A few days of warmth followed by so so temperatures. April is often one of the most disappointing months for me. I understand March being wishy-washy with its temperature decisions. Spring, winter, spring, winter. It’s in transition. But April. We are now in full-fledged spring. There’s no excuse for cooler temperatures. I expect sunshine and daffodils from here on out. But yesterday seemed to miss the memo. I wanted to drown myself in warming comfort food to shield myself from the bite of “spring”. Nothing rich and hearty like a winter stew. I wanted something that spoke to the lightness of spring but soothed my winter reality. A creamy soup, warm but light, paired with a salad. Parsnip soup.
I have a tendency to hoard food. There’s no basis for this habit. I’ve always been well fed (too well fed as my scale sometimes notes) and never gone without, but for some reason I have this anxiety that if I eat it all, I can’t get it again. Maybe it happened when I started taking this locavore thing so seriously. The realization that strawberries can’t grow year round in the northeast. I need to get my fill while they’re in season, preserve their flavors as best I can and hunker down for a round 9 months without seeing them again. By the time strawberry season finishes, I’ve stuff myself so full I can’t imagine having even the smallest of berries. That lasts for about a month or so, then the cravings return with a vengeance. Preserving helps, knowing that I have fresh strawberry jam to last the winter puts me slightly at ease. Until it doesn’t. I only have 6 jars to survive the winter (let’s forget about the other few dozen types of jam I also have stored up in my pantry). I panick. Will they really last? So I ration myself, allowing myself only a small spoonful of the sweet chunky jam every few weeks, determined to make my inventory last. Fast forward 9 months later, as strawberries start to surface at the greenmarkets and I find myself still left with 4 jars. I’ve rationed too well and find myself pushing jars of jam on everyone I know (thanks for holding the subway door for me; here, have some homemade jam) so I can start fresh in the new season.
How do you eat your chickpeas? Most likely it’s in hummus. If you’re really fancy, you might roast them with a little curry or chili powder. But aside from that, really when do you have chickpeas as a feature ingredient of a meal? I keep dried chickpeas in my collection of mason jar beans and dried goods ingredients, but I rarely use them. Sometimes I’ll make hummus, or toss them in with some white beans or as part of a multi-bean chili. My black beans come and go, refilling the quart sized jar every other month or so, and the kidney and white beans go almost as quickly. But those poor wrinkly chickpeas just sit there. So in an effort to highlight this special ingredient (and avoid a trip to the store for different ingredients, I embarked on a dish to make chickpeas shine.
This past week has been unseasonably cold in Brooklyn. Once upon a time, I remember winters where there would be snow on the ground from December to March and hats, scarves and gloves where essential, not just fashionable. Years ago, weeks like this would be a bit chilly but close to the norm. But these days, with the thermometer hovering around 40°F all winter, a morning in the teens (with a real feel of -1°F) is pretty damn cold. It’s the first time that I noticed my window’s aren’t as insulated as they should be and that draft from under the AC units makes the room really freaking cold. I’ve forced myself to go outside when necessary, even drag myself the chilly 6 blocks to the gym, but really all I want to do is stay inside, bundled in blankets, eating soup and stews.