Garbonzos I Have Loved


The inspiration is one of my favorite snacks sadly, not shared by my assistant, yet, carrot sticks dipped in hummus and here I tried to deconstruct the two things only to reconstruct them better.

via carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas | smitten kitchen.

I made this soup, which is delicious, if standard, and became fully converted to the camp of Chickpeas Make a Great Snack. There are not a lot of people in the camp, I know. But I am just saying, if you get a post card from me with a funny postmark, don’t get alarmed.

Roasting chickpeas on a cookie sheet can be a little tricky. The little guys can turn black in a hurry. But the end result, with just a little garlic and oil, is all kinds of potato-chip hearty. They are a perfect compliment to soups, as in the above excerpt; but it is enough to simply eat them by the greedy handful.

I am not making that up.


And Then the Sphinx Says…

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


[12:35 PM] Me: Now. Here’s a riddle. Why is it a grilled cheese sandwich if you fried it, not grilled it?


[12:41 PM] Bob: …why not saute….then…eh….broiled…


[12:41 PM] Me: Yes! Right? From now on, I’m calling them sauteed cheese sandwiches.


[12:42 PM] Bob: …cheese toastie….cheese melt….


[12:42 PM] Me: Cheese sneeze!


[12:51 PM] Bob: …believe it came from the 1920’s use of a grill to describe a dinner type foods…and the sandwich…cheese melted on bread with all manner of meats and salads layered on…where concocted using the ….grill…the term used for the Viking g1140 model range which included a flame grill, flame broiler, griddle (which in its self is often refered to as a gril) , convection oven and warming oven….to this day the flat griddle type cook surface in a Dairy Queen is refered to as a grill…even though it truely is a large hot plate…which things are fried…


[12:52 PM] Me: You really are a scholar!


[12:55 PM] Bob: …I think it is frying that got us in all this confusion…when have you ever prepared …one inch deep or more container of oil …heated to around 370 degrees …then plopped a pattied burger into …well…to fry a burno frying is the problem…my burgers from a pan…are browned and heated through…in a pan I just finnished carmelizing onions in…not fried…




‘Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs’

We ate this for lunch and agreed it was the perfect meal for the middle of the day — or the beginning of the day, or the end of the day.

via Moroccan Merguez Ragout with Poached Eggs recipe from food52.

Click through for the recipe. It is brilliant, simple and fast. All it is, is a tomato sauce, basically, that you poach eggs in. The flavor is apparently all Moroccan, namely a curry-like blend of cooked-in spices known as ras el hanout and a just-before-serving dollop of a salsa-like condiment known as harissa. Neither of which is as expensive or as hard to find as I thought they would be.

My version is not quite the same, though. For one thing, my eggs ended up being more sunny-side-up than poached, though that seems unimportant now. As it did after I distractedly cracked the eggs, finishing my second glass of wine with a self-satisfied slug.

For another, I used fake meat instead of sausage. Though, now, I think that chickpeas would be superior, even, to the Merguez sausage called for in the recipe. Certainly, there has to be a there there, but chickpeas could be it.

Vosges Haut Chocolat ‘Goji Bar’

It is well, I think, to realize that a person does not know everything.

To wit, I recently came into possession of a Vosges Haut Chocolat Goji Bar, which is a thin, three-ounce candy bar made of “Tibetan goji berries,”* “pink Himalayan salt”** and “deep milk chocolate.” And nothing else, I might add, if the published list of ingredients can be trusted.

I will add that, while I did not buy this particular bar, they retail online for $7.50 at the Vosges Web site, and can be found at a yuppie grocery near me for $6.99.

How good is a $7 candy bar? Pretty good, actually. But after eating about half of it (I still have a quarter of it leftit is all gone now), I realized I was doing it wrong. I know this because the back of the package has actual instructions. What the people at Vosges are selling is not, in fact, a candy bar at all; it is more like high-caloric therapy (230 in a 1.5-ounce serving, 130 from fat).

The first thing you have to do, according to the instructions, is three “deep ujjayi breaths.” This is a yoga thing, though no one at Vosges must know that because they included the redundant adjective “deep”; and it actually has nothing to do with the candy. So, if you have unwrapped it already, put it down and finish your breathing.

Next, look at the candy. It is a pleasant brown color, about the shade of my briefcase. Then, after rubbing your finger on the surface, smell it. It smells delicious, like fresh baked caramel brownies, or some such; however, now my finger is sticky. Now break off a piece and listen for the apparently distinctive “crisp, ringing pop, which indicates a well-tempered bar of chocolate.” Temper, Vosges says, is the quality of the bond between cocoa butter and cocoa mass. Mine broke with a soft, not unpleasant thud, but the bar has been open since Friday night.

Finally, you can eat it. But only a small piece, and for god’s sake don’t chew it right away. Vosges wants you to mash the candy to the roof of your mouth for half a minute, allowing the “raspberry, plum and currant undertones” of the goji berry to sluice over your tongue. I have trouble detecting all that fruit. It is not that I have a poor palate, though; I can totally pick out off-brand “cheez” puffs from the real thing. After 30 seconds, a lot of the chocolate has faded away, and so the only thing left to do is chew the goji berries and the salt. Over all, it really is quite nice. I will go further and say that it probably is worth $7 — if you are the sort of person who pays that much for candy bars.

Alas, even as you swallowed the last bite, you probably suspected that you were not finished. Now you have to “feel” “the mystique of these little pink gems.” I am not sure what Vosges is getting at. Nothing looks pink to me, except for the box the candy came in. I even ate a piece and looked into my open mouth in the mirror, but it was like looking at the top of a poorly made, chocolate-frosted red velvet cupcake.


Now. Because I am a master of science (really), I decided to contrast the Vosges method with my own, which I will call the Halloween Snickers One-Handed Gulp.

The first step is to insert the bar into your mouth just about as far as it goes, but not so far that you are in danger of choking. So far, so good. Next, close your teeth around the chocolate, bite off what is in your mouth and move the rest of the bar away from your head. O.K. Now, see, an advantage to this method is that the reflective silence that Vosges recommends you indulge in is enforced by the mass of chocolate in your mouth. Now chew. Again, the Vosges bar is quite nice. The main difference that I detect in this technique is that a mouthful of the chocolate gets to be real gummy toward the end, with the gojis bunching up and sticking to your teeth like dried, tart little gummi bears.

When you are done chewing, swallow and put more of the bar in your mouth. Repeat.

*Goji berries are more commonly known as wolfberries, and though they are frequently used in organic foods they bestow no proven health benefits.
**Himalayan salt is a marketing term for rock salt mined in Pakistan. Likewise, it is no different than numerous other varieties of salt.