Oct 6, 2010

A Handful of Miscellaneous Rambling Reviews

I lied about what I'd have for you today. 
Hope you'll forgive me for postponing The Husband's Saturday Sandwiches.
I think you will when you see what I have instead.

These Provencal Roasted Chickpeas and Greek Pizza weren't in my blogging plans.  But they were both too fun, pretty, and tasty not to share.  Forgive me now?

How about now?
Yeah.  I thought so.

Do you know I never ate a single chickpea until I was in grad school and tried hummus at a seminar?  By the way, the seminar was very popular since there was free food to satisfy those 4 PM hungries.  The hummus was also popular because this was a weekly horticulture seminar and someone always always had to make a joke about humus. Please forgive that too.

Chickpeas are not something I grew up eating.  Mom never cooked chickpeas in any form.  Ever.  In fact, she never made anything remotely Greek. 

But now I love both chickpeas and Greek food.  When we "go to town," i. e., Lafayette, we like Zeus Cafe for Greek food.

Neither recipe today is authentic Greek.  So I totally wasted your time talking about all that.  I'd ask you to forgive me again, but imagine I've reached a limit.

The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells This is where I found the chickpea recipe.  The Husband bought the book when he was on a French food kick.  Both of us are a little disappointed in it.  First, I'm ashamed to say that I've become addicted to food porn.  All the food blog voyeurism and glossy, sexy cookbook photo peep shows are to blame.  If a cookbook doesn't have big, bold, glistening food photos...well, sometimes looks are important.  I need that eye candy.  I'm more willing to try a recipe when I can undress the food with my eyes first.  The only pictures in this book are grainy black and white and most are of people and places.  

Another issue for us is that unless you live in a large city, a foodie city, on a farm, or Provence, some of the ingredients may be hard to obtain.  And many of the ingredients are expensive.

We were both getting pretty annoyed over the fact that the book hadn't served us very well.  I was browsing the recipes wondering what had we made?  What did we like?  Then I saw the "recipe" for Fresh Goat Cheese w/ Freshly Cracked Black Peppercorns.  The title is longer than the recipe, I swear.  The Husband decided, "Oh, well, then it was worth getting the book just for that idea."  It's simply rounds of goat cheese with fresh cracked black pepper pressed into them.  I make myself sick because I always eat too many.  


Roasted Provencal Chickpeas is another recipe we liked from Wells' book.  It was a fun little number to make...especially when some of the chickpeas started popping in the oven.  Exciting!  The author suggests playing around with your own seasonings and I agree.  I started by following the recipe, but ended up adding garlic powder and wishing I had added some cayenne.  I found that I had to drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil to get the seasonings to stick.  The chickpeas have a nice crunch and nutty flavor.  Definitely would make this again, but double the recipe.  The book claims "serves 8," but I'd say more like 5 or 6 if you're dealing with polite people.

Printer Friendly

Roasted Provencal Chickpeas
adapted from The Provence Cookbook

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried in a towel
drizzle of olive oil
2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
generous sprinkle of garlic powder
* next time, I'd add a few pinches of cayenne too

Preheat oven to 450.  Place chickpeas in a large bowl.  Add a light drizzle of olive oil.  Toss with seasonings.  Pour onto a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.  Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.  Toss occasionally while roasting to keep from burning.

Remove from baking sheet to a shallow bowl to cool.  Store in a sealed container for up to 1 week (but they won't stick around that long).


Greek Pizza The Oct/Nov 2010 issue of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking was the inspiration here.  The Husband wanted this pizza on the menu after seeing the picture...see what'd I tell you about food pics?  

The biggest changes I made were to use homemade wheat crust b/c I think it tastes better than premade shells.  And something about a tomato based sauce and these ingredients didn't seem right to me.  Instead, I brushed olive oil on the crust and squirted half a lemon on it too.  Made some other minor changes like using kalamata olives since I had some in the fridge anyway, and cutting back on the onion.
This pizza was really, really good.  Like this is now my favorite pizza good.  I thought it was even better the next day and I'm not a leftover pizza person.  Even better, the ingredients were enough for TWO 12" pizzas so we had it twice last week.  And I could eat it again very soon.

Printer Friendly

Greek Pizza

Inspired by Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Oct/Nov 2010

* enough for two 12" pizzas

2 premade 12" pizza shells OR if making your own dough, see below
Olive oil
1 1/2 lemons
1 (5 oz) package fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
about 1/2 of a small red onion, cut in rings
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 scant cup feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced Kalamata olives
black pepper

Prebake pizza crusts.  Drizzle each with olive oil then squirt 1/2 a lemon over the top of each. 

Divide the remaining ingredients between the two pizzas.  Pile on the spinach then top with the onion rings.  Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese and feta cheese.  Scatter the olives on top of the cheese so they're visible.  Shake on a little black pepper.  Squirt the juice of the remaining lemon half over each pizza (skip if you don't like strong lemon flavors).

Bake at 450 until the mozzarella melts.

Homemade Wheat Pizza Dough

Based on Master Pizza Dough recipe from Aimster aka Amy

Makes 1 (14-inch) thick-crust pizza or 2 (12-inch) thin-crust pizzas.

1 cup whole wheat flour
2-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 package FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast *see note below
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 F)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into dry ingredients. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface10 minutes.


Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s). Sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll to fit desired pan(s). Bake in preheated hot oven (450) for about 10-15 minutes.

Amy’s Notes: Honestly, I think this recipe is so easy, I just mix it with a spoon at first and then switch to using my hands. I only knead until it is smooth --probably about 4 or 5 minutes. Test it after a few minutes to see if you can pull a piece of the dough into a thin, tight membrane that you can see light through. If it breaks before you can get it there, knead some more.

*Note: There are several types of yeast available for baking. Make sure you buy Rapid Rise yeast for this...that’s what makes the rising time so short.

This is linked to the following:

What's On the menu Wednesday @ Dining With Debbie
Cookbook Sundays @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen


  1. I just became interested in chickpeas in the last year too. I'll have to try them roasted once I get the green light, to change my diet again.

    That pizza looks great. I'll have to make it for my Mom sometime, since DH thinks spinach on a pizza is sacrilege, LOL.

  2. I've seen the chickpeas done like that before, but I've never made them. I will have to give it a shot. Thanks for the recipe!

    Around My Family Table.

  3. Growing up my family made huge pots of garbanzo beans. I never liked beans growing up. Those were bad days for me. As I've gotten older, I must have lost about a zillion taste buds because I can actually eat garbanzos without going ick! I even like hummus. who knew? Roasting them sounds interesting.

    That pizza also seems quite tempting.

  4. I'm on my way for some of those roasted chickpeas. I know without a doubt that I would love them and not be able to conduct myself politely at all.

    Same thing goes for the Greek pizza. I love all those flavors, especially the sharp tang of the feta. Normally my husband beats me to the leftovers, but this pizza would be worth fighting for.

    p.s. I think it's great that your husband actually buys cookbooks or magazines that feature tasty recipes on the front. It's great that you can talk about that stuff together.

  5. I never grew up with chickpeas either - in fact I was probably almost in my 40s (late 30s at least) before a chickpea probably ever passed my lips. As soon as they did though I was hooked, and now I ALWAYS have them in the house. Must try this version- I'm pretty sure I would love it and I know I would love that Greek pizza too.
    Sue :-)

  6. I have you beat. I never ate chickpeas until probably about 3 years ago (and I'm 47). I was missing out as I just love them. I can eat them right out of the can. And I love your Greek pizza! I like the changes you made, my "go-to" pizza dough is whole wheat and I agree about the tomato sauce. It looks wonderful, I would be eating the leftovers for breakfast the next day. Cold. Thank you so much for linking up to Cookbook Sundays!


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments.