Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks to Vegan Planet and Arhia

Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas

Last night I had my friend Devon over for dinner and we tried out some new recipes. On the menu: Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas (as an hors d'oeuvre--think popcorn or nuts), Southern Style Collard Greens, "Dirty" Rice, Sauteed Apples and Onions, and grapes. For dessert we had chocolate macaroons that are Devon's secret specialty, and peppermint tea.

Southern Style Collard Greens, "Dirty" Rice, Sauteed Apples and Onions

This dinner owes a big debt to the Vegan Planet cookbook. I'm not going to reproduce the collard greens recipe because we followed it exactly from the cookbook. It was delicious--I almost always stir-fry collards with garlic, tamari, sesame oil, etc., so this was a very different cooking method--boiling the greens, then making a saute-stew mixture of onions, spices, tomato, other veggies, then adding the collards. The greens were a lot juicier.

The roasted chickpeas became thus spiced because I made some garam masala (a toasted Indian spice mixture) about six weeks ago, and I was worried it would soon lose its flavor. So I wanted to use some of it up.

Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas
(adapted from Vegan Planet)

Recipe: In a baking dish, combine 1 c cooked chickpeas, olive oil, salt, and garam masala. Dish should be large enough that chickpeas form only one layer. Roast in oven at 400*, stirring every 10-15 minutes, for 25-40 minutes total.

The apples were an inspiration from my friend and old co-op cooking partner, Arhia. She once suggested sauteeing apples and onions together, and I thought she was crazy.

Sauteed Apples and Onions
(adapted from Arhia Kohlmoos)

1 TB olive oil
2 granny smith apples, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced in circles
1 TB cumin seeds
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions: In a toaster oven or small skillet, toast the cumin seeds, set aside and let cool. Heat the olive oil (not too hot) in a cast-iron skillet, and add apples and onions and sautee. Grind most of the cumin seeds. Sprinkle in cumin (both ground and remaining seeds) and nutmeg and continue to cook until apples just begin to be soft and slightly translucent.

I changed Vegan Planet's recipe for Dirty Rice by subbing some vegetables and the type of rice, and most significantly, swapping out veggie burger crumbles for tempeh and liquid smoke. I find tempeh to be less processed and more delicious. But wait, you might say, liquid smoke? surely that's not at all "natural"! But google it or something--it's actually just mesquite smoke and water, with the tar, etc. filtered out. It still feels a bit like cheating, but for an occasional change of pace...

"Dirty" Rice
(adapted from Vegan Planet)

1 1/2 c short grain brown rice
3 c water
olive oil
1 TB olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 to 1/2 of a jalapeno (to taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 servings tempeh, finely chopped
1 tsp "liquid smoke"
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne

Instructions: Prepare rice with salt and olive oil (cook time: about 40 min). In a saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and pepper, and cook until softened. Add remaining ingredients and cook. Stir in rice and cook some more. Add salt to taste.

1 comment:

myer nore said...

Now that's innovation - tempeh and liquid smoke actually sounds half as weird and twice as tasty as veggie burger crumbles, which could have any number of preservatives. Way to reclaim the natural from the cult of hip!