Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tiny Baked Potatoes with Spiced Chickpeas

I feel like I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: It’s always worthwhile to read a cookbook all the way to the end. I tend to find fascinating tidbits in those last pages. When the final chapter is about sauces or toppings or stocks, there’s always something interesting there that makes me like the book even more than I already did from reading the main sections. That just happened once again with The Way to Eat Now: Modern Vegetarian Food by Alice Hart of which I received a review copy. This new book is a paperback release of what was titled Good Veg as a hardcover in 2016, and it’s full of great ideas for vegetarian dishes for any time of day. Along with the recipes and photos, there are also added ideas and variations sprinkled throughout the chapter introductions and recipe head notes. For example, something I can’t wait to try isn’t written as a recipe but was just mentioned in the Mornings chapter intro. It’s a suggestion to make savory French toast by adding garlic or paprika to the custard and serving it with roasted tomatoes or wilted spinach and goat cheese. Some of the dishes include dairy or eggs, and some are vegan, and substitutions are offered. There’s also acknowledgement of time and cost, and when a step may take too long or an ingredient might be too pricey other options are suggested. Several dishes have southeast Asian influences, and vegetarian “fish” sauce is listed among the ingredients. You’ll find the recipe for the sauce in that last chapter I was praising, and I was delighted to see it’s not too time-consuming to make. You’ll also find a recipe for Vegetarian Nuoc Cham, Pickled Sour Cherries, Sweet Pepper and Chile Jam, and a Thai-Style Roasted Chile Paste. That last one sent me backwards in the book to revisit the recipe for Brown Rice Bibimbap Bowls with Smoky Peppers where it’s used, and that made me happy to have read all the way to the end. Back at the front of the book, I got a bit distracted by the Chia Jams. I’d seen this method before of using chia seeds to thicken a jam rather than adding as much sugar as usual. When I saw it here, I finally gave it a try and loved chia-thickened peach jam with a little honey. I also tried the Shaved Beets with Sprouts, Kefir and Dukkah but made a couple of changes by using vegan yogurt for the dressing rather than kefir and mixing the beets with arugula instead of sprouts. I have the page marked for the Chubby Polenta Fries with Almond Za’atar Salt, and I know I’ll love the Roasted Pineapple, Coconut and Makrut Lime Sorbet. But, I want to tell you all about the Tiny Baked Potatoes with Spiced Chickpeas. 

New potatoes are available from our local farms right now, but they’ll be gone for the season soon. They were simply roasted whole with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. At the same time, canned chickpeas that had been rinsed, drained, and left on a towel to dry were roasted with cumin, nigella, hot smoked paprika, and salt. I love crispy, roasted chickpeas, but there was a twist here in that before they were done lemon zest was added for the last 10 minutes or so. It smelled amazing and added great flavor. A little honey was to be added with the lemon zest, but I skipped it. A sauce was made with sour cream and finely chopped green onion. When the potatoes were cooked through and tender and then allowed to cool a bit, I cut each in half. Each half was topped with some sauce, crispy chickpeas, more finely chopped green onion, and more nigella seeds. 

These little potatoes would be great for a party. They’re just the right size to pick up with your fingers. The sauce works perfectly to keep the chickpeas in place on top of each potato, and the spices on the chickpeas give each bite a nice boost. There’s so much variety and so many ideas in this book, I suspect I’ll be spending a lot of time with it in the kitchen.

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  1. I'm with you on liking all the "extra" stuff in a cookbook. I certainly am happy to see new recipes, but it's the techniques and tidbits that are most useful to me. Anyway, this looks like a really neat dish -- thanks.

  2. These not only taste great but are also aesthetically pleasing. Thanks for the efforts.

  3. You made the simple baked potatoes so very inviting and tasty!

  4. What a nice recipe Lisa...I love the combination of the creamy potato with the crispy chickpeas...and yes, great finger food.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. This is such a wonderful 'pick me up' kind of dish to go with the drinks

  6. Lisa, it's always a pleasure reading your posts- I always get new ideas such as thickening jam with chia seeds- who would've thought!


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