Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smoky Chickpea Spread - in a sandwich

Can you still respect me as a vegetarian blogger if I admit that I prefer my chickpeas without tahini? That is nothing short of blasphemy in the veg food blogger world....

I keep trying hummus recipes and have yet to find one that totally grabs me, mainly because I don't like the bitterness and astringency that I think tahini brings to the dish. I, being the super smart lady that I am, finally realized I could make a tahini-less hummus. Novel, yes.

Smoky Chickpea Spread (aka tahini-less smoky hummus)


  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or about 1.5 c cooked chickpeas)
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle
  • 1/2 tsp dried garlic (or 1 clove minced fresh garlic)
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth (it will be thicker and chunkier than humus). Add salt and pepper to taste

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two sandwiches

I have gotten a little behind. Last week I made two different recipes that would qualify for this challange. The first one was "TLT" and that would be Tempeh Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches. What is tempeh? Well, it is some sort of soy product that is not processed as much as tofu. It is suppose to be better for you than tofu. It kind of has a nutty texture and it is good marinated. I can find it at the Ingles and it cost about $2-3 for half of a pound. A friend sugessted this recipe for tempeh bacon. The end result does not taste like bacon, but it is pretty tasty. First you slice the tempeh and marinade it:


Then you brown it on both sides:


Then just use it like bacon:


Tempeh is a wierd thing. At first it doesn't seem that it is all that good, nor is it all that bad. But the more you eat it, the more you like it. I ate leftovers of this bacon all week. The tomato turned into roasted red pepper and the lettuce turn into spincach, but still yummy. I even tried it in a collard green wrap.


I also made a veggie burger from my copy of vegan with a vengence. This recipe uses textured vegtable protein which I actually think is not good, but I had some so I needed to use it up. This was something that as I was making it....wasn't looking so good, but the end result was really tasty. Not sure if I would make it again. I really do like the bean based veggie burgers.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Veggie Muffalettas

I realized as I was about to eat this that it qualifies for this month's challenge! I used ciabatta, purchased from from a local bakery's booth at the farmer's market, topped with olive spread, portobellos, tomatoes, arugula (also from the farmers market), onions and melted provolone.

Olive Spread
1 cup Spanish olives
1/2 cup black or kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Finely chop all ingredients in a food processor.

I served the mufaletta with sweet potato fries. I start by preheating the oven to 450, drizzle olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet, and stick it in the oven to preheat while I'm cutting up the sweet potato. After about 10 minutes I throw the sweet potatoes on the hot baking sheet, drizzle them with oil, and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and cumin. I bake them for about 20-25 minutes, turning once.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I love mixing up stuff for sandwiches to make a quick meal.  This is a great challenge!  I had some round steak that had been in my freezer for a bit too long and I knew it would be tough. One way to rescue tough meats is to put them in a marinade to help break up some of those connective tissues.  Had some chicken breasts as well so added them into the mixture as well.  Hubby is a veggie-phobe (I'm working on him but he is still very picky) so I cooked up the peppers and onions on the side with just a bit of the marinade I had made.  Was a very yummy meal!  I served it up with some Spanish quinea (using the recipe from a previous challenge but kicking it up a notch).

For the Marinade I used:
Juice of two limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
about 2 teaspoons soy sauce
I have a jar of sliced jalapeƱo peppers in my fridge so I added a tablespoon of those into the marinade and about 1/4 cup of the liquid as well.
Two tablespoons water
4 green onions

I sliced up the meat (thin), put it into a ziplock bag and added the marinade ingredients into it.  I gave the bag a good squishing then placed the bag into a bowl (in case it leaked) and let it set for about three hours.  When it came time to cook it I just heated up my cast iron skillet and got it really hot.  I took the meat out of the marinade (other wise the meat would have steam cooked with all the marinade liquid) and cooked the meat through.  Really quite yummy!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crabby Patties

With this post, I just want to say, I try. I try to get my kids to eat their vegtables. I have tried a lot. We have "chopstick day" with wontons and edamame, and my kids hate chopstick day (this is actually a good thing when I go out for sushi). I use fun fish plates when making fish, they hate fish. I make zucchini cakes and call them "crabby patties". They fall down laughing when I tell them this, but when it is on their plate. "YUCK!" I made the following zucchini crab cake for dinner:

2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp old bay
1 egg or egg replacer
2 TB melted butter or margarine

Combine the above. Form patties. Dredge in flour. Fry in oil. Here is the kids version on a bun with ketchup option. Nothing.


The adults just had the plain patties served with baked sweet potato and homemade bread:


We thought these were good, although a little mushy. This might be to the fact that I made the patties in advance. To make them in advance, the extra moisture needs to be drained away! I would make again if I had zucchini from my CSA. (1 month to go!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Two-fer: Veggie Burgers and Falafel

So far this month. I've already made two recipes that qualify for this month's challenge. Go Me! In the past, I've tried multiple veggie/bean burger and falafel recipes that seemed promising and looked great, but in the end they had a mushy interior that was really unappetizing. Both of these recipe seemed to have fixed that problem. I actually processed the ingredients for both of these meals in the food processor the night before and just shaped and cooked them the next evening. It made for 2 pretty quick weeknight dinners.

I served these veggie burgers with baked onion rings. The secret for the firm texture in the veggie burgers seems to be the wheat bulgur. This recipe also seems to be pretty adaptable. I tried the same recipe this week and swapped out the tahini for Dijon mustard--still tasty! The firmness even held up for the patties that were left over. I varied the onion ring recipe using all coarse bread crumbs from left over ciabatta, mostly because I couldn't justify buying a whole box of corn flakes just for this recipe. The result was breading that wouldn't stick well to the onions, but what did stick was very crisp and they tasted good anyway.

I was inspired to take another stab at falafel when I saw this Cook's Illustrated recipe. It calls for dried chickpeas soaked overnight...no boiling! Again, this is the key to a drier, firmer texture and falafel that don't fall apart when they hit the oil. The original recipe says that this makes 20 (at 1 Tbsp per falafel), but I doubled this and still only came up with about 25-26. I guess my "tablespoons" were a little off.

Tahini Sauce
  • 1/2cup tahini
  • 1/4cup juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/2cup water
  • 2medium garlic cloves (about 2 teaspoons), minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • Salt
  • 6ounces dried chickpeas (1 cup), rinsed, picked over, and soaked overnight in water to cover by an inch
  • 5 scallions , chopped coarse
  • 1/2cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3medium garlic cloves (about 1 tablespoon), minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/2teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2quarts vegetable oil , for frying


1. For the tahini sauce: Process all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds. Season with salt to taste and set aside. (The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature and stir to combine before serving.)

2. For the falafel: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Drain the chickpeas, discarding the soaking liquid. Process all of the ingredients except for the oil in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl as needed. Form the mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized disks, about 1/2 inch thick and 1 inch wide, and arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (The falafel can be refrigerated at this point for up to 2 hours.)

3. Heat the oil in a 5-quart large Dutch over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. (Use an instant-read thermometer that registers high temperatures or clip a candy/deep-fat thermometer onto the side of the pan.) Fry half of the falafel, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 375 degrees, until deep brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon or wire spider and keep warm in the oven. Return the oil to 375 degrees and repeat with the remaining falafel. Serve immediately with the sauce.

Falafel shaped and laid out on wax paper

I can't bring myself to deep fry anything, so I pan fried them. The areas in contact with the pan still got a great crust.

I served them in pita with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and the tahini sauce. I was a little intrigued by some of the ingredients. Cilantro? Cinnamon? Cumin? None of the other recipes I've tried called for those things, but these also tasted better than any of those others, too. These were awesome, better than any I've found so far in restaurants!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Salmon Burger

I am really not afraid to try new things...like at all. I continue to surprise myself. Anywhoski, I did a search for Salmon Sandwich recipes since I had just bought some and found all these Salmon Burger recipes.

I decided on this RECIPE from Paula Deen mainly because I had all the ingredients on hand. As my husband said, "Its like a crab cake sandwich!" So they were surprisingly good:)

I halved the recipe and was very skeptical about the burgers holding together on the grill. I punch a few holes in a sheet of foil and were were good to go. Here they are before we grilled them...outside, I think that was key too.

Here is the finished produce with lettuce, tomato, onion and the special mayo it call for...

I served it with sweet potato fries and roasted cauliflower. We did think it need a fresh squeeze of lemon or maybe some capers:)

Thrown together pita pocket

I checked in on the blog while I was about to eat my sandwich and thought, "hey, I might actually post this month if I do this right now". So here's my fuzzy cell phone picture of my sandwich:

I took a pita bread (Joseph's Heart Friendly Oat Bran & Stone Ground Whole Wheat) and stuffed it with some shaved deli turkey, a torn-up Sargento's Light String Cheese, 3/4 cup of cucumbers, 1/2 of a red bell pepper, and drizzled some balsamic vinegar over it. (Sometimes I'll add some baby spinach or something, but didn't feel like it today.)


Friday, April 1, 2011

I don't know...sandwiches?

How about sandwiches and sandwich-like products (wraps and burgers, etc)? Get to it!