July 30, 2013

Tabouli Hummus


It's been a while since I've posted a hummus recipe, probably because the last few times I've made it, I end up just throwing a bunch of ingredients into the food processor without bothering to measure anything. I usually find that some combination of chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini makes a tasty dip!

More often than not though, I still end up buying containers of hummus from the store, even though I know how easy it is - not to mention cheaper - to make at home. The last hummus that I bought was worth the extra expense though because it inspired me to make my own homemade version of it!

The brand of hummus that I bought was Garden Fresh Naturals, and it was a flavour I had never seen from other brands before - tabouli hummus.  The ingredients listed herbs like parsley and mint, along with tomato and bulgur to resemble actual tabouli.

When I tasted the hummus, I got all of the flavour of tabouli, but there were no distinguishable ingredients like fresh herbs, I couldn't see any sign of tomato, and I would never have guessed there was any bulgur in it.

So I decided to make my own version of tabouli hummus with more pronounced flavours and fresh ingredients.


I started with the usual hummus ingredients of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Next, I tossed in some fresh herbs typically found in tabouli (parsley and mint), and I even stirred in some diced tomato at the end.

The key ingredient in this version though, the one that really takes it beyond plain hummus, was the addition of actual prepared tabouli. I cheated a little bit by using a boxed mix instead of making my own tabouli from scratch, because I didn't want to make things overly complicated.  The prepared tabouli added a lot more of those same flavours I was going for, and it bulked up the hummus while completely blending in at the same time.

This was definitely a thick, chunky, and spreadable type of hummus rather than the smooth and creamy varieties that you usually get from storebought brands. It makes a great dip for pita chips on its own, or you can use it as a spread in a wrap or sandwich. Actually, my favourite way to eat it was to spread a thick layer of the hummus inside a pita and then stuff the pita with some of the leftover tabouli - like a double tabouli meal in a pita!



Tabouli Hummus

1 box tabouli mix (such as this one)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (save the liquid)
3-4 tbsp tahini
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt (or more if desired)
ground pepper
1-2 tbsp reserved liquid from the can of chickpeas
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced


Prepare the tabouli mix according to package directions and set aside.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and add tahini, lemon juice, oil, parsley, mint, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add some of the reserved chickpea liquid (or water) one tablespoon at a time to thin out the mixture if necessary. Add half a cup of the prepared tabouli and process again until the tabouli is incorporated.

Transfer hummus to a container or bowl and stir in another half a cup of tabouli, and the diced tomato. Save the remaining tabouli for another use.

Store in the refrigerator. Serve with pita chips or crackers, or use as a spread in wraps or sandwiches.

Makes 1 large batch.



July 25, 2013

Miniature Chocolate-Cherry Crepe Cake & 2nd Blogiversary



Today is a bit of a special day here on Vanilla & Spice - it's my 2nd Blogiversary!

I can't believe that this little space has been active for two whole years already, but I guess when you're doing something that you love like cooking, baking, photographing food, and sharing recipes with amazing readers, time flies by!

Rather than reflecting on the past year of blogging like I did last year, I think I'll just stick to writing about today's recipe this time (and with more photos than usual because I had a hard time choosing) - after all, that's why you come here in the first place!


To celebrate the occasion, I wanted to make a special treat, but since I'm not really much of a cake or cupcake person, I thought I would do something a bit different.

I'm actually really excited about this recipe because it's something I've been wanting to make for quite a while - my very own personal sized crepe cake!

I'm sure you've all seen at least one version of a crepe cake before, but if not, the idea is that you layer a batch of regular crepes with a thick filling or frosting in between the layers to help them stick together, and add whatever toppings you like - fruit, nuts, whipped cream, caramel sauce - basically whatever you could imagine for a cake!


For my version, I knew I wanted to do a chocolate-cherry combination, since I still had some amazing fresh cherries stored in my freezer that I had picked a couple of weeks ago.

I'm actually a novice when it comes to crepe making (especially vegan crepes), but I did some research and chose a recipe that uses part chickpea flour because crepes usually rely on eggs as a main ingredient, and chickpea flour is an ingredient that I know works well in other "eggy" vegan recipes, like vegan scrambled eggs.

I modified the original recipe to make it a bit more decadent by adding cinnamon and cocoa powder, a bit of maple syrup for a touch of sweetness, and using chocolate almond milk for more chocolatey flavour.


My first crepe was a bit of a disaster, but that's expected when you're making crepes for the first time! Luckily, I quickly got the hang of it and ended up with evenly thin, chewy crepes with just enough of a chocolate taste for my liking.

For the cake filling, I kept it pretty simple and used a combo of fresh cherry-blueberry sauce and coconut flavoured greek yogurt.

I loved each component on its own, but all came together to make an even tastier creation! The sauce was thick and fruity, with a nice balance of sweet and tart notes, and I thought it paired perfectly with the chocolate crepes and the creamy coconut yogurt.


Once you have all the components ready, it's pretty easy (and fun) to assemble the cake. First, you cut smaller circles out of each large crepe so that you have enough to stack into a tall enough miniature-sized crepe cake. Then a spoonful of yogurt and cherry sauce is spread in between each crepe layer as you build it, so that you end up with a mix of everything in each bite.

I assembled mine when everything was still a bit warm, but when I came back for the leftovers the next morning after it had been sitting in the fridge overnight, everything had firmed up more and it was a bit easier to slice and eat.  But either way - warm or chilled - this makes a delicious dessert or even a special breakfast treat!

I'm so glad I finally got around to trying out a crepe cake, and a blog anniversary seems like the perfect occasion to try something new in the kitchen! I think I might be making this again for future celebrations - I'm already dreaming of new combinations that I could try for my next birthday cake!

I know this has been a long post, but I just wanted to end by saying thanks for reading and for all of your comments this past year - I wouldn't still be doing this without the support from all of you! And one last shout-out to my sister Natalie of Once Upon a Cutting Board, who is also celebrating her blogiversary!



Miniature Chocolate-Cherry Crepe Cake
Crepe recipe adapted from Vegan Eats World, everything else my own
Note: My crepes were vegan, but not the yogurt. Feel free to adapt the recipe by using your own favourite crepe recipe and whatever kind of greek yogurt you like (vegan or not)!

Crepes
3/4 cup chocolate almond milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp + 2 tsp chickpea flour
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup

Filling
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cherries (or a mix of cherries and blueberries, which is what I did because I didn't have enough cherries)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 100g container greek yogurt (I used Oikos fat-free coconut greek yogurt but vanilla would work too)


To make the crepe batter, add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a container, cover, and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.

When ready to make crepes, heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Working quickly, pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan, swirling the pan around so that the liquid coats the pan evenly all the way to the edges. Let cook for one and a half to two and a half minutes, until the surface looks dry and cooked, and the edges have started to crisp up. Run a spatula around the edges of the crepe and carefully flip it over. Cook the other side for about one minute. Carefully remove the crepe from the pan and transfer to a plate.  Repeat with the rest of the batter (I got four 7" crepes out of mine, but it depends on the size of pan you use).

Use a circular cookie cutter or the lid of any jar about 3" in diameter to cut circles out of each crepe (I used a peanut butter jar lid). You should get one full circle plus two partial circles out of each crepe, but that's okay - they don't all need to be perfect circles. For the partial circles, just arrange some of the leftover pieces to fill in the gaps so that you have somewhat complete circles. You should end up with 11-12 3" crepe circles (see picture of mine below).


To make the sauce, place the berries, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a small saucepan and let cook on medium-high heat until the berries are broken down and the mixture has thickened a bit, stirring often (5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

To assemble the cake, lay one or two crepe circles on a plate. Top with a spoonful of the greek yogurt and a spoonful of the cherry sauce (don't use too much sauce, as you don't want to run out!). Follow with another layer of crepes (I found it easier to put two thin crepes together as one layer), and another layer of yogurt and cherry sauce. Repeat until you've layered all of the crepes, ending with a spoonful of yogurt and cherry sauce on top.

Serve at room temperature, or chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours to firm up a bit before serving.

Serves 1 (if you're hungry) or 2 people.


July 23, 2013

Corn, Avocado & Blueberry Kale Salad


I know I've been posting a lot of blueberry recipes lately, but when Ontario fruits are in season, I try to use them in as many ways as possible before they're gone!

My last two blueberry recipes were both breakfast items, so today I'm sharing a recipe for a salad featuring blueberries along with fresh corn, avocado, kale, mint, and pumpkin seeds.


I first discovered the combination of corn and blueberries last summer after trying a version of this salad from Two Peas and Their Pod. I thought the natural sweetness of fresh corn off the cob paired well with blueberries and their shapes and textures complemented each other too.

This summer, I wanted to make my own version of a corn and blueberry salad. I considered just making a really simple salad of those two ingredients, but instead I wanted to bulk it up a bit more so I used shredded kale as the base of the dish and added an avocado in both the dressing and the salad itself to make it a bit more filling.

The dressing is a simple oil-vinegar-agave mixture but with pureed avocado to make it thick and creamy, mint leaves for a refreshing note and some minced shallot for a bit of a bite.


Once you've made the dressing, the rest of the salad can just be quickly thrown together - I didn't even bother to cook the corn first, since I wanted the kernels to keep their firm texture in the salad. If you've never tried raw corn before, I recommend eating it that way!

I love salads that have lots of different layers of texture like this one, from the juicy blueberries to the creamy avocado, with some crunch from the raw corn and toasted pumpkin seeds. I also love salads that are filling enough to eat as a main course for dinner, and this one fits that criteria too!

I have a feeling I'll be posting more corn recipes soon, since I just heard that Ontario corn is now available - yay!



Corn, Avocado & Blueberry Kale Salad

Dressing
1/2 a ripe avocado (you'll use the other half in the salad)
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Juice of half a lime
1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp agave nectar or other sweetener
1-2 tbsp water
Herbamare (or salt) and pepper
1 small shallot, minced

Salad
~2.5 cups shredded kale
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 cob sweet corn (I prefer it raw in this recipe but you can cook it first if you like)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 a ripe avocado, diced
~10 small mint leaves, thinly sliced


To make the dressing, place the first six ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. Add enough water so that you can puree the ingredients until smooth (it should still be thick). Season to taste with herbamare and ground pepper. Stir in the minced shallot. Set aside.

To make the salad, place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Add about half of the dressing and massage it into the kale with your hands.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet on medium heat for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from pan and add to the kale. Slice the kernels off the corn and add them to the bowl, along with the blueberries, avocado, and sliced mint. Add the rest of the dressing and stir until is everything is mixed well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings.


July 19, 2013

Hummus & Salsa Stuffed Jalapenos


Another Friday has arrived and another start to a hot summer weekend with lots of outdoor festivals to enjoy!

This weekend there are two festivals that I plan on going to - one is the annual craft beer and rib festival (which I only go to so that I can try out some new drinks since I'm obviously not interested in the ribs!) and the other is the jazz festival, which I'm looking forward to checking out since it will be my first time going.

Since the food options at the festivals tend not to be very healthy or vegetarian-friendly, I still plan on cooking my own meals at home before heading out. That way, I don't have to worry about finding something I like to eat while I'm there, plus I can make the most of the summer produce that I plan on picking up from the farmer's market tomorrow morning!


Last weekend, I came home from the market with a basket of gigantic jalapenos. Since I knew I wouldn't be able to use them all up quickly enough, I figured I would make a dish where whole jalapenos were the starring ingredient, which is how I came up with this idea for stuffed jalapenos!

My mom used to make a version of cheesy jalapeno poppers in the summer, and I always avoided them because I was afraid they would be too spicy for me.  Now that I'm much less afraid of spicy food, I'll happily indulge in a jalapeno popper and I'll laugh off the hiccups that result (hopefully I'm not the only one who gets hiccups from eating spicy food!).

For my new version of stuffed jalapenos, I wanted to come up with a vegan option for a filling that doesn't use tons of cheese.  I started wondering if hummus would work as a filling, and then I thought it would be even better to use a jalapeno flavoured hummus for even more heat!


My first attempt at stuffing hummus inside whole jalapenos didn't turn out so well - the jalapenos didn't soften enough and I found there wasn't enough filling for the amount of jalapeno. The next time, I sliced the jalapenos in half first so that I could over-stuff them with hummus, and I also decided to add a layer of salsa to the filling to cut down the richness of the filling a bit.

My second attempt turned out just how I wanted! The jalapenos were nice and soft and lightly charred, and I liked how the hummus formed a slightly hardened crust on top while staying soft and gooey underneath. I thought the corn-jalapeno hummus recipe from How Sweet It Is that I used was the perfect choice since it was full of flavour and I even added bits of corn kernels for a little texture.

This was definitely a hot and spicy dish from the combination of jalapenos, salsa, and jalapeno hummus. My mouth was on fire the whole time I was eating them (and for quite a while afterward), but I've heard that spicy food is the way to go when it's hot outside, so these would be the just the thing to make this weekend!



Hummus & Salsa Stuffed Jalapenos

4 large jalapenos
~3 tbsp of your favourite salsa
1 batch corn-jalapeno hummus* (can substitute another type of hummus if desired)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

*For the hummus recipe, I used one whole cob of corn. After cooking the corn, I measured out half a cup to puree in the hummus, and stirred in the remaining kernels.


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Slice jalapenos in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the inner stem and seeds with a knife so that you are left with eight hollow shell halves. Place on a baking sheet, hollow side facing up.

Measure about ½ cup of the hummus and stir in the chopped cilantro (save the remaining hummus to eat later). Spoon about 1 tsp of salsa into each jalapeno half.  Top with a spoonful of the hummus mixture, spreading it with a spoon to evenly cover the whole surface of the jalapeno. Add enough hummus so that it is slightly heaping over the jalapeno (you may not need to use the whole ½ cup of hummus, depending on how big your jalapenos are and how much filling you want to have in each one).

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the jalapenos are softened and browned on the bottom, and the hummus is slightly hardened and browned on top. Remove and let cool slightly.

Serve warm.

Makes 2-4 servings (8 jalapeno halves).

July 16, 2013

Blueberry Breakfast Muffins with Quinoa


This past weekend, I did my first blueberry picking of the season (and actually, my first blueberry picking in years - I can't remember the last time I did that!).  Since the blueberries had just become ready, I was worried that they wouldn't be very good yet, but I was wrong!

They were perfectly sweet, and I had a hard time stopping myself from eating them right off the branches. Actually, the only thing that stopped me from staying and picking all the blueberries (besides how much it would cost) was the insane heat wave we've been having here in Southern Ontario these past few days, which has been keeping me from spending too much time outside lately.

But with this heat, I'm craving refreshing fruit all the time, so it's a good thing that blueberries, cherries, and raspberries are just coming into season here now!


Besides just eating them on their own, one of my favourite ways to eat blueberries is in muffins. I'm not a huge fan of blueberry desserts like pie or cobbler, but I love biting into muffins bursting with juicy blueberries.

I actually made these muffins before the local ones were available, but they still turned out so good that I wanted to share them now, so that you can go make them with those fresh local blueberries (although I know they're not in season for all of you right now)!

The recipe for these muffins was adapted from BitterSweet blog. I loved her idea of adding quinoa to make breakfast muffins even healthier and full of protein so that they can sustain you a bit longer.

As usual, I made some changes to the recipe to suit my own tastes, like adding lemon juice and zest instead of orange juice, reducing the sweetener, using pecans instead of walnuts, and adding some buckwheat flour for a deeper flavour.


I loved the texture of these muffins - they were dense and hearty, with some chewiness from the cooked quinoa and a bit of crunch from the pecans. They weren't very sweet either, which meant those bursts of juicy blueberries really stood out even more! 

The muffins didn't rise much in the oven so they turned out to be a bit on the small size, making them a good snack muffin or a pretty healthy breakfast along with some fruit or yogurt. 

I can't wait to try out more blueberry recipes before their season is over!



Blueberry Breakfast Muffins with Quinoa
Adapted from BitterSweet

1/4 cup dry quinoa + 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (can substitute with another flour)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tbsp ground flax
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup blueberries
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (add 1-2 more tablespoons if you like a sweeter muffin)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Turbinado sugar (optional)

First, prepare the quinoa: Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook on low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove lid and fluff with a fork. You should have about 1 cup cooked quinoa (it's okay if you have a little less).

Preheat oven to 375°F and prepare a muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, flax, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the lemon zest and pecans and whisk again. Gently stir in the blueberries.

In a separate bowl, mix the mashed banana, almond milk, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir in the cooked quinoa.  Pour this wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently mix with a rubber spatula just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Divide batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup almost full (mine filled 7 muffin cups). Sprinkle the tops with a bit of turbinado sugar if desired (this will make the tops crunchy). Place muffin pan in preheated oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and muffins feel firm on top. Let sit in the pan for a few minutes before transfering the muffins to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 7 small muffins.


July 11, 2013

Summer Pasta Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing


I've been wanting to make a summery pasta salad for a few weeks now, especially after my sister Natalie made this tasty looking arugula pasta salad with chickpea, veggies, olives, and goat cheese

So when I finally managed to make a trip to my local farmers' market this past weekend, I filled my bags with all the summer veggies I could find and brought them home to use in this pasta salad.

Besides pasta (obviously), this salad has heirloom tomatoes, corn off the cob, field cucumber, Ontario radishes, and fresh basil, plus avocado (not local) and jalapeno. 


And as if that wasn't enough, I tossed everything in a creamy green dressing made with roasted cubanelle peppers and avocado. I actually meant to use poblano peppers, but when I couldn't find those, I took my chances on the milder cubanelles and the dressing still turned out wonderful.  

The original recipe that I adapted the dressing from was meant to be a salad vinaigrette, so I reduced the amount of water to make it thicker and doubled all of the amounts to make sure I had enough to coat a large amount of pasta. I loved the tang from white wine vinegar and lime juice, and it still had a bit of a bite from jalapeno, garlic, and shallots. 


This big batch of pasta salad was enough to last me through meals all week, and I looked forward to eating it for lunch every day!

You can't really go wrong with all those fresh summer ingredients, but I really loved the combination of veggies and bowtie pasta noodles coated in the creamy dressing.

And if the long list of ingredients scares you off, don't worry - you can easily adapt the recipe to your whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. I'm thinking red or yellow peppers, green beans, or fresh peas would work well in this salad, and feel free to add more herbs besides the basil.



Summer Pasta Salad with Roasted Pepper Dressing
Inspired by a recipe from Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Dressing
4 medium sized cubanelle peppers (can substitute poblano peppers if you can find them)
1 tsp olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1 large jalapeno, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp fresh lime juice
~2 tbsp water
Salt and pepper to taste

Pasta
1lb (one box) dried farfalle pasta
2 cobs of cooked corn, kernels removed
2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cups halved (or quartered) cucumber slices
1 cup halved radish slices
2 avocados, diced
1 large jalapeno, minced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

First, make the dressing: Preheat oven to broil. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and broil until slightly blackened on all sides, turning occasionally to broil all sides. Remove from oven and place peppers in a bowl of water for a couple of minutes to loosen the skin. Carefully peel off as much of the thin outer layer of skin as you can, then slice off the stems and remove the seeds. Roughly chop the peppers into pieces.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer the cooked peppers, shallot and garlic to a blender. Add the avocado, jalapeno, basil, parsley, vinegar and lime juice and puree until smooth. Add water to thin out a bit (you can add more if needed, but you want a thick dressing). Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer dressing to a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Fill a large pot with water and heat on the stove until boiling. Add pasta to the water and boil according to directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add the remaining pasta ingredients and toss to combine. Pour dressing over the salad and stir until thoroughly mixed. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings.

July 09, 2013

Breakfast Chickpea Fries with Blueberry Sauce


I don't post a lot of breakfast ideas on my blog, mostly because my breakfasts are typically pretty boring! I'll usually bring some yogurt with fruit and granola to eat when I get to my office, or if I have some homemade muffins or other baked goods stored in my freezer, I'll grab one of those to go. 

Occasionally though, I'll make the effort to prepare something a bit fancier on the weekend, like pancakes or french toast. This past weekend, I tried something new that turned out to be one of the most interesting and tasty breakfasts that I've had in a while!


I saw a recipe for french toast polenta sticks on the blog Tasty Yummies recently and thought it was such a creative idea to make a sweeter version of baked polenta "fries" that could be eaten for breakfast.

That recipe inspired me to try out a similar idea with chickpea flour instead of polenta. I've made chickpea flour "fries", also called panisse, many times in the past - they were actually one of the first recipes I posted on my blog! The basic idea is that by whisking chickpea flour into a simmering liquid on the stovetop, you can create a batter that thickens up just like polenta, and can then be cut into shapes and baked or fried.

My original version of chickpea fries was a simple mixture of chickpea flour, water, oil, salt and pepper, so to make a breakfast version, I used almond milk for the liquid and added cinnamon and vanilla extract to the batter.


You could serve the fries with maple syrup drizzled on top, but I wanted to make a dipping sauce for mine.  I had some blueberries that I had just picked up from the market, so I simmered them on the stovetop with a bit of maple syrup until they thickened up into a dippable sauce.

I thought the fries had the perfect texture - soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, and the fries themselves weren't sweet, which made them the perfect base for covering in the warm blueberry sauce.

They actually reminded me of eating french toast sticks but without the batter part, which I actually prefer because it means they weren't soggy or eggy tasting like french toast can sometimes be. Not only are these fries vegan, but they're naturally gluten-free as well, making this a fun breakfast treat for everybody!



Breakfast Chickpea Fries with Blueberry Sauce
Inspired by Tasty Yummies and adapted from my original chickpea fries
Note: This recipe requires some advance preparation. I recommend making the chickpea batter the night before, then the next morning you just need to make the blueberry sauce and cook the chickpea fries.

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp chickpea flour

Sauce
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp pure maple syrup


First, prepare the chickpea batter: Heat the milk, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan over high heat. Heat until the liquid is hot but not quite simmering.

Reduce heat to medium. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly. Continue to whisk constantly for 2 minutes, then switch to a wooden spoon and cook for 8-10 more minutes, stirring constantly (your arm will get very sore!). Scrape down the sides of the saucepan occasionally as you stir. The batter will gradually get thicker and will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and clump together. Once it is very thick and can hold its shape, remove the pan from the heat.

Scrape the batter into a greased square cake pan or loaf pan (try to work quickly as the batter will begin to set almost immediately). It should fill about half of a square pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Let the mixture cool for at least an hour or overnight in the refrigerator, until it is completely set.

Once cooled, invert the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the batter into sticks about 1/2”-3/4” wide.

Start making the blueberry sauce: Add blueberries and lemon juice to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Let cook until the blueberries have broken down into a chunky sauce, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and let cook for a couple more minutes, until the liquid has reduced a bit. Keep on low heat until the fries are ready.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray or add a pat of vegan butter. Add the fries to the pan and fry for about 5-6 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until they are lightly browned. (The amount here will fit into one skillet, but if you are making a larger amount, you will need to cook them in batches, keeping the finished fries warm while you cook the rest).

Serve fries with blueberry sauce on the side for dipping. I liked to sprinkle my fries with extra cinnamon, and you can also drizzle them with maple syrup if desired.

Makes 1 large serving.




July 03, 2013

Avocado, Mango & Orange Salad


Who doesn't love a refreshing, juicy fruit salad in the summer? I love adding fruit to my salads, whether it's a leafy salad or a grain-based salad, like this quinoa version.

This fruit salad is a bit different, in that it doesn't really have a base ingredient like lettuce or quinoa. Instead, it's just a simple combination of ripe fruits with fresh herbs, all marinated in a dressing made with freshly squeezed citrus juice.

I had made a version of the original recipe for my family recently as a way to use up some ripe fruits that were lying around, and we all loved it so much that I had to make it again. I changed things up a bit this time, adding some grape tomatoes and chopped cashews for a bit of crunch.

This salad had a lot of bright flavours, and I loved the creaminess of the avocado and mango with the juicy bursts of orange.

This would make a great side dish for a summer BBQ, or you can also eat it like a salsa on top of chips or quesadillas. And if you're in Canada with a Sobeys store nearby, I recommend picking up some of their "light and airy pop crisps" and using them as a base to eat this salad with!



Avocado, Mango & Orange Salad
Adapted from Saveur 

1 ripe mango, diced (I recommend using a champagne/Ataulfo mango)
1/2 cup chopped grape or cherry tomatoes
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/2 a jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 medium orange (I used a navel orange)
1.5 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and white pepper
1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews

Combine the diced mango, tomatoes, and avocado in a bowl. Add the minced jalapeno and chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Peel the orange, using a knife to slice off all of the white parts of the skin. Carefully slice the orange into wedges.  Take 2 slices and squeeze all of the juice out of them into a small bowl. Measure 1 tbsp of orange juice and set aside (if you don't get 1 tbsp, use another orange slice until you have enough juice). Chop the remaining orange slices into pieces and add them to the salad (you should have about ¾ cup).

Add the lime juice and olive oil to the bowl with the orange juice. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Stir or whisk to combine, then pour dressing over the salad, tossing to mix.

Let salad chill in the refrigerator until serving time. Sprinkle chopped cashews over the salad when you are ready to serve.

Makes 2 servings. 

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