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Saturday, February 20, 2016

3 Ways to Cook with Chick Pea Flour

Hello foodie friends, and welcome to my Chickpea Flour Weekend! I enjoy cooking with this rich, gluten-free substance and wanted to challenge myself to use it for every meal over the course of one weekend.  I've picked the most successful recipes to share with you.

Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo Beans, are a great source of Protein, Iron and Dietary Fiber.  They are also tasty!  That's why it's a good idea to use flour that is made from these little nutrition bombs.  There are many ways you can cook with Chickpea Flour.  Today, I'm giving you three ideas.

Socca (Chickpea Crepes)

1.  Socca: This is the one I'm most excited about!  It is a tasty European treat and is so easy to make! If you've read my blog before, you are aware of my preoccupation with all things European!  This one doesn't disappoint.  There is a basic method to follow, and then you can add any flavor you like to the batter.  You can enjoy it plain or add extra toppings, such as vegetables, meats or cheeses.  Socca with toppings would make a lovely appetizer or first course.

Tweet: If you've read my blog before, you are aware of my preoccupation with all things European!

2 cups Chickpea Flour
2 cups Water
2 tbsp Olive Oil
pinch of Salt
Optional Flavors: Minced fresh Garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Oregano, decide!
1. Turn on the Broiler and place a cast iron skillet in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
2.  Mix all the ingredients (1 tbsp Olive Oil) in a medium-sized bowl.
3.  Remove the skillet from the oven and spread the other tbsp Olive Oil over it's surface (I also like to cut a clove of Garlic in half and rub the juicy side over the surface of the skillet.)
4.  Pour the batter into the skillet in a very thin layer.
5.  Place the skillet back under the broiler and cook until browned on the top (maybe 5-7 minutes, but hang out nearby to watch, because it won't take long.)  I like to add Parmesan Cheese when it is just about done.
6.  Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate.  Start the process for the next crepe with the batter you have left.  This recipe should make 2-3, depending on how thin you make each one.

Parmesan Socca topped with Bacon,
 Charred Kale and Capers

Recipe (for 2):
2 Chickpea Crepes
2 large handfuls of fresh Kale
2 tablespoons Capers
2-3 strips cooked Bacon
pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Water
1. Heat the Olive Oil over medium to medium-high heat.
2.  Add the Kale and the Water.  Cook stirring until Kale is wilted (5-7 minutes).
3.  Turn off heat and add Capers.  Stir again and allow to sit in the pan for a few minutes absorbing the heat.
4.  Onto a plate pile the Socca, Kale mixture and Bacon.  Finish it off with a sprinkling of Crushed Red Pepper flakes and serve immediately.

*Note: Make Chickpea Crepes a little thicker for a fine gluten-free Pizza Crust.

Strawberry Ricotta Muffins

2.  Breakfast Muffins:  My family enjoys muffins for breakfast.  I like this, but I want to make sure we get some protein in first thing in the morning as well.  Baking with Chickpea Flour is an easy way to accomplish that.

2 cups Chickpea Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
pinch of Salt
1 stick unsalted Butter (softened)
3/4 cup Sugar
zest of 1/2 a Lemon
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 (16 oz) package frozen Strawberries (chopped)
1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together Chickpea Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt.
2.  In your main bowl (large mixing bowl), beat the Butter, Sugar and Lemon Zest with an electric mixer, just until combined.
3.  Add Ricotta Cheese, Egg, Lemon Juice and Vanilla Extract and beat until just combined.
4.  Pour in the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until combined.
5.  Fold in the Strawberries (Blueberries would be good too!).
6.  Line a muffin tin with baking cups (I did't do this because I didn't have any...I recommend this step!). Ha!
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
8. Optional-I mixed about 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar with the zest of 1/2 a Lemon to sprinkle on top of the warm muffins.

Meat Breading

3. A light breading for pan-fried meat: You can use Chickpea Flour and other seasonings to create a dredging mixture for meat.  Today I did Pork Chops, but it would be tasty with fish or chicken as well.
For four Pork Chops, I sprinkled about 1/2 cup of Chickpea Flour onto a plate along with 1/2 teaspoon Cavender's Greek Seasoning (use what you like), a couple shakes fresh ground Salt and Pepper...portions vary depending on how much meat you are dredging.  
Heat 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil and a bit of Butter (for browning) in a pan over medium heat.
Dredge the meat in the Flour mixture and shake off excess.
Throw in the pan and cook until each side is browned and the meat is cooked through.  The time will depend on how thin or thick your meat is.  Just hang out and watch it.  It shouldn't take long on either side.

Greek Seasoned Pork Chops with Tzatziki Sauce
and Greek Salad
Since I seasoned my Chickpea Flour breading with Greek flavors, I served it up with a Cucumber, Kalamata Olive and Tomato Salad with Feta and Tzatziki Sauce.
A recipe for Tzatziki Sauce is here: 1cookingchick Gyro Bar for Friends

Where can you get it?  It's sometimes in the gluten-free section of the grocery store.  Or you can order it from just about anything else! Ha!

I hope I've inspired you to try cooking with Chickpea Flour.  It's healthy and filling and better for us than white flour.  I've only given you a few ideas.  If you explore the wonderful world of Pinterest, there will be many more.  If you find something amazing, please let me know!  Happy cooking, friends!