Chickpea Salad Sammies

Hey stranger! Yeah, it's been awhile. I think I mentioned last time how all-consuming my job is. So much so that I rarely cook now and when I do, I never think of photographing or talking about it anymore. Until today :) I'm home sick, and had to get up and feed myself. I had seen Isa Chandra's post about Chickpea Salad Sammies the other day and decided to try them. It's a super simple, fast recipe (here: that made for a darn fine lunch. I would like to experiment with other mayos (I used Veganaise) and spices/ flavors. This is pretty clean and simple- but still, tasty. Hope to see you again soon!

Quinoa Chickpea Burger and Oven Fries

This is the Quinoa Burger from the book Vegan Diner. It was really quick and easy to make, held together really well for a veggie burger (they tend to have coagulation issues), and tasted great. I was looking for something similar to the Quinoa burger at Flore (always trying to replicate Flore's recipes, especially now that we live a good 15 miles from them). They were primarily made of the quinoa, chickpeas, oats and some seasonings. Nutritionally, I'm sure that they're good, but there was something so great about the RFD ones that have loads of veg in them. But it's really apples and oranges (quinoa and beets). The Rfd ones evoke a more traditional burger (the color, texture, flavor, etc)- these are a lighter (in flavor and color), squishier alt burger. Both are good, though. I would still like to find a morningstar farms-esque burger recipe that would hold up to grilling and such with more of a faux burger flavor- but those were probably made in a lab, so I may never get there.

Also, though there's not a lot of recipe to oven fries, I had to include these. I had made them a few times before both with russett and sweet potatoes, and this time I hit on the way to a good fry. My previous attempts never got crispy enough to satisfy a fry craving, but these were perfect. I minced parsley ala Cafe Stella in Silverlake (great addition), cut them very thin, tossed them in 1-2T of olive oil, then baked them on a spray greased foil lined pan for 25 minutes at 425 (stirring a few times). This delivered a true, crispy, awesome, way healthier than deep fried fry. I am pleased and will probably consume them far more often now (not necessarily a good thing :)

Also, I should out myself on this book- since we're working out a lot these days, I didn't want to commit to a diner/ comfort food book in the house as I was afraid I'd make too much bad for us food. This was one of the times that I went, "oh yeah, library!" Which was great, I had it for a few weeks, tried out a couple recipes and will probably go ahead and buy it anyway. It did make me realize that this is a smart route for cookbooks since there are duds out there that are filled with recipes that clearly aren't thoroughly tested (not naming names, they know who they are). Thought I'd pass that on in case you're like me and keep forgetting that the library exists and is full of awesome!

Chana Masala

This was a recipe that I found online but modified, so I feel safe in reprinting. It is amazingly good and is great with the Creamed Lentils and Samosas. This was the first time that I caramelized onions- which was kinda a pain, but the dish is so good, I wouldn't cut that step out. The blend of flavors is delicious and this will for sure be one of our regular staple meals.

1 T canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 t cumin seeds
2 t coriander seeds
1 t ground coriander
1t ground cumin
1/8 t ground cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground tumeric
1 ripe tomato, diced
1 c water
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 sm lemon (to juice)
2 t paprika
1 t garam masala
1/2 t salt
2 t fresh ginger, grated

Heat oil in a large pot or skillet, add onions and cumin seeds. Sauté covered over low heat until caramelized (stirring often to prevent burning). Add garlic and sautée 30 secs more.

Add the coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and turmeric until well mixed, add tomatoes and stir well. Cook until tomatoes have broken down a bit and looked nicely cooked. Add chickpeas and water, stir. Then add paprika, salt, lemon juice and ginger.

Simmer covered for at least a 1/2 hour, up to 1 hour. Add garam masala 3-5 minutes before serving.

Falafel Sammie

This is a sammie made using the falafel recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance p98-99. This is when I learned that a blender is really no substitute for a food processor. So, take my adventures with a grain of salt. If you have a food processor, this is probably totally different (by different, I mean better).

I tried to blend the chickpeas and ingredients- all of which are pretty dry. So, I got a paste on the bottom of the blender and untouched stuff on top. After trying to stir, blend, stir to get the right consistency, I gave up and threw it all in the kitchenaid stand mixer which probably got it close to the right consistency.

Other than that, it went well. A bit greasy because it's falafel and it's fried, but they held together well and were really very flavorful. To make the sammy, I used Trader Joe's Mediterranean Hummus, pita bread, shredded lettuce, diced tomato and really thinly sliced red onion. It was really good, but I shall never again attempt it without a food processor.