Confession: I oppose recipes.
Perhaps that’s too strong. They’re nice for ideas and suggestions. Inspirations, possibilities. Like a good honey mustard sauce recipe, which I was looking for the other day, when trying to find a way to make tofu (my craving) in a way that both the fella (a tofu-hater) and I would enjoy. Too lazy to experiment, I found a recipe for baked Honey-Mustard Marinated Tofu that (surprise) included curry powder. Who’d’a thought? I gave it a try.
The sauce was nice, though it was (as I suspected) a waste of time for me to turn on our slow oven on a hot day in August in a west-facing apartment with minimal ventilation, wait 20 minutes for it (and me, and the apartment) to heat up, then bake the tofu for another 20 minutes, when I could have achieved something similar stovetop in a quarter of the time.
Which brings me to my first point: the importance of using my common sense in the kitchen. And I stress my, for what is true in one case is not appropriate in another. I often adapt recipes, and mean no disrespect to the creators when I flout their instructions. I’m grateful to them for their creation and distribution of ideas. But after twenty years of cooking, I have to employ intelligence, not blind trust, when whipping up a meal.
Which brings me to point two. Recipes, like rules, are made to be broken. Taste is subjective, as is proven every time I see someone tear gleefully into a slice of banana bread (shudders). Or as I learned when I followed a detailed (and not inexpensive) recipe for a nut-based quiche from the Veganomican cookbook (which I do love), only to wish I’d followed my gut and not the instructions, and used basil, not generous amounts of tarragon. It made for an adventurous but strange-tasting meal.
Recipes are a general guide. A serving suggestion. A writing prompt. Take that honey mustard sauce; today, I whipped it up, put an unspecified amount of chickpeas (a cup or two) in most of it to marinade, sauteed an onion, added the chickpeas and sauce and a bit more oil, then (in a fit of irony) tucked it in a 400 F oven ’til nice and brown, stirring a few times. I like it better with chickpeas than with tofu, and didn’t feel obliged to ask tofu-hating fella “is it ok?” every five seconds (which kinda breaks up a meal).
If you’ve never tried baked chickpeas, you should. Unless you can’t be bothered to bake, or are too hot, or just believe life is better when you sauté. If you’re hardheaded like me, you’ll adapt it to your own mood, schedule, and liking.
Baked Chickpeas with Honey-Mustard Sauce
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp sunflower oil (or whatever veg oil you use)
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce; I like a light one for less sodium)
3 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp curry powder
fresh-ground black pepper
A couple cups of chickpeas (or a can, whatever size can you have on hand)
an onion, sliced into thin rings
Mix ingredients except chickpeas and onion. Marinade chickpeas in sauce for as long as you have. Heat oven to 400F, and meanwhile sauté onion in a little oil. Add chickpeas and drizzle with a little extra oil. Bake until nicely browned, stirring occasionally. Or ignore my rantings on the virtue of baked chickpeas and brown ‘em up on the stovetop.
Thank you to Eat Me, I’m Delicious, where I found the recipe for the marinade, (which was, interestingly, an adaptation from Vegetarian Eating for Everyone)!
Also, apologies for the absence of a photo. I had every intention of snapping a pic of the plate of chickpeas, which were served up with fingerling taters pulled from our garden on Thursday, and black kale, harvested an hour before dinner. But I got hungry and forgot. I’ll do better next time.