Time has been getting away from me. This always seems to happen the very second I notice the days getting shorter. I end up torn this time of year--not liking the lack of after work daylight, but being drawn to the warm-the-house-up, stick-to-you fall dishes.
Like this new find: Baked Chickpeas from Tessa Kiros.
Learning about Tessa Kiros these past few weeks, through I Heart Cooking Clubs, has made me say "how 'bout dat!" more than a few times. The food has been great, but there's more to it than that. I've noticed many similarities between Kiros' stories of Greek culture and my own stories of Cajun culture.
Her description of New Year Wish Cake, with its hidden coin, being eaten by everyone, including children in school...
Do I have to say it? You know where I'm going. King Cake. How 'bout dat!
We have our King Cake with a coin, bean, or plastic baby hidden inside. And I have clear memories of King Cake parties at school every Friday.
The story behind the baked chickpeas I made this week also made me feel at home. In Food From Many Greek Kitchens, Tessa Kiros says that baked chickpeas are a Sunday afternoon staple, made in a special pot that is passed down through generations. Cast iron and Magnalite pots are treated the same way in S LA.
Kiros also creates an "aww, cher" moment when she explains that mothers and grandmothers take their special pots of chickpeas down to the baker on Saturday afternoon. Here, the chickpeas will be baked in the wood oven all night and retrieved Sunday morning.
This image of women walking to the bakery with their pots in hand, smiling and nodding to each other--I doubt they'd wave considering they're holding heavy ceramic pots--made me think of home. Of the idea that the entire community would essentially be sharing the same meal. A familiar idea to me this time of year with our "gumbo weather."
Every fall when the first good, strong North wind blows, mamas and maw-maws make a little round to the store. We all buy the same things--a chicken or a hen, sausage, onions, peppers, celery, garlic. We all nod at each other over the chickens and smile at each other while we stand in line, knowing that the whole town's about to smell like a good, dark roux.
These baked Chickpeas (or chicken pebbles as The Boy says) were very good. Very few and very simple ingredients bake together for hours to become a flavorful, creamy, homey dish. A dish with touches of sweetness from the slow-cooked onions and bay leaves. We liked this so much that, while it was served as a side dish, it became the star of the meal. However, we did all agree that the squirt of lemon at the end is necessary rather than optional as the recipe instructs.
Revithada (Baked Chickpeas)
from Tessa Kiros' Food From Many Greek Kitchens
1 pound 2 ounces dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 onions, well chopped
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Best-quality olive oil, for serving
Lemon quarters, for serving, optional (I think it's necessary)
Put the chickpeas and flour in a bowl, cover with plenty of cold water and soak overnight. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the chickpeas, rinse and put into a large round ceramic pot with a good-fitting lid. Cover with 4 cups of water and add the onions, bay leaves and olive oil. Stir a few times to distribute the onion, then put the lid on. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.
Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and remove the pot from the oven. The contents should be nice and bubbly. Season well with salt and pepper and mix. Return the pot, still covered, to the oven for a further 2 hours, when the chickpeas will be lovely and soft with a little of the thick liquid left. Turn off the oven and leave the covered pot inside to cool for about 1 hour. Taste for salt and pepper, then serve warm, with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, if you like.
Because time has gotten away from me and I'm working on pics & videos from this year's Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, this will be my only food post for the week shared with...
I Heart Cooking Clubs--this week's theme "Peasant Food"
See Ya In the Gumbo #2--right here until Friday, Oct. 21
Family Time Tuesday @ Celebrating Family
Tuesdays at the Table @ All The Small Stuff
Tasty Tuesday @ Naptime Creations
Hearth and Soul vol 70 @ Mom's Sunday Cafe
Tuesdays Tasty Tidbits @ Permanent Posies
Bake With Bizzy @ Bizzy Bakes
Thursdays Treasures @ Recipes For My Boys
What's Cooking Thursdays @ Feeding Four
Turning the Table Thursday @ Around My Family Table
Simply Delish @ KB & Whitesnakes Home
Potluck Friday @ EKat's Kitchen
Friday Food @ Mom Trends