This beauty doesn’t change with the seasons and the fads. This beauty is strength against insecurity bred by cruel comments and the constant bombardment of images of people who look different and supposedly better than you. Certainly your body changes as you age, but you will find new ways that it brings you pleasure. You will be beautiful forever, and your beauty is yours.My oven is broken! It’s the strangest thing. It gets to a certain temperature, and then it just stops. It decides that’s quite hot enough, thank you. So I’ve had a nice time the last few days thinking of ways to cook things without it. The stovetop still works, and the broiler. So I decided to make this sort of puffy savory pancake to cook over sautéed vegetables. I cooked it first in the skillet, with the lid on, and then I put it under the broiler for a minute or two to brown up. I suppose it’s not all that different from a yorkshire pudding, except that it’s not baked at all. And it’s similar to socca, because it has a bit of chickpea flour in it. We had some beautiful chard from the farm, and I love chard, tomatoes and chickpeas, so that seemed like a nice under layer for the whole project. You could add olives or capers, I think they’d be nice here, but I’ve been putting them in everything lately, so I left them out.
Here is, of course, The Smiths with Some Girls are Bigger than Others.
FOR THE CHICKPEAS
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t rosemary, crumbled or chopped
2 t fresh savory, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1 can chickpeas (15 oz), rinsed and drained
1 large handful cherry or grape tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small bunch chard, cleaned, stemmed and chopped quite fine
1 T butter
dash of lemon juice or balsamic
salt, freshly ground pepper
In a large skillet (with a metal handle and a lid) over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, stir and cook a minute or two, and then add the herbs. When the garlic starts to brown, add the chickpeas. Stir to coat, and then add the tomatoes and the chard. Add a little water, and cook for five or ten minutes, until the chard is wilted but bright. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the butter and lemon. You don’t want this mixture to get too dry, because it will burn when you add the pancake batter. Not that I did that, or anything.
THE PANCAKE BATTER
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup regular flour
1 t baking powder
1 cup milk
a few ounces of mozzarella, chopped
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
In a food processor, combine everything and process until quite smooth. You’ll still have small lumps of cheese, probably, but that’s okay.
Pour this mixture over the chard, spreading it with a knife or spoon, and then cover the pan and return to medium heat. Cook for about five minutes, while you’re preheating the broiler. It should puff up, but still be quite pale and shiny, until you…
Put it under the broiler for about two minutes, until it’s well-puffed and golden. Don’t burn your hand when you take it out of the oven!!