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cajun chickpeasCAJUN CHICKPEAS

Q: When you are a college student with a tight budget, limited kitchen appliances and scarce amount of time, what do you whip up when you have the munchies?
A: Something that is quick, easy and cheap.
I recently received a text from my favorite twenty-three year old daughter (a/k/a the kipper), wanting to know if I had interest in sharing her recipe for a favorite homemade snack. The kicker was, besides being delicious, it fit the criteria for a “five ingredient or less” concoction that a certain eighty-year-old, friend of the family (a/k/a JSG) was looking for. Who could say no to all of that?

This garbanzo goodie is both healthy and a huge hit with her friends. See recipe and her directions below.



The second recipe was inspired when this same favorite twenty-three daughter invited me to spend the day in Boston.

On this excursion, we toured the Haymarket, Copley Square (the marathon was only three days away and things were buzzing!),The Boston Public Library,The BU Neuro/Psych Department, Fenway and my favorite (sadly,few and far between) coffee shop, Peet’s.
Sandwiched between those stops, we had the pleasure of a buffet lunch at The Mela Indian Restaurant in South Boston.
One of the dishes that caught my attention was called Gohbi Charchi, described as cauliflower cooked with freshly chopped ginger and garlic, potatoes and Indian spices. You may be familiar with this Indian dish as Aloo Gobi.

This entrée was an eye catcher because of its rich yellow color. Those familiar with Indian recipes would deduce right away that the pigment was attributable to turmeric.
Convinced that I was going to try to replicate the dish, I had to get a feel for the spices that were fused into this fare and so I was forced into devouring a few helpings of this delicious dish. A cooks gotta do what a cooks gotta do!

The following day, I set my intention to action. The result really didn’t come close to matching what was served on that great Boston outing.
Here’s the skinny:
I was heavy-handed on the ginger/garlic paste.
I added one (finger hot) red chili that turned the heat up a bit too much especially when combined with the ginger/garlic paste.
I added vegetable broth which changed the rich yellow color to a bland brown hue.
On a whim, I added Jerusalem artichokes (a/k/a sunchokes – we rarely see these babies in our neck of the woods. When I see them, I purchase them and incorporate them into everything!).
The cauliflower was added too soon and it disintegrated into small pieces.

Although the meal wasn’t what I expected, it was decent enough to serve. Cilantro, as usual, may have been what saved this dish from disaster!

Serves 6-8



1 (15.5 oz) can chick peas, rinsed
McCormick Cajun spice or Emeril’s Essence spice, amount to your liking (you may need to experiment a little here)
a little olive oil
Preheat oven at 350°.
Zig zag a little olive oil on a cookie sheet (equivalent to “Pamming” it).
Rinse chickpeas. While still wet, roll/toss the peas in the oil.
Coat/sprinkle peas with spice.
Shake the pan to distribute peas evenly.
Cook 30-45 minutes.


4 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin whole seeds
3 yellow potatoes, cubed – similar in size to cauliflower
1 cup vegetable broth
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 red chili, seeded and diced
4 Jerusalem artichokes, golf ball size – cut to size of cauliflower and potatoes
Grind garlic and ginger together with mortal and pestal until it resembles a paste. Heat a large pot on high, add shallots and garlic/ginger paste together, reduce heat to medium and cook until shallots become translucent. About 5 minutes. Add a little vegetable broth, as needed, to keep ingredients from burning.
Add spices and chili pepper. Stir and cook for a minute or two.
Add potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes and vegetable broth. Cook for 15 minutes.
Add cauliflower. Cook for 15 minutes or until both potatoes and cauliflower are tender.
Serve with cilantro.
Do you have a favorite day trip?  Please leave a comment…