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!

Hummus and Tabouli Pita

This is barely cooking- which kind of makes it more awesome! As you can see, I haven't been cooking anything new much lately. I was flooded with work before Christmas, which was fantastic, but left us eating a lot of prepackaged sauces and dinners.

This could involve a lot of cooking- or not. It's my version of a pita sandwich that I had on Christmas Eve when we had family in town that were allergic to cats (and vegan food too, kinda). We went to Casbah cafe in Silverlake, which I have only been to once despite having lived around the corner for two years. After eating this sandwich, I wished that I had a time machine so that I could've been enjoying Casbah's food since 2009. This sandwich is a combination of flavors that I would never have paired and it's amazing. Here's the stuff:

Pita Bread
Avocado (about 1/2 per full pita)
Mixed green salad tossed in balsamic vinaigrette
capers (my addition- the restaurant serves it with olives on the side)

See what I mean? Balsamic with Hummus and Tabouli? But it's fantastic! So, you can see how this could be more involved- you could make your own vinaigrette, hummus and tabouli. I made my own dressing but got the rest from whole foods deli. Their tabouli is a bit too minty- next time I'm making my own. But, this was faster and easy to put together while working 12+ hour days!

RFD Veggie burgers

Whew! So, these are the Veggie Burgers from the Real Food Daily book. I've never had the ones at the restaurant- but you sure must know how much I love mostly everything from there by now! I made beet burgers from scratch before that were so-so, and the Vegan with a Vengeance ones, which were good- but I was still on the hunt for the perfect recipe.

After making these, I kind of still am. It may just be the nature of the beast, but all of the ones that I've made had coagulation issues. I have to say, it was less of a problem with these, I think in most part because they have gluten flour in them- which does not have the word "glue" in it for nothing (okay, it doesn't, but it should be spelled that way). That stuff is crazy! Just 3/4 cup, and there was a stringyness to it that was unbelievable.

The great thing about these is that they have so many good ingredients in them; beets, tempeh, carrots, miso, mushroom, corn, peppers, etc. Which kind of makes them take a long, long time (as is standard with RFD recipes, but still) they seem to be a bit of a pain because of all of the steps. It is funny how much the pre-cooked finished recipe looks like ground beef to me!

The recipe said that it made 6 patties, I formed 12. They weren't the biggest, but since they're smaller, I think that they stay together a bit better. We froze 6 of them, so I'll report back to let you know if they re-cook well after having been frozen. All in all, they're about a 7 or 8 out of 10, but I think that the quest may still continue.

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich

This BBQ Tempeh Sandwich is from "The 30 Minute Vegan" (I was trying to counteract the longer RFD recipes). It took about an hour though, so... the title is a mite bunk.

Anyway, the home barbeque sauce was good, I doubled the liquid smoke called for because- 1/4 t, c'mon! That's loony. I also added 1T of Liquid Smoke to the marinade, which gave everything a better, more intense bbq flavoring. The buns were from Trader Joes and suited the sammy perfectly.

The recipe was great, the barbeque was very tangy (lots of extra sauce, too),a nd the recommended lettuce, tomato and red onion are necessary- don't skip them.

Club Sammie

There's an awesome vegan restaurant in L.A. (Silverlake) called Flore. I have never ever had one single menu item that I didn't like- or even just went "eh, s'alright" Every single thing is awesome. Way back when I started going there, I decided to capitalize on the fact that every menu item was an option for me (pretty rare as a vegan) and order something different every time that I went there. This was difficult because everything is so good, I kept being tempted to order the same delicious things that I had previously had. My exploration of the menu only lasted about 4 visits until I hit on their club sammie.

It consists of; baked tofu, tempeh bacon, eggless mayo, lettuce, tomato, avocado and sprouts. They lightly toast the bread so it's more substantial and can hold all that goodness in. It's amazing! The combo of the salty tempeh, the creamy avocado, the juicy tomato... it's so good. After ordering that, I couldn't bring myself to order anything else there. I was dying to continue exploring the menu, but that sammie just called at me every time.

Until I decided to de-code it and make it at home. The biggest deal about making this is that the tempeh needs to be marinated for at least 4 hours. But, if you're home in the afternoon to start it and around about 2 hours in to flip it, this is really no effort at all. Especially for how good it is. I think a few places carry "tempeh bacon", but really, this marinade is over the moon. To save time and effort though, I use pre marinated/ seasoned/ baked tofu from Trader Joe's. This is what I came up with:

(makes 4 sammies- you can make them 1 or 2 at a time tho)

1 large avocado
1 large tomato
1-2 leafs Romaine lettuce per sammie
1 package Trader Joe's baked tofu- savory flavor
1 package tempeh, marinaded
Veganaise (optional, but highly recommended)
2 slices whole grain or sturdy bread per sammie
2 T olive oil for frying up tempeh and tofu
Marinade ingredients (see below)

About 4 hours before consumption of sammies is intended, whip up the following marinade (I use an 8 x 8 baking pan and whisk ingredients)

4 T Tamari
1/2 c water
1 T Agave Nectar
a pinch- 1/8 t garlic powder
1 T Liquid Smoke

Mix all 5 ingredients in pan. Slice tempeh about 1/8" thick lengthwise, coat each slice in marinade, and leave for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn to coat other side of slices.

Okay, that was really the hard part. So, wash your lettuce and set aside, slice up the tomato into sammie slices. If you're making less than all 4 sammies, just slice what you'll need on one sammie (about 3 slices depending on the size of the tomato). Slice the tofu- for each brick in the 2 brick package, you'll get 4 slices. Each sammie takes 2 slices, so slice as much as you'll need for the servings you're making. I cut them from the side so that each slice is the same size as the original brick in front (I should draw a diagram, but you'll figure this out when it's in front of you)

Put the oil into a large pan, and add the tempeh from the marinade and the tofu slices over medium heat. Watch them carefully and turn them when necessary. Undercook any tempeh that you aren't immediately serving to be reheated the same way the next day. Only cook the tofu that you're serving- the rest will keep in a ziplock until you need it.

Slice the avocado. I use 1/4 large avocado per sammie. Lightly toast the bread (about 1/2 the toasting time you'd do for toast).

Blot tempeh and tofu on a paper towel and assemble sammie. These are BIG and teetery, so I don't recommend cutting them in 1/2. To assemble, I go in this order for maximum taste and stability: bread, veganaise, avocado, tempeh bacon (about 4 1/2 slices per sammie), 2-3 slices tomato, 2 slices tofu placed next to each other, bread slice.

Nothing makes us happier than having these for dinner. Well, almost nothing. And, with the club decoded (the home version is a bit different from Flore's, I still recommend trying there's if you're in L.A.)- I am free to order new menu items there again. Yesterday I had the tofu egg salad sammie with a side of potato salad, It was flippin good.

Veggie Burgers

This is the Veggie Burger from page 101 of Vegan With a Vengeance. It is beyond. I've tried a few veg burgers from scratch, and coagulation is the biggest issue that I've had with them. They tend to fall apart when you cook them and more so when you try to eat them. This one is a hint loose, but sticks into a patty far better than any other recipe that I've tried.

It has AMAZING flavor, and makes at least 6 burgers. I shredded the carrot, then chopped it a bit, and used white buns from Trader Joe's that were a perfect compliment (kind of a big, rustic bun). Toasted, natch.