BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Chickpea Flour Flatbread

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 6 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $3
  • 2 Comments

Chickpea flour is one of those wonderous miracle flours. High in protein (6 grams per 1/4 cup serving) and fiber (5 grams per 1/4 cup serving), and relatively low in carbohydrates (18 grams per 1/4 cup serving, only 13 of which are effective, after you subtract the fiber), it's an ideal product for anyone avoiding gluten or refined carbohydrates.

I tend to develop junior high school crushes on ingredients. Sweet potatoes, kale, coconut milk, avocados, and chicken thighs have all been my jam (come to think of it, jam, too, has been my jam).

Well, the latest stud on my culinary dance card is none other than chickpea flour, also known as besan or gram flour (the lattermost is not to be confused with graham flour, famously used in graham crackers). I first learned about it when my friend Andrew told me about a pizza crust he made with it. He said it was deliciously crisp and flavorful--not to mention tailored to accommodate several dietary restrictions.

My ongoing curiosity about chickpea flour was recently satisfied on a Sunday trip to Vik's Chaat in Berkeley, where I like the food, but I love the adjacent Indian grocery store, with its affordable bulk spices, unique teas, outrageously cheap and delicious raw nuts, and fabulous selection of paneer. At Vik's, an enormous two-pound bag of chickpea flour could be mine for a song (OK, for $3). 

Chickpea flour is one of those wonderous miracle flours. High in protein (6 grams per 1/4 cup serving) and fiber (5 grams per 1/4 cup serving), and relatively low in carbohydrates (18 grams per 1/4 cup serving, only 13 of which are effective, after you subtract the fiber), it's an ideal product for anyone avoiding gluten or refined carbohydrates. It tastes nutty but light, and when cooked in a little bit of oil, become outrageously crispy on the exterior while maintaining a lovely tenderness on the inside. 

After much research and several flops (some of my attempts to make this literally flopped, and not in a good way) I have nailed what I believe is the most perfect chickpea flour flatbread around. It's somewhere between naan and a dosa or crepe. Serve it with curry, soup, creamy greek yogurt for dipping, or eat it on its own. I promise, you, too, will be hooked. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan) $3 for 16 oz.
  • pinch of salt Pantry
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped Optional
  • pinch red chile pepper flakes Optional
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil Pantry

Recipe Serves 2

Directions

  1. Sift the chickpea flour and salt together into a mixing bowl, using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Whisk in 1/3 of the water, to form a thick paste, making sure to eliminate all of the lumps. 
  3. Whisk in the remainder of the water. The batter should look and feel like thin pancake batter.
  4. Stir in the cilantro and chile flakes, if using.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan, jiggling the pan a little bit if necessary, to help the batter spread.
  7. Cook the batter for 3-4 minutes, until it becomes firm, and the bottom turns golden brown and crisp.
  8. Carefully flip using the largest spatula you own, then cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes, until it also becomes golden brown and crisp.
  9. Remove from the pan, cut into wedges, and serve.

Sweet Potato Nachos

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 30 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $4.50
  • 2 Comments

Life is exceedingly good these days.

The sun is shining like crazy here in San Francisco, thanks to our requisite October Indian summer.

Rosh Hashanah came (deliciously) and went, and September ended with a bang: the very exciting news that Young & Hungry, was picked up for a second season! The writers get started next week, and I simply cannot wait!

(I guarantee that in the second season, Gabi Diamond will be using every last one of those kitchen utensils.)

To celebrate all this awesomeness (and, because I was hungry), I whipped up this delicious, gluten-free, non-fried, absolutely fabulous nacho dish. Healthy sweet potatoes (one of my all-time favorite ingredients) get sliced, tossed with extra virgin olive oil, and lightly salted.

After a quick trip to the oven, and a flip halfway through, they get clustered together, ready to be cheesed.

Then cheese, oven time and delicious toppings get added, and you have yourself a glorious grain-free, lower-carb, but still utterly decadent appetizer, snack, or even lunch.

I mean, look at that. 

Happy October!  

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and sliced into 1/8th-inch rounds $1
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Pantry
  • pinch of salt Pantry
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese $3.50 for 8 ounces
  • chopped onion, chopped cilantro, sliced black olives, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or other desired toppings Optional

Recipe Serves 2

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the sweet potato rounds into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and use your hands to toss well, coating each round.
  3. Arrange the oiled sweet potato rounds on a baking sheet, ensuring there is space between each one. Use 2 baking sheets if necessary.
  4. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  5. Bake the sweet potato rounds for 12-13 minutes, until they begin to brown lightly.
  6. Once they have begun to brown, flip the rounds and bake for another 9-11 minutes.
  7. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven (but leave the oven on), flip the browned sweet potato rounds once again, and arrange in a cluster, so they are all touching (you may have to make 2 batches).
  8. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the sweet potato rounds and return to the oven for another 5-6 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  9. Remove from the oven and garnish with desired toppings. 
  10. Serve immediately.

Jalapeño-Honey Chicken

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Cook Time 45 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $6.25
  • 2 Comments

One of the things I love most about Jewish holidays is the emphasis on special and wonderful food (though, to be fair, we make pretty much everything about special and wonderful food). Golden, warm challah, tender brisket, moist, delicious kugel--we're a people that likes to eat.

Next week (Wednesday evening, to be exact) marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (and the first of the High Holy Days). A classic dish on the Rosh Hashanah table is roast chicken, which, for me usually means my Third Date Chicken, or my Best Ever Roast Chicken Legs, but this year I want to shake it up a bit. Or, more precisely, spice it up a bit.

Jewish cooking is all about making meaning with food (just look at a Passover seder plate to see what I mean), so this year, I'm making meaning with chicken. Honey is a traditional food used on Rosh Hashanah, intended to symbolize the sweetness of a new year.

So, by that logic, honey blended with garlic and ripe, just-spicy-enough jalapeño chiles and brushed onto juicy (and affordable!) chicken legs, roasted until the meat is outrageously tender and the skin is sticky-sweet and crisp (with just enough heat to keep it interesting) should symbolize a downright incredible year to come.

This chicken is crazy easy to make and it's even easier to double or triple the recipe. Though I prefer it hot out of the oven, it's delicious at room temperature, or even cold the next day. The jalapeño cooks down with the garlic and honey into a sticky almost-jam, glazing the chicken legs with spicy, garlicky sweetness, and turning them a gorgeous dark brown.

Serve the chicken with a roasted vegetable or two, homemade challah, and maybe my friend Tori Avey's Honey Apple Cake for dessert, and you're looking at a year (or, at the very least, a meal) that is simply unstoppable. 

Ingredients

  • jalapeño, de-stemmed and chopped (remove the seeds if you are sensitive to heat) $0.25
  • 1/4 cup honey Pantry
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped Pantry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt Pantry
  • 2 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) $6

Recipe Serves 2

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.  
  3. In a food processor, combine the jalapeño, honey, garlic and salt. Puree until mostly smooth (it's OK if there are a few small chunks of jalapeño left).
  4. Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
  5. Use a pastry brush or a spoon to slather 2/3 of the honey-jalapeño mixture all over the chicken pieces (reserve 1/3 for later).
  6. Roast the chicken for 25 minutes, then brush or spoon on the remaining honey-jalapeño mixture and roast for another 14-17 minutes, until the chicken skin is golden-brown and crisp and the meat is cooked through. 
  7. Let the chicken legs rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

  • Prep Time 10 minutes (plus 1 hour waiting)
  • Cook Time 1 hour
  • Estimated Cost $6.50
  • 3 Comments

As summer begins to wind down, and the nights start to get cooler (or, if you live in San Francisco like I do, they remain at the cool, steady 62 degrees they have been since April), I find myself already feeling wistful for easy summer living: flowy sundresses, refreshing seasonal beers, and fresh, beautiful summer fruit, at the peak of ripeness.

Pretty soon it will be too cold to wear those sundresses, and, before we know it, we'll be eagerly awaiting the release of fall and winter brews at the local taphouse. 

And, yes, nobody will be able to shut up about the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

But there is still time, my friends, to enjoy sweet summer fruit. Even better, if you have a couple of hours to spare, there is time to put that wonderful fruit in a time capsule so you can enjoy it all year round. I'm talking about homemade jam here.

This simple strawberry jam is made a touch more sophisticated with the additions of tart-balsamic vinegar and spicy, freshly cracked black pepper, which play so nicely with sweet strawberries, but if you are a sucker for the plain stuff, feel free to omit them. Additionally, this jam jells up the old-fashioned way, requiring no pectin, and relying instead on sugar, lemon juice, and time. Make enough of it now, and you can go ahead and cross holiday gifting off your to-do list. 

This jam is phenomenal spread on toast, but my favorite way to eat it is with something savory, such as creamy, mild cheeses (think goat cheese, triple creme, or even regular cream cheese), or as a glaze for roast chicken (use it in place of the balsamic sauce in this recipe).

I recommend using 1/2-pint mason jars (or equivalent) with fitted lids and seal rings, but if you plan on using the jam immediately, feel free to simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped $6
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar Pantry
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice) $0.50 for a whole lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Pantry
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Pantry 
  • Pinch of salt Pantry

 

Recipe Serves 30

Directions

  1. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Wash with soap and hot water, and thoroughly dry 6 1/2-pint mason jars (or equivalent) with fitted lids and sealing rings. Set aside.
  4. Combine the sugar-strawberry mixture and lemon juice in a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until the jam begins to jell, about 30 minutes.
  6. Add the pepper and balsamic vinegar, and salt to the jam. Stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  8. Remove the jam from heat.
  9. Ladle the jam into the prepared mason jars and seal the lids tightly.
  10. Submerge the sealed jars into the boiling water for 10 minutes to form a good seal (do this in batches if your pot isn't big enough to boil all 3 jars at once).
  11. At this point, the jam may be used once cooled, though it is best after at least 24 hours.
  12. Store the jam for up to a year.

Best Ever Roast Chicken Legs

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 45 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $6
  • 0 Comments

I had been wanting to try Thomas Keller's famous method for roasting chicken for a while now, but the truth is that these days, I am usually only cooking for one or two. This summer has been so full-to-the-brim with travel, that when we're home, if we're not ordering takeout at 9 PM after arriving home from the airport, we're eating quinoa with olive oil and calling it a night. The idea of roasting a whole chicken seemed like a little much for right now, but I wondered if I could make it with my favorite cheap and individually-sold cut of chicken: the legs.

As it turned out, I definitely could, and, hallelujah, I am now a convert. This is, without a doubt, the best roast chicken I have ever eaten. The skin was outrageously crisp, the inside unbelievably juicy and my belly satisfied beyond belief. Better still, the preparation was absurdly simple.

The trick is in salting the chicken liberally (like, more liberally than you would think), tucking a little garlic and a variety of optional additions like butter, a drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh herbs, and cooking the chicken at a very high heat.

I usually think of roasting chicken as being a relatively low and slow process (350 degrees for 45-50 minutes) but this process calls for a high and slow cooking technique. I was afraid the chicken would overcook or burn, but my fears were immediately assuaged the moment I tasted it. 

I ate one leg for dinner, paired with roasted root vegetables and a kale salad, and the second leg cold, at a picnic the next day, where it held up mighty fine.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chicken legs $6
  • 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled, ends removed Pantry
  • 2 pats unsalted butter Optional
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, thyme or rosemary, chopped, Optional
  • salt and pepper Pantry

Recipe Serves 2

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  3. Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
  4. Place 2 garlic cloves under the skin of each chicken thigh. 
  5. If desired, also place a pat of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or fresh chopped herbs under the skin as well.
  6. Make sure the chicken skin is securely pulled back over the garlic and butter/herbs, if using.
  7. Place the chicken legs in the prepared pan and sprinkle salt all over the skin, adding a bit of pepper as well, to taste.
  8. Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until the skin becomes very crisp.
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.