Saturday, December 20, 2008

Keeping it hot in the cooler...

Howdy folks, are you still with me? Thanks so much for that! Just discovered today that everybody replied to my last post, the pecan pesto. Sorry I have not yet replied. But Good inspiration to post something today.

So, yeah, the move ..... still have not completely recovered and at the end of this month we have an even bigger move to make, all the big equipment, sigh.... However, the good thing is that I started using this forgotten energy saving way of cooking. Here is it how it goes:

So, I really like cooking beans and rice ( brown rice, of course). It;s simple, yet meets my dietary needs. I heard that combination gives you the best balanced protein. If I don't eat it one night, I get really hungry at night and the next morning and I feel a greater need to snack around.

People all over the world have some combination like this as a staple. And once you start loving it, there is no end in variation!

So sometimes I make 'em seperate, sometimes all together, kidgeree style, mung beans with rice. And of course, the secret is in the spicing!!

But here's how to do it energy efficient. You bring the rice to a boil, then wrap it up in a towel, then put it in the coolbox. When you are ready to eat, maybe hours later, it is all cooked and still really hot too!! It;s amazing, beans sometimes have to boil a long time, but they cook themselves in the cooler! This is not my invention. Hooikist we call it in Holland, a wooden box lined with hay, or sheets stuffed with hay. Since the cooler is insulated, it keeps things cool or hot, depending on you! Yeah, bye ,bye high energy bills, this propane bottle is going to last!

Also, now I can cook it around 3 or 4, then go surf with the kids and still have dinner at 7, wherever we're at!

Aloha everybody, just remember to keep it level if you put it in the back of your truck and you have to pop start, that;s if you don't wanna spill the beans.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pecan Pesto with flaxseedoil

I like how that sounds, Pecan Pesto, and I can tell you it tastes great too. Totally born out of necessity. So, we're having a moving party here. Not that much of a party for me, more like agony with a sauce of stress topped off with sneezing....

But help did show up, yeah!! And when AV nr 1 got moved, I got into the kitchen for a quick pasta. What else do we have. Ooohh, more like what else don't we have. There's basil and garlic, but no olive oil and the bag of almonds has not been opened yet, let's keep it that way, easier for moving.

I like to use almonds a lot for making pesto. Usually I would soak the almonds in hot water for 10 minutes or more, so that the skins come off easily. When you grid them up with the other ingredients, the texture is great to replace both parmesan and pine nuts.

However, no olive oil, no almonds, what we gonna do?

Well, have no fear, flaxseed oil is here! Do you all know about the fantastic health benefits of flaxseedoil?? Go check it out, it's great for breasthealth, and makes you smarter (?). However, to go wild about it, you might need to mask the taste a bit, like n this recipe.

Another round through the fridge brings us pecans. Well, why not!!

So, into the little grinder jig we put:
a handful of pecans
couple of cloves of garlic ( as you like, I like garlic, and the raw one has choke healthbenefits too)
cover it with flaxseedoil
add basil (handful or two)


Pasta ready too by now, so there you go.

Reactions: " This pesto is mean!" ( mean meaning really good with a bite to it).

Well, got some moving to do here. Back later with tasty ways to use flaxseedoil.

Friday, October 24, 2008

VeganMoFo: Spicy Yam Chips

Was just thinking that I should be able to write about chickpeas for the rest of the month.

Tonight we had a little sidedish of spicy yam chips.
Just slice the yam into chip slices, not too thin.

For the batter mix chickpeaflour and bit of riceflour (for crispness) with water. Pancakebatter thickness.

For spiceness i decided to make my own currypowder, something not tried before. I've been reading recipes for it lately and decided to combine what i remembered.
So, dryroasted some fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper until the fenugreeks turned red. Transfer to mortar and pestle, add some tumeric powder, grind away,, what a fantastic smell, already i regret not having made enough for the whole month!

Add spices to batter, coat chips and fry in oil till done ( soft in middle and golden brown).

Simple, forgot to take pictures during the process, spicemixing would have looked great. But, all we have picture wise is this leftover chip on the webcam....Ah, well, looks like halloween.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

VeganMoFo day 4 : chickpeas, I just can't get enough.

Today I will actually cook something up and show it to you.

When i started writing about chickpeas, the idea was to share the wonderful versatility of chickpea flour as a vegan fast (to cook)food. Beans take a long time to cook, cans are a heavy load when backpacking.
Aaaah: chickpea flour ( garbanzo bean flour, besan, gram flour).

So, here's a recipe i have looked at many times: Senega Pachadi, besan chutney, from Sailu's Kitchen. Tonight let's cook it up as a fast sauce for with the brown rice. Ingredient wise there's only one clove of garlic left, but there's a piece of ginger, grate it up and put it in.

Ingredients on the picture here, clockwise from the top: ginger, chickpea flour, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, prehistoric seasalt with lots of trace elements, red pepper paste. These are not the exact measurements, just the ingredients i used for roasting (garlic clove already in).

So while you click back and forth between Sailus recipes and this page, here's what the mixture looks like after toasting:

Another missing ingredient is the tamarind. So instead we got some molasses and vinegar in the fridge. Works for me.
I have to add more water to the mixture to make it this watery. But here it is. Hope i haven't overtoasted, it's tricky, really don't leave it alone to run back to the computer!

Honey, dinner's ready. We had this on brown rice, i am a freak for brown rice and just need something to eat with it.

Yes, it was yummie. And so easy and fast. I am finally learning to whip up some quick meals, real handy when you have a baby around.
Again, I have no reference as to how "authentic" this came out, I have never had it before, but cheers were heard tonight! Thank you Sailu for the recipe.

Monday, October 20, 2008

VeganMoFo day3 : chickpeas, some favorite recipes

Yes, chickpeas again today! I just can't get enough. There is a lot to write about this pea. In case i turned you on by now, links to some favorite recipe will be included.

A couple of years ago we threw some chickpeas in a friends garden. I like testing out my beans like that, whatever kind beans there are in the pantry, put some in the soil. Returning to that garden, she showed me these little chinese lantern like pea pods, who had a chickpea each inside. I was blown away. So were they, for a while they had no idea what they were growing. Until they remembered the pantry planters.

So, now for some great recipes i have come across.
Here is the one with the omelet i wrote about the first day, on Aayi's recipes. It is called tomato omelet, vegetarian ;
that i tried without tomato, didn't have any, but added some raisins instead and a little chili paste. I have never had the original version in India, so i don't know how mine came out in comparison. They were an instant hit though. And so fast to make too.

Aayi's recipes is one of the pages i regularly visit. Somehow my google reader started sending me these great food recommandations of mostly South Indian food. That kitchen has a wealth of vegan recipes. Lots of coconuts, grated, as milk, toasted, sweet, spicy. And a lot of groovy things to do with lentils and rice, like soak'em overnight to ferment, then grind into a paste and make pancakes. yeah. And spice mixes with toasted beans/lentils.

Here's another yummie chickpea recipe, chickpeas in coconutmilk, south india again:

Some of the Indian recipes have to be veganized, but not from this page here, named Holy Cow.
Calling out to all cooks this month to come up with vegan sweets, yumm:

Shilpa from Aayi's recipes mailed me back and mentioned her chickpeas biryani and a way to insert links like i just did. Yeah, i did it. This looks way cooler, thank you Shilpa!

Well, it's getting late , the baby went to sleep, my husband says : enough already. Wat do you think, are we done yet with those chickpeas, or shall i rename this blog?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

VeganMoFo day 2: more about chickpeas

Hmmm, now that started writing about chickpeas, I find there is a lot to be said. And a lot of memories are coming back to me. This is very nice!

So, here we are in Morocco, eating a bowl of harira in the bazar of Fes, orange and pink remnants in the sky, in the month of ramadan and just in time for soup. Then we are in Amsterdam, backwards in time , making that soup, soaking chickpeas overnight, a big blue pot on the stove, boiling for along time, in go some tomatoes too, onions probably, spices. Cumin, some chili, it''s been a long time. For a recipe, google harira I guess.

Then a couple of years forward to Lisbon, where Katarina baked an amazing sweet pie with a chickpea filling. I should find her and ask to post the recipe. It might just be a portuguese specialty from a certain region.

I see that I have some research to do here! Wouldn't it all look great with clickable links, pics and the facts about the dishes. I would like to make a list with favorite recipes and link straight to them, if that is cool with the bloggers. First, I'll ask.

So now the chickpea takes us back to India. So far I know of two kinds of chickpeas. The fat yellow one ( garbanzo/ kabuli channa) and the smaller one with the brown skin ( channa). I had not seen the latter until I went to India. I remember being very hungry in the morning at a temple and receiving a small leaf bowl with spicy chickpeas ( the small kind) after the morning service. This memory really makes my mouth water right now. I must be hungry. Time to start dinner.

I think I have still more to write about the pea, maybe tomorrow. My husband hopes it will be something else.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

VeganMoFo day 1: I love chickpeas

So here's our first blog's first blog entry, in celebration of VEGANMOFO , and inspired/encouraged by IsaChandra of the Post Punk Kitchen Blog (PPK), who said something like: "blog it, just do it, it's the vegan month of food".

My husband (who is actually writing this part) grew up vegan, but started eating the "M" word ( couldn't be like parents I guess ) and since discovering all the tasty ways to prepare this high protein ingredient (the chickpea) he has decided that he prefers this to "M" because he surfs and doesn't want to get sluggish and fat
Plus with all the unique spices and flavors it never seems to get stagnant.

OK, so here's to my favorite ingredient: the chickpea....

Yeah, keep your eyes open for chickpea flour, also named garbanzo bean flour, or besan in Indian stores. It is a most amazing thing. You can use it as a flour, but it's this bean, so plenty of protein energy right there for ya'. It's vegan wonder food!

I like it as a flour, like for making pancakes, or here the other day i found a recipe called vegetarian omelets, tomorrow I will let you know exactly where, and the picture looked so omelet like, and yeah they were made with chickpea flour. I did not have tomatoes, but added some raisins and a bit of red pepper paste for redness, YUMMM...... ( I found this recipe on Aayi's recipes: named vegetarian pancakes. So, one day tofu scramble, the next chickpea omelet, yeah....

My favorite chickpea recipe might just be Dokhlas....I remember them in India , where they were there in this street in Mathura. I'have tried making them once, a long time ago, and this is what i remember: soak the chickpeas overnight and grind them (in a handcrank grinder) to a paste, then mix in spices, put in mould. let it rise (in the sun) that paste rises real fast, then in the steamer for about 45 minutes or so ....then after that, fry 'em up with spices (mustard seeds and all) and serve with sprinkled cilantro and grated coconut on top and probably some outrageous chutney dip. Suddenly the chutney flashes back to me, instead of dates i used dried prunes and wow was it good...unfortunately i don't remember the other chutney ingredients right now.

But what amazes me so much about this is all those processes: soaking first, this way the pea starts sprouting, this whole new energy coming out. You can shortcut a lot of this by using chickpea flour instead, but it is so much more fun (and Yum) to do it the long way: soaking and grinding. The grinding can be problematic without the right tools , but there just happened to be a handgrinder. An electric one would work too i guess, but don't add water. Anyways when you're that far you could make falafel instead i guess....
Then rising, naturally, no baking soda, and then steaming, another amazing process for" baked goods" , and then finally frying. Wow, those chickpeas must have a long history to have such an elaborate recipe!