Appetizers

Roasted Mediterranean Chickpeas

Chickpeas!!!  SERIOUSLY, chickpeas!  You may know them as garbanzo beans, disguised as hummus, or the lonely, untouched container at your local salad bar.  I am here to start a revolution for these, creamy, delicious, and underrated legume.  

My favorite way to eat them is roasted.  Let's face it, roasting makes everything taste better, and chickpeas are no exception to the rule.  This dish is adapted from a recipe I found on The Kitchn earlier this week, and it makes a great healthy snack.  The chickpeas are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside coated in a mediterranean spice blend of sumac, oregano, cumin, garlic, mint, and lemon.  They are a great alternative to popcorn, and much more satisfying and flavorful at that.  Try swapping out your bag of microwave popcorn for a bowl full of these roasted chickpeas the next time you rent a movie.  

And trust me, make a double batch of this recipe because they will be eaten up as soon as you set them out on the table.  Viva la chickpea revolution!  

Ingredients: 

2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sumac

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 heaping tablespoon fresh mint, minced

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Make sure to rinse them very well, until all of the protein bubbles stop forming.  Next, dry the chickpeas really well on paper towels and then place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Cook the chickpeas for 20 minutes stirring them halfway through their cook time.  

While the chickpeas are roasting mix together the remaining ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and combine the spices and oil into they form a slurry.  After the chickpeas have cooked for 20 minutes place the chickpeas into the spice and olive oil slurry and gently fold them in until they are thoroughly coated.  Put the chickpeas back onto the cookie sheet and cook for another 4-5 minutes until golden brown.  Make sure to let the chickpeas cool for a few minutes before serving, as the peas will crisp up as they cool.  These are best served warm.

Summer Peach and Cherry Chipotle Salsa

Peach and cherry Chipotle Salsa ingredients

While the rest of America is sweating and basking in the summertime sun, San Francisco is covered in a constant, depressing layer of fog.  The mornings are drizzly and windy, and if you're lucky the sun will peek its head out from behind the clouds for 5 minutes and tease you while you're slaving away in your cubicle, and then disappears just as quickly as it came.  San Francisco at this time of year is basically the antithesis of everything Summer should be.  

On days when I'm missing the sunshine I turn to warm weather inspired dishes to whisk me away to a sandy beach where even the word fog is non-existent.  This summertime salsa is made with the juiciest farm stand peaches and cherries you can find, spiced up with a kick of smoky chipotle peppers, and then finishes with a hint of lime juice and cilantro to balance out the sweetness of the fruit.  And they say there ain't no cure for the summertime blues!

Peach and Cherry Chipotle Salsa

Summer Peach and Cherry Chipotle Salsa

Ingredients:

2 large peaches

1 1/4 cup diced cherries

1/2 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup minced cilantro

2 pinches salt

1 chipotle chile, very finely minced

juice of 1/2 a lime

makes approximately 1 1/2-2 cups of salsa

Dice up the peaches and cherries into similar bite-sized pieces and put into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Mince the red onion, cilantro, and chipotle chile and then incorporate into the fruit mixture.  Season with 2 pinches of salt and the juice of half a lime.  Stir everything to combine.  Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and an ice cold beer.

Radish Toasts with Herbed Butter

Radish Toast Ingredients

I have a confession to make.  I'm having a love affair.  A love affair with radishes.  I'm sorry, John.  I know how hard this must be for you.  It was only a matter of time until you figured it out.  I'm sure you've seen my eyes wandering in the kitchen, secret trips to the refrigerator, and an over abundance of radishes in our meals. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.  Seriously though, these crispy, peppery, ruby colored gems have become one of my new favorite vegetables.  And contrary to popular belief, radishes aren't just for salads anymore, they can very well be the star of the dish.  

As of late I've been obsessed with radish toasts.  I think I could eat them every day for the rest of my life, although my arteries probably wouldn't be too happy about that.  This dish features radishes in their purest form- raw and sliced thin on a slice of crusty, toasted bread slathered with a healthy dose of butter.  But not just any butter, herbed butter with fresh dill and chives, and the whole shebang is toped off with a sprinkling of lavender salt.

herbed butter

I'm already drooling just writing about it.  This recipe is unbelievably simple, but the key to the success of this dish is the quality of the ingredients.  There aren't many, but if the ingredients aren't the best you can buy it's almost not worth making.  So spend the few extra bucks, it will be well worth it.

radish toasts with herbed butter close up

Radish Toasts with Herbed Butter

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons chopped chives

2 tablespoons chopped dill

zest of 1 lemon

1 bunch radishes

loaf of rustic bread

lavender salt

Let butter come up to room temperature so that it is soft and easy to work with.  Add chives, dill, and lemon zest.  Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined into the butter.  Next, toast 4 slices of bread.  While the bread is toasting, thinly slice several radishes.  Once bread is toasted let it cool a bit before spreading on the butter.  You want the butter to melt just slightly but not soak completely into the bread.  Make sure to use a good amount of butter.  Ignore your screaming waistline.  Top buttered toast with a single layer of radishes and sprinkle on a pinch of lavender salt to each piece.  Makes approximately 4 large toasts.

radish toasts with herbed butter