A Resolution For The New Year

I've never been any good at keeping New Year's resolutions, so I abandoned even thinking about making attempts years ago. Why begin the year by putting some sort of ridiculous pressure on yourself?

But yesterday, I decided I'd institute one that seems pretty easy (I hope!): I'm going to use dried beans, rather than canned, from now on. Usually too lazy to plan ahead, I grab cans at the supermarket and keep a few on hand for last-minute decisions recipe additions. But every once in a while I'll pick up some of the dried variety, generally adding them to a soup that's going to be cooking forever anyway--no need to prepare in advance!

Spying a container of dried chickpeas--I had a bit of a craving for them--I decided I'd use them to make a spread. I dug up Mark Bittman's guide for reconstituting all sorts of dried legumes, and set to work. The result, my friends, was leaps and bounds better than what I'd achieved using canned beans. So, from here on out, though I'll keep a few emergency cans in the pantry, I resolve to plan my bean usage ahead of time and use the far superior--and way cheaper--dried variety.

Chickpea/Roasted Red Pepper Spread
(This makes about one ton of the stuff, so feel free to dial things back a bit...)

• 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (cooked and drained, though you'll want to retain a bit of the cooking water)
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar, so you can use some of the water, too)
• 1/2 teaspoon pimentón
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

Purée chickpeas, garlic, red pepper, pimentón, olive oil, and salt in a processor, adding small amounts of the cooking water and/or pepper water, bit by bit, until the mixture becomes smooth.

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