convict lake chickpeas

A couple years ago, a friend and I did a hiking trip of the John Muir Trail in eastern California; the trail is 210 miles, from Yosemite in the north to Mt. Whitney, tallest point in the lower 48, in the south. We originally specced it as a full month, August of 2008, right after I (was supposed to have) graduated and right before she started grad school at the University of Washington, though I ended up punting about halfway through and hitching down to Fresno because of problems with my ankle. Anyhow because commercial backpacking fare is uninspiring as food goes, and often doesn't provide enough calories for the level of activity you're doing, my friend put together a nice variety of meals and dried them, and we ate them happily for the trip. (After our first three days, I bought a salt shaker in Tuolomne Meadows, because we were sweating enough that we needed it. Later on we started adding Crisco to them to bulk up the fat and calories, and I still felt a bit hungry for most of the trip, but they were better by far, and packed lighter and tighter, than anything commercial.) After the trip, I got the recipes from her, and then life happened, and it was only in the past few months that I've started to work them into my home cooking.

The first one such (and only so far) is what my hiking partner called Convict Lake Chickpeas (link for recipe), a simple stewed combination of chickpeas and tomatoes. It is, among other things, vegan, and gluten-free if you make it with quinoa as I do.

Crappy cameraphone picture!

The original recipe was, in its entirety,

2 servings:
2/3 can chickpeas
2/3 can tomatoes
2 tbsp dried onions
1.5 cups couscous

(combine all but couscous, cook couscous separately)

So you can see that I have expanded and elaborated on it slightly. It's simple, fast, and tasty and gives lots of room for experimentation if you want it. I tend to find a whole can each chickpeas and tomatoes makes two days' food for a mostly sedentary coder who tends to eat only one non-breakfast meal a day. It is also excellent cold and/or used as a topping for crackers, which is good since it's summer here in Boston, we have no AC, and cold food is significantly more palatable during the heat of the day.