I had the great good fortune of having the day off yesterday and this gave me the time and leisure to do something I haven't done in ages - I prepared a 4 course meal for Rich and I at home! I'm not going to lie - some aspects of the preparation were time-consuming (dessert!!!) but all in all, things went pretty smoothly and I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen with my apron on.
Now, I did NOT photo-document the entire meal, after all, I did want to just kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. But I can tell you what we had and I'm going to share one of the recipes with you (and truly it was the surprise standout of the meal!)
First Course - Freshly baked Socca (Garbanzo Flour Bread) with fresh herbs, Pasolivo Olive OIl and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Second Course - Grilled Leeks and Cauliflower Steaks with Tarragon Oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs avec Sun-dried tomato, garlic breadcrumb encrusted Gardein Scaolppini's
Third Course - Fresh Fennel and Romaine Salad with a Caper and Kalamata Vinaigrette
Fourth Course - Coffee Date Cake with Chocolate Irish Cream Drizzle
All in, we spent over an hour at the table, mostly device free, chatting, drinking wine and enjoying both dinner and each other's company. While it might not be feasible to do a 4 course meal every night of the week, for me, it was a good reminder that it is possible to slow down and to bring a little bit more magic to the mundane.
So, here's the yummy part - Socca! Socca is a traditional French flat bread ( I hear it's from Nice, just like the Nicoise Salad from a few weeks back. Note to self, must travel to Nice!) and it's both vegan and gluten-free - yipee! It's flavorful without being fussy and is best eaten slightly warm. Best part is - it's so easy to make! But you don't have to tell anyone else that - let them think you slaved away over a hot oven!
What You'll Need
1 1/4 cup of chickpea flour ( I used a chickpea/fava flour)
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
6 TBSPS olive oil
2 tsps fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsps fresh rosemary, chopped
smoked paprika, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
How you do it
In a medium size bowl, whisk your chickpea flour, water, sea salt, thyme and 2 TBSPS of the olive oil, until well combines. Let the batter rest for a while, between 20 minutes and an hour.
Immediately after you mix your batter, pre-heat the oven to 450F and place a large or medium cast iron skillet or other oven safe skillet inside.
After your batter has rested and you're ready to move on, carefully, using oven mitts remove your hot skillet and add 2 TBSPS of olive oil, swirling around the skillet until it is well coated. Add the Socca batter into the hot skillet and then top with the remaining 2 TBSPS of olive oil. Pop it back into your oven for 6-8 minutes. You should notice that the edges are starting to brown and the batter has blistered or bubbled up a bit.
Now, get your broiler going and place the skillet under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, taking care to let it brown but not burn. Remove skillet from the broiler and let the Socca cool down for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, paprika and black pepper.
Slice it into wedges and serve warm with olive oil and balsamic, or perhaps some lovely bean puree or pate.
You could have a lot of fun customizing and playing with flavors with your socca. Next time I'm thinking of doing a Nutritional Yeast/ green onion combo!
As always, Bon Appetit and Namaste!