Saturday, March 8, 2008
I have narrowly escaped death to write for you today, having just been hit by a tree on the way home. It is an abominable day. I mean, the worst sort you have ever seen. Wind so gusty it would knock you about the place like an old paper sack. Rain so unrelenting that if you are swinging by for a gimlet you will have to traverse my moat. Not a redeeming thing left to it, and I am a positive thinker. Nevermind, the corned beef-capade. Irish hands have had their way with it and now we have the photo, the evidentiary proof, of the last 9 days of my life. And yours.
People have been atwitter about this day in town. The Brisket saga has taken on a life of its own: My neighbor stopped me at the coffee shop this morning and asked to get a taste of the beast. Oh, if only. The six lbs cooked off to just over three. After the angry Irish treatment, it is nary (as they say) a shadow of it's former monumental self. There was a spirited discussion at 121 two nights ago about how it would get cut and divvied. You see, gratefully, when something needs dealt with in this town, everyone lends a hand. Even if it is corned beef. But, it's a disappointment, both in size and magnificence. I cannot pass this recipe, this epic nightmare, on to you because it would be frivolous and irresponsible. I need to pack you off to Shoprite, Albertson's, or HEB and tell you to buy the packaged stuff. I need to admit defeat and allow you to help me with my wounds and get me back into the kitchen.
But I wouldn't leave you hanging. Not ever. Someone may appear on your doorstop, or floating around in your moat in their ark, and you would have to do something: First, blush, because it is always great to have good company bestowed upon you. Second, break out the champagne and Chambord. Or, if the Navy is afoot, grab the Johnnie Walker and a tumbler (I tell you this because I may soon need the Navy, things are not looking good). I am donning a life vest as I type, but I am not to be deterred from giving you this last good host advice: Off you go to the cabinet, grab the canned chick peas, some olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw them into the oven. With some luck, you've a bit of lettuce and bread. Now you're all set.
We eat these over bibb (butter, Boston) lettuce with a little lemon juice, truffle oil, and rice vinegar; Along side some bread and a good white wine, you will survive the storm. If you've a bunch of tumbler carrying old salts hanging about, you can put these roasted peas in a bowl on the bar as a nosh. Or, throw them over a composed salad in place of croutons.
Remember! I never failed you, not through driven snow, nor world-ending rain. Because, I am always so dazzled to see you.
Roasted Chickpeas for Salad and So On
1 15.5 ounce can chick peas/ garbanzo beans, rinsed
3 tbls. olive oil
Ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a metal oven pan of any size, toss all of the chickpeas. Add olive oil and stir to coat completely. Dust evenly with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven and roast until golden, about 20 minutes. Serves 4 with salad or as a little snack but multiplies easily.