Here are several good snack recipes that will give you a lift when you’ve fallen low. All can be made ahead so they are ready when you need them.
Yield: 1 cup
1 cup raw cashews
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix the ingredients and place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and stir the cashews every 10 minutes, until they are lightly and evenly browned all over. This will take 20-30 minutes.
3. Remove cashews from the oven, cool, and store covered in the refrigerator for when you want a snack. They will keep for months.
Tamari Pumpkin Seeds
Yield: 3 cups
3 cups raw pumpkin seeds
2-1/2 tablespoons tamari
1. Place pumpkin seeds in a dry heavy or cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until well toasted. The seeds will “pop” and crackle for much of the time, and when the crackling slows they are ready. They will be puffed and lightly browned all over. Turn off the heat and let the seeds cool for a minute or two.
2. Leaving the pumpkin seeds in the hot pan, pour 2 tablespoons of tamari over them and mix well with a wooden spoon. The tamari will sizzle a bit. Taste the seeds. For a stronger flavor, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon tamari.
3. Transfer the pumpkin seeds to a cookie sheet or platter, spreading them in a single layer to cool. Store covered in the refrigerator for when you want a snack. They will keep for months.
Yield: about 3 cups
You can make this recipe using canned chickpeas, which saves time by eliminating the first step–cooking the chickpeas–and you will get a good enough result. But to make exceptional hummus, there is no substitute for starting with chickpeas you cook yourself. This is because canned beans are left firm enough to be used for salads or spreads, but to make a creamy hummus, it’s best to start with tender, well-cooked beans.
1 cup dried chickpeas, or 1 cup of canned chickpeas
4 medium garlic cloves, divided between 2 steps
1 piece kombu, optional
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup reserved bean liquid
optional: 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground, or 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1. Rinse dried chickpeas and place them in a bowl of cool, filtered water–covered by at least 3-4 inches–for 8-12 hours.
2. Drain beans, discard soaking water, and place them in a heavy pot. Add 1 clove crushed garlic, kombu (if you are using it) and coarse sea salt. Cover the beans with three times as much water, bring to a boil, and turn the heat to low. Simmer, partly covered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, checking from time to time to be sure the beans are submerged under water. If they’re not, add enough water to cover the beans by at least 1/2 inch.
2. Toward the end of cooking time, taste the beans for tenderness. When the beans are well-cooked, drain them and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Discard any extra cooking liquid or save to add to soup.
3. If you like a textured hummus, skip step 3 and move on to step 4. If you like a smooth hummus, put the cooked beans into a large bowl filled with cool, filtered water. Using the palms of your hands, gently rub the beans to loosen the skins. As the skins float to the surface, skim them off and discard them. Repeat until nearly all the skins are removed.
4. Into a food processor, place the remaining 3 garlic cloves, beans, tahini, lemon juice, sea salt, and 1/4 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Also add the cumin if you are using it. Run the food processor for about 5 minutes for a smooth hummus, or less time if you like your hummus textured.
5. Check the hummus for flavor, consistency and texture. If needed, add more bean liquid, lemon juice or salt. Keep tasting and blending until you have the hummus you want.
6. Just about everything goes well with hummus: in it, on it and with it. To embellish a serving of hummus, add a sprinkling of smoked paprika or roasted and pureed red peppers. Garnish a bowl of hummus with chopped or sliced kalamata olives, or a sprinkling of fresh herbs like oregano or thyme. And serve hummus with carrot, celery or daikon sticks; pita triangles; or whole grain crackers.
7. Store hummus covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze.
Yield: As many as you like
1 package large or small whole-wheat pita pockets
1 or 2 fresh garlic cloves
dried basil or thyme
fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cut small pita pockets into quarters and then split them in half. If using large pita pockets, cut them into quarters or eighths, depending on your preference, and do the same. Arrange the pita triangles, smooth side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, mix together enough olive oil to use for brushing the pita triangles, a clove of minced garlic–or more if you are making a large quantity, and a pinch of dried herbs.
4. Brush the oil mixture over the smooth top of each pita triangle. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until as crisp as you would like, flipping the triangles halfway through cooking. Cool on a rack and serve or store for up to several days in an airtight container.
Copyright Ellen Arian, Ellen’s Food & Soul