Spiced Salmon Kebabs with Lemon

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It was time to bring out the grill. The rain quit long enough one evening, finally, for us to consider grilling and we were set on having kebabs for dinner. Danny had picked up the most brilliantly coral salmon I’ve ever seen. The piece of wild salmon was really so pretty and only improved by a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

We’ll get to those chicken pinchos on the cover of Bon Appetit soon enough, but we were drawn to this recipe first. It’s straightforward and easy enough to do on a weeknight. Assemble spice mixture. Assemble skewers. Grill.

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Crispy (Fried) Chickpeas

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If you find yourself without a Dutch oven, it’s time to get one. It is absolutely one of my favorite tools in the kitchen because it is so useful. It’s essential for simmering a big pot of beans and it’s my secret for frying without fear.

Flying hot oil has landed on my arms more than once, but none of those kitchen scars are recent. With the proper equipment, I no longer cower behind a splatter guard as a shield. The high walls of a Dutch oven catch oil that would potentially spray everywhere, and the wide surface area allows enough room for food to crisp and brown. In this big pot, frying chickpeas is a cinch.

That’s right. Fried chickpeas. You’re gonna love them.

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Summer Chickpea Salad

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Chickpea week continues with this Summer Chickpea Salad. Tender chickpeas are tossed into a chopped salad of summery staples (peach! cucumber! tomato!) and a light grain with torn herbs. We’ve eaten several variations of this salad in the last month or so, but this is my favorite. Peach, always and for the rest of the season. Cucumber because it’s so refreshing, but sometimes I like lightly grilled zucchini.

This salad shows off the chickpea’s versatility because it’s a meal you can adjust to whatever vegetables, grains, or herbs you prefer or have around. Try quinoa or farro and add more grain if you like as the measurements below keep that ingredient fairly light. You can toss in some toasted nuts or crumbly feta or queso fresco. Parsley would be good here, too. The green onions are easy and delicious in here, but I bet red onions (maybe quickly pickled?) would be great, too.

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Hummus

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I love that hummus has become an accessible, everyday snack you might serve at a party or see shared in an office. When I visit Miami, my mom usually picks up a tub of it for me. During college, when it was really easy to be a vegetarian, I bought local hummus. Ha! But it was time to try making my own. Again.

I messed it up in the past somehow, and it wasn’t really worth it. The dip I made always seemed to be missing something. So I stuck to grocery store hummus.

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How to Cook a Pot of Chickpeas

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Red beans seem like a more likely candidate, since I grew up on gallopinto, but garbanzos are my favorite bean. I mean, chickpeas. I go back and forth on what to call them since the cans I bought always said garbanzos. I love the bean’s nutty flavor and its versatility.

And I love that I finally learned how to cook a pot of them. No more canned chickpeas. We’ll have homemade hummus, crispy fried chickpeas, summer grain-bean salads, and more. This will be chickpea week on the blog! More recipes to come. But for now, let’s start with a pot of beans.

The thing to remember about chickpeas is they have a longer cooking time than other beans. A couple hours will do it. Two cups of dried chickpeas will yield more than enough this week’s recipes. I soak them in the morning before I head out the door for work. By the time I get home, they’re ready to be drained and cooked.

As the chickpeas simmer, celery, onion, garlic, and bay leaves warm up and create an aroma that will remind you of mom’s kitchen. And my mom doesn’t even cook garbanzos. But the aroma of simmering chickpeas has that alluring and savory quality that permeates the house, letting everyone know something really good is happening in the kitchen.  Continue reading  continue reading