Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers


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Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  To anyone reading this who is a current military member or a veteran or who has/had a family member in the military, thank you for the sacrifices you and your families have made.

The salad I'm writing about today was made on Wednesday and I've been eating on it the past couple days. I like it.  It would make a decent side dish (maybe for a cookout or gathering), and Deb from Smitten Kitchen even recommends it with some salad greens and a pita.  I am, however, eating it as a light lunch by itself with a fork.    It's great for warmer weather, and doesn't have the risk associated with mayonnaise based salads.  It's easy and quick, and can be made even quicker with jarred roasted red peppers.  I am going to type the recipe as I made it.  Feel free to peruse smittenkitchen.com for her variation.

Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 large red peppers, roasted and skinned
3 cups of cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned (about 2 15-ounce cans or 1-1.5 cups dry)
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or about 3/4-1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves)
3 tablespoons of capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or red wine or sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Cut the peppers into half-inch wide strips and put them in a large bowl together with the chickpeas, herbs and the capers. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, garlic and oil. Pour over the chickpea mixture and combine.Serve immediately, or refrigerate it for a day to get the flavors to mingle fantastically.

Salt Crusted Fish


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I can't believe how time has flown!  I speak both of the almost three weeks since my last post, and of my wedding anniversary.

Yesterday Drew and I celebrated six years of marriage.  I realize we're still relative newlyweds, but I'm just as starry-eyed over him as the day we started dating.  Marriage can be very difficult, but the rewards of perseverance and love are great.  One of the activities we've always enjoyed doing together is cooking, especially new things.  It's like a little adventure that you experience with the person you're cooking with.  We decided to tackle one of Alton Brown's "recipes" from Good Eats Season 1 ("Hook Line and Dinner" episode), the salt crusted fish.  After some light internet research I think I have learned that salt crusted fish is an Italian dish, and that it's a pretty widespread/common concept, having been written about in Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Gourmet Magazines, and with recipes online by the likes of Mario Batali and Alton Brown.

The salt dome not only helps to season the fish a bit; it helps to regulate oven temperatures for more even cooking.  It also makes you feel really accomplished as a cook for not too much work.  I will type up the recipe as we made it- that is, the serving amts with ingredient amts. adjusted accordingly.  I'll put in my notes how you can adapt this for yourself.

The whole meal- fish, served with citrus and sliced bread and a salad of mixed  greens, avocado, shallot, and orange slices.

Salt Crusted Fish
inspired by Alton Brown's Good Eats
Feeds 2 hungry adults

1- 1.5 lb whole red snapper, gutted, fins cut off, de-gilled
1.5- 2 lb Kosher Salt
1 orange, sliced into rounds and then halved
1 lime, sliced into rounds
10 sprigs parsley, whole
10 sprigs thyme, whole
1 egg white
2 Tb water

Preheat your oven to 450 F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (not absolutely necessary but beneficial).  Prepare fish; stuff cavity of fish with the citrus and the herbs.  Don't overstuff, but take care that the cavity is nicely packed.

In a large bowl, combine the salt, egg white, and water and form a wet mixture.  It needs to be moist and chunky but not liquefied.

On the sheet pan, lay down a 1/2'' thick layer of the salt mixture the approximate length of the fish and a little wider.  Place the fish on top of the salt and cover the fish in an even layer of the remaining salt mixture.  The tail and the mouth can be left uncovered.  Lightly pack the salt on; don't crush the fish but do make sure the salt forms a dome.  Think back to the days you played in sand or snow and tried to build tunnels.

Bake the fish 25-30 minutes or until salt crust is lightly browned.  Pull from oven and let rest/cool approx 10 minutes.  Break or loosen crust and peel off fish.  Using serrated knife, peel off skin and place flesh on a plate, taking care to remove any bones or to avoid the bones altogether.  Lift skeleton off and repeat with bottom half of fish.


  • We used a yellow-tailed snapper and purchased it from Whole Foods.  Most nicer grocery stores will not only have whole fish; the guys behind the counter (are they always fish mongers?) will gut, de-gill, and de-fin for you.  Thank God for those people.
  • We used orange, lime, parsley, and thyme because we had it.  Feel free to use whatever you want!
  • If you're feeding more than two people, use the general rule that you want 1 lb of fish per person.  
  • You want approx. 1 lb. Kosher salt per pound of fish.  The avg. box contains 3 lb of Kosher salt.
  • Other fish that work well include snappers, striped bass, salmon, etc.  

Run For the Roses (Derby Pie)


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Please excuse the hole in the middle...that's where I tested for doneness.  It's nicely covered up with whipped cream or ice cream!

Last year I had the fun experience of being invited to and attending a Kentucky Derby party.  The ladies wore dresses and hats and the guys wore...whatever they wanted.  We had various foods that each of us elected to bring, and I found this pie on Martha Stewart's website.  It was a huge hit with everyone who ate it.  It has a very dense, moist consistency, like fudge pie or chess pie.

It comes together fairly easily and is very tasty, so be sure to have this at your next derby gathering, which may be tomorrow.  Enjoy! 

The recipe title is also the link to the webpage on Martha Stewart's website- it's good for other photos as well as a pie crust recipe and video tutorials. 

Run For the Roses Pie
from Martha Stewart

1 pie crust
2 large eggs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
On a lightly floured work surface, roll crust into a 12-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing it into the edges. Trim to a 1-inch overhang all around. Crimp edge as desired. Cover with plastic wrap; chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Line with parchment paper, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust are just beginning to turn golden, about 25 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights. Return crust to oven and continue baking until golden all over, about 5 minutes more. Transfer pie shell to a wire rack; let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, mix together eggs and butter. Add sugar and flour; mix until well combined. Stir in pecans, chocolate chips, and bourbon. Pour into prepared pie shell.
Transfer pie to oven and bake until filling is set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pie to a wire rack; let cool before serving.
  • While the alcohol does dissipate during cooking, use your discretion if you'll be at a gathering with children or those who do not/cannot drink for whatever reason.  If you're really nervous about it, feel free to search for substitutes, but you're looking for a vanilla-caramel type flavor. 
  • The original recipe calls for a pate brisee crust.  I'm not yet foodie enough to have attempted to make my pie crust, so I use Pillsbury refrigerated crusts.