Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chickpea Faux-Viche

Ceviche is a wonderful dish typically made with raw fish cooked by the acidity of lemon or lime juice. This time around I decided I would make something similar but use chick peas as my "meat." Several vegan ceviche recipes use tofu or tempeh but chickpeas work mighty fine. I feel like the lime juice really did soak into them and cook them like the acidity would do with the fish. I could be imagining it but regardless it turned out to be a super tasty, super easy chickpea dish that wasn't Greek or Indian flavored or hummus for that matter.

Chickpea faux-viche

Well - It tastes better than it looks. I promise
1 cup cooked chickpeas (I made a big batch of dried and used the leftovers)
1/2 cup red onion minced
1/2 cup lime juice
4 Campari tomatoes chopped
Minced pickled jalapeƱos to taste
Sprinkle of salt
Pepper (lots)

1 haas avocado

Mix all the ingredients together and let marinate overnight (I left mine in the fridge till lunch - so about 14 hrs) When ready to eat chop up the avocado and mix it in. Grab some chips and dig in! I prefer the blue corn.

I'd say the dish had the texture and the flavor of regular ceviche without the lingering fishy taste. Great for vegans or those who can't get deal with fish.

Here is a tip about cooking dried chickpeas from my non-weirdo foodie friend Lindsey. Cook the chickpeas I'm salt water to give them a little flavor. When I used unsalted to make some hummus she glared at me and told me it needed lots and lots of salt... Plus more salt. My apologies for being skimpy on the seasoning.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chickpea & Spinach Wonton Cups

One of my life philosophies is always have some sort of boozey beverage while cooking. More than likely my choice is wine, but there are times when cravings for other types hit. I’ve honestly been trying to cutback on the booze consumption (I know ridiculous) but I really don’t like to cook or write without it. One without the other is like peanut butter without chocolate, it’s enjoyable but you know your missing something extra sweet to make it perfect.

I have temporarily deemed Wednesday as my cooking night. It just seems right for now, perhaps because I came up with a plan for what to cook last night and I had nothing else to do on this Wednesday night. I hadpretty much everything I needed to make the dish I thought of. A few ingredients that would add to the dish were really unnecessary and I reallydidn’t want to mess with going to the store. However, today I wanted a beer, I hadn’t even started cooking and a nice cold beer was calling my name. I had to have it. Ignoring the craving and distracting myself to avoid going to the store solely for beer wasn’t working so well. Luckily, I realized I didn’t have enough frozen spinach to make my dish, so off to the store I went – beer at the top of my list. Priorities right? On the way to the store I decided to makesome cookies that I had recently found the recipe for. No problem just needed a few additional ingredients. Keep in mind I hate going to the store without a plan – so I screwed that one up for myself from the get-go. When arriving backat home I realized I missed a few key ingredients for the cookies. Thankfully, my wonderful new roommate had everything I was missing! 

I cracked open a beer and began working on the idea that had been bouncing around in my head all day. 

Chickpea & Spinach Wonton Cups

12 wonton wrappers (or however many you want to make)
½ chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic
3 slivers ginger - minced
½ cup dried chickpeas (you can of course use canned)
1 cup frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
½ cup diced tomatoes

Spices to taste*:
Garam Masala
Curry powder

*I’m trying to get better at providing accurate measurements but it’s hard because I really hate cooking by measuring everything. I can’texplain it – just one of those things.

Dried Chickpeas: To prepare the dried chickpeas soak them in water for 8 hours then drain them. Place them in a medium pot with water. Bringthe water to a boil and then let the chickpeas simmer on medium heat for about an hour. I soaked my chickpeas while at work, cooked them first and let them sit with the frozen (thawing) spinach while I prepped everything else.

Wontons: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Get out some muffin tins and spray them with cooking oil (or some other oily/buttery product) to prevent sticking. Place one wonton wrapper in each muffin cup. Gently pressthem so that the bottom is pressed against the bottom and the other parts arerelatively standing up against the sides of the muffin cup. Pre-cook these inthe oven for 8 minutes until the ends are slightly brown. While these arecooking you can make the filling. Once cooked, remove and let cool.

Filling: Pour about ½ tablespoon of olive oil into a pan and toss in the chopped onion. Cook until fragrant and slightly translucent. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chickpeas, spinach and tomatoes. Add in the spices. I suppose the spices should have gone in with the garlic, but I was preoccupied so they went in after. Cook for a bit more and taste every now and then so you get the flavor you want. To finish it off squeeze half a lemon over the filling. A good trick when doing this is to turn the lemon half upside down in your hand (rind down, insides up) – this helps prevent seeds from getting into everything.

The wonton cups should still be sitting in the muffin tins. Fill the wonton cups with the filling and put in the oven for about 10 minuteslonger, or until the ends of the wontons look brown and crispy.

These turned out pretty good. They could have probably benefited from more of a saucy filling, or cheesy but oh well. They were fun and something I came up with on my own. Considering the fact I also was making cookies at the time, everything turned out pretty darn tasty. The 1stcooking Wednesday has been a success!

Lessons learned:
-       Makesure you have everything  you need(drinks included) before starting to cook
-        Think about the consistency of what youare making  - like I mentioned thefilling could have been thicker and more cohesive.
-       If you aren’t good at multi-tasking, don’t try to cook two completely differentthings at once.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Moving on up

I’ve graduated from grad school, I’ve moved cities and into a new apartment. My life is about to get drastically different and crazy enough it still hasn’t really set in yet. The most exciting aspect of all this is that I will FINALLY be able to cook, and blog and go out to the local farmers market for fresh homegrown produce. I’m hoping to grow some of my own stuff, join a community garden and re-do my entire foodie/recipe website.

I’ve taken some time off from the whole cooking thing but now I am hoping to jump right back in where I left off.  Especially in terms of what I am cooking and eating. I definitely noticed a change since I’ve stopped eating as healthy as I used to. I’ve decided to give myself one more week to get settled into my new place before getting back into the swing of things (Dare I say vegan?). Until then, I have a delightful buttery-cheesy recipe to share.

My mom graciously helped me move over the weekend and the entire time (a span of 3 days) we kept planning to make this amazing scalloped kale and potato dish. Well, moving can be quite exhausting so each day we would keep putting it off because last thing anyone wants to do after moving is cook. Finally on the night everything was moved in and organized we made this dish and boy was it worth it. We decided to make a double batch so that we could each have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week. (pictures to come soon)

Scalloped Kale and Potatoes  (1 batch – double the recipe if you want 2 batches)

1 bunch organic kale
4 sweet potatoes
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
11/2 cups (two bags) grated swiss cheese
6 TBS cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
pepper & salt
1/14 cups soy milk

Rinse kale appropriately and shake off excess water. Remove the leaves and put them in a medium pot. It may seem like a lot of kale at first, but just stuff it in the pot. Throw in ½ cup of water and cook on low until the kale is wilted (apprx. 7 minutes). Put the wilted kale in a strainer and let cool. Squeeze out the extra water and then roughly chop the kale to a desired size. While the kale is wilting, slice the potatoes; you want them to be pretty thin. If you have a mandolin – you’re life just got easier.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 10x10 pan – we used those aluminum pans you can buy at the store for $2, I think it was 9X12 - cover the entire bottom of the pan with potato slices. Next layer on the kale, garlic, cheese and then the pieces of butter then Top with more potato slices, cheese, butter, salt & pepper. Pour in the milk slowly and lightly shake the dish to make sure the milk covers a good portion of the pan.  Bake that cheesy goodness for 50 minutes or until the top looks brown and crispy.

Be careful because once you start eating this dish, it’s really hard to stop.

Even though mom and I made double batches we somehow managed to have leftover potatoes. We knew we didn’t want to waste them so we ended up eating homemade potato chips that night too.

Homemade Potato Chips

Thinly sliced potatoes
Olive oil
Sea Salt & lots of pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the potato slices with the olive oil, salt and pepper. I recommend making sure all the slices you are cooking at one time are of consistent thickness; this prevents some cooking more than others. Place each slice on a cookie sheet (covered with foil to prevent extra cleaning). Toss them in the oven for 10 minutes, rotate the sheet and cook for 10 more minutes. Flip the chips and cook for 5 more minutes. Depending on how crispy and brown you want your chips, and how thick the slices are, you may want to cook for longer. 

Although this sounds like a painful process – it’s well worth it. I even made a batch of chips that didn’t have any salt and pepper on them. Just plain ol’ roasted potatoes, so good! The hard part is how to store them. I made sure they cooled and put them in a plastic container, but the next day they were a little less crispy than they were the night before. If anyone has the secret to storing homemade chips please share.

These were great because lately I’ve been super sensitive to salt. I don’t use it very often and the food we buy is usually coated in it. If I buy chips, even Triscuits, I am often disappointed because I just can’t handle the saltiness. These homemade chips are my perfect replacement – and they are great with hummus!