Even though it’s still a time of bountiful farmers’ markets, I’ve been shopping shopping from my pantry in an effort to save money.
Now I’ve always claimed that I could hold of a siege army for 2 months with careful use of my pantry, but even I am impressed with my food budget for this month:
personal food: $146.26
social food: $210.13
I’m defining personal food as groceries and dining out alone and personal food as dining with other people and groceries bought explicitly for food I share with other people.
That’s just extraordinary. We’ll see how well that holds out.
So, I cobbled together something delicious today – a co-worker had brought in massive quantities of thai basil from her garden and all the rest was from my pantry.
Chickpeas with browned butter and thai basil
So I’ve never made a browned butter sauce before, so I looked in my fridge and decided that the ghee was going to waste and was just like butter. So I scooped out some of that, melted it on medium heat, and waited for it to brown. Which it didn’t because the whole reason it’s clarified is so it’ll have a higher cooking temperature.
Right, so I tipped some of it out (I didn’t measure the ghee going in or coming out – it had been slightly more than the minimum to complete cover the bottom of a twelve inch skillet) and replaced that with 3 Tablespoons of butter. It started browning almost immediately and was a lovely sauce base in a minute or so.
To this tasty brown butter I added 1 yellow onion, sliced radially to a medium thickness.
Once the onions had fried enough to be soft, I added chickpeas (drained from a can). I stirred them about and let them cook for about 5 minutes while I stripped the leaves from the basil plant, stacked them, and then sliced roughly through the stack about 4 times. I also grated the zest of one lemon with the leaves.
Once I figured the chickpeas were as soft and cooked as I wanted them, poured in 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (I happened to be using Phu Quoc fish sauce) to give it some saltiness. Just a few stirs, and then I tossed in the leaves and zest.
I’d been planning to also squeeze the lemon’s juice into the dish, but the zest made it lemony enough. So once the leaves had become bright and wilted, I splashed in about an eighth of a cup of apple cider vinegar. I let it cook just until it quit smelling so strongly of vinegar, and then I dished it up.