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Monday, June 13, 2011

Recipe Review from 6/6/2011

Busy weekend in our house...ha! I seem to say that a lot...  The Husband had Guards Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  That left me to my own devices; Friday evening was water the garden and take hounds for a walk.  Saturday I led a Superior Hiking Trail Doggie Hike - yes! a hike with the doggies!  Andy's first with his new forever home and he did great!  Three hounds came with and a fourth joined in later.  After lunch at the Rustic Inn (a hiking tradition), I headed back home to mow the lawn and get some flowerbeds prepped and planted with nasturtium and marigold seeds.  Sunday was a bike ride with the guys, watered the garden - we have sprouts! - planted my dianthus plants, moved some woodchips, and called it a weekend!

Toasted Chickpea and Apricot Salad (Ckng Light, June 2011)
Another winner!  Weather warmed up suddenly (for us) and this was on the menu.  Quick to assemble, love the slightly spicy beans with the tangy feta and the fruity apricots.  A couple substitutions were made:  I used canned apricots (in 100% pear juice) instead of fresh.  Fresh is not reliably in the stores up here.  I toasted them briefly under the broiler to bring out their flavors.  I subbed spinach for the arugula because I usually have a big bucket of it on hand.  One modification - I didn't toss all the ingredients together because I would be using this for a couple of meals and I didn't want things to get soggy.  So the beans were tossed with the apricots, then everything 'layered' in salad fashion.  Delicious! I would make this again.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 2/3 cups salad and 2 tablespoons cheese)

photo from
3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
4 large apricots, pitted and sliced
4 cups baby arugula leaves  spinach
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese (or goat)


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a roasting pan, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, shaking pan to coat beans. Roast at 450° for 20 minutes, stirring once.

3. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, rind, vinegar, juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in onion and apricots, tossing gently to coat. Add warm beans and arugula, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

And the weather cooled down just as quickly...

photo from
These are super easy to assemble - which I simplified even more.  I also noted that my store does not carry 1-1/2 lbs packages of chicken thighs.  They only carry 1-1/4 lbs pkgs.  I did not bother to buy a second package since this was just for the Husband and myself.  If feeding a group, bump it up. The recipe also noted this as "kid friendly".  Ahhh, no. Only if you omit the ground red pepper altogether.  These had some zing and I like zing.  A tyke?  Not so much.  Fresh apricots are very hit or miss in my corner of the world, so I bought canned apricots in pear juice.  This way I didn't have to worry about the fruit going bad before I could use it, I knew it would be ripe, and it just gets blended anyway so really?  You can easily make these outside of apricot season.   

The husband commented almost immediately about shredding the thighs after they cooked (on the grill in our case).  Really, the thighs are small enough that they fit quite nicely on the little buns I found.  And it far less messy.  So, optional in my opinion to shred. 

Yeild: 4 servings (serving size: 2 sliders)

3/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray

3 apricots, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 (1.3-ounce) mini sandwich buns


1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with pepper mixture. Place a large grill pan over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Heat grill to 350*.  Add chicken to pan; cook [chicken] 5 minutes on each side or until done. Cool slightly; shred meat [optional in my opinion].

2. Recoat pan with cooking spray.  [Cooked apricots on the grill as well for same time as noted.  Thread through a couple of skewers for easy turning] Place apricots, cut sides down, on pan; cook 6 minutes on medium-high heat or until tender and lightly browned, turning after 4 minutes. Place apricots and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until smooth.

3. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon apricot chutney over cut side of each sandwich bun half. Place about 1/3 cup chicken on bottom bun; cover with top half of bun.

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