Friday, May 14, 2010
Last week, I put some chickpeas on the stove. I had a desperate craving for a chickpea salad sandwich (more on this in a minute) and, being out of the canned variety, and considering the amount of time involved to soak and cook legumes in mountain altitudes, I decided to use a quick-soaking method. Here, you cover chickpeas in water, bring them to a boil, and immediately turn off the heat before letting them sit for a few hours.
So I put the chickpeas on the stove, turned the heat to high, and left them there. I left them while my daughter and I snuggled with a book, I left them while we proceeded to take a nap. And an hour later, when I woke, perturbed to hear my daughter stir and announce sleepily, "mama, it stinks," I left every thought of chickpeas in a vacant corner of my head, and had absolutely no context for the odd odor seeping under my bedroom door.
Even when I opened the door to a thick, white wall of smoke, my first thoughts were someone has firebombed us! and why don't any of my three smoke detectors work? and not: chickpeas. It was only when, staring blankly into a sputtering, indiscernable mess on the stovetop (what was it, anyway? boba? black beans?), I realized that the smoke had something to do with me. I transferred a ruined All-Clad pan to the backyard, and started opening things up. Corraling two cats and a toddler would have been a good idea, but in my sleepy delirium, I just didn't think of it. There was still smoke pouring out of every window, seeping under every door.
Convinced one of the cats had escaped, I frantically searched the porch, then ran down the street, calling "Abra! Abra!" not stopping to notice the eyeliner smeared across my face, or the fact that I was braless and wearing my husband's undershirt, or that for some inexplicable reason, many of my neighbors had decided to congregate on their porches at 3:00 in the afternoon.
I usually do not conduct myself this way.
Half an hour later, we were all composed and safely in the house, which smelled only slightly less bad, and still does.
But there's a good reason for this, I promise. Because while my mind was far away from the burning chickpeas, it was dilligently occupied with another sort of chickpea. Or bean, or peanut, or a thousand other silly terms we use to talk about embryos and fetuses. I am pregnant. And sometime this Fall, our family expects to meet this chickpea person who incites a desire for very specific sandwiches and afternoon naps, and makes me want to leave things on the stove.
I am not much of a planner, and I suppose that's evident in this too. I wouldn't have planned on the fostering/adoption process and being pregnant, about to publish a cookbook, adding all sorts of new things at once. But when I find myself in the midst of it, the corners of my mouth turn involuntarily upward, and I cannot imagine a better life in the world.
But oh! back to those chickpeas. This was my intent, to make a simple Salmon-Safe Pâté and use it to fill slices of sprouted grain bread. This could be just a pregnancy thing, but I think you'll like it too. Note that this recipe calls for canned chickpeas, no stovetop required.
about 2 cups
This recipe uses dulse, a type of seaweed prized for its high mineral content and intense flavor. If you can find it, applewood-smoked dulse from Maine Coast Sea Vegetables adds amazing flavor. Just break an 8"x 1" length into small pieces, and soak briefly in water before adding.
2 tablespoons dulse
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut roughly into chunks
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until well-combined, but not pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, and refrigerate at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Serve as a sandwich filling, or with an assortment of vegetables. Celery and red bell pepper are particularly good at scooping it up.
Raw Salmon-Safe Pâté
Now that the nausea of early pregnancy has passed, and I'm eating more raw foods, this is the version I make often. Substitute a combination of 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds and walnuts, soaked for at least 2 hours, for the chickpeas. Omit vegan mayonnaise. Process the mixture slightly longer, scraping down the sides often, until you reach a consistency that still has its texture, but isn't noticeably chunky with nuts and seeds.
Stuffed into a halved bell pepper or tomato and served atop salad greens, the raw version makes a perfect healthy lunch.