Emma June Grosskopf column

Living on my own has given a whole new meaning to the term “food freedom.”

I get to pick what recipes I make, I get to do my own grocery shopping and lately, I’ve been trying to expand my culinary horizons. Here’s what I’ve landed on: chickpeas.

Also known by “garbanzo beans,” or their scientific name, Garbanzius beanus.

Whatever you want to call them, I stumbled across a recipe for roasted chickpea gyros the other day, and I thought it seemed doable. After all, I’m all about saving money and a can of chickpeas is, like, 67 cents. Can’t beat that with a stick. Plus, I always love an alternative source of protein in my diet. Variety is key for top-tier chefs like myself.

So I decided I’d try roasting them according to the recipe.

What IS it with online recipes these days? These food bloggers want to give their entire life story before they even give me the ingredient list. Look, lady: I don’t care that you’ve got 4 picky kids, or that you needed a quick and healthy meal before taking your kids to karate. I’m just trying to make chickpea gyros here.

It seemed easy enough. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, toss them in oil and spices and then roast them.

Minus the chickpeas I spilled on the floor (and the bottom of my oven), they turned out fabulously. But only because of my unparalleled chef-y instincts.

I was supposed to stick the chickpeas in a pita, but I didn’t have any pita on hand. So I stuck them in a burrito wrap.

That particular choice brings me to my next point.

Grandpap used to say, “If you can read, you can cook.”

Well, just because I can READ a recipe doesn’t mean I’m going to follow it. Certain things get measured according to the recipe. For example, if a recipe I’m making says I need 2 eggs, I’ll use 2 eggs. I’m humble enough to know that I don’t need to doctor that one.

It’s mainly in the seasoning area that I start using the recipe as less of a “how-to” and more of a “here’s a suggestion.”

I don’t have the time to be measuring out 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. My time is valuable. I’m 25 now, which means I’m basically 30, which puts me a foot in the door to 45. I ain’t getting any younger, so I will just shake some paprika out and move on to the next ingredient.

And don’t get me started with garlic. I personally think that when it comes to measuring garlic in a recipe, you gotta just do what feels right in your SOUL. It’s not technical. It’s not scientific. It’s what’s in your heart, dang it.

And what’s with some of these ingredients? With the chickpea gyros, I threw together a little tzatziki sauce, which called for “fresh, chopped dill.”

I have never seen a fresh dill plant before in my life. What, does the recipe-writer think I just have a little dill garden in my backyard? No ma’am. I bought the nice McCormick-brand dill (with the little red cap) at the Food Lion. That’s good enough for me.

I love recipes that call for a “dash” of this and a “sprinkle” or “squirt” of that. That’s so much more my speed.

There’s a couple lessons to be learned here, the 1st being that chickpeas are pretty good. They get the Emma June Atlas Seal of Approval.

Secondly, there’s a lot of winging it in the Emma June kitchen. This is why my column can’t go on the Homespun page, because I’d say things like “squirt a little lemon juice in there, don’t be shy” or “see how the recipe says ‘fresh parsley’? Ignore that.”

If you can read, you can cook, said Grandpap. He never said anything about refusing to follow directions.

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