Often the clock has struck ten by the time I return home from work, smelling like a million-dollar meal but with an empty stomach. There's never time to cook up a true dinner; nor do I want one at this hour. If there's nothing waiting on me (husband, what?), I sometimes reheat leftovers. More often, however, I treat myself to what seems to me to be the most perfect supper one could ask for. Little nibbles that go perfectly with a late-night newspaper, an Orhan Pamuk masterpiece, or a slow-moving art house movie.
My balanced meal consists of toasted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), a hunk of some mild sheep's milk cheese, crackers (if I'm lucky, this kind), a gin y tonic prepared á la fuego negro, and some roasted chickpeas. Nothing I ever put in my mouth past nine p.m. really makes me happier. Except when I'm in Europe and most of what I eat goes in after nine. I hope you have little meals of pleasure like this. I also hope you've had roasted chickpeas, because they're much different than their raw cousins. If not, here you go.
1 can chickpeas, drained (or dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and simmered until tender)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
Combine all ingredients. Roast in 400 degree oven until crunchy, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.