Socca

While flipping through my most recent edition of National Geographic Traveler I came across this 1-page article on Socca (chickpea flour crepes).  Seeing as the picture indicated that this Socca (which I had never heard of before) was a food, I decided to read on.  The ingredient list was simple: chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt.  The intent seemed ideal: to be in rough shards, eaten with your fingers.  How could I go wrong?  So I tried it.

The batter is fairly thin- much like crepe.

Socca batter

Socca batter

There are several options for cooking these- under a broiler (in a fry pan), on a very hot baking stone, stove top.  I opted to make my first three on a baking stone, preheated in a 500 degree oven, and the last in a cast iron pan so that I could see the difference.

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

I served these as a gluten-free flatbread type of side to lemon-pepper chicken and green salads topped with crispy-fried mushrooms, roasted red peppers and cheddar cheese.

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt (or more if you really want to taste it)

Directions:

  • Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours
  • Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone in it
  • Give the batter a quick whisk and ladle a quarter of it into the skillet
  • Switch the oven to Broil and let it go for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and the socca is cooked in the middle (yet still tender) and crispy around the edges. Use a spatula to remove it from the stone
  • Repeat to make the additional flatbreads
Socca- ready for cutting

Socca- ready for cutting

Tan-tan chicken and snow peas

Tan Tan chicken with snow peas

In the spirit of trying to eat all things local, I’m posting this recipe as snow peas are now available in our local fields. At the very least I know that Red Fire Farm has them because they’re on the list for CSA members for Pick Your Own crops this week. If they’re not available yet in your area, these crisp, flat peas are typically out in loose bins at most grocery stores.

Between its sweetness and its crunch, the snow pea is a great snack in raw form. They’re also fantastic steamed or stir fried, and they do not require the accompaniment of any sauce or spice. In this case, I’ve tossed them in a peanut sauce that is just a little sweet, a little savory and has a touch of heat. This dish is fine on its own, but would be great served over rice too.

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp peanut butter

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1-1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp honey

2 medium cloves garlic, chopped

2-1/2 TBS peeled & grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp water

pinch of cayenne to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Snow peas, ends trimmed

1/2 cup minced scallion

Directions:

  • Bring a fry pan up to a medium heat and sauté the chicken breasts in sesame oil
  • When the breasts are cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside to rest while you prepare the sauce
  • Blend all of the remaining ingredients, except the scallion, together in a blender
  • Cut the rested chicken breasts up into bite-sized chunks and return them to the pan and toss with the snow peas, sauce and scallion

 

Steamed Butternut Squash with Ancho Chili Dressing

Between entertaining out of town guests, exercising my right to a social life, training for the next big race (we have our mile down to 9:28- yay!), and living life in general I have neglected my blog.  For this I should be ashamed.  But it is not for lack of cooking, or trying out new recipes.  There is just not time enough in the day to get them all out on the internet 😉  That said….

We are entering the fall season very soon (9/23 to be exact) and with this new season come a whole load of new crops from the farmers.  Our October CSA shares will boast of goods such as: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, collards, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard greens, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, cool-weather spinach, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, turnips and squashes.  As I tend to cook with what I have in the fridge, I’ll attempt to keep you stocked with interesting ways to use these fabulous ingredients.

This particular recipe was inspired by World’s Healthiest Foods and turned out quite lovely.  It fills the house with the warm smell of cinnamon and sweet onion while it simmers.  The finished dish is naturally sweet and the squash has a creamy consistency.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into cubes

1 medium red onion, cut in half and sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon & 1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Steam the squash cubes for about 6 minutes

  • While the squash is steaming, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of broth for about 3 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently
  • Add the garlic and spices and mix well

  • Next, add the remaining broth and begin to simmer
  • Add in the steamed squash and cook together for another 3-4 minutes

  • Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cilantro, and serve

We had this as a side to a chicken from our meat CSA which we had put on the rotisserie smothered with herbs de Provence.

Black Bean Chili with Chicken & Zucchini

This recipe is a great way to get some low-fat protein and fiber worked into your diet with a huge flavor profile.  It’s simple to make and only takes about half an hour from start to finish.   And did you know that the Chinese black bean, also known as Douchi, is a fermented soy bean? So if you’re trying to eat a more primal diet, these are an acceptable item.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, quartered & chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of black beans

2 cups of diced tomatoes

1 small can mild green chilies

2 Tablespoons ancho chili paste

1/2 cup cilantro

Sour cream

Directions:

  • Warm a skillet over a medium heat, add olive oil
  • Season the chicken breast with chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper & sauté for a couple of minutes per side- just to get the cooking process started.  Remove from heat & set aside
  • In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, zucchini and garlic for 5 minutes.  While these are cooking, cut you chicken into bite-sized pieces
  • Add the chicken, beans, tomatoes, chilies and chili paste to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Top with sour cream & cilantro and serve

Chicken cauliflower curry

Alas, this dish has no cute story to go with it.  Just a fantastic flavor profile, and lots of textures.  It’ll make your home smell wonderful and you’ll be wanting to sample straight from the pan all the while it cooks.  And that’s not a bad idea either.  This way you can track the progress of the flavor meld of the ingredients.  It’s great to witness that happening.

I call for the chicken to be added back in nearer to the end of the cooking time because if it sits in the pan throughout then it will get tough and chewy.  That would be a horrible thing to do to a perfectly good chicken breast 😉

Ingredients:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 small red potatoes, cubed, with the skins on

½ head of cauliflower, trimmed into bite-sized pieces

3-4 Tbsp hot curry paste

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup cooked lentils

Directions:

  • Sauté the chicken breast, then remove it from the pan and set aside
  • Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and cauliflower and sauté for another 5 minutes
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute
  • Add tomatoes and water and simmer for half an hour
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add that and the cooked lentils to the mixture and let simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered
  • Season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Serve in large bowls.  Naan makes a great accompaniment

J