Spice Rack Challenge: Cumin

I’ve been spending long days at the office in front of my computer. Where afternoons drag like none other. Snacking is one of the few ways to keep the energy and focus on the to do list.  I do a lot of yogurt (with a spoonful of homemade jam, naturally), but sometimes you need to mix things up. I always keep some canned beans on hand, but one can only consume so much hummus. Also, did I mention it should be low-dairy, easy and on hand during & after a long day at the office? This recipe is a lifesaver.

Spiced & Roasted Chickpeas
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon SK Rub
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon/a few grinds of black pepper

Dry the beans well. You may have to take the outer layer off of them – kill two birds with one stone and dry them off with a towel and some friction. Add the olive oil to the beans. Mix the spices together then mix with the beans until evenly distributed.

As always, your spices really matter here. If you cant remember when you bought that jar of ground cumin – its probably time to throw it out. Make sure you buy your spices at a place with large turnover, or a specialty spice shop. It really is worth it. Penzey’s, World Spice, and All Spice Online are quite affordable. Plus, then you get to Twitter-debate with other like minded folks about where to get the best smoked paprika (So glad you speak my language, @local_kitchen, @TanyaKeith, @hungry_tigress).

One special thing I like to do with these beans is use whole cumin. I grind cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle not quite all the way. It gives the beans a great texture. Its not for everyone though – so if ground cumin is more your speed, by all means use it. Once the beans are spiced, pour them onto a cookie sheet and put into a 400° oven for 40 minutes. You’ll want to shake the pan every 10 minutes or so. Don’t walk away. You want the chickpeas to be crunchy so, depending on the size of the beans, you may wind up leaving them in longer than 40 minutes. Plus, they really start to smell amazing after the first 10 minutes – you couldn’t leave if you wanted to.

1. Change up the spices: Pimentón, Garlic Powder and a touch of sherry. Serve with a glass of vinto tinto and find a chunk of Manchego cheese for a Spanish escape.
2. Add some slow roasted tomatoes, zucchini and orzo and turn it into a salad.
3. Spice them with indian flavors like garam masala or middle eastern flavors like harissa and preserved lemon and serve as a side dish.

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