Wednesday, March 04, 2009

sitting in your house, and spanish chickpeas

Alas, my Rockridge idyll has ended abruptly, a week early. My good pal Leslie and her roomie had both departed for other timezones, and I got to housesit Leslie's adorable cottage, complete with comfy bed and backyard lemon tree. It was lovely to have real privacy and get out of the tiny, chilly environs back in Bernal. And, of course, it was easy enticement to get the East Bay-dwelling S. over for dinner with no bridge in between. I was looking forward to another week of warmth and tea in the kitchen and good books to read from Leslie's library.

Until Leslie's roommate got sick in Manila and decided to come back early, putting an end to the need for my housesitting duties. Bummer! So I'm back in Bernal, counting down the days til my hoped-for next East Bay housesit, also in Rockridge, for Shar's sister-in-law. Not I'm around much, what with working million-hour days right now, but still...privacy is bliss, especially when you're around the public all day.

So, you need your plants watered or your cat cuddled, let me know! No smoke, no drugs, no loudness, and I might even leave you homemade muffins in the freezer.

I did have fun cooking on the beautiful Wedgewood stove in Leslie's kitchen, including this last-minute, made-up-on-the-way-home-from-BART rainy-day dish.

Sort of Spanish Chickpea Stew

a couple strips of bacon or a few slices of chorizo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
a good splash of red wine
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 28-oz large can diced tomatoes
2 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton)
1/2 tsp thyme or rosemary
salt and pepper, and hot sauce if you like it
1 cup frozen peas, optional

Dice the bacon or chorizo and cook until fat renders. Add onion slices and olive oil, and fry until onion is beginning to brown. Add garlic, carrots, and celery. Saute for another couple minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine,chickpeas, tomatoes, and spices, plus salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low, and cook until flavors are blended, 15 minutes or so. Add a handful of frozen peas at the end for color. Serve with wine and good bread.

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