Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I too Sing America

I thought about this post a little before the 4th of July and around the time of the murders in South Carolina. At that time writing about food seemed trivial. After all, what did I have to say? What could I contribute?

What I really wanted was to go to bed and cry. But if there was any chance that I could help, I needed to pull everything together and go back into the world.

I am a daughter of sharecroppers and descendant of slaves. That does not make me special, but it does mean that I may not see the world as others. We are apart of the fabric of this country. Our blood has spilled to protect it.

As a nation, we seem to have lost our ability to sit together and discuss our commonalities and our differences. We don't always need to agree, but we do need to listen and respect different viewpoints.

This week, I am offering a recipe and a seat at the table of brotherhood. For as Langston Hughes, wrote, I, too Sing America.

This is a recipe for Crunchy Roast Chickpeas with Za'atar.

Za'atar is a Middle Eastern flavoring blend consisting of dried thyme, marjoram or oregano, sumac and toasted sesame seeds. One of my students told me that typically, bread is dipped in olive oil and then in za'atar. Similarly to the way Italians dip bread. She also told me that everyone makes za'atar differently and the good stuff is made at home. Since I have no idea how za'atar is supposed to taste, I headed to my local Middle Eastern store and purchased some.

Crunchy Roast Chickpeas with Za'atar


1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon za'atar


1. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Spread on paper towels to dry. This should take about an hour or so.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet. (Note - I used my cast iron skillet and it worked just fine.)

3. Bake at 400°F for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle za'atar over chickpeas. Place in a serving dish and eat as an appetizer.

4. Chickpeas should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

I liked za'atar, although I did find it to be a rather mild seasoning. I think next time, I will try it on peanuts. You can take the girl out of the south, but you can't take the south out of the girl.

This recipe is from the blog, "Rose Water & Orange Blossoms" by Maureen Abood. It is a wonderful site. Please check it out.