Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mike's Super Garlicky Pita Chip Bonanza

Since I have been attempting to lose weight these past few weeks, I often find myself at a loss during meal times. Trying to find something that is healthy, tasty and balanced enough not to make me hungry again five minutes after I eat, has been a challenge. Until now.

A while back my wife introduced me to Joseph’s Pita Bread, as an alternative to regular bread. At one time you could only find this at BJ's Wholesale, but since then I have actually seen it at Wal*Mart for two dollars and change. As you can see on the package its “Heart Friendly” with “CardioAid plant sterols”. Whatever, does it taste good? It’s not bad as far as pitas go but in all reality it’s just a pita. A flat bread used to hold something that actually tastes good. I suppose at 60 calories per pita I cannot complain very much, but I do think I can spice things up a bit.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I eat I usually like to have something with a crunch in my mouth. It satisfies me on some level. So if I can take something that is 60 calories and turn it into something that tastes good and is crunchy then I guess that’s a win situation.

 Homemade pita chips seemed like the natural choice. They seemed to be gaining in popularity in a linear progression alongside hummus and they seem to naturally go together. A decent amount of carbohydrate with something packed with protein, and polyunsaturated fats. Sounds like a complete meal if you toss a piece of fruit in there.

 Now that I decided on what to make I searched the kitchen for ingredients. Just a few spices should be all that I need. Salt, Pepper, and some form of garlic. Oh yes and some type of oil to enhance the crunch factor!

A Word on Garlic:
If it were up to me I would put fresh garlic on everything. It’s a deliciously potent bulb related to the onion. The problem I have with fresh garlic is that if you are in a hurry it's tough to get at. You have to separate a clove from the bulb by peeling layers away. Then you have to crack the clove and peel even more layers away. While you are doing this you are also stinking up your fingers for the next 100 years. Fresh garlic is delicious but it is simply not in my pita chip equation. If for some reason you find that you need it, use it.  HOWEVER when fresh garlic is cooked it loses some of its potency and you get more of a roasted garlic flavor, which by itself is not unpleasant, it’s just not as potent.

Over the years I have used many different types of garlic to get the correct balance of potency over flavor. I have tried pickled garlic, garlic powder, granulated garlic, and minced garlic in water. None of which ever provided me with what I craved, until recently.

One night while shopping at BJ’s wholesale my wife picked up a glass bottle of minced garlic with a cork in the top of it. It looked like some sort of fancy upper crust “show” garlic that you put in your kitchen to make people think you cook with it but in reality you never touch it. I kind of scoffed. I did however noticed that it was minced garlic that was dry. It looked like it was dehydrated or something. Of course the name ”Olde Thompson” at the top had a certain appeal to me as well. I figured, “what the hell!” and tossed it in the cart. Let me tell you, I have not had a better garlic that wasn’t fresh. I will actively seek this garlic out when this bottle is finished. I believe it is truly dehydrated. Every bit of the fresh potency is there in this garlic. It is the shining star on my spice rack.

 Moving on to the cooking, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Next grease up a decent sized cookie sheet with some cooking spray or a decent high smoke point oil like canola or something. Place two pitas back to back on a flat surface (I used a paper plate), and using a pizza cutter cut the pitas into eight pieces as shown.

 Lay the pieces of pita out on the greased cookie sheet and lightly spritz them with olive oil. I use a small spray bottle for this but you can just as easily brush the olive oil on. Once everything is lubed up apply salt and pepper. I like to use fresh ground pepper, it seems to give it the extra “POP” I need. Once coated, apply a liberal amount of the minced garlic. Be careful the garlic is very flavorful. You’ll even smell it while it’s cooking.

Place the cookie sheet in the pre-heated oven for about ten minutes or until the chips are golden brown and appear to be crispy.

Once done I like to let mine cool off for about 5 minutes so they are no longer soft.  Serve them up with your favorite dip. I like garlic hummus. If you really want a flavor explosion, when you are done with all of the chips collect up all the garlic that fell off of them and all the garlic from the cookie sheet and dump that into your mouth and start chewing. If THAT doesn’t clear your sinuses I don’t know what will.


No comments:

Post a Comment