30 January 2011

Chickpea Noodle Soup (AKA-My Best Soup Ever)

Remember back to your childhood (if you weren't a vegan), and recall that whenever you were freezing cold from playing in the snow all day, or feeling sick, someone made you chicken noodle soup. HAHA! I was the picky kid that only at the broth and the noodles, but still, that soup was comfort for my belly. Today, I needed the equivalent of a warm hug for my tummy, so, I set to work making what just so happened to be the "Best Soup Ever." And I am not using that term lightly. It fucking rocks my life.

This chickpea noodle soup has a bit of everything: carrots, onion, garlic, edamame, chickpeas, mushrooms, chopped snow peapods, noodles and lots of tasty spices. You can't go wrong. Or, well, I should say that I can't go wrong. Or didn't go wrong. Whatever. Leave me alone! Just add a bit of whatever you have, and it should be fine. I know, I know, it seems like a lot of spices, but it tastes excellent.

This recipe makes enough for 4 large bowls of vegan comfort. Even better is that it takes no time at all. 30 minutes or thereabouts!

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 large onion diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 10-15 snow pea pods, ends removed, and shopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4oz fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly (I used white buttons)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used soaked/cooked, but you could use 1 can drained)
  • 1 cup frozen edamame
  • 3-4oz lo-mein noodles, broken into 1/3rds (about 1/3 of a 12oz package)
  • 2-4 tsp Braggs liquid aminos
  • 2-3 TB mellow white miso (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp (or more) black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/8 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp crushed rosemary (crushed between your fingers as you sprinkle it in)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Let heat 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, peapods and onion, and stir occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 6-7 minutes. 
  3. Now add the garlic, mushroom, red pepper flakes and 1 TB of braggs along with 1 TB of the broth. Mix and let simmer about 2 minutes.
  4. Now add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the miso and noodles. Stir well and turn heat to medium-high for about 15 minutes to bring soup to a boil. Taste the broth and adjust seasonings, though I don't recommend adding any salt because the miso you add at the end is quite salty.
  5. Gently stir in the lo-mein noodles. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium. Let gently boil for about 5 minutes. Now stir in your miso 1 TB at a time and taste as you go. You may want to add more or further adjust your other seasonings. Cook another 1 minute to absorb the miso and you're done.
How easy was that? Too easy. And if you think that was hard, then bugger off. 

27 January 2011

Chickpea Ballz!

Chickpeas. Ballz. Pasta. You literally cannot go wrong. Or, I should say, I couldn't go wrong since I'm the lovely lady who made it all. Okay, okay, I didn't make the pasta from scratch, but I did make the marinara. Yes, I was a marinara virgin. And, get this, I didn't use any recipe. I'm full of awesomeness!

I got the idea for the chickpea balls from Veganomicon, which has a recipe for beanballs and spaghetti (pg189) using kidney beans, which I don't really love. So, being the thinker that I am, I decided that chickpeas would be about 100 times better along with some extra spices. So, I set to work making a most tasty ball. But, what to serve with chickpea ballz? Pasta! What else? Haha. I had 2 jars of marinara in my cupboard, but I really wanted to test my kitchen skills and make my own. So I did. And, I could not believe how easy it was. And, get this: I actually used whole wheat penne...and liked it. I never used to like whole wheat pastas! Maybe I am growing up after all? NAH.

Chickpea Ballz Ingredients: (mine made 19 ballz)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB Braggs liquid aminos 
  • 1 1/3 TB steak sauce
  • 1 TB or more minced garlic (I ran out of fresh and so used jarred)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, minced-ish
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 slightly heaping cup vital wheat gluten
Chickpea Ballz Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and then set aside.
  2. I threw my chickpeas into a food processor and pulsed a few times until there were no whole chickpeas, but a they were also not pureed, either.
  3. Remove from the processor into a large bowl. Add in oil, Braggs, steak sauce, garlic, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, dried and fresh basil. Mix/mash together with a fork.
  4. Now use your hands to mash in the bread crumbs and gluten until well combined. Let set a minute or two for the gluten to start bonding a bit. I mashed mined down in the bowl. I don't know why, I'm just giving the facts!
  5. Now, use your paws to scoop out enough to make the size of a walnut in its shell. Maybe 1 1/2 TB? I don't know. Then squeeze the chickpea mix into a ball and set on the oiled baking sheet. Be sure to make them all roughly the same size so they cook about the same amount of time.
  6. Once all the ballz are made, you'll bake them for about 15 minutes. Then use tongs to flip them over and cook another 8-10 minutes. You want them lightly browned. 
The ballz are great solo, but they are also great either dipped in a little steak sauce or into some marinara, like so: 

    Marinara Ingredients:
    • 1 - 14oz can diced tomatoes, partially drained
    • 1- 8oz can plain tomato sauce
    • 1/2 of a 4-oz can tomato paste
    • 1 TB oregano
    • 1/2 TB basil
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    • lots of pepper
    • some garlic salt
    • 1 TB garlic powder
    • 2 TB Braggs liquid aminos
    • 1/2 tsp coriander
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 2 TB sugar
    Marinara Method:
    1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the diced tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This cooks your tomatoes down a bit to make them more sauce-friendly.
    2. Reduce heat to medium, then stir in the tomato sauce.  I also added all of my spices except the salt and the Braggs. Stir again to make sure the spices are incorporated.
    3. After about 5 minutes, I whisked in the tomato paste and Braggs. Let simmer away for another 5 minutes. Then taste test! I needed to add sugar to mine as it seemed too acidic. So, I added 1 TB at a time and a bit of salt to the mix. You can add any other spices or herbs you'd like. See!!! It is so easy a child could do it. Well, not really that easy, but you get the picture.

    25 January 2011

    Pizza: It's not just takeout anymore

    Pizza!!! Who doesn't love it? If you don't, then I can't be your friend. Easy as that. A person who dislikes pizza is probably a terrible human being with no sense of taste. That being said, you should know that I am a pizza junky. I could probably eat it every day and never tire of it. Really. Especially since I have come to love Daiya so much. I've tried different brands of vegan cheese and none can compare, at least in my humble (or not so humble) opinion. The trick, for me, is to combine both of the Daiya flavors: cheddar and mozzarella. Together, they make an unbeatable combo. And if you don't think so, then you can suck an egg. This is my blog, so I can say whatever I want. 

    I cooked pizza on a piece of parchment on a rectangular baking stone, so my crust was perfectly crispy and chewy, which is how I like it. If you use a baking stone, heat it in the oven for at least 30 minutes prior to putting your pizza on it. That ensures it is heated through and super hot.

    Here's the evolution of my dinner in the making:

    Homemade sauce and some fresh basil:
    Black olives and some onions:

    Added the cheeses:

    Melted cheese -- YUM:
     Perfectly crispy crust:

    Cooked and ready to eeeaaatttttt:

    Mac & Cheese with Daiya - WOW

    Today was one "one of those days." You know the type. The kind of day where you just want to stay in your jammies and watch mindless teevee all day long because it's too damn cold to do anything else? This day was the impetus for making this mac and cheese. I had some Daiya calling my name from the fridge and I couldn't resist; I had to make mac and cheese.

    I didn't even bother attempting to find any recipes online. I had a pretty good idea of how I would make it based on my previous experiences as a vegetarian,who happened to have about 20 different mac and cheese recipes. This is why I was a pudge in my previous life.

    So, without further ado, here is my spectacular vegan Daiya Mac and Cheese recipe!
    Makes 2-3 large bowls of mac, at least if you use fusili, like I did. The best part of all, though, is that it takes only about 10-15 minutes from when you start boiling the pasta to when you're pigging out.

    • 1/2 pound of fusili (or your preferred pasta)
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp almond milk
    • 2-3 TB Earth Balance
    • 1/2 tsp flour
    • 2/3 cup Daiya cheddar
    • 1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella
    • 1 tsp mustard powder
    • 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1 TB nutritional yeast (nooch)
    • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper (I like a lot of pepper, so you may want to taste as you go)
    • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
    • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    1. Boil salted water in a medium size pot. Add your pasta and cook according to package directions. Then drain and set aside. 
    2. While the pasta is cooking, get another pot. Heat over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup milk and Earth Balance. Whisk in the flour and spices. Bring to a gentle boil, until the sauce starts to thicken. Be sure to stir often, scraping the bottom or else it will burn to your pan.
    3. Turn heat to med-low and use a whisk to mix in the cheese. Keep whisking until cheese is almost entirely melted. I had to add that last TB of milk and whisk more to really make the cheese practically velvety smooth. It will get smoother when you add the pasta.
    4. Fold in your pasta. I let mine cook on low for another minute, just for good measure. 
    5. Adjust any seasonings and serve it up!
    Your tastebuds will thank you. Or not. Whatever.

    24 January 2011

    Pasta Fagioli: The pasta no one can pronounce

    I was ecstatic a few days ago when a trip to WholeFoods resulted in a bulk purchase of dried cannellini beans. I've been looking for these buggers for months, and no local stores ever had them. So, when I found them at WF, I squealed with delight. No, really, I did. I was just so excited to finally find what I started to think of as "The Holy Bean Grail." I began to think they didn't even actually exist, but were some mythical bean people spotted like the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot. Anywhoooo

    I soaked the beans over Saturday night and cooked them up last night to go into one of the easiest, most tasty pasta dishes I've had at home (or anywhere, for that matter) in a while. And it's mega cheap since most people who cook regularly have the ingredients on hand already. Except, I ran out of tomatoes and sauce a few days ago, so I had to buy those. So, whatever. You can really use any pasta you want, but I had penne rigate, which is my personal favorite. I should add now, before I forget, that this is partly someone else's recipe, but, of course, I added my own changes to fit my own tastes. I borrow recipes sometimes from LiberalPortions as we seem to have very similar tastes and his recipes are rockin. I was stumped about what I wanted to make with my beans, and he helpfully suggested this dish. So, thank you, or whatever.

    This is my version, which is plenty for 2-3 massive servings. Goes really well with a nice garlicky bread, too.

    • 1/2 lb of your fave pasta, mine is penne
    • 1- 14oz. can of diced tomatoes and the juices
    • 1 to 1 1/2 small can(s) of tomato sauce 
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 medium-sized onion, diced
    • 1 TB olive oil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 2 TB Braggs liquid aminos
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
    • pepper and salt to your tastes, I like kind of a lot of pepper.
    • 7-8 large, fresh basil leaves, shredded or what have you
    1. Put your pasta in some salted, boiling water. Cook according to the directions. Then drain and set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, you will heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Then add in the pepper flakes and minced garlic. Cook 2 minutes.
    3. Add the tomatoes and the liquid to the skillet. Stir around to combine. Let this bubble/boil away for about 12-15 minutes.
    4. Stir in the spices, Braggs, and sauce. Test for flavor and adjust as needed. 
    5. Add in the beans and pasta. Stir well and turn heat to low and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the fresh basil leaves. Cook 2 minutes, then it's done! 
    Easy peasy. And yummy, yummy, yummy! 

    Garlic Loaves!

    If you haven't already realized, I am obsessed (read: totally fucking obsessed) with two food items: Chickpeas and Garlic. They feature in a significant majority of my recipes. Really, can you ever trust a person that doesn't like garlic or chickpeas? I sure as hell can't.  So, if you're a hater, you may want to leave now and save yourself the trouble.

    Okay, enough of that. Bread. I am infatuated with bread lately. If you read my garlic naan post, you'll know that I had a love/hate relationship with bread: love to eat it, hated to make it. In fact, I was downright scared of trying my hand at yeasted breads after several failed attempts (that may or may not have ended in tears). In effect, the naan helped me a bit with overcoming some of my bread fears. This bread helped me even more. My bread confidence is slowly building. These garlic loaves are dense and hearty and packed with garlicky goodness.

    Bread + Garlic = Mouthgasm.

    This recipe is based on Robin Robertson's recipe for garlic bread in 1000 Vegan Recipes. I changed it a bit to fit my own tastes. The recipe that follows is my version. It makes 2 thicker baguette-style loaves or one giant regular loaf. Also, it seems to get more garlicky as it sits overnight (cooked, of course). I love it, especially with my winter stew.

    •  3 cups bread flour (all-purpose is fine, too)
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (This is the equivalent of 1 packet)
    • 7-8 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2 TB olive oil
    • 1 TB sugar
    • 3/4 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)
    • 2/3 cup plain almond milk, warmed up
    • 1/4 cup silken tofu, drained
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
    • 1 1/2 TB garlic powder
    1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Now, tear off a square of foil. Put the garlic cloves in the foil and drizzle 1 TB of oil over them. Then, gather up the edges of the foil and twist shut. You'll essentially be steaming the garlic in the little packet. Now, put in your oven and cook about 15-25 minutes. You'll know it's done when your house suddenly smells of garlic. Take the packet out and use a fork to mash the garlic into a paste. Cover, and set aside.  
    2. Now, get a smallish bowl (think cereal bowl) and combine the water, yeast and sugar. Give it a few stirs so all the yeast gets wet. Set aside 10 minutes. It should be nice and foamy/frothy when it is ready.
    3. Put the milk, tofu, 1 TB olive oil, mashed garlic, salt, garlic salt, and garlic powder in a blender of food processor. Blend until fully combined and smooth.
    4. Get a large bowl and put your flours in, saving 1/2 cup of the white flour aside to use while kneading. 
    5. Gently mix in the milk mixture and the yeast mixture. I used my hands, but you could use a spoon. Whatever floats your bread boat.
    6. Now, you will need to sprinkle a bit of the flour on a flat surface and knead for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in some flour as you go. You want the dough only marginally sticky. It should be somewhat soft, too. Just leave the dough in one big ball for this first rise. It was a smidge larger than a grapefruit, if I remember correctly (which I may not...)
    7. Get a baking sheet and cover with parchment or silicone sheet. I gave mine a quick spray with some olive oil cooking spray, just because.Then, place your dough ball on the sheet and lightly oil the top with cooking spray or use a brush and some olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel for about 90 minutes. You'll want the ball to double in size. It may or may not happen in 90 minutes, so be forewarned. It all depends on the temperature of the room and such, so I turned my oven on low and sat the baking sheet on top so it would be warmed a bit and would rise more quickly.
    8. Turn your oven on to 425 degrees F. 
    9. Divide your dough into 2 equal-sized dough balls. Shape each into a long, skinny loaf. 
    10. Cover again with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rise another 25 minutes. They should be about doubled again. I made a few slashes in my loaves, but you don't have to. 
    11. Now bake about 22-26 minutes on a middle rack, until loaves are browned and the bottoms sound hollow if tapped.
    12. Let cool at least 30 minutes on a rack before cutting into them.

      22 January 2011

      Winter Stew

      Stew. I needed it. It is brutally cold here, and the only solution is a thick, hearty, delicious stew. I was introduced to a similar stew when I visited a friend a few weeks ago, and I pretty much turned into a vegan piggy when I ate it. Thus, I knew I would have to try my hand at it when I got home. The stew is based originally on the Cholent recipe in Veganomicon, sorry I can't remember the page, and I am far too lazy to get up and find it. Haha. C'mon, it's early morning. Cut me some slack. I am unaccustomed to blogging so early!

      I suppose you could really add in any veggies and this stew would work. Also, I used some frozen veg, but only lima beans and peas. The other veggies were fresh. I'm not generally a fan of frozen veg, but I do often use frozen peas and corn in dishes (never alone). So, there you go. Do whatever you want. I do recommend that you eat the stew with some nice hearty bread. Mega yum.

      This is enough for 3 large bowls, but you can do maths to figure out a larger batch.

      • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
      • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
      • 2 small potatoes, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
      • 2 small carrots, peeled, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
      • 1/2 onion, cut to your liking
      • 1/3 cup TVP (I used the granules because I can't find the chunks)
      • 1/2 cup dried lentils
      • 1 cup or so of cooked chickpeas (I had some that needed using, so I threw them in)
      • 3 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 TB olive oil
      • 1 tsp oregano
      • 1 tsp basil
      • 1/2 tsp thyme
      • 1/2 tsp coriander
      • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
      • 1 tsp onion powder
      • 1 tsp garlic salt
      • 1/8 tsp or less fennel
      • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
      • 2-3 tsp Braggs liquid aminos
      1. Get a dutch oven or large soup pot out and heat over medium temperature. Add the oil. When hot, add in the onion and the spices. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Then add your garlic. Cook 2 minutes.
      2. Add in the other ingredients and stir well. Cover and cook about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
      3. Check the doneness of the potato and carrots and the seasoning. Turn to low and simmer about 10 minutes more. In the last few minutes, I removed the lid and let it thicken up a bit more. 
      See! So easy and tasty. Your tummy will thank you!

      Aloo Masala My Way

      When I was in Boston a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of eating the most spectacular wrap at a little Indian takeout shop. It was an amazing Aloo Masala on a naan wrap. It had the masala, some rice, lettuce, tomatoes and cukes and a killer garlic chili sauce. It was fucking beautiful. Holy yum, dude. Despite becoming a vegan piggy and scarfing the hell out of the wrap, I couldn't eat all of it. It was massive. And, I knew that I needed to make it as soon as humanly possible. I partly stole this recipe from my pal's blog: Liberal Portions. He knows I'm snagging and changing his recipe a bit, so bite me!

      I really have no reason to explain any more details, so here is my version of the Liberal Portions' recipe, which makes 3-4 sizeable wraps. I shall warn you, my spice measurements may be a bit low as I just kept adding more and more spices to my personal tastes. My garlic naan is the perfect companion for this masala!

      • 3-4 potatoes, peeled, chopped into 1-inch cubes
      • 2 TB olive oil 
      • 1 TB mustard seed 
      • 1 1/2 TB cumin 
      • 1 1/4 tsp turmeric 
      • 1 tsp ginger 
      • 3 TB Curry powder (I used a mix of madras and regular curry powders) 
      • 3/4 tsp allspice
      • 1 tsp nutmeg 
      • 1/2 cup frozen peas
      • 2 carrots, peeled, sliced thinly and steamed (or use frozen, whatev)
      • 2 TB Braggs liquid aminos
      • salt and pepper to your tastes
      1. You need to boil your potatoes in some salted water. When they are fork-tender, drain and mash. I mashed with a hand-held non-electric old school masher. Set aside, please.
      2. Now, heat the oil over a medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Add in the mustard seeds for just a moment. Be careful, mine started popping and it will burn you a bit (so, if you hear a pop, turn the heat down and add your other spices asap...take my word).
      3. Add all the other spices, aminos, and the cooked carrot and the frozen peas. Stir well. Let cook about 6 minutes or so. I turned my heat down to a medium-low heat.
      4. Add in the potatoes. Heat through. Maybe about 2-3 minutes. Mix well to incorporate all the spices and veg into the potatoes. 
      5. You can either mash it all together by hand or throw it in the food processor for a few pulses. I just mashed by hand.
      6. Adjust your seasonings and serve it up! I made mine into a wrap, but you don't have to. 

      Get creative. Or whatever. Enjoy!

      17 January 2011

      Garlic Naan Breads

      Naan. Who doesn't love it? No one. Because it is wonderful in every sense of the word! Chewy, dense, foldable and yummy as hell. It's everything I want a bread to be. Especially with my *ahem* brilliant addition of some mashed, oven-roasted garlic kneaded into the dough. You may thank me anytime.

      The naan that you'll find in most stores and restaurants is not what we'd call vegan, what with all the ghee and yogurt and such (icky). So, I went online in search of a vegan naan recipe to try out. HAHA. Good luck with that search, sucka! What's a hungry vegan girlie to do when she can't find a recipe? Consult Twitter, of course.

      This is only my second successful bread-making experience, so I was worried about whether it would turn out. Scratch that. I was scared outta my damn mind. Me and yeasted breads had a bad relationship that ended with me, in tears, vowing never to attempt baking bread again. Really. I may, or may not, have cried over bread dough once. Don't mock me!

      This recipe led me to make 6 big naans. It was my first time (haha), so I didn't realize exactly what I was doing. Fortunately, I don't care as I like them above-average in size (hehehe). Mine, once cooked, ended up being almost as big as my dinner plate. Oops. Well, it worked for me because I filled mine up with my Aloo Masala and pigged out. Don't judge. You would have, too. 

      So, here is my version of the naan-- it will take you at least a couple of hours to make from start to finish. No complaining, pansy, it is well worth the time expended. Do something to enrich your life while you wait during the rises...read, learn to knit, watch tv, learn to cuss in Russian--whatever.

      7.11.11 Update:
      You don't have to roast the garlic! I made it with raw minced garlic (6 loaves with about 3 large raw cloves of garlic) and a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder. Instead of putting the garlic into the big batch of dough, I kneaded it into each loaf before the second rise. MEGA YUM! We liked it even better than the first time I made it.
      • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (its the same as 1 packet)
      • 1 cup of warm water
      • 1/4 cup of sugar
      • 1/4 cup plus 1 TB of oil (I used olive oil) 
      • 1 TB of salt 
      • 3-4 TB almond milk or the milk of your choosing
      • 4 cups of flour 
      • 3 TB of garlic powder
      • 8-9 cloves garlic, peeled, kept whole
      1. I started by preheating my oven to 375 and placing my cloves of garlic on a sheet foil. I added a tiny sprinkle of salt and about 1 TB olive oil to the garlic and then closed it up into a packet. Bake on middle rack for about 25 minutes. Then remove and mash into a paste in a mortar/pestle or with a fork in a small bowl (which is what I did). I covered it with some plastic wrap and set aside.
      2. Now, time to start the bread! Get a big bowl. Add the yeast and water and stir. As for water temp, you want it about 110-120 degrees (just hot enough to make you not want your hand in it). Let this sit aside for about 10 minutes, until the water gets all frothy from the yeast. 
      3. Mix in sugar, oil, salt, milk, and flour. It'll get pretty messy if you're anything like me. It looked like a bag of flour exploded in my kitchen. But, I used my hands to mix the dough as my stand mixer doesn't have a dough hook.
      4. So, now you need to knead the dough. Eek! Don't know how to knead? Go here. I actually really got into the kneading this time. It felt lovely to not hate it so much and know that I was at least - kind of- doing it right.  Alright, knead it about 6 minutes or something. The dough will be dense and soft, but shouldn't be sticky. Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl. Like this:
      5. Now, cover your bowl with a damp towel and set aside for at least 1 hour. The dough needs to double in size. I think mine took about 90 minutes. I ended up turning on my oven and setting the bowl on top of the stove so the warmth helped the bread to rise. It should look like this:
      6. Use your paws or a knife to separate the giant ball of dough into 5 chunks. You could do more, but it's only because you are an overachiever. Knead just a bit, then knead in some of the mashed garlic alright, I maybe added some garlic powder too. You caught me. So, anyway, knead a minute or two, then shape into a ball larger than a baseball, smaller than a softball. Haha. Look at me using sports ball references. I placed my balls (haha) on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat, like this:
      7. Now, cover again with a damp towel and allow the dough balls to rise for about 45 minutes or so. They will double in size and look kinda of wacky.  Oh, and if you heated your oven to rise the bread, don't forget to turn it off. I don't wanna have to hear about your house burning down.
      8. Alright, now you'll want to stretch/pat/roll out the dough to be quite thin. I chose the smoosh and stretch method. I have a rather large nonstick frying pan, so I made mine pretty big.
      9. So, is your first ball all smooshed out? Good. Heat your frying pan over medium heat. Spray with some cooking spray. Lay your dough out in the pan. After about 1 minute, lightly spray the top, then flip and start cooking the opposite side. You may need to turn your stove down to medium-low. Cook about 2-3 minutes, and flip back again to make sure it is sufficiently browned. Cook about 4-5 minutes total.
      10. While you're cooking the first ball, smoosh out the second. And so on. You get the picture. They go fast, so just keep checking your naans so they don't burn in the skillet. 
      You're done. Pat yourself on the back or whatever. Now, go pig out.

        16 January 2011

        Tempeh Bacon Sandy - aka TLT

        Who doesn't love a good, smoky BLT, I ask? Well, vegans. But, many do enjoy bacon substitutes... sometimes. Alright, alright, I have a confession. I used to be scared as hell of faux meats, and still kind of am. Really. Leave me alone. I had a serious aversion to meat back in the day, so my meat aversion carried over into the faux meat category; sue me. My view on fake bacon changed somewhat when I went to The Pulse Cafe in Somerville, Mass and tried their TLT. Whoa. Holy yummy. That shit was life-altering to this scaredy cat.

        When I got back home, I asked around and got a suggestion for making a smoky-flavored tempeh since I can only buy plain tempeh locally. It sounded like a pain to marinate for hours, but, really, I was just being a crybaby. It was fucking easy. You cut the tempeh, mix the marinade, put it in the fridge and then put it in the oven. Easy. Don't be lazy. *whip cracking*

        If you're looking for crunchy bacon, well, I can't really help you. Maybe if you cut the tempeh super duper thin, it will work, but I don't really care as I like it kinda chewy. This recipe works to make about 12-15 slices of tempeh bacon. Maybe you can make more. Who knows!

        I absolutely recommend finding some nice sourdough for your sandy. I like to lightly spray each side of each slice with a bit of an olive oil cooking spray and then grilling (frying?) it in my nonstick skillet over medium heat to crisp it up. It should look like this:

        The recipe makes enough for at least 2 rather large TLTs in large sourdough slices. I'm only giving you my take on the tempeh bacon, as I am hoping you are not so stupid as to not know how to assemble as sandwich on your own. I hope this is not a mistake on my part. HA.

        Ingredients for Tempeh Bacon:
        •  1 - 8oz package of plain tempeh
        • 1/4 cup braggs liquid aminos
        • 2 1/2 TB apple cider vinegar
        • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
        • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
        • 1/2 heaping tsp cumin
        • 1/2 tsp chili powder
        • 1/4 tsp pepper
        • 2 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
        • sprinkle of salt 
        1. Lay the tempeh slices in some baking dishes, close, but not touching.
        2. Get a small pot and put the liquid aminos, vinegar, brown sugar, syrup, cumin, chili powder and pepper on to a boil over a medium-high heat. Be sure to stir it well first, of course. Once boiling, mix in the liquid smoke and remove from heat. 
        3. Pour over the tempeh slices and marinate a moment. I flipped mine after about 15 minutes. Then cover with plastic wrap and put in your fridge. I think mine ended up marinating about 6 hours, though you can take yours out earlier, maybe. If not, don't blame me. I went all out on the marinating.
        4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
        5. Careful! Be gentle when transferring the bacon slices (again, no touching!) from the marinade dishes to the parchment-lined sheet. Then sprinkle the salt over top. Just a smidge else you will get hypertension. 
        6. Now put the sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes. Then, you're gonna need to get your tongs and flip the pieces over. I gave mine a quick spray with some cooking spray. I don't know why...sheesh. Lay off. Now put them back in the oven and cook about 8 more minutes, or until the pieces are all browned and stuff. 
        7. Now assemble your sandy. Though I doubt it could possibly be as good as mine! I kid. Not really.

        Kickass Coconut Cupcakes

        The time has come for me to blow your minds with my mad cupcake skillz. Be prepared to experience a mouthgasm. I guarantee you will come crawling back, begging for more like some damn junky. To be honest, I'm really only sharing my recipe because I'm tired of beating back the cuppie junkies with my broom everyday. Get off my lawn! *shaking my fist*

        So, here's the deal: I don't put a ton of coconut in the cupcake itself otherwise you have trouble disconnecting the cuppie from the wrapper, which I find infinitely annoying. Maybe you don't. So, if that's your thing, feel free to add more coconut to your batter. In the meantime, I will be here mocking your inability to peel your paper cups from your cuppies. I just add more coconut to the frosting to make up for it. Take that.

        I have one more hint for this recipe. The frosting can be as runny or as stiff (ha) as you want it to be. Just add more powdered sugar as needed to stiffen it up. I like it pretty stiff (that's what she said), so I just keep adding powdered sugar by the 1/4th cup as needed. If you didn't know, 1/4 cup is the same as 4 TB. See, you've not only gained access to my wonderful recipe, you've learned something useful. For once.

        My recipe is for 12 cupcakes, so you will need to engage in mathematical equations if you're wanting less. I originally wrote it for just 6, but then I realized that most folks would find that odd, so I have done you a favor by doing the math and making it so you don't have to. See, I can be nice sometimes! Now back off and leave me to the recipe-sharing.

        Cupcake Ingredients:
        • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temp
        • 1 cup sugar
        • 2 egg replacements (as usual, I use Ener-G brand)
        • 2 tsp plus a few extra drops vanilla extract
        • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1/2 tsp baking powder
        • 1/4 tsp salt
        • 2./3 plus 1/4 cup milk of your choice (I used coconut milk this time, but usually use almond)
        • 2/3 cup sweetened coconut shreds
        Frosting Ingredients:
        • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, room temp
        • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
        • 3 TB milk of your choice (again, I used coconut)
        • 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract depending on your tastes
        • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut shreds
        • Optional: you can also add a few TB of vegan cream cheese to the frosting, which I sometimes do, but not today. Make up your own mind. 
         Cupcake Method:
        1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin pan with 12 paper liners. I use the kind from the health food store that have no dyes or wax or any of that. I'm elitist that way.
        2. Cream together the Earth Balance and sugar. Don't worry. It will be a little grainy.
        3. Whisk in your egg replacement and vanilla extract.
        4. Whisk in flour, baking powder, salt and milk. This should be mostly smooth, maybe a few tiny lumps.
        5. Gently fold in the coconut.
        6. I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the better out and fill the paper liners 2/3 full. If you fill beyond that point, do not blame me...I warned you.
        7. Bake on middle rack 20-23 minutes. You want a bit of a golden hue around the edges. But, to be sure, do the toothpick test. 
        8. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack at least 30-45 minutes before frosting. 
        Frosting Method:
        1. Whip your Earth Balance (and cream cheese if you chose to add that) until nice and fluffy.
        2. Mix in the vanilla and milk until just combined.
        3. Slowly blend in the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time so it doesn't make a giant poof of sugar all over you. I've done it. You look stupid and feel like an idiot. Anyway, I add about 2 cups total here. 
        4. Mix in the coconut. After that, I almost always add more powdered sugar because I like a good stiff frosting (similar to how I like my cocktails).
        5. Refrigerate frosting while the cookies are cooling. I do recommend waiting until your cupcakes are cool to the touch before frosting otherwise your frosting melts and it makes a terrible mess and people will mock your cuppies.  You can always put the cuppies in the fridge to cool if you're in a time crunch. 
        So, you're welcome. Or whatever.

        14 January 2011

        Spicy Penne with Chickpeas (and other stuff, too)

        As you may or may not realize, I am, quite literally, obsessed with chickpeas lately (okay, all the time, not just lately).  I have been so hooked on cooking them myself instead of using canned, that I have considered buying them in bulk online to save some $$$.  Canned chickpeas are fine in a pinch, but soaking and cooking them is definitely my favorite now.  I'm thinking of starting to soak other beans now, too.  Anyway, I had about a cup of cooked chickpeas sitting in my fridge that I wanted to get used up, so I asked a friend for inspiration.  I was directed to this recipe, which I used as a guide, but also changed up a bit to fit my own tastes and on-hand ingredients.  Well, friends, it was excellent! 

        To be honest, I was kind of (by "kind of" I mean very) skeptical of the addition of either orange juice or balsamic vinegar at the end of the cooking.  Sounds bizarro and kind of gross, particularly the orange juice suggestion.  I only had white balsamic vinegar, which is a little calmer in acidity and taste than regular balsamic vinegar, so I decided to use that.  As soon as I poured it into the pan, I regretted it and got a little upset with myself for making such a foolish decision.  But, after I mixed it up really well, I realized that it was awesome!  The original recipe also called for kale, which I rarely buy as I don't really love it (except in stews).  Maybe it's an acquired taste, I don't know, but I do know that I like spinach a lot, so I typically use that when recipes call for kale as it is lighter and less bitter in taste. 

        My version makes at least 2-3 main course-sized servings.

        • 1/2 lb pasta (I used penne)
        • 1 heaping cup of cooked chickpeas
        • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
        • 1/2 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
        • 4 cloves garlic, minced
        • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (use less if you're fearful of the spice)
        • 3-4 oz of fresh mushrooms (I had white mushrooms), sliced
        • 2 TB tomato paste
        • 1/2 tsp dried basil
        • a shake or two of oregano
        • 1 1/2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
        • 1/4 cup water
        • 1 tsp olive oil for sauteing the veg
        • salt and pepper to your tastes
        1.  Put your pasta in a pot of salted pot of water. Cook per directions on the package.
        2. In a large skillet (preferably nonstick), heat your oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a few shakes of salt along with the red pepper flakes. A little red pepper goes a long way. So you may want to go easy on it if you don't like really spicy foods.  Stir occasionally every couple of minutes until the onions are soft. 5-6 minutes or so.
        3. Then add in your mushrooms, garlic and a TB or two of water to keep the veg moist and not stick to the pan. Add in your basil and oregano now, too. Stir around and cook until the mushrooms are mostly done. 3-5 minutes or so.
        4. Add your tomato paste and the rest of the water and mix until the paste is incorporated.  After a minute or two, your pasta should be mostly done.  So, drain it, duh!
        5. Add in the spinach, pasta, and chickpeas and stir to combine.  Cook about 4 minutes, until the spinach is wilted.  Add any more salt and pepper you may want. 
        6. Pour the vinegar in and toss well.  Serve it up and enjoy :)

        13 January 2011

        Chickpea Veggie Burger

        Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted old-style comfort food.  Though, I should add, that even when I ate meat I hated hamburgers.  I used to crave the Boca Vegan burgers, but I have moved on from the frozen aisle and will be attempting more veggie and bean burgers in the coming months.  This particular burger was a little softer than I would've liked, but it tasted excellent! I highly recommend some plain old yellow mustard on this burger.  It just goes perfectly.  Though, you can do whatever you want.  I ate mine with a healthy dose of mustard, some Vegenaise, romaine lettuce and red onion and served on a vegan onion bun.  SO good! And they go perfectly with my Baked Onion Rings!  
        Two suggestions:
        • Add some bread crumbs for a bit more texture.
        • Don't puree the bean/veg mix.  I pureed mine accidentally because I wasn't paying attention. Oops.
        My recipe makes 2 normal-sized patties or maybe 4 mini burgers.  You could pan-fry them, I suppose, but I baked mine in the oven for about 20 minutes.

        • 1/2 small onion, diced
        • 3-4 TB yellow bell pepper, diced
        • 1 1/3 cups cooked chickpeas
        • 1 large clove garlic, minced
        • 3 TB wheat gluten
        • 2 tsp olive oil
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 1/4 tsp black pepper
        • 1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
        1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with some cooking spray.
        2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the garlic and red pepper.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.  Then remove from pan and let cool somewhat.  I put mine in the freezer about 5 minutes. 
        3. While the onion/peppers are cooling, get your food processor out.  Add the chickpeas, salt and pepper.  When the onions/peppers are cooled a bit, add them to the food processor.  Whir a few times to chop the goods.
        4. Add in the wheat gluten and whir a bit more.  If you're adding breadcrumbs do it now.  You can puree if you want, though I won't be doing that next time because I'd like a bit more texture.  
        5. Remove half of the mixture from the processor and shape into a patty.  Then do the other half, duh.
        6. Put the patties on the prepared baking sheet and cook on the middle rack for about 12 minutes.  Then flip and cook another 6-8 minutes. The patty should be browned and somewhat firm.  Serve on a nice tasty bun with some fixins!  Enjoy :)

        Baked Onion Rings

        Onion Rings. Dear, sweet onion rings. How I love thee!  How I simultaneously loathe you because I crave your greasy goodness often.  So, when I stumbled across a couple of different baked onion rings, I was hopeful, yet skeptical.  "A healthy-ish onion ring? No way!!!" I exclaimed.  I had to give them a shot if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity.

        These are actually really easy, though they seem like they are a bit complicated.  I swear, however hard they may or may not be, they are delicious!  VERY!  You will not regret making them.  I sure don't.  The only word of warning is that they are a bit messy to make.  And a bit messy to eat, but they are magnificent.  I sort of combined a couple of recipes to make my own special onion ring flavor.  It started with the recipe in Appetite For Reduction, and I expanded from there.  The recipe that follows is kind of mine and kind of not.  Anyway, I made about 30 rings, though you could easily make more.  They go perfectly with the Chickpea Veggie Burger I made to accompany the rings.

        The mix of breadcrumbs and spices as well as the liquid batter will have plenty leftover.  It is a bummer to throw some out, but you need a lot to dip the rings in before you bake them.  You will need to create an assembly line so you don't make a tremendous mess while dipping the rings.  Trust me. I started without a real method, but after about 3 rings, I made the line.  Less mess = more fun.  Or whatever.  Anywhooooo, on to the recipe! 

        • 2 average size sweet onions (you really won't want the end rings, just the middle ones, so save the rest of the onion leftovers and dice them up for another dish)
        • 2 TB cornstarch
        • 1 cup cold milk of your choice (I use almond)
        • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
        • 1/2 slightly-heaping half cup of all-purpose flour
        • 2 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
        • 1 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
        • 1-2 tsp garlic salt (not garlic powder)
        • A few small shakes of cayenne (maybe 1/8 tsp. Just enough to give it a baby kick of flavor without burning your tongue
        1. Slice the onions into 1/2-inch thick rings, then separate the layers. As I said, you probably won't want the rings from the ends of the onions, so save them for later.
        2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Get a baking sheet and spray with cooking oil.  Set aside for the assembly line.
        3. In a deep-ish bowl, combine the almond milk, flour and cornstarch. Mix until it makes a thick, yet runny batter.  Then stir in the apple cider vinegar and set aside.
        4. In a wide bowl, mix the bread crumbs, garlic salt, and cayenne.  Then, pour the olive oil over the bread crumbs and mix well.  I used my hands, but you don't have to.
        5. Now comes the assembly line! I found it easiest to align my bowls like this: Left = wet, middle = crumbs, right = baking sheet.  You'll definitely want to keep your hands separate, meaning you need a wet hand and a dry hand otherwise you will have a hell of a time making the rings come out nicely.
        6. Left hand dips the ring in the wet batter then drops it into the crumbs.  Right hand covers the ring with crumbs and then gently lifts the ring out (shaking the excess crumbs) and then place it on the sprayed cooking sheet. Try not to let the rings touch.  Depending on how many you decide to make, you may need another baking sheet.  Spray a touch of cooking oil on the rings before putting them in the oven.  This is what they should look like pre-oven:
        7. Bake 9-10 minutes.  Then carefully flip the rings over with some tongs and cook another 6-8 minutes.  They will be browned somewhat.  I tasted one just to be sure they were done, so I advise you to do the same.  There, you have vegan, baked healthy-ish onion rings that you can rave about.  YUM!

        11 January 2011

        Chickpea Tahini Bake

        This is one of those dishes that doesn't look pretty (at all), but it tastes lovely!  I've never been much of a casserole sort of girl, so my liking this was a bit of a surprise.  I had 2 cups of cooked chickpeas that needed to be used up today, and a friend recommended that I try this recipe out.  I, of course, changed it some, as I always tend to do and then served it with a little garlic bread.  Plus, I didn't need such a humongous dish as I was the only person eating it, so I cut the measurements of the original recipe in half.  I ended up making what would be roughly 4 large servings in an 8x8 inch glass baking dish.  You really could add all sorts of goodies and spices into this casserole and I'm sure it would turn out lovely.

        • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can of drained, rinsed chickpeas would likely work)
        • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked brown rice - I used brown basmati
        • 3 TB tahini
        • 3 TB water
        • 1- 14oz can of diced tomatoes and their juice
        • 1/2 white onion, diced
        • 3 cloves garlic, minced
        • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
        • 1 tsp dried basil
        • 1 tsp dried parsley
        • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
        • 1 TB lemon juice
        • salt and pepper to your liking
        1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
        2. Mix the tahini and water together in a small bowl until it is fully combined and has thickened.
        3. Saute the onion and garlic briefly in a skillet to soften somewhat.
        4. In an 8x8 inch baking dish, mix all the ingredients together, including the tahini mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.
        5. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake about 35 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.  See? Easy as can be.

        Chickpea Cutlets - Review

        Alright, not the best photo ever, but it was tasty.  The food, not the photo.  I have been wanting to try making these Chickpea Cutlets from the Veganomicon (by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero) cookbook for a while.  So, I've had the cookbook about 3 years, but why did I never attempt them?  Because I didn't know what the hell vital wheat gluten was.  Also, I couldn't find it.  Yesterday, I was determined to get my paws on some gluten, so I set out to 2 different health food stores.  Alas, I found it!  $5.00 for 10 ounces...ouch.  But, I wanted to make the cutlets, so I had to buy it.  And, now that I have tasted the heavenly goodness that is the chickpea cutlet, I can say that it was definitely worth the $5.00 price tag. 

        I made the cutlets according to the directions on page 133 of Veganomicon, except for 2 small things: a) I did not use the lemon zest as I didn't have a lemon. And b) I added one more small clove of garlic.  I used cooked chickpeas that did not come from a can (yes, I've turned into a bean soaker), and it was amazingly good.  I also made the mustard sauce that is recommended on page 204 of Veganomicon.  Though I thought it was quite tasty, I think I'll stick to dipping in a bit of steak sauce. 

        Veganomicon offers two methods of cooking: frying or baking.  I chose to bake mine.  You may or may not realize that I'm frightened of hot oils, so I rarely fry.  Plus, I didn't really want greasy dinner last night.  Baking the cutlets takes about 28-30 minutes total, which was perfect time for me to make some mashed potatoes to accompany the cutlets.  I chose garlic mashed potatoes this time, which I haven't made in months.  Yes, months.  It was all so tasty that I scarfed down 2 whole cutlets and a small mound of potatoes.  So, what I am getting at here is that you need to make these!  They're full of flavor and have a nice, chewy texture.  And, get this! You get to use a steak knife to cut them!  Exciting, no?

        07 January 2011

        Coconut Bacon BLT!

        WHOA! My most favorite meaty dish ever was the BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato), which I have not had in a billion eons.  So, recently, I tried tempeh bacon in Boston (which was quite lovely), but, I decided today to try a recipe I've seen bandied about a lot recently on the internet: Coconut Bacon.  Who would've ever thought that coconut could be a suitable bacon substitute?  I sure as hell hadn't thought it.  But, my friend on Twitter, @VeganGoodThings wrote this killer recipe for coconut bacon.  So, being the BLT lover that I am, I tried it out.  And I love it.  I like the crispiness and the slight maple flavor. 

        I made 3 small changes to the original recipe:
        • slightly less maple syrup
        • instead of tamari, I used Braggs Liquid Aminos because that's what I had handy
        • I sprinkled mine with a bit of salt before baking
        It was shockingly good and made my house smell super yummy for hours afterward.  So, it is official, I'm a coconut bacon convert.  Though my favorite is still the tempeh bacon, the coconut bacon is simple and tastes lovely.  I think it would be good sprinkled in other dishes, like pastas or salads, or maybe even in some couscous dish.  Whatever you do with it, enjoy it. 

        06 January 2011

        Spicy Chickpea Tacos

        Sorry for my absence, but I have been on vacation for the last week and I had a wonderful time!  So, I hope I am forgiven...but in the meantime, I will share a very, very tasty recipe for chickpea tacos. These are wonderful tacos and I recommend them highly!  If you're a bit of a spice-o-phobe, just reduce the amount of red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.  As for the photo, I apologize, but I was very hungry so I just snapped a photo with my iphone instead of the real camera.  Oh well, such is life.  You will survive, I'm sure!

        I used dried chickpeas, which I soaked overnight last night and then cooked on the stovetop for about 90 minutes over med-low heat in a saucepan with a lid.  Be sure you have enough water in the pot that it covers the chickpeas by about an inch or more.  It seems to get pretty steamy, so I left the lid slightly off-kilter so the steam could escape more easily.  I suppose you could also cook them more quickly by boiling them, but lower temp/longer time was the direction I was given.  It's up to you what you decide on.  I think that if you were really pressed for time, you could use canned chickpeas, though I make no promises about that one.

        Anywhoooo....tacos. OMG. So delicious.  You will crave these goodies all the time.  I just ate them and already I'm thinking about the next time I can make them.  I like mine with some vegan cheese, romaine letuce, raw onion, and a medium-spicy taco sauce, but fill them up with whatever sounds good to you!

        Possible changes I'm considering for next time:
        • saute some diced onion and bell pepper and add into the chickpeas before adding them to the oven. 
        • try making with some mashed black beans in addition to chickpeas
        • add taco sauce to the chickpeas before baking
        Well, on the the recipe! My batch made enough for 6 average-sized tacos.

        • 6 taco shells or tortillas
        • 1/3 lb dried chickpeas (I think it made about 1.5 cups after cooking)
        • 2 TB Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce/tamari
        • 1 1/2 TB lemon juice
        • 1 TB chili powder
        • 1 TB garlic powder
        • 1 TB onion powder
        • 1 TB red pepper flakes
        • 1 TB cumin
        • 1 tsp cayenne
        • 1 tsp smoked paprika
        • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning (optional, but it was tasty)
        • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • taco toppings: lettuce, onion, tomatoes, taco sauce, etc.
        1. Cook your chickpeas for about 90 minutes over a medium or medium-low heat. Once done, drain and mash with a potato masher or a fork. You don't HAVE to mash, but they will roll out of the taco shells if you don't.  I just drained the chickpeas and mashed in their pan.
        2. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet with either some spray oil, a silicone mat or some parchment paper and then set aside.
        3. In bowl, combine Braggs, lemon juice, and all spices. I used a whisk to really get it mixed well.
        4. Pour the liquid mix over the chickpeas in the pan and mix well.  You don't have to use it all, because it may be too spicy for you, so add about half to start then add in more to your tastes.
        5. Plop the chickpea and spice mix out onto a baking sheet and spread somewhat.
        6. Cook for about 15 minutes on the middle rack. 
        7. Serve up on your tortillas with all the fixin's and devour.  Or whatever.  
        Also, I just learned that when you buy corn (crunchy) shells from the grocery store, you should heat them in the oven to make them crispy. How did I never know this before???  It really makes them soooo much tastier.