Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Falafel.

I was craving falafel so hard today (as most days it seems lately...) and I had to have it tonight. I still had greek beans leftover but I promised myself that I would finish those off tomorrow at lunch. I didn't feel like making falafel from scratch with chickpeas and chopped onions etc. I got home from a long day at work and I just didn't want to put that much effort into it. I wished I had one of those falafel mixes where you just add water. I didn't have any but I did have this...

Chickpea flour! All it is is ground up chickpeas. I figured that's what those pre-made falafel mixes are made from anyway. I went online and found a recipe by Bob's Red Mill here. Bingo. Exactly what I was looking for. So with a little chickpea flour, a few shakes of spices and baking soda mixed with some hot water and lemon juice I had falafel batter ready to go!

I cut the recipe in half and fried up 5 golden brown patties in sunflower oil.

While they were cooking, I made a quick tahini sauce with equal parts tahini, water, lemon juice and a dash of salt and garlic powder.

I stuffed them into whole wheat pita with lettuce, onions, pickles and drizzled them with the tahini sauce.

Mid bite. They were pretty good though I must be honest, not as good as homemade from cooked chickpeas. They were nice and crispy but a tad dry in the middle because of the chickpea flour. Not bad though. It worked very well for a craving and I'm glad I tried it!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Greek Gigantes, Lemon-Caper Potato Salad & Baba Ganouj

You don't understand, I crave Mediterranean flavors all the time! Yes, I switch gears and do Thai or Indian and even good old American but when it comes to food that just does it for me, it's this kind of food. I think it's because of the glorious mediterranean climate here in California that gets me in the mood. Today I revisited Greek Gigantes. I made it once before using a recipe I found online. This time I used Diane Kochilas' recipe from "The Greek Vegetarian" cookbook. You're supposed to use authentic greek big beans but large limas do the trick just fine. I also omitted the honey and used a bit of sugar to counterbalance the tartness of the tomatoes. They turned out beautifully creamy and tender and flavored with lots of dill. I also made potato salad with lemon-caper mayo and dill. Also baba ganouj and fresh pita to round out the meal. Husband and I ate together and washed it all down with a cold beer/tomato juice cocktail.

Edited to add a picture of dessert! How could I forget to put this up?

Date cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. All vegan!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oatmeal Walnut and Date Cookies

I wanted cookies today so I made these yummy cookies out of stuff I had in my pantry. I used spelt instead of all purpose flour and used olive oil instead of safflower. They were so easy to throw together and came out really delicious! I can see myself making these again real soon. Recipe is from Alicia Silverstone's book "The Kind Diet". You can find the recipe link here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Channa Masala

When my husband is on his own for dinner, I like to make indian food for myself because he doesn't really care for it. I was excited to come home from work today to make my favorite channa masala recipe. I added peas to it and enjoyed it with rice and buttered pita bread (Earth Balance margarine). 'Twas delicious. Recipe to be found here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chickpea and Bulgur Patties (Kibbet Hummus)

Recipe from "Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and N. Africa" cookbook. Golden brown patties of chickpeas, bulgur, onions, cilantro, garlic and spices fried in olive oil. These were pretty good. Next time though I might cut back on the bulgur and use more chickpeas. A very carb-errific lunch!

And just to up the carb content even more, I made baked fries to go with it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Leftovers Burrito and Indian Dinner.

Lunch. Yesterday's leftover refried beans, tvp meat and rice got shoved into a tortilla and was then covered in red chile sauce. Absolutely yum.

For dinner I wanted something simple yet tasty and easy to prepare. The masoor dal with beautiful flavors of ginger and light spices simmered away while I sauteed the kale that was flavored with garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne and lemon juice. Both recipes are from "Flavors of India" cookbook.

Closeup of masoor dal.

Closeup of kale bhaji.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beans on Toast, TVP Tacos and Refried Beans

Leftover Heinz beans from last night made an excellent breakfast on toast spread with Earth Balance and sprinkled with black pepper. And I didn't forget the tea.

I couldn't wait to make refried beans from scratch again and this time with black beans. The easiest way for me to do it is to put the dry beans (1 lb. plus 8 cups water) into the crockpot the night before and let them cook. This morning all I had to do was reserve about a cup or so of the cooking liquid, drain the beans and heat them with sauteed onions, garlic, liquid smoke, the bean liquid, olive oil and salt/pepper while mashing with a potato masher. Seriously perfect beans. I also made red chile sauce with the dried guajillo, new mexico and arbol chiles. For the tacos, I used textured vegetable protein. The tvp meat was sauteed with olive oil, onions, garlic and taco seasoning.

EDIT: Still cooking from my pantry!
Pantry staples used: dried black beans, dried chiles, tvp, liquid smoke, olive oil, spices, Heinz Beans, white bread
Other items: onions, garlic, lettuce, tomato
Items purchased: taco shells, Earth Balance

Monday, April 12, 2010

Heinz Beans!

We always have this kind of dinner when I don't feel like cooking. I popped a couple of cans of Heinz Beans (made in England!) heated them up and served them alongside a baked potato, salad and corn on the cob. Yummay!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nepalese Style Daal, Alu Matar and Achar

Yesterday I visited my dear cousin and her family. Her husband is Nepalese and he made the most beautiful lunch of lentil daal, vegetable curry and a fiery tomato achar which is a pickle that is served alongside the food. He packed for me a little container of achar to go. I was very excited to eat it again so I made a few things to eat with it.

This daal was based on this recipe that I found at Food-Nepal.com. I did not have any other kind of lentils like black lentils or yellow so I used green/brown. I could have used red but I wanted to see if the green lentil would work. I didn't have a couple of the spices like jimbu and asafetida either. I'm sure that the use of these would have made the daal more authentic. The step at the end where you fry the chiles, garlic and onions, I added a teaspoon of black mustard seed. I fried them in olive oil instead of ghee which is clarified butter which I do not eat.

This is the alu matar (potatoes and peas) from 'The Flavors of India' cookbook. I thought since a lot of the spices and flavors are similar to Nepalese cooking, I'd enjoy this with the daal and achar.

A beautiful feast. My cousin's achar is in the little bowl in front. I don't remember what's in it (except for roasted tomatoes!) but it's very special and very spicy! I have to ask for the recipe one day.

Edited to add: I found a tomato achar recipe here.
I don't know if it's the same as my cousin's recipe but a lot of the spices/flavors seem right.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

I'm going to visit my 5 month pregnant cousin and her family today and I made these cupcakes for them. They are mexican chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. They are a basic chocolate cake with a hint of spicy cinnamon and cayenne. Hope they like them!

All ready to go in a makeshift cupcake travel box.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shells n Cheez Please.

This was dinner. It's the "Instant Cheez It" sauce from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. You prepare it by making a dry mix of ingredients which you keep in a storage container and use 1/2 cup at a time that you whisk with water or nondairy milk over medium heat until it gets thick and bubbly. Then you can add it to your favorite pasta or as a topping for vegetables or anything at all. I had mine with shells. So creamy and much better than that Velveeta crap!

Edited to add: This is still considered "cooking out of the pantry"!

Pantry staples used:
nutritional yeast
spices/herbs: paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, dry mustard, salt, pepper, sugar

Other ingredients:
plain soymilk
wet mustard

Ingredients I had to purchase: none

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ramen Noodle Comfort.

When you're having a rough day and doing your best yet nothing is going your way, it's nice to come home to a warm comforting meal such as this one. Well, I didn't actually come home to it, I had to make it myself but it was a pleasure to do so. It was like a warm hug, this bowl of steaming broth with filling noodles, soft vegetables and tofu. I felt better instantly.

Edited to add: This is still "cooking out of the pantry"!

Pantry staples used:
ramen noodles
soy sauce
mushroom soy sauce
black pepper

Other ingredients:

Ingredients I had to purchase: none

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rockin' Moroccan.

Zeilouk d'Aubergine. (Moroccan eggplant relish). I think I may have overdid it on the tomato paste because it's a lot redder than I think it's supposed to look. Looks aside, this was wonderful. A tangy relish of cooked eggplant, green bell pepper, onions and tomatoes. Recipe from Olive Trees and Honey cookbook.

Delicious meze platter: eggplant relish, baba ganouj (store bought), lavash bread and assorted olives.

Moroccan vegetable stew with couscous and onion-cinnamon raisin topping. Recipe also from Olive Trees and Honey cookbook.