Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coconut Chickpea Curry


I have to confess that I've developed a bit of an obsession with the Food column in The Guardian. They have a pretty good vegetarian section, with a decent number of vegan or easily-veganized dishes, so that's fun, but what I really like doing is taking podgy, meaty, traditionally "British" recipes and bending them to my inexorable vegan will (in fact, watch this space for a spectacular example in the next week or so).

Today, however, what we have is just a fairly simple, straightforward, chickpea curry, adapted from a recipe posted by Nigel Slater - slightly adapted to our own tastes, as is ever my wont (but I did steal their photo, so there!). I upped the onions, added a few more seasonings, and used dried, soaked chickpeas rather than canned, since that's what we had on hand. That said, if/when you're pressed for time, you could easily substitute canned, and this will come together quite quickly, with a lot of creamy, coconutty curry bang for your time-investment buck. This makes a fairly generous amount but - as with all curries - it gets better as it sits, and makes great leftovers.

Coconut Chickpea Curry
Ingredients
~ 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 2 large cans, drained and rinsed)
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 tsp. hot chili oil, or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
~ 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
~ 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, fenugreek powder, coriander, lemongrass
~ 1/2 tsp. dried cardamon
~ 2 cups vegetable stock
~ 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (not the "lite" kind!)
~ 1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley or coriander

Directions
~ Soak the chickpeas overnight, or 6-8 hours during the day, in cold water. Drain and rinse, then put them in a large, deep pot and cover with water. Add about a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover partially with a lid and leave the chickpeas to simmer for about 1 - 1.5 hours, or until tender, checking the water level occasionally. Drain and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat the oil and cook the onions over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until soft, giving them the occasional stir so they don't brown or caramelize.
~ Add the garlic and spices to the softened onions and fry briefly, 1-2 minutes.
~ Pour in the stock and the drained chickpeas and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
~ Remove about a third of the mixture and puree in the food processor; return this mixture to the pot and stir to combine. (You can also partially puree with an immersion bender, but be careful not to do too much.)
~ Add the coconut cream, the fresh parsley or coriander, and leave to simmer another 10-15 minutes, until thickened.
~ Serve hot with rice and/or naan bread and vegetable dish of your choice.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Surrealistic Bean and Veggie Enchiladas



Right now, I'm really wishing that Frida Kahlo had done a painting of enchiladas, because it would be exactly what I'd use to illustrate my post about this surreally delicious casserole. I briefly considered using Dali's The Persistence of Memory, since the clock faces could be read as unfilled flour tortillas, but that would have just been silly, right? In the event, I've substituted Frida's 1938 Fruits of the Earth, which also kind of works, since this dish is filled with many of those, in the form of vegetables and legumes. (Besides which, it's weird and cool and I like it.)

And so to my text. My earliest encounter with enchiladas was the recipe for "Spinach Enchiladas Suizas" in The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two; in fact, I have a vivid memory of filling a baking dish with carefully rolled tortillas and pouring my laboriously crafted sauce over them, only to drop the whole thing on the floor of my then-boyfriend's parents' cottage. I also recall standing there in stupefied horror, fighting tears, before figuring out a way to salvage the situation - which I did. It's amazing what can be achieved with a little extra sauce. Anyway, thereafter, enchiladas became one of my signature dishes, and the recipe has evolved over a number of years, undergoing various changes along the way. (I don't mind saying that at this point I've got the filling down to a science; this stuff is good.)

Since being vegan, the only major adaptations have been non-dairy substitutions for the relatively trivial amounts of milk and cheese in the original sauce; the filling was always comprised of sauteed vegetables, beans and spices. To the blushing enchilada virgin, it might look like a lot of steps, but the whole thing actually comes together in under two hours, and is guaranteed to fill your kitchen with the kind of irresistibly warm, comforting aroma that keeps luring members of your household in to ask "Is it ready yet?" long before it's anywhere close to finished. With some rice, guacamole, salsa, and green veggies or a nice salad on the side, this makes a very filling meal with lots of leftovers - which, as we know, are always even better. Just be careful not to drop it on the way to the oven!

Surrealistic Bean and Veggie Enchiladas
The Filling
Ingredients
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 tsp. hot chili oil
~ 1 large red onion, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
~ 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 1/2 cup each: carrots, celery, bell pepper, scallions
~ 1 small yellow zucchini, diced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, chili powder, marjoram, cilantro
~ 4 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
~ 1/4 tsp. each: cinnamon, nutmeg
~ 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
~ 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
~ 1 15 oz. can vegetarian refried beans
~ 1/2 of a 28 oz. can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes (set the other half aside for the salt)
~ 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tbsp. dried)

Directions
~ In a large, deep skillet, heat the oils and saute the onion over medium heat about 5 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, carrots, celery, bell pepper, squash, and dry seasonings. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the mixture is fragrant.
~ Stir in the kidney beans, refried beans, tomatoes and spinach. Combine thoroughly and cook, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes more, unto you've achieved a sort of sloppy joe texture.
~ Add the parsley, give the mixture one last stir, then remove from heat and set aside.

Now...

The Sauce
Ingredients
~ 1 tbsp. oil or vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
~ 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp. hot sauce (more to taste)
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, cumin, sweet paprika
~ 2 tbsp. barbecue sauce (or 1 tsp. smoked paprika)
~ 2 tbsp. flour
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 2 cups vegetable stock
~ The other half of that big ol' can of fire-roasted tomatoes
~ 1 cup grated vegan cheddar (I used Daiya), or 1/2 cup nutritional yeast


Also
~ 1 package large, whole wheat tortillas

Directions
~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
~ Combine the soy milk and vegetable stock in a beaker and heat in the microwave for about 3 minutes.
~ In a saucepan, heat the oil or margarine over medium-low heat, then add the garlic. Cook for about a minute, until golden but not brown.
~ Add the flour, dry seasonings, hot sauce, barbecue sauce and a splash of the milk/stock, and stir to make a smooth paste.
~ Raise the heat to medium, stir in about half the remaining milk/stock mixture, followed by half the vegan cheese or yeast.
~ Whisk for a minute or two until well combined, then add the rest of the liquid and the cheese or yeast, continuing to whisk until you have a smooth-textured sauce; this should only take about 5 minutes.
~ Taste for seasonings, remove from heat and set aside.

The Assembly
~ Coat a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray and ladle some of the sauce into the bottom.
~ Place about 1/3 - 1/2 cup filling in the top third of each tortilla and roll up into a tube. Place the filled tortillas snugly up against each other, seam side down, in your baking dish until all the tortillas and filling are used up.
~ Pour the sauce over the whole business, making sure to let it ooze down into the filled tortillas, and smoothing the top. If possible, set the assembled casserole aside and allow to sit for awhile before baking, so all the elements can get better acquainted (I left my most recent batch about 3 hours, and they were amazing).
~ Garnish the top with a little extra cilantro and paprika, cover with foil, and bake at 400 degrees about 20 minutes, until bubbling.
~ Remove the foil and bake uncovered another 15 minutes, until brown and lovely.
~ Set aside to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving with guacomole, salsa, and maybe some extra hot sauce and vegan sour cream, if you're into that sort of thing. (A pitcher of margaritas or sangria wouldn't hurt, either; I think Frida would have wanted it that way!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Best Miso Soup

I love miso soup: it's comforting and restorative, without being heavy or stodgy. Looking back, I think the first place I was exposed to it was either a tiny (and now sadly defunct) Korean/Japanese restaurant that was one of the few places to get a vegetarian meal in my hometown back in the day, or possibly Paul and Elizabeth's, a venerable old-school veg establishment in Northampton, MA. Either way, I was immediately seduced, and as soon as I got my hands on some it began appearing regularly in my own little kitchen.

Historically, I've used the heartier varieties like barley and brown rice, but in recent years the mellow white miso has grown on me: so much so that I am declaring this latest batch the best I've ever made, and I can't wait to have it again. We ladled it over rice noodles on a frigid January night, and that lovely broth, combined with veggies and tofu, was like some sort of magical, health-giving elixir: the perfect antidote to one of those bleak mid-winter days with too little daylight. So go ahead and make a batch; you'll thank me when you see how much better you feel!

The Best Miso Soup
Ingredients
~ 1/2 tsp. each: toasted sesame oil, hot chili oil
~ 1 tbsp. canola oil
~ 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
~ 2 tsp. fresh, grated ginger
~ 12 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4" cubes
~ 8 large scallions, thinly sliced
~ 8 tbsp. mellow white miso
~ 8 cups vegetable stock
~ 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

Directions
~ In a large pot or wok, heat the oils over medium-high heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the grated ginger and cook another minute or two.
~ Add the cubed tofu, stir gently to combine, and cook another 5 minutes before adding the sliced scallions and cooking another 2-3 minutes.
~ Heat the broth in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove, until almost but not quite boiling.
~ In a separate bowl, combine the miso and about a cup of the hot broth and mix to a smooth paste.
~ Pour the miso mixture into the sauteed vegetables and tofu, then add the remaining broth.
~ Stir to combine and heat through without boiling.
~ Add the spinach and stir until it is just wilted.
~ Ladle into bowls as is, or over steamed rice or noodles; if you like, add a dash of hot sauce to individual servings to taste.
~ (NB - This actually gets better as it stands, so the leftovers are great; just be sure to store the noodles or rice separately from the soup, otherwise it will thicken too much.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Faggots" in Ale and Onion Gravy


If there is indeed a heaven, I like to think it will have at least one really great pub, preferably medieval in origin, where the reward for our - ahem - exemplary behavior in this vale of tears will be an eternity spent quaffing cask-conditioned ales and that quasi-hallucinogenic, still cider one only finds in Somerset. The picture above shows just the sort of place I mean, The George and Pilgrims in Glastonbury; your humble correspondent can be glimpsed on the left, her nose buried in a pint of a golden elixir that imparted a certain glow to the remainder of the afternoon.

This venerable establishment was founded in 1430 as a place of rest and refreshment for visitors to the nearby Abbey, which traces its roots to the 7th century, but was founded in its medieval form in the 10th century by St. Dunstan, the Abbot of Glastonbury (who became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 960 - aren't you glad I'm telling you all this?!).

Of course, Glastonbury was a tourist trap for centuries before there was a festival or a High Street filled with New Age crystal emporia and vegetarian restaurants, for the simple reason that in 1191, while digging through the foundations after a ruinous fire, the monks discovered - wait for it! - the bones of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Talk about a stroke of luck for a religious house in need of a little extra dosh for an ambitious rebuilding project, especially when added to the legend that Joseph of Arimethea had chosen a nearby site to bury the Holy Grail for safekeeping!

Thereafter, pilgrims arrived in a steady stream, putting Glastonbury on the map of medieval destination spots and making the Abbey rich in one fell swoop. Alas, this joy ride came to an abrupt end in the 1530s with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, during which erstwhile Defender of the Faith Henry VIII, in the course of establishing himself as Supreme Head of the Church in England, decided all that money and real estate could be put to better use. So much for the abbot, the monks, and their coffers, to say nothing of poor Arthur and Guinevere - le sigh - but the George and Pilgrims has endured Reformation, Revolution, Restoration, and a whole bunch of other things beginning with "R," and remains a remarkably unspoiled oasis in the midst of what is still a very bustling, busy place. Besides which, I mean - look at it!

By now you're probably thinking, "She's doing it again - this is all very fascinating, but what does it have to do with faggots?" Well, I'm coming to them (and there's nothing rude or funny about that, by the way; honestly, you people). In my heavenly imaginary pub - which has probably been forgotten in all the talk of cider and monks and skeletons and kings and whatnot -  they will have to be food, if only to keep everyone in the afterlife from being pissed out of their minds 24/7. And this food will have to be pub grub as it exists in the mind of God, right? Which means it will all be vegan - hurrah!

So amidst the shepherd's pies, "fish" & chips, bangers & mash, chip butties, etc. there will obviously be faggots in onion gravy. One recent evening, in my weak, mortal zeal to taste such celestially blissful fare without actually shuffling off this mortal coil, I decided to have a go at making some serious pub grub in my all-too-earthly kitchen, and let me just say that if dinner in the afterlife is better than this, we do have something to look forward to, because this was pretty damned good.

Please bear in mind that these aren't really "faggots," just vegetarian meatballs - for which the gentle reader should stop snickering and be profoundly grateful, since actual faggots are a nauseating, ground-up compound of the bits of our besnouted, porcine friends that nobody wants to talk about, cooked in lard and coated with a layer of...oh, never mind. This is supposed to be about food, and if I carry on this way you'll need to find a bucket to be sick in, and then where will be? Suffice to say that it were better to be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, and instead applaud the deed once you've made this fragrant, delightfully offal-free knock-off of a pub grub classic.

On this particular occasion, I confess to taking the lazy man's way and using frozen veggie meatballs from my local market, but if you'd like to make your own, there are a million recipes out there, so by all means go for it. Since they're meant to bake in the gravy, they absorb a lot of its flavor, so don't worry too much about their seasonings, although I'd avoid aggressively "Italian" varieties that are heavy on the oregano, etc., should you follow my slothful example and go the frozen route. Optimally, these should be served with a pile of mashed potatoes and mushy peas, which might be described on that heavenly pub menu as representing the fluffy sheep which safely graze on the green and pleasant hills of Albion. Or not.

Time, gentlemen!

"Faggots" in Ale and Onion Gravy
Ingredients
~ 2 pkgs. meatless meatballs (TJ's or Nate's are good); about 48 smallish if homemade
~ 1 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 tbsp. margarine
~ 2 large yellow onions, diced
~ 2 large red onions, diced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, sugar
~ 1/2 tsp. each sage, parsley
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 2 tbsp. flour
~ 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1-2 tsp. Marmite
~ 12 oz. good brown ale
~ 8 oz. vegetable stock

Directions
~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit; coat a large baking dish or casserole with cooking spray.
~ On a nonstick baking sheet, arrange the meatballs in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes, shaking occasionally. Transfer the cooked meatballs to the baking dish and set aside.
~ Heat the oil and margarine in a saucepan and cook the onion over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.
~ Turn the heat down to low, stir in the salt, sugar, sage, parsley and pepper, then leave the pan uncovered and continue cooking until the onions are brown, reduced and caramelized. Remember to give them the occasional stir so they don't stick; this should take another 20-25 minutes.
~ Add the flour and the Worcestershire sauce; stir to make a roux, adding a bit of the stock to make a smooth paste, and cook another minute or two.
~ Gradually add the ale and the remaining stock, stirring with each addition, and bring to a simmer. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.
~ Pour the onion gravy over the meatballs in their baking dish, making sure they are all completely immersed in ale-and-oniony goodness.
~ Place the baking dish in the center of the oven and cook uncovered at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the gravy has thickened and the meatballs have softened a bit.
~ Serve hot with mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and a pint of bitter. (Some glazed carrots and individual Yorkshire puddings - a recipe I'm still perfecting, so watch this space - wouldn't come amiss, either.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

General Desdemona's Sesame Orange Soy Curls



A few weeks ago, my partner and his daughter cooked up a big batch of the famous VegWeb recipe for General Tao's Tofu - for some reason, we had never made this before, but it was so good that we immediately vowed to have it again soon, possibly adapted in an orange-sesame version. The other day I was craving Chinese food and thought "tonight's the night!" The only potential difficulty was that we were out of tofu, but it occurred to me that soy curls might make an interesting substitution, so I whipped up what seemed like a suitable marinade and left them to soak all afternoon - by the time I was ready to cook they had absorbed a lot of flavor, so my hopes were high. I mostly followed the recipe, the main changes being that I used the marinade for the liquid, and added some sesame seeds to the sauce. The soy curls fry up faster than tofu, and I'd recommend that you cook them in a few batches rather than all at once, so they all have a chance to get nice and crispy without crowding each other too much. It actually came together quite fast - if you put the rice on when you start cooking, and steam or stirfry some veggies towards the end, you should be able to have a delicious dinner that's all ready at the same time. I must admit that this dinner left me feeling pretty pleased with myself - I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I put this away with the appetite and stomach of a king!

General Desdemona's Sesame Orange Soy Curls
The Soy Curls
Ingredients
~ 2 cups soy curls
~ 2 cups orange juice
~ 2 cups vegetable broth
~ 1 tsp. each: garlic powder, toasted sesame oil
~ 1/2-1 tsp. hot chili oil (or 1 tbsp. hot sauce)
~ 1 tbsp. soy sauce

Directions
~ Mix the juice, broth and seasonings in a large beaker, bowl or pot. Add the soy curls, then cover and bring to a boil (about 4 minutes in the microwave, probably a minute or so more on the stovetop).
~ Leave covered and set aside for at least an hour; I left mine 3-4 hours, and highly recommend you do the same if possible.

The Other Stuff
Ingredients
~ Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Bob's Red Mill)
~ 3/4 cup cornstarch
~ Vegetable oil for frying
~ 6 chopped green onions
~ 2 tbsp. minced ginger
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
~ Reserved soy curl marinade and enough additional stock to make 2 cups, if necessary
~ 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
~ 2 tbsp. agave syrup
~ Red pepper flakes to taste
~ 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
~ 4 tbsp. cold water
~ 2 tbsp. corn starch

Directions
~ Drain the soy curls in a colander, reserving the extra marinade. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean tea towel and set aside.
~ Mix the egg replacer as specified on the box and add an additional 6 tablespoons water.
~ Dip the soy curls in the egg replacer/water mixture and coat completely. Place them in a large bowl (preferably one with a lid) and sprinkle some of the cornstarch on top. I did this in 3 batches, so after each addition of cooked soy curls I sprinkled on more corn starch, covered the bowl and shook it around to make sure they were completely coated.
~ Heat oil in a large skillet or wok and fry the soy curls until golden. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
~ Drain all but about 2 tbsps. of oil from the pan, and return to medium heat.
~ Add the green onions, ginger and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes.
~ Add the sesame seeds and cook about a minute, stirring constantly so they don't burn. Pour in the marinade mixture, soy sauce, agave, red pepper flakes, and vinegar, then stir to combine thoroughly.
~ In a small bowl, mix the 4 tbsp. water with the 2 tbsp. cornstarch and pour into the sauce, stirring well until it thickens.
~ Add the soy curls and stir to coat; continue cooking another few minutes so that everything is just heated through.
~ Serve with steamed broccoli and/or stir-fried vegetables (we had garlicky broccoli and eggplant) over white or brown rice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Aubergine Kuku


Okay, you know what? I just want to come right out and say that this past month officially kicked my ass, and I've been feeling a little burned out. The end of a rather trying semester, complete with ginormous research paper and grading of final exams, followed by the inevitable marathon of last-minute gift buying and wrapping, the laying in of massive quantities of food and alcohol, preparation (followed by consumption) of same, and entertaining of family and friends had me too knackered to care about anything but napping. This generalized ennui even extended to the kitchen - in the week or so after Christmas, I had no interest in cooking or eating anything. Even the piles of lovingly prepared leftovers in the refrigerator left me cold. The leek and bean cassoulet, the green beans almondine (so retro!), the mountain of roasted potatoes, the apple custard pie, the jarful of cookies - bah, humbug! It's taken this long for me to even entertain the notion of getting excited about cooking again, so it's fitting that I climb back into the proverbial saddle with a dish wholly divorced from the sort of traditional, "holiday" foods we've been scarfing down the last few weeks.

This started out as an adaptation of an Iranian frittata I saw in Yotam Ottolenghi's "New Vegetarian" feature in the Guardian. This column features some really interesting recipes, but they're often very heavy on the eggs and dairy - of course, the upside of this is that it presents a cool opportunity to put on the old Vegan Thinking Cap and figure out how the situation might be improved. In this case, it was a simple matter of substituting a batch of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's quasi-miraculous cashew ricotta from the Veganomicon for the five (count 'em) eggs in the original recipe, which effectively replicates the quiche-like texture we're after. I also played with the spices a little, and added some roasted peppers and chopped olives for extra color and taste- the result was a deliciously creamy, eggplanty dish that's equally good warm or at room temperature. We had ours for dinner with some couscous and roasted vegetable, but it would also be great for brunch. So - let's stop all the whinging and cook already, shall we? It's a new year!

Aubergine Kuku

Ingredients
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, chili powder
~ 1 tbsp. chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish
~ 1/4 tsp. each: cinnamon, nutmeg
~ Black pepper
~ 1 large or 2 medium eggplants, cubed
~ 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 3 roasted red bell peppers, chopped (I used jarred)
~ 1/2 cup chopped black olives
~ 1 batch cashew ricotta, prepared as directed in Veganomicon
~ 2 tsp. corn starch
~ 1 tsp saffron strands, dissolved in 2 tbsp. of hot water
~ 1 tbsp. lime juice

~ Preheat the oven to 400F.
~ Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and sauté the onions over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until soft but not brown.
~ Add the eggplant to the onions and cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for around 10 minutes, until it is completely soft (add a little more oil or water if needed, but not a lot).
~ Add the chopped bell peppers and olives and cook another 5 minutes.
~ In a large bowl, whisk together the cashew ricotta, corn starch, the saffron and its water, and the lime juice.
~ Add the eggplant mixture and combine thoroughly.
~ Coat a deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes, until golden-brown and cooked through (insert a knife or toothpick in the middle to make sure it has set).
~ Remove from the oven and set aside to cool about 10-15 minutes.
~ Place a serving platter over the top of the pie plate and invert to turn it out.
~ Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges and sprinkled with extra parsley.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year (Not) Tuna Melts


First of all, happy new year! Hard to believe we've made it to 2010, and there are still no flying cars - damn. This is kind of a cheater post, because things have been way too busy around here for me to do as much cooking (or blogging) as I'd like. Anyway, the other day, a sudden random craving inspired me to make these for lunch, and they turned out so beautiful and delicious that they simply cried out to be photographed before being eaten. Chickpea salad isn't exactly rocket science, but I flatter myself that mine is pretty damn good, and on an English muffin under a blanket of melted "cheese" (we had Vegan Gourmet mozzarella on hand, but grated Daiya or Sheese would be even better), it was exactly what was needed on a cold, snowy day. I have another two weeks left of my holiday break, so I hope to manage something a bit more creative in the upcoming: watch this space!

Happy New Year (Not) Tuna Melts

Ingredients
~ 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
~ 1 rib celery, finely minced
~ 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
~ 1/2 cup Vegenaise, or vegan mayo of your choice (more or less to taste)
~ 1/2 tsp. each: kosher salt, dill, parsley, paprika
~ Fresh black pepper to taste
~ Dash of hot sauce (optional, but recommended)
~ 4 English muffins, split and lightly toasted
~ 1-1.5 cup grated vegan cheese

Directions
~ Preheat your oven to Broil.
~ Place the drained chickpeas in a largeish bowl. With a potato masher, mash them until they are crushed but not totally pulpy; you still want some texture, but nothing that screams "hey, I'm a chickpea!"
~ Add the celery, green pepper, Vegenaise, and spices, and stir to combine thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and texture.
~ Spread the chickpea salad on each of the toasted muffin halves, top with desired amount of "cheese," and sprinkle with a little extra paprika.
~ Place your little muffin dudes on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, or until the tops are browned and bubbly, making sure not to burn.
~ Allow to cool a few minutes before eating: yum!