Sunday, December 18, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Roasted Chickpeas, The Winter Solstice and The Ursid Meteor Showers

December… Christmas… New Year’s Eve… 
It’s party time for sure!
And what’s a party without lots of snacks?

I recently posted the recipe for Ma’s Zucchini Dip.
Hope the summer squash recipe is being enjoyed now by readers south of the equator, and next summer by the rest of us.
Here’s a recipe that can be used by anyone, anywhere, at any time - Roasted Chickpeas.

Roasted Chickpeas make that lovely loud crunch, like potato chips. 
But, and here’s a great surprise, chickpeas are high in protein since they are actually legumes, like peanuts. 
They have been enjoyed for quite a long time.
Did you know that 7,500-year-old chickpeas have been found in the Middle East?
Chickpeas are also known as gram or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo beans, Egyptian peas, ceci, cece and chana or Kabuli chana.

In 1793 ground roasted chickpeas were used as a substitute for coffee in Europe.
During the First World War they were used this way in some areas of Germany.
Good to know if coffee prices go up again.

Here are a few more chickpea recipes:


You can season roasted chickpeas any way you like. Some suggestions:
Salt, garlic, and cayenne pepper
Creole or Cajun seasoning
Garlic, Parmesan cheese and rosemary
Sesame seeds and garlic 
Cinnamon and sugar 

Vegan bakers have discovered that the liquid from canned chickpeas can be used like egg whites, putting meringues back on their menus.
The meringues taste very sweet and are easy to make. 
You can also eat the unbaked meringue, like marshmallow fluff.
the liquid has to be from canned, not home prepared, chickpeas.

                        Roasted Chickpeas 

Arrange the rack in the middle of the oven
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 

Drain in a strainer over a bowl, reserving the liquid (see Hints above)
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
Rinse the beans with water for a few seconds. 
Shake and tap the strainer to get rid of excess water. 
Lay a paper towel on a rimmed baking sheet, and spread the beans over it. 
Use another paper towel to pat and absorb any water on the beans. 
Place the beans in a bowl.

Drizzle over the beans 
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
Toss the beans around to coat and season to taste. 
Spread the chickpeas in a layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, checking them occasionally to make sure that they do not burn.
The beans should be a deep golden brown and crunchy. 

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

December 20 – Last quarter Moon, 8:56 p.m. The Moon appears as a half Moon in the sky. One-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is decreasing, heading toward the New Moon (invisible) phase.

December 21 – The Winter Solstice, 5:44 a.m. The Sun reaches its farthest point south of the celestial equator so it’s the shortest day of the year in terms of sunrise to sunset. The good news is that the days will start getting longer from here!

December 20 – 23 – Nature’s annual holiday light show, the Ursid meteor showers, are at their peak. Visible from the north all night, these meteor showers generally produce anywhere from 5 to 15 meteors per hour at their peak (usually on the first full night of winter, Dec. 22).  They are the dusty debris left behind in the orbit of Comet Tuttle. There have been a few occasions when the Ursids have surprised observers with a sudden outburst many times their normal hourly rate (over 100 per hour in 1945).

December 25 – The tiny waning crescent Moon will be at apogee, its farthest point from Earth in its orbit. 

December 29 – New Moon at 1:53 a.m. 

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