fingers, flake it off the main hunk with a paring knife:

Slap the yolk into the bowl, but reserve the white for brushing later. The crackers, not your hair.

Here’s where I ran into trouble, because I lack a certain amount of patience and didn’t feel like letting the butter soften. I had no choice but to crank up “Money Maker” on the old iPod and really put some serious effort into crafting a homogenous mixture out of what felt like hardened cement. All worth it, in the end!

Add the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix together.

Don’t bother using a spoon; just go at it with your hands, like some sort of animal. Doubtful that an animal would embark on a cracker-making extravaganza, but oh well.

Lump o’ dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When it’s ready, preheat your oven and dust work surface with flour.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. It will be fairly crumbly, so just mash any stray bits back into the dough.

Using your favorite cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut out all the dough. It should fill one baking sheet because they do not have to be far apart.

Brush the tops with the remaining egg white and bake for 10-15 minutes.

They will bubble from the butter and egg white. When they are toasty brown, take them out and CHOMP!

I thought they were very tasty, but am thinking of experimenting with soaking the cornmeal before hand. For my taste, it came out a little too noticeable. Perhaps cutting it back a couple of tablespoons and subbing a bit more flour would do the trick.

They are flaky and chewy, with the perfect hit of blue cheese. I saw Nigella recommending to smear them with more cheese, but I feel that would be overkill.

Nom..nom..NOM!

Hummus

After making such a splendid batch of pesto it seemed like a royal shame to have it sit alone in the fridge without a playmate. Being the generous and obliging soul I am, I decided that hummus would be a fitting companion. So I went to work.  And do you know what I discovered?  Do you know what hit me over the head like a drunken polar bear as I licked my greedy little fingers clean of chick-pea delight? This simple beast is not so simple. It’s a real JERK sometimes.

I can never seem to imitate it, and that scares me.

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