Jump To Conclusions Plus Chickpea and Chorizo Casserole
I was up early today but not by my own doing. My husband called me right after he walked out the door, for work, before 5:30, this morning. I jumped out of bed, ran to the phone and since it rings about twice at an actual audible level (with the sound at the highest point), missed his call. I stood there thinking the worst.
For some reason when I get a call from someone who doesn’t want to “bother my sleeping,” I start to worry. That’s just how I work. Since winter is upon us in all its frigid glory, my mind turns to the streets and the icy slope known as the alley. There is another way to get to the parking area behind the building but Greg refuses to use it (calls it “the long way” while I call it the “safe way”), even though he complains about how slick his shoes are on ice. I guess his idea of waking up is sliding down an icy slope, which apparently doesn’t prevent him from bitching about it.
Anyway, back to the story, I’m trying to call and he never picks up. I quickly put on my boots, coat and grab my purse in case he has fallen and has lost consciousness in the alley or parking area and I need keys/wallet, in my pajamas (consisting of sweat pants and a tank). Sometimes I wonder if it could be frostbite from defrosting the car because he refuses to start the car and come back upstairs and wait. Instead, he wants to sit in the frosted car for 10, 15, 20 minutes, listening to talk radio but I knew this wasn’t the case because I had just heard him lock the door when the phone rang.
So I’m rushing down the stairs into a negative temp when I hear the roar of the car coming up the alley, peer in the window to find my husband with a nasty, confused look on his face. I’m none too pleasant at this moment so I yelled why are you calling me and not answering? He didn’t have a clue and was also none too pleasant. He started to look at his phone (which is still leaving a message, talk radio babble, on my phone although I am not aware of this until I am back upstairs). He snarled at me, yelled go back to bed but soon softened and asked for a kiss before driving away. I’m pretty sure I mumbled something about not being able to fall asleep as he drove away (like Milton from Office Space with his stapler) while I’m standing there not quite sure what just happened.
I was right, sleep didn’t come. Normally once I am up, there’s no hope of sleep again. I still tried and just when I felt like I was about to doze, I got a call from a number that refuses to leave me alone (hello, I’m on the no call list and have answered twice to say leave me alone, plus it’s before 7AM) and then not even a minute later, another call from the dentist reminding me of my Friday appointment for that wisdom tooth evaluation, which you can refer to here and some here. Joy! I was up from that moment on and I can feel the impact on my day already but it’s nothing getting to bed early tonight won’t help.
Plus, while we were home, we were not well-rested by any means so I am used to going through the daily motions while my mind is numb. For New Year’s Eve we went to a gathering my friend Adrian, who is earning an MBA, held in Muncie, IN (Ball State territory). We were not close to campus (I don’t believe) and instead partied in the country, in a loft above a garage, rented by the home owner in the house to the side. I thought this was a very nice, open space and had an enjoyable time with friends. I brought noisemakers, we said our cheers and listened to Kidz Bop because it was funny at the time and at the right level of annoying for background noise that allowed conversation to flow. (We changed the music eventually to some alt/classic rock.)
Unfortunately, I wanted to stay up late but come about 1AM, I was out with my husband (on our air mattress) while the others stayed up hours longer. (Sorry guys!) I had plans with family the next day so we had to mosey a little over an hour towards home in the morning. We are not that fond of Muncie (a place I call one of the armpits of Indiana), although I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see where my brother-in-law lives now that he transferred. What I often recall about that town is that an innocent student (no weapon) was shot and killed by an officer for simply being out and about one night and the school used to be the number 1 party school…yes, it was says this Purdue grad.
The impact of 2010 still hasn’t hit. I didn’t pay attention to the reviews of the year or decade (something I normally do) and I didn’t even think about how I wanted this next year to venture because I’ve learned that won’t change any direction in which life goes. I am optimistic, if only because I’m still living off the high from a nice visit back home. I don’t know when that will shift; perhaps give me another week in this cold state or more issues with money, which is already happening.
You may have noticed that I am making comfort, rustic food that is fairly easy and somewhat healthy. That’s what I want right now and you may not know it yet but I think you do as well. (Not that I know what’s best for anyone, including myself.) I am a huge fan of bitchincamero’s site. She makes food that I want to try, something not easily found on other sites. Her chickpea and chorizo casserole (strata) is wonderful. I could only find hot Mexican chorizo that required being squeezed from its casing, not Spanish chorizo which can be more like sausage, so I had to adjust the recipe and will probably try her version exactly the next time. If your bread isn’t crusty, bake it and allow to set until crisp or adding the liquid will result in mushy bread and not a tasty casserole.
Chickpea and Chorizo Casserole
4 links Spanish chorizo (I used hot Mexican which requires a different method stated below.)
4 cups sparkling apple cider or unsweetened apple juice (I used much less, 1 cup or so and broth can be substituted)
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
4 cups chickpeas (canned)
10 slices of crusty bread, cut into large chunks
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz. Gruyere
cilantro-optional (I added this.)
Preheat the oven to 400 and grease a casserole dish.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the chorizo and cider. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chorizo plumps and absorbs most of the liquid. My chorizo required being taken out of the casing so I only put 1 cup of juice with it and kept the heat high to rid of much of the liquid, added the onion around the 15 minute mark and the chickpeas at the 20 minute mark with the chorizo. If you the sausage link version, remove the chorizo to a plate. Then add the oil to the skillet and sauté the onion for 5 minutes or so, add the chickpeas for another 5 minutes. Add the chorizo back to the skillet with the onion and chickpeas, add the bread and toss to coat and pour into the greased dish.
Whisk the eggs, milk, salt/pepper and stock together and pour over the casserole, making sure it is all coated. Top with cheese and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until set and browned. I added cilantro at the end.