Posts Tagged chickpea cutlets

Piccata, Risotto & Focaccia

Time for some fancy foods!  Piccata, risotto and focaccia are all restauranty-sounding dishes to me, things that a few years ago I would have never thought I’d be making for myself.  They also all have double letters that I have a hard time remembering where to put.

Let’s start with the CSA delivery that brought me some of the ingredients:

leaf lettuce, chard, artichokes, collards, asparagus & rosemary

tangerines, beets, shallots, kiwis & apples

It was a lovely coincidence that I saw Lindsay’s post on piccata the very same week I received asparagus, which everyone knows is good with piccata.  Even those of us who’d never tried it before, like me.  She made hers with her chickpea cakes, which I’m sure are good, but I decided to go with the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, because I love them and it had been a very long time since I made them.  I followed Lindsay’s sauce recipe exactly though.  Like all of her recipes, the sauce is fat-free, so I feel like the end result might have been lacking a little bit of richness you might get from a “normal” piccata.  The sauce was definitely not lacking in flavor though.  In fact, I was quite happy the sauce was fat-free, because I used olive oil on the asparagus and earth balance in the mashed cauliflower.

Yes, I know that mashed potatoes go with piccata and asparagus.  But I like to use cauliflower instead of potatoes sometimes to lighten up a meal.  I chopped up a bit of fresh rosemary to go in the cauliflower, and it lent just the faintest hint of delicious rosemary flavor.  I was suspicious of using fresh rosemary because I’m not a huge fan of dried, but for serious:  fresh is awesome.  And it lasts a lot longer in the fridge than I thought it would.

I have always been intimidated by the thought of making risotto.  You hear about having to stand in front of a pot, stirring forever, and all for some flavored rice?  But I kept seeing risotto pop up on the internets, and it didn’t seem to be such a big deal.  So when the CSA newsletter came with a recipe for Red Chard Risotto, I gave it a whirl.

I had to figure out what “dry white wine” is to make this.  (Google it.)  And I learned that you don’t actually have to stir constantly; just a lot.  It turned out pretty well, but the rice could have been cooked more, and the flavor could use a boost.  So I will rework this soon and have a recipe.  The good news is that I am no longer scared of arborio rice.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the majority of my fresh rosemary, and the only idea that came to mind was focaccia, so I went with it.  I followed the recipe in Veganomicon, subbing half whole wheat flour.

This was very easy to make, and the rosemary flavor is awesome.  I have one question though:  What makes focaccia different from regular ol’ bread just shaped into a disc?  The texture seemed like normal bread.  Not that I’m complaining…I just want to know.

To go with the focaccia, I remade the stuffed collards that I first tried here.

My filling of choice was lentils and tempeh, and the flavor of the filling was great.  It didn’t quite stick together enough to recreate the original though.  I think I have a solution, and I happen to have collards in the fridge, so hopefully with one more tweak I will have a recipe to share.

Speaking of recipes that I’m working on, here’s a sneak peek.

It’s going to be my first recipe contest entry.  It’s fun to be working toward something instead of just cooking whatever I want sometimes.  Can anyone guess what the triangles are?  Hint:  it’s not tofu.

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Still Cleaning Out My Kitchen

Actually, I’m starting with one thing that didn’t help purge my kitchen, but it sure did taste good.  A couple years ago I made a chocolate cake for my birthday, a wacky cake recipe from La Dolce Vegan.  My friend Laura liked it a lot, so since her birthday was Friday I made her a cake of her own.

I knew I wouldn’t have a whole lot of time to decorate and was feeling festive, so I went with sprinkles.  Yay!  I had to buy a whole bottle and certainly don’t need leftover sprinkles, so I mixed most of the bottle into the cake, for a funfetti-type-thing.  It worked well!  Here’s the insides.

A funny thing happened while cutting the cake.  A friend of Laura’s from nursing school came into the kitchen.  Laura offered her cake (there was another cake there too) and she said no thanks.  Then Laura was like “this one’s vegan” and her friend said “Oh!  Yeah!” and took a slice.  I wanted to ask if it was opposite day.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen!  Turns out she’s vegetarian and therefore interested in vegan baked goods.

On Saturday I had a Buy My Stuff Open House, kind of like an indoor yardsale for friends only.  I had promised refreshments but didn’t feel like preparing anything (crazy!) so I took the opportunity to thaw some freezer foods.

Leftover cake with oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate-chocolate chip-walnut cookies, both from the freezer.

Smoky salsa from the freezer, store bought guac (gasp), blue corn chips and oat bran pretzels.  The oat bran pretzels are really good.

Sunday night my parents came into town and took us out to dinner at Emiliano’s, a Pan-Latin restaurant downtown.  I wish I had taken my camera, because the food there is really good.  I had gazpacho and black beans over spanish rice, and shared two tapas with my mom – escalivada (grilled veggies & pita chips, cheese on the side for mom) and amarillos.  I also had a basil mojito, which was at once odd and delicious.

Last night I made a meal I had been meaning to make since I bought green beans at the farmers market last week, but had to keep putting it off, and I’m glad I waited because my parents brought me a bunch of tomatoes from my dad’s garden.

As good as these tomatoes are, I’m just not a raw tomato person except for a slice in a sandwich here and there.  Even the cherry tomatoes – some people eat them like candy.  Me, not so much.  Anywho, a thick slice of tomato on top of this chickpea cutlet parmesan gave it that extra special something.  Served with spelt spaghetti marinara and balsamic roasted green beans.

Freezer – chickpea cutlets, marinara
Pantry – spelt spaghetti, breadcrumbs, almond parmesan
Farmers Market – green beans
Free! – dad’s tomatoes

Overall three meals of this cost $2.  That’s some good math.

In the spirit of using more tomatoes and freezer foods, tonight I had a take on succotash and onion rings.  I love onion rings, but they’re so bad for you!  Probably why they were still in the freezer.

The succotash is lima beans, edamame and corn (all from the freezer), EB, quartered cherry tomatoes, garlic and onion powder, basil, dill, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and braggs.  Topped with hot sauce.

By my math, this meal was free!  And there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Sweet.

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