Healthy salad of chickpeas, garlic, green olives, and parmesan cheese, simply dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
This week I closed a chapter in my life, and was caught off-guard by the nostalgic feelings it raised in me. Like when you’re watching a movie, say a comedy, and an unexpected bittersweet moment grabs at your heart out of nowhere, and your eyes suddenly well up.
It was a surprise because the event was the simple sale of a townhome I’ve owned for 25 years – one I hadn’t even lived in for the last 18 years. But it was my first real home that I’d owned that felt like a home; and it was my first home in California.
I bought it while it was still under construction, and had some (albeit limited) design freedom. I switched out the entry tile, ripped out the carpeting in the den and installed hardwood floors, and completely repainted the inside as I found the off-white walls completely uninspiring. A couple of years later, I realized I really needed to do something with the postage stamp back yard, and put in a brick patio and wood deck, and planted flowering bushes.
It was my refuge when things in life went sideways, and a great home for parties; and I admit there were lots of both in my life at that time. Through all the fun times and sporadic life upheavals, I always felt protected there. And even though my restlessness reared its head after seven years causing me to move a 90-minute drive away to a small town just north of San Francisco, I left a part of me behind in that townhouse. I’m still unwrapping my feelings about this transition, but have been enjoying revisiting so many memories this week.
Today, the new owner is moving in with his young daughter. I wish them well with their new home, and hope they create as many warm and enriching memories there as I did. And if I lived closer, I would welcome them with this dish as a housewarming offering. It’s a simple, light-but-filling dish of chickpeas, olives, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese, and eating it makes you feel so good. Like home.
Chickpeas, Garlic and Olives
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can)
- 1/3 cup sliced green olives
- 1 - 2 teaspoons minced garlic (I've even gone as high as 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (asiago cheese works great too)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
- 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil (to taste)
- pinch salt and pepper
- 4 large basil leaves, chiffonade
In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Adjust for seasoning, and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to be absorbed by the chickpeas.