Besan flour–otherwise known as chickpea flour, gram flour or garbanzo bean flour–has become a coveted staple in my household. Almost every single day I make a quick meal using this versatile flour. Somehow, though, I missed the buzz about chickpea fries that seemed to be happening a couple of years ago… from folks like Mark Bittman, Martha Stewart, and even Oprah. Where have I been? I’m not sure either, but I promise I am never going back to that isolated place. Not after getting a taste of these crispy gems.
I admit, I’m not big on fried foods… really much at all. I have to eat fried stuff in extreme moderation because it jives badly with all the nutritious stuff (like raw veggies!) that my belly loves the most. But, if I ever have the craving for a few greasy french fries… I’ll probably reach for my bag of besan rather than my basket of potatoes.
These guys brings back memories of restaurant fries from my childhood: flavorful and crunchy with no need for dipping sauce. However, they do pair nicely with a blend of spicy mustard, a little Vegenaise and chili garlic sauce. Very nicely.
They are slightly more involved than your average fry, though. First you have to cook the batter and let it chill in the fridge until it firms up, almost like polenta. But after that, it’s smooth sailing. That is, if you’re not terrified of hot grease. In which case, it may be a tad more difficult for ya.
It’s great to make the batter and have it chilling in the fridge the night before so that you’ll have them ready to fry up the next day.
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, my google reader seems to be spitting out hundreds of recipes for Colcannon.
And for good reason. This Irish dish is not only easy to make, it is also quite tasty. It’s composed of two of my most favorite foods: kale and mashed potatoes. Sometimes the kale is replaced with cabbage (or is it the other way around?). It makes no difference to me… I am still smitten. Really, any cruciferous veggie mixed with mashed potatoes is sure to win my heart.
This recipe is just an elaboration on the popular dish. It’s basically colcannon topped with a whiskey marinated tofu, fragrant toasted walnuts, and a decadent mushroom gravy. Altogether, it makes a killer main course.
I’ve always been fairly indifferent to St. Patrick’s Day as celebrated here in the USA. I’ve never been much of a bar-hopper, and now that I have children, even if I had the urge to do so, I’d have to hassle with a sitter, and then we’d have a curfew–and well, it’s just much more fun for me to snuggle up next to my hubby and sip green beer in our cozy living room. Maybe watch Leprechaun or something.
Anyways, the whole time I was making this, I kept thinking how wonderful this casserole would be for a holiday dinner… like Thanksgiving. Or any holiday where there’s some sort of feast involved.
St. Patty’s Day? Yep, that’ll do.
So this year, I’m declaring Colcannon Casserole as our family’s official St. Patrick’s day celebration meal… complete with a few (gluten free) green beers. Now that’s a tradition I can get behind 100%.
It takes a bit of elbow grease* and a whole lotta ingredients to get this thing put together, but it’s well worth the effort if you’re a fan of the green stuff + mashed potatoes like I am.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Let me start off by extending a heart felt thank you to everyone who left comments and sent emails in support of my cookbook project. I have been working tirelessly on the darned thing and the support from you guys just makes doing it so much more worthwhile. ♥ In fact, some of the responses I received were down right tearjerkers… but I digress.
Tomorrow’s the very last day of VeganMofo… can you believe it?!
Sometimes (especially towards the end of the Vegan Month of Food) some of us (eh-em) tend to feel a bit lazy… but still need adequate fuel to get us through that last stretch. These simple rice noodles do just that- not altogether a complete powerhouse of a meal, but definitely a nice accompaniment to a larger dinner, or alone as a light lunch.
I had them midday today and am using the leftovers to accompany some sort of gingery tofu with a cucumber salad for tonight’s dinner.
Also, I really enjoy how this dish looks… kinda leopard-like, you know?
I cannot even explain to you all how much I love falafel…
This recipe came about by combining my favorite vegan fritter with my favorite hummus flavor. Ahhh, life is good, no?
Inspired by the beautiful Capri Salad, this lovely antipasti is broiled and served hot.
If you have a favorite vegan mozzarella that tastes great cold, this dish would be wonderful uncooked as well… just like a cold Capri Salad. I would love to get my hands on some Teese to compare, but Daiya’s the only choice in my neck of the woods (so that is what I used). Don’t get me wrong, though; I’m hardly complaining…
*Small disclaimer* the blackish color of the cooked basil is a tad off-putting. Garnish with fresh basil for distraction.
The ingredients for this salad came together based on what I had on hand, including the first two crops ready for harvest in our garden: mint and green onions. Yay for homegrown food!
We had also picked up some “real” tomatoes from the farmers market earlier this week, so I threw them in there too. All the flavors mingled together very nicely.
Tossed with pureed avocado (my favorite base for a salad dressing), this little concoction was surprisingly good!
It’s like a minty, beany, pasta salad!
This side-dish is somewhere in between a baked potato and creamy American style potato salad. It’s perfect to whip up if you are craving something not so healthy, but oh so delicious.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy a baked (or microwaved) potato is with a little mustard and a dollop of Vegenaise. The combo of those two condiments and a starchy potato is my idea of comfort food Heaven.
These potatoes are kinda like that, just a touch more refined. Although, no baking is required- just some boiling and frying.
The apricots in this risotto turn from sweet to elegantly savory with the slow addition of vegetable broth. The whole process of making risotto is pretty repetitive (add liquid, stir, add liquid, stir) so I have included some exciting photos of my newly acquired Frigidaire Flair Oven, c. 1960. ( I know, shameless bragging)
We found it desperately needing a new home on Craigslist, and just couldn’t resist the urge to drive almost two hours and pick it up (during a crazy wind/rain storm). Luckily, since it weighed 325 pounds, we were told that we could just open up the patio door and wheel the oven out through the backyard. We would also avoid a bunch of stairs this way… thank goodness.
The backyard was nice and flat. It was also atop the steepest hill in Ohio, and we needed to get it into the truck that was parked all the way at the bottom. That was a lot of fun. But, after we heaved it into my hubby’s old truck and strapped it down, we were home free.
Although, once we got it home, my husband had to install a 220 volt outlet where our gas range once stood. That took about three days. And, apparently the attic in our house is a pretty horrible place to be crawling around.
This was all completely my idea. I was smitten, what can I say?
The oven is an absolute dream come true, and I can’t wait to give her a proper coat of pale cerulean blue paint… which would coordinate well with practically everything in my life.
Okay, back to the risotto:
Here’s a super easy and delicious way to use up that bag of cornmeal in your cabinet. It’s fun (and economical) to make your own polenta, and you can add all sorts of mix-ins. I just added the basics for a rich flavor, but feel free to mix in a medley of stuff at the beginning of cooking (sauteed veggies, peppers, herbs, Tabasco sauce, tempeh… you name it).
Looks, feels, and jiggles just like the stuff in the tube-bag from the grocery store.
I am about to say something I thought I would NEVER say… I found a dip that I love more than hummus. It sort of chokes me up to admit that, but it’s true.
I was browsing the internet trying to figure out a way to use my bag of dried fava beans, when I came across a mention of a “hummus” using favas. The idea was intriguing, so I ran to the kitchen, proceeding as though I was making hummus (minus the tahini). From what I saw briefly on the web, it seems like a popular way to use fava beans. I was too impatient to research and just let my imagination lead the way. Thoughts of a new and exciting staple food danced wildly in my head…
The outcome was good. Very very good. But, sadly, “staple” it will not be. It just took too damn long to make. And, my fingers sort of hurt from skinning all those beans.
I could just suck it up and admit that some of life’s finer pleasures take a little more time and effort to produce. Then I think about how easy it is to soak and cook some chickpeas and end up with some killer hummus in no time. :\
Would I make this dip again? Absolutely. Will it replace my daily hummus? Not unless my husband is willing to dedicate an hour of his day to the prep-work of the beans.
I would really like to try this using fresh favas.
Here’s how I did it: