Thursday, May 27, 2010


To accompany our Vista Grand bison burgers after last Sunday's Slow Food Cincinnati tour of the farm, we were invited to contribute a side dish. Lately I've happened onto several mentions of new - to me - ways of preparing chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), including roasting and pan-frying them, and I wanted to try a new technique and incorporate them into the salad I had in mind.

The Pan-fried Chickpea Salad recipe from the ever-inspiring Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks was one of my jumping-off points for this dish. And I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I've lost track of another recipe where the blogger baked rinsed and well-dried canned chickpeas at high heat, the method I employed due to time constraints. I put mine into the oven on a foil-lined sheet tray at about 400 degrees with a tad of oil and some thyme and salt for 5-10 minutes, which definitely gave the beans more flavor. Next time I'd start with dried chickpeas and, as Heidi suggests, add leeks while pan-frying the cooked beans, plus garlic and lemon zest at the last minute, for even more flavor. While I decided to roast mine the night before since I needed to be at Vista Grand by 11:00 a.m., the texture would no doubt be better and crisper if, rather than refrigerating them ahead, you do as Heidi suggests and simply let the fried or roasted chickpeas cool to room temperature for serving.

Meanwhile, I blanched some asparagus, shocked it in cold water, and dried it on paper towel.
I also sliced some red, yellow, and orange pepper.
Tossed in some sliced green onions, and ended up with this.
For a dressing, I liked Heidi's yogurt-curry combo. But when I discovered I didn't have yogurt on hand as I'd thought, I went with an old stand-by I originally found in The Moosewood Cookbook that I've adapted to fit many recipes: sour cream, a bit of mayo, and a little lemon (or other citrus) juice. Plus some "sweet curry" powder a dear friend brought me from Morroco. Being a blend of numerous herbs and spices, "curry powders" are by no means all created equal. This particular sweet one, which is complex and not straightforwardly sweet, is one of my favorites. Curry can add such an interesting punch to a completely non-Asian dish, especially when used sparingly. One of my tablemates at the picnic asked me about the dressing, sensing something familiar about the flavor but not quite able to put her finger on it. When I told her I'd used curry, she understood right away.
I think pearl couscous would be another great addition to this salad. I didn't have any on hand, so I added some wild rice to my leftovers.

I promised you some announcements, and the first is that dear blogger friend La Diva Cucina, who won the May Culinary Smackdown with her enticing array of Caribbean food and drink, has (per her role as most-recent winner) announced the theme for the June throwdown: Picnics!!! I had such fun participating in the lobster smackdown in April. Now that my travel-crazy May will be over after another trip to Knoxville over Memorial Day, I am in for this next competition. What a great seasonal, endlessly variable theme, accessible to cooks of all dietary persuasions and inclinations! Full details here. There are creative culinary minds from all over the U.S. and beyond who've participated in the past, so it's a fun way to connect with other bloggers, get some great ideas, and spur yourself to cook up something new.

I'm excited to have found these folks and wanted to share their upcoming plans from their newsletter:
  • Sunday, June 13th: Second Sunday in OTR Spend the afternoon in one of Cincinnati's most eclectic neighborhoods for fun, music, shopping, art, and of course, food!  This fun event features live music at the beer garden at Neon's Unplugged, a Celebrity Chef Demo at 2:30, and a Street Fair on Main.  Stop by the Slow Food booth on Main St. to learn more, get involved, and sample some local fare.  June's theme is "Dog Days," so don't forget to bring your four-legged friends! Visit the Second Sunday website for all the details.
  • Thursday, June 17th: Fabulous Fermenting 101 Want to learn how to ferment your own food?  Join us for a hands-on learning experience at Turner Farm with Jennifer and Jordan from Fab Ferments to learn about the health benefits and culture of lacto-fermented vegetables.  This is a beginners hands-on workshop teaching the basic fundamentals you will need to make your own raw cultured veggies! Everyone will go home with three quart jars of fermented food.  Jars will be provided, but please bring a harvest basket, cutting board, knives and a pounding instrument.  Space is limited so reserve your spot by paying the class fee now!  Cost is $30.
  • Saturday, July 17th: Campbell County Backroads Farm Tour Slow Food Cincinnati will join the Campbell County Farmland Work Group for the Backroads Farm Tour Saturday, July 17th from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.  This self-guided driving tour of 17 farms will illustrate the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, beef, wines, and horse farms that give Campbell County its special character.  meet local farmers and experience farm life at its best.  Visit their website in June for a map and full schedule.  Admission is free.
  • Saturday, August 28th: Farmers' Fair Come down to the Roebling Entertainment District in Covington for this all-day celebration of local food!  The event will feature a Farmers' Market from 10-4, as well as food and wine tastings from local chefs and vineyards, cooking demonstrations, educational activities for the whole family, and featured speaker Ed Begley, Jr. Proceeds benefit Slow Food Cincinnati, as well as CORV (Central Ohio River Valley) Local Food Guide, the Northern Kentucky Chapters of the Future Farmers of America, and the Ohio Valley Foodshed Project.  Please visit the Farmers' Fair website for the most up-to-date information or to volunteer for this wonderful event.  Admission is Free.
  • Sunday, September 12th: Cooking Class and Dinner at Granny's Garden Did you know we have the largest school garden program in the Midwest here in Cincinnati?  Granny's Garden School serves all of Loveland's K-4th grader's, but when school's out, Slow Food gets to play!  Join us for a cooking class to learn new techniques and recipes for seasonal ingredients you may not be used to preparing.  After the class, we'll enjoy the fruits of our labor, of course!  Details are still being ironed out, but we'll be sure to keep you posted.
But Wait, There's More! Keep an eye out for more info on these other exciting events later in the summer.
  • Sustainable Sunday Join Park+Vine, Slow Food Cincinnati, and the Miami chapter of the Sierra Club for our next Sustainable Sunday.  We'll meet at 11 a.m. at Park+Vine, stop by Coffee Emporium for a fuel-up, then head out on a leisurely stroll along the river to Maribelle's for lunch. We'll plan to be back at P+V around 2 p.m. or so.  Check our blog or facebook page, or P+V's facebook page or twitter for final details and to learn how to RSVP.
  • Berry Picking Spend a day with your Slow Food friends picking fresh, delicious berries.  Because berries are so dependent on the weather, this event will likely be short notice, but open to all.  We'll send out an email and update our blog to let you know when and where to meet us!
  • Coffee Shop Talks Let's sit down with a cup of coffee and a local producer or grower to get to know more about what makes their business Slow.  Please let us know who you'd like to see featured in these talks.
  • Member Meeting at Brylan's Coffee Cafe All registered Slow Food Cincinnati members are invited to join us for our membership meeting, which will be held sometime in July at the lovely Brylan's Coffee Cafe in Newtown, where we will discuss the future direction of our chapter. 
Have a happy, safe, and relaxing weekend. I hope it will be seasoned with good food and loved ones to share a table with, wherever that might be.



Dani said...

Blogger ate my other comment. :(

My email is email me and I'll get those seeds in the mail for you. I also have purple cauliflower if you're intereste.

Lazaro Cooks said...

Love your dish. Interesting use of chickpea. And asparagus is one of my favorites. Great job!


Chef Dennis Littley said...

Hi Sharon!

I have really started enjoying chic peas..this is a wonderful recipe, I have not seen them with a yogurt dressing before , very interesting and I'm sure darn tasty!
thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!

Sharon Rudd said...

Thanks all for stopping by! For more great suggestions about roasting chickpeas check out this post by Chef Dennis:

He roasts canned chickpeas much longer than I did (40-50 minutes at 350), which would no doubt improve the crunchiness factor. I am taken with his idea of subbing them for pine nuts in pesto, and his commenters have some other great ideas to contribute to the melting pot. Happy cooking, all!


LaDivaCucina said...

Thanks for the link to Chef Dennis' post, I wasn't grasping the roasting part! I would like to see the salad with Israeli couscous too, yum! I think that this recipe would make a great meatless monday post! hmmm....

Thanks for all the cool foodie info and including the throwdown!