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Meatless Mondays: Chickpea Salad and Wrap

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Without saying too much about myself, one thing you may notice about me (or most food bloggers in general) is that I (we) crave variety, in what we make, what we eat.  I especially like to add variety in my lunches.  I work over 20 minutes from home, so most meals are spent in my office.  While I eat my share of PB&J sandwiches or leftovers from a previous meal, variety is a big part of keeping me interested in bringing lunch.


I saw this idea for a chickpea salad sandwich and the recipe for chickpea salad on a blog that had been referenced on a Brit+Co post, and determined to make it this last week.  


The concept is a vegetarian/vegan version of a chicken salad or egg salad.  It's really good, light, and refreshing.  It also only takes minutes to make, which is perfect for my busy schedule.

Chopping celery is easy:  Start by slicing the stalks lengthwise in half, thirds or quarters (depending on the size of the stalk).  Then chop into smaller bits.  


So you make this chickpea salad, which can be enjoyed on a bed of greens, with pita chips or Pretzel Thins, and probably even stuffed into a celery stalk.  This particular blogger made it into a sandwich, and I decided to make mine into a wrap.  There are several possibilities which allow for just a little variety stretched out into several meals.

Chickpea Salad
adapted from the Simple Veganista

1 2/3 cups (1 can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/4 cup onion, diced small
1/4 cup or so hummus
1 - 2 tablespoons mustard (stone ground or dijon)
Sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
Dash of garlic powder
Juice of 1 lemon, optional

Drain and rinse your chickpeas, place in medium size bowl and roughly mash with a fork, potato masher or pastry blender. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Add more hummus if you like it creamier and taste for seasoning.

Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Chickpea Salad Wrap
1 tortilla shell, your choice of flavor and size (I used 12 inch sun dried tomato)
1/2 avocado, mashed
A couple big spoonfuls chickpea salad
Spinach leaves or other lettuce
Diced tomatoes

On a tortilla shell, layer the spinach or other greens, avocado, the chickpea salad, and the tomatoes.  Wrap like you would a burrito- fold up one or two opposite "ends" of the circle and then fold the other ends/flaps over it the folded parts/sides and the filling.


Grilled Pizza Take 2

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So the first time we made grilled pizza, it went pretty terribly wrong.  We had pre-assembled the entire pizza.  Our crust was cooked way before the ingredients were melted, and began to burn badly on the bottom and there were huge bubbles in the crust.  The brightest spot of that whole thing was the homemade sauce


It would be another couple years before we would try the whole grilled pizza thing again.  Recently I watched an episode of one of Bobby Flay's shows and he was grilling pizza.  Then I saw a lot of Pinterest pins about grilled pizza.  I read a few blog posts, and determined to try again.  I found this recipe for pizza dough good for grilling and decided to try it.    


The key to this one is organization.  Get your sauce, ingredients, and dough into place.  Note the mise-en-place above.  


We decided to use a pizza stone on the grill, and preheat it so the dough wouldn't burn as quickly (direct contact with the flame made it burn quickly), and also to give additional time for the toppings to melt well on the crust.  We cooked the pizza in two stages- first, the stone was removed from the grate (oven mitts needed here) and we cooked the crust, flipping it after about 30 seconds to 1 minute in to cook both sides.  The crust was removed and placed on a cooling rack to keep it crisp.  We then replaced the pizza stone back to the grill and assembled the pizza- sauce, toppings.  


Then we grilled the whole thing until the cheese was melted, which only takes a few minutes. 


This time we enjoyed success.  Delicious, wonderful success.

Grilled Pizza

Pizza Dough
Shredded or Sliced Cheese
Sauce (we used both pesto and tomato sauce)
Toppings- veggies, meat, etc.  We used zucchini, mushrooms, roasted bell pepper, and onion

Prepare your grill for direct heat.  Preheat the stone on the grill.

Prepare your dough by shaping into a flat disc- keep it small-ish, around 10 inches in diameter.  I prefer extra thin crust so make it as thin as possible, but that's up to you.  If you use the recipe I mentioned above, you will probably get 3-4 small pizzas.  We made 3 pizzas and cheesy bread.  Delish!  Also, get your sauce and toppings together on a tray so that you can quickly assemble the pizzas.

Remove the preheated stone to a heat-proof surface and grill the dough, about 3 minutes total, flipping halfway through.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Replace the stone onto the grill.  Assemble the pizza and place it on the pizza stone.  Grill, covered, 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and it looks perfect.

Let cool for a minute before cutting.  Enjoy!

A Couple Pizza Ideas
Slather the crust with pesto.  Top with mushrooms, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses.  Grill, and after removing or toward the end, add halved grape tomatoes.

Top the crust with regular pizza sauce.  Top with onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and cheese.

Brush a crust with olive oil and top with cheeses.  Grill until cheese melts and slice into strips for cheese sticks.

Meatless Mondays: Chickpea and Tomato Salad

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I found the original recipe for today's post on Pinterest and fell for its visual appeal.  I am a sucker for well photographed food.  The colors and textures just burst off the screen and demanded to be made, and finally I got around to making it.

Instead of making the recipe as is, I adapted it to suit mine and Drew's tastes, and I wanted to simplify it.  We both really enjoyed it, but if you want it to be a light meal rather than a side, I would encourage you to make double the amount, which would feed 2-3 people, or serve it with pita toasts or something.

This comes together quickly and easily, and if you use canned chickpeas or ones you prepared earlier in the week, there's no cooking, which translates into keeping your house cool enough to live in without turning your power bill into an all consuming monster.

Chickpea and Tomato Salad
adapted from greenlitebites.com

feeds 1 very generously (with leftovers) or 2 as a hearty side- or as I said in the post, serve with pita to make a light meal

1 can chickpeas (1 2/3 cups), drained and rinsed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
2 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. lemon juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a medium to large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper with a whisk or fork.  Add all other ingredients and stir to mix and coat with the dressing.  Allow to sit for about 10 minutes prior to serving.

Meatless Mondays: Ricotta Pasta with Zucchini and Corn

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Wow.  It's been almost a full month since my last recipe share with you.  If you're returning to read, thank you!  We had family visit the middle-end of June, and when my routine is thrown off (a very welcome throwing off, but still a major routine deviation), I have a hard time getting my routine back fully.  Sure, I return to work and teaching Zumba classes, but it takes a while to get back into the groove of cooking, cleaning, blogging, and anything else.  

Anyway, about this meal- I haven't shared garden pictures with you this year, but we added squash and zucchini to our garden for the first time, and they've done great!  When our family was in town, it was nice that we were able to fry so much squash for everyone to enjoy as much as they wanted.  

Decided to use the grill pan instead of the grill- just for convenience reasons

I have tried a couple recipes to use up zucchini and have enjoyed every one of them.  This particular one came from a search I did for pasta recipes that contained zucchini and ricotta.  Wouldn't you know that the very recipe was sitting in one of my old issues of Everyday Food?  I continue to return to these little gems for simple, delicious meals.  

Zucchini is grilled and chopped up, and then tossed with corn, ricotta, herbs, and pasta for a decently quick and tasty meal.  Even Drew liked it, and he's usually none too excited about pasta recipes.  It also makes a ton.  I'm pretty sure we got something like 6-8 servings out of this recipe.

Try this recipe out for a nice, light feeling summer meal!

from Everyday Food, July 2012 or marthastewart.com

Salt and pepper
3/4 pound short pasta, such as campanelle
1 3/4 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
3 medium zucchini
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Prepare zucchini:  using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice the zucchini lengthwise into long, thin slices.  Grill on outdoor grill or grill pan over med-high heat, lightly oiling the zucchini and sprinkling with salt and pepper prior to grilling.  Flip when the bottom side has nice grill marks.  Remove from heat when zucchini are softened and both sides are lightly charred.  Set aside to cool, and then chop into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes less than package instructions; add corn and cook until tender, 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pasta water, ricotta, and Parmesan. Add pasta mixture, zucchini, basil, and dill and toss to combine. Add more pasta water if necessary to create a light sauce that coats pasta. Season with salt and pepper and top with more basil and Parmesan.

Notes

  • I used a mixture of cellentani and rigatoni pastas to use up what I had in my pantry.  Any shorter pasta will do.  
  • I had fresh basil from my garden and didn't use dill at all.  
  • I had some boiled corn left over from another meal, so instead of boiling it, I just sliced it off the cob and used it that way.  You could also use frozen corn.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

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I am always the last person to know about something.  Juicy gossip?  All dried up by the time I hear about it.  Not that gossip is good, but you get my point.  I am not the person to ask about what's going on.  I'm also not a trendy person.  I'm that person wearing some of the same pieces she wore in high school.  

The same goes with food, which brings me to today's recipe.  I first saw the idea/recipe a couple years ago, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I made these little gems.   They're one of my new food fixations.  I brought them to the beach when I went with my side of the family, thinking I was about to rock their snacking world, and the dialogue went something like this:

Me:  I made crunchy roasted chickpeas for us to snack on.  You have to try them; they are so good!
Mom:  Oh, yeah.  They are good!  
Me:  You know about them?
Mom:  Yeah, we've made them a few times.  We like them.

Again, the last to know about/try something new(er).  I hope that you will not be the last to try these crunchy roasted chickpeas.  They make a great snack- they're affordable, healthy, and tasty, and very transportable.  The only problem is that you'll look down and wonder, "who ate all my chickpeas?!"

from Everyday Food magazine

2 cans or 3 cups prepared chickpeas
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse Salt
1 1/2 tsp. flavoring spice of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas and scatter on a paper-towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Let stand 15 minutes. Remove towels and toss chickpeas with olive oil. Roast until crisp and golden, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss with salt and ground seasonings if desired, and serve.

Notes
  • I used chickpeas that I prepared from dried ones.  I soaked them overnight and then cooked them on the stove top, bringing them to a boil and then cutting the heat back to simmer them until softened, around 1- 1.5 hours.  I used those in place of the canned chickpeas, and I used about 1/2 lb.
  • I have tossed the chickpeas with various combinations, but my favorite is chili powder and ranch dressing mix.  Paprika/smoked paprika and plain, salted are good too.


Weekend Breakfast: Waffles

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Do you have a favorite weekend breakfast treat?  I don't know that I could pick a favorite, but I do love a good waffle.  I'm not too picky; for weekdays I've been known to eat and enjoy the frozen waffles, but there nothing like having a waffle maker and eating a freshly made waffle, hot off the iron.  


The "egg quarantine."  Crack and separate the eggs in a separate bowl, then pour the whites into their own bowl and the yolks into a different container, too.

The only complaint at all that I could lodge about the homemade waffles I've made in the past is that they tend to have the same texture running throughout, dense and soft.  Then I found this recipe.  It's more work than just mixing all ingredients together; you separate eggs and beat the whites until they're stiff and meringue-like.  You carefully fold those into the batter.  You might be thinking that ain't nobody got time for that, but once you taste them, you might just make time.  What results is a dense-yet-light waffle with a crispy exterior and a good taste.  

Stiff peaks- they can stand up (or in this case, straight out) 

I topped mine with freshly sliced strawberries and maple syrup, and they were so good.  I froze the leftovers, individually wrapped and stored in a resealable freezer bag, so I can enjoy waffles any day.  Yay!

Buttermilk Waffles
from Cooking Classy Blog

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, whites and yolks divided
1 pinch cream of tartar
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 cups buttermilk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and preheat an electric waffle iron. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on moderately high speed, whip together 2 egg whites (make sure they don't have even a drop of yolks in them) along with cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then add in sugar and whip until firm and glossy peaks form, set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, melted butter, vanilla extract and 2 egg yolks until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk just until combined (batter should still be quite lumpy) then using a rubber or silicone spatula, add half of egg white mixture to waffle batter and fold. Then add remaining egg white mixture and fold just until combined. 

Cook according to waffle iron manufacturers directions. Once each waffle has been cooked, immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack and transfer cooling rack to preheated oven to rest while remaining waffles are being prepared. Serve immediately with maple syrup or other topping of choice.


Notes
  • As you can see from the pictures, it's important to have an "egg quarantine."  The egg whites won't foam up like that if there's yolk in there.  It has to do with the fat of the yolk coating the protein in the white.  I think.  In order to avoid getting egg yolk in your egg whites, have three bowls- a larger one to put the whites in, and two smaller ones for cracking/separating and holding the yolks.  Crack and separate the egg into its own container and then pour the whites and the yolks into their own bowls.  I actually had a yolk "break" on me, so the quarantine saved me from starting all over with the eggs.

Meatless Mondays: Tortilla Española

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While this may not be hugely vegetable based, it is vegetarian, and when served with a green salad on the side, it's a nice, filling meal.  A Tortilla Española (aka Spanish Omelette) is a pretty common and iconic Spanish dish, and usually it's an egg dish made with onion and potato.  It's also delicious.  It feels really luxurious

It was featured in May's issue of Bon Appetit and is definitely a departure from our normal, so it was fun to make and sample.  I made it on a Saturday afternoon and we had leftovers a couple times.  Drew and I really enjoyed it.  I plan to make it again, but I may try to sort of tweak it to make it a little lighter.  2 cups of olive oil don't exactly make for the lightest dish.  When you eat it, though, you probably won't care.  It's nice and custardy (think soft and almost velvety).  It's good for any meal of the day.  



Tortilla Española
from Bon Appetit

Serves 8 (we had about 5 servings)

1 tablespoon plus 2 cups olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 medium waxy potatoes (about ¾ lb.), peeled, cut into ¾” pieces
8 large eggs

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and dark brown, 35–40 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat potatoes and remaining 2 cups oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until oil around potatoes begins to bubble; reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender but have not taken on any color, 10–12 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving oil. Season potatoes with salt and let cool slightly.

Combine eggs, onion, potatoes, and ¼ cup reserved potato cooking oil in a large bowl and gently beat with a fork.

Heat 3 Tbsp. reserved potato cooking oil in a 10” nonstick skillet over medium heat (reserve remaining oil for another use). Add egg mixture and cook, lifting at edge and tilting skillet to let uncooked egg run underneath, until bottom and edge of tortilla are set but center is still wet.

Set a large plate on top of skillet. Swiftly invert tortilla onto plate, then slide back into skillet, cooked side up. Cook until center is just set, about 2 minutes longer. Cut into wedges.


Notes
  • It says you get 8 servings.  We got 5.  You'd have to be a pretty polite eater to get 8.  
  • It may be tortilla española blasphemy, but I may try boiling the potatoes in water rather than oil next time to save on calories.
  • I cubed the potatoes- online sources said you could cube or slice.  I may try slicing in the future, but the cubes were fine.
  • I am not positive I cooked it perfectly, since I've never had or made this before now, but the center of mine was possibly undercooked.  What I mean is that it was still a little loose to almost runny inside.  Either way, the entire tortilla was not overcooked or dry, and it made for better reheating.  We didn't get sick.  With eggs, I have read/heard to err on the side of less cooking, so that's what I did.
  • Flipping this is difficult.  No tips.  Drew had to help me.