Thursday, July 23, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons

People are split on the issue of regifting: Tacky or practical? My parents fall firmly in the latter camp; my father especially regifts everything. Sometimes I find this annoying, like when I discover that he has regifted something that I have given him that I actually spent a lot of time choosing (and money buying). Sometimes I find it amusing, like when he pretends that he has chosen a gift for you, and I know that it was regifted because I saw it sitting out in our house for several months. And then, voila, "Happy Birthday, Macy! I chose this, uh....olive oil for you!" True story. For my 24th birthday I was the recipient of a box of gourmet olive oils, clearly not chosen specifically for me. But for someone who likes food as much as I do, it was actually a thoughtful gift, in its own tacky and/or practical kind of way. And I say, when life hands you lemons (or in this case, lemon-infused olive oil), make lemonade (or chickpea salad with lemon-infused olive oil).

This morning at 7 am I realized that there was next to nothing in the fridge that could pass as lunch, so in a panic I turned to the pantry. After surveying the assortment of blue corn chips and cookies I pulled from it a can of chickpeas, which I proceeded to open and dump into a Tupperware. Thinking on my toes, I rinsed the remains of package of colorful mini heirloom tomatoes, and sliced them in half. A few julienned leaves of basil and a tiny bit of minced red onion joined, and I drizzled the whole thing with just a couple of tablespoons of my fancy lemon-infused olive oil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper, and voila, lunch! The whole thing seemed fairly repulsive to me at this early hour, but by noon it really hit the spot. I have to say, my regifted lemon-infused olive oil was really the star, although I bet that with just regular olive oil it would still be pretty good. Now I just need to figure out what one does with white truffle-infused olive oil...suggestions welcome!

Super Fast Chickpea Lunch:

* 1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and drained again
* About 1/3 of a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (I was lucky enough to have a mix of mini heirlooms that I picked up at Trader Joes this weekend. The mix of yellow, orange, red, purple and green tomatoes made it very pretty and colorful, but regular mini tomatoes would work just as well)
* 6-8 basil leaves, roughly chopped or julienned
* A thin slice of red onion, finely chopped
* 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon-infused olive oil or regular good olive oil
* 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
* Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Toss together chickpeas, tomatoes, basil and onion. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Eat right away, or let it sit around for a while (as I did). It's bound to taste good either way!

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