31 March 2012

Chickpeas, Veggies and Dumplings

Comfort food? Hell yes. I was skimming around the internet a few days ago and stumbled on Mama Pea's recipe for Chickpeas and Dumplings. Chickpeas...dumplings...you can't possibly go wrong. I looked through my pantry and fridge and decided that I wanted something similar. So, I started with Mama Pea's recipe and then altered it to my tastes and what I had here already. It was great fresh from the skillet, but it was even better as leftovers for lunch the following day. I took a shortcut when I made mine. I used Bisquick (mixed with almond milk) to make drop biscuits that I cooked in the skillet with the veggies and chickpeas. It was perfect!

Serves 4

What I used:
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into a small dice
  • 1 Idaho potato, peeled and cut into a small dice
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups veg broth
  • 1 TB oil of your choice (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • pinch oregano
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • pinch red pepper flake
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • salt and pepper
  • for the dumplings:
    • 1 1/4 cups bisquick mix (approx)
    • 1/3 cup almond milk, give or take, until the dough is held together and no dry bits remain
    • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
What I did:
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Be sure you use a skillet that has a lid. This helps steam your dumplings once you add them to the skillet. So, anyway, heat the oil. Then add the onion, potato and carrot. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add in the broth and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrap up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Go ahead and add in the spices, the peas and the chickpeas. Bring to a light boil, then, in a small bowl mix the cornstarch and a ladle of broth to the bowl. Mix vigorously with a fork until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then add it back to the skillet. Whisk it well, then lower heat to med-low and simmer the liquid down a bit. I think I let mine cook about 10 minutes this way. 
  3. Then mix your bisquick mix together in a bowl. Use a fork or spoon to drop blobs of the dough into the veggies and broth. Cover with a lid and cook about 15 minutes. This will steam your dumplings to awesomeness. DONE! Pig out. You know you wanna. 

22 March 2012

Another ugly smoothie...

When you mix a lot of colors, you end up with brown. And that's exactly what happened with today's smoothie. It turned a sickly brownish-green. I had odds and ends in my fridge that needed to be used, so I threw them all together. It still tasted terrific, though, so I'm not complaining. If you can get past the color, you'll dig the flavors.

This recipe makes 2 large smoohies.
  • 1 huge handful of kale
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 honeycrisp apple
  • 1/2 ripe banana (if you like a really banana-y smoothie, use a whole one)
  • half a handful of blueberries
  • handful of raspberries
  • 1/4 cup POM pomegranate-cranberry juice
  • 2-3 TB orange juice
  • ice
Blend, duh.

17 March 2012

Vegan Orange Cardamom Madeleines

Martha Stewart better watch out! I'm baking my way through her Cookies book and making them vegan. Dudes. These cookies are the bomb...or whatever the kids nowadays say. Anywhoooo, I have a voracious cookie appetite, so when I stumbled upon her book while browsing my favorite Dewey decimals (the 641's) at my library, I had to pick it up. I doubt there is a vegan recipe in the book, but that doesn't matter one bit. I'm on the case.

I have a soft spot for cardamom, and when I saw the recipe for these orange cardamom madeleines, I knew I needed to buy a special pan to make them. I got mine from Amazon for about $14.00. I already know I'm going to be getting lots of use out of it, so it was $14 dollars well spent. Mine makes a dozen cookies. You can buy larger ones and even mini ones. You should totally invest in one.

The recipe below is my altered version of the one in the Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook. It makes 1 dozen cookies.

What I used:
  • 2 TB melted Earth Balance vegan buttah
  • 1/2 TB agave syrup 
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1 egg replacement (I used Ener-G egg replacer this time instead of flax) mixed and left to gel for 3 min.
  • Glaze ingredients:
    • 1 TB pulp-free orange juice
    • 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
    • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
 What I did:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, vanilla and agave. Let sit while you prepare the rest.
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg replacement. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. 
  3. Add the flour mixture to the sugar/egg and add in the butter mix. Gently whisk the ingredients all together. It will look like it isn't enough, but it will be. Now, brush a little butter (Or spritz some cooking spray) into the madeleine pan indentations. Spoon the batter/dough into the molds. You want them a smidge less than half full. 
  4. Bake about 8 minutes, or until the middles are set and the edges are just golden. Leave in pan 4-5 minutes, then put on a rack to finish cooling. Now, whisk together the glaze ingredients and brush it onto the madeleines. You can eat them right away, but I suggest letting the glaze set for 10-15 minutes so it isn't goopy or sticky. Here's the finished product:

15 March 2012

We All Fudge Up Sometimes

I've never before posted a cooking failure here. I never felt the need. But, since I messed up so badly, I was pissed. Then I had to force myself to laugh it off and move on. I funked up some double chocolate walnut cookies today...bad. I just started a new librarian gig this week, and haven't done much cooking the last few days. My mind has been on all the new duties and things I need to remember. Somehow, while making these cookies, I added way too much butter. Who would've thought that you could ever have too much butter? Haha. Well, here are the photos of my failure. My cookies were flat as hell, oily, and burnt around the edges. Just know you aren't alone in your recipe flubs. I've had a few. You just have to pretend they never happened, and start over. No big deal!!

08 March 2012

Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I went to the library to pick up some books yesterday, which is nothing out of the ordinary. There was a line at the circulation desk, so I went to browse my very favorite Dewey Decimal section: 641--the cookbooks. I can never resist the siren call of the cookbooks. One book that really caught my eye this time was the Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook. I know, I know. Martha is definitely not vegan. Not even close. So, what I decided to do is to veganize some of her recipes just to see what happens. I have veganized one of her other recipes to great success: Cowboy Cookies. So, I'm thinking that this will be a fun (and fattening) little experiment.

Aside from simply veganizing, I had to alter this recipe just a little because I didn't have the roasted peanuts the recipe called for. Instead I used crunchy peanut butter in place of the smooth and cut out the additional peanuts. No worries, though. These babies are killer....especially if you have a peanut allergy. Ha. I crack myself up. But, really, I never thought I would like the peanut-cinnamon combo. Sounds weird, tastes great.

Makes 18 2-1/2 inch cookies.

What You'll Need:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used a slightly heaped 1/2 tsp of kosher salt)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened, but not melted
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 TB ground flax plus 2 1/2 TB hot water. Let set to gel for 3-5 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup (or more if you want) chocolate chips. I always use Ghirardelli semi-sweet
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
What You Do:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside for now.
  2. Blend your peanut butter and butter until nice and creamy. Add the sugars and vanilla and mix again. Now add the flax egg, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix until just combined and you don't see any dry spots. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will look a little crumbly, and that's fine. 
  3. Pop the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool.
  4. Now, roll the cookie dough into balls just under 1-inch in diameter. You'll have to squeeze them a litle to get them to stick together. Place them 2 inches apart on your baking sheets and lightly press them down just alittle. 
  5. Cook for about 13-14 minutes, until the edges are just set. I rotated the pans halfway through cooking to keep them even. Remove them from the pans and put on a cooling rack for a few minutes. I dare you not to eat at least 2 while they're still hot!!

07 March 2012

French Lentil Soup

I have heard nothing but good things about French Lentils, so I was mega stoked when I found some at a local health food store. Then, they sat on my counter for 3 weeks before I finally felt motivated to use them. Yes, I am a fickle chickpea. It's what I do. I make all sorts of plans to cook things, then I change my mind. I'm sure you understand. No? Bugger. Well, whatever. The lentils are quite delectable and they seem to cook quickly. I do recommend giving them a shot. If you don't have them, just use the basic lentil you find at the grocery store. They're kind of greenish-brownish. They'll work just fine, I'm sure.

I decided to make this stew with the random things I found in my fridge because I had zero desire to head out in the cold and buy more food. In addition to being fickle, I am also sometimes rather lazy. And I am okay with that. Anyway, the soup turned out way better than I had imagined. The use of smoked paprika adds a warmth that I found quite tasty. I seem to be slightly addicted to adding it to my dishes lately. Enough talk. Let's get cookin!

This recipe makes about 6-8 bowls of soup.

What I used:
  • 14oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups veggie broth (I'd start with 3 1/2 cups and add more if necessary later on)
  • 1 1/4 cups dried French Lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 large carrots cut into 1/4 inch thick coins
  • 1 large russett potato, diced small I peeled mine but you don't have to
  • About 2 cups of kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB sugar to help take the tinny taste from the canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning (I use Simply Organics brand)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder/granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • a small pinch of cumin
  • lots of pepper
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt
What I did:
  1. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil. Once hot, add the onion, carrots, potato and the garlic. Stir occasionally to keep anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. Once the onion is translucent, add in all the other ingredients and stir very well. I increased the heat to bring the soup to a boil for a few minutes, then put the lid on the pot and then turned the heat back down to medium-low. I stirred it every 10-15 minutes, for about 40 minutes.
  3. Then, I removed the lid and let the liquid cook down a little bit further to make it more like a stew. I think that took about 10-15 minutes. But, you can leave it more liquidy...whatever floats your veggie boat. 
I very highly recommend serving this with some garlic bread. Not sure why, but it tasted amazing together. And, really, I eat garlic bread every chance I get.