When I was a small little boy, a bratty little boy, who enjoyed wearing bow ties, and dressing up on costumes, and running around, when I was that small little boy….
… My family and I would spend many a warm summer on the shoreline of Delaware and Maryland, and one of my youngest memories is eat crab cakes on the Delaware shores. I would eat my weight in them, possibly till I was sickly full, and needing a bathroom.I would drop their flaky crusts all over my face and self as I gorged on them.Oh, such fond summer memories I have.I wold skip and jump along the beach, my feet touching the refreshing salt water.Then, off to the local eateries, and their crab cakes.
This is a nice story isn’t it?
Well, it is completely false.None of it is even remotely true.I have never been to Delaware or Maryland, I do not think so anyways.I have never actually had a crab cake.Sea food was not a favorite of mine,other than if it was battered, deep fried, and drowned in ketchup and tartar sauce.But, you could probably batter and deep fry a book or old shoe and it would taste good.
So, I cannot say this is some crab cake mock version, other than the shape, kinda. I have seen plenty of chickpea-based mock crab cakes, including one at the great Vegan Dad’s . These may taste similar, I assume they do taste like many that can be found, as we are all using chickpeas.I cannot say that as I have no clue what a crab cake tastes like.
These are easy to make, and not very time consuming.I mean, if you have already cooking and rinsed your chickpeas, or are just using a can. ( you cheater!)
Chickpea Cakes Ingredients.
- 2 cups of chickpeas, cooked, rinsed, ready to go.
- 4 bay leaves.
- 1 teaspoon of ginger.
- 2 teaspoons of sage.
- 1/2 teaspoon of allspice.
- 3 teaspoons of seaweed flakes.You can find them in health food stores.
- 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning.
- 2 teaspoon of sea salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves.
- 1 teaspoon of celery salt.
- 1 teaspoon of citric acid.
- 1 teaspoon of ground pepper.
- 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika.
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne.
- 1/2 cup of chopped yellow onion.
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
I ground all the spices in a mortar.That is kicking it old school, no? You could also use a coffee grinder, or some electronic gizmo, if you have one. I do not, as I do not have a coffee grinder as I am pretty sure I would rather drink a cup of mud and filth than coffee.
But, that is perhaps just me…
In your processor, process the chickpeas, but leave them chunky-ish.You do not want a puree, here.Plop that into a bowl, and mix in the spices mixture you made, as well as the chopped onions.I mixed it all together with my hands.You should as well, as it is fun.
Heat your pan up with the 3 tablespoons of oil. You wanted it heated over medium/high heat.Also, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Time to make the cakes.I used a biscuit cutter to shape mine.Now, they are going to be a big fragile, but I found that if you really squeeze them together when you are molding them helps. I made a basic shape, then used the biscuit cutter to get that hockey puck-like shape.
Now, as I said, they are fragile, so carefully add each cake to the hot oil with a spatula.Let them cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook on other side for another 4 minutes.They should have a nice browned coating to them.Now, place them on a sprayed or oiled baking sheet and bake in the oven for ten minutes.
They should be somewhat tender, a bit fragile.So, in a sense, they are flaky, but in a chickpea flaky kind of way, not a I am flaky kind of way.
I topped mine with an easy sauce.A Lemon-Capers sauce.
Lemon Capers Sauce Ingredients.
- 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance.I used the sticks.
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- 2 teaspoons of lemon zest.
- 2 tablespoons of capers.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a pan, or whatever vessel you plan on using, then add the remaining ingredients.Bring to a boil and let it slightly reduce.This should only really take a few minutes, or so.
Top your chickpea cakes with the lemon capers sauce and dream of those days you spent on the shores of the Chesapeake bay, even if you have never been there.Or, if you are sane and normal, just eat and enjoy them.
I have always wanted to go to New Orleans.No, not to bare my bare chest in hopes of getting lots of beads to wear around my head.Though, I would look rather ravishing with lots of beads wrapped around my neck.I think so anyways.Sure, that little spot in the world, perhaps in another time of the year, would be a great place to visit.Between The French Quarter and Bourbon street, I am sure it is quite a lot of fun.Maybe.
I have always wanted to go and see the creepy graveyards they have down there, and some other the more stranger sites. No, I loathe Ann Rice books, so don’t think that about me, please.I just think it would be fun.Sue me.
The region, the city, are not just known for their flashing bead seeking Mardi Gras party folk.They are also know for their Creole food.
Creole food is kind of like the mutt food genre. I do not say that to offend anyone from the area, and if you are offended, well stop being so sensitive. It just happens that Creole food is made up of a lot of other styles.French, African,Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American, and so on.
There is a difference between Cajun cooking and Creole cooking. That difference being something that someone with a better clue than I would be better at explaining.But, there are differences.Just take my word on it.
Remember in the 80s or 90s that cook that cooked Cajun and Creole food, and you needed a translator to understand him? His name escapes me, but he was like some kind of Creole Colonel Sanders of KFC fame.I am not making this up, and if I was not lazy I would go and find out who he was.Look, it takes moments out of my life to go and google something.
New Orleans seems like a pretty cool place, I guess. I am not payed by them to say as such, but it seems like it. From what I have seen, which is not all that much.Mainly just clips from the news and the few minutes a Girl Gone Wild infomercial popped onto my television. But, yeah, it looks alright.
Anyways, you could go and make this dish by just tossing the TVP chunks into the pot, but then you will lose out on some additional flavors in the end.So, be lazy, or actually care about what you are making for dinner.For once.Geeze.
Pickled TVP Ingredients.
- 2 cups of TVP chunks.
- 2 cups of water.
- 1 cup of apple cider vinegar.
- 1/4th a cup of kosher salt.
- 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke.
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika.
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic.
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds. Yellow ones.
- 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns.
- 1 teaspoon of celery seeds.
- 2 tablespoons of hot sauce.
- 1 teaspoon of juniper berries.
Okay, this is really simple. I swear.Ignore the long list of ingredients, and don’t be scared.Well, do not ignore them as then you will have no idea what to use.
Anywhooo, place everything in a pot, bring to a boil, and bring down to a simmer, and cook for about an hour.Normally, I like to cook tvp down til most liquid is gone, but not this time. Remove from stove, let cool, and then store in fridge for at least a day.
Yes, if you want the pickled TVP for your beans and rice you will have to wait a day or two. Life is cruel, sometimes.
Beans & Rice Ingredients.
- 1 yellow onion, chopped and diced.
- 1-2 green peppers, depending on size, chopped up.
- 4 stalks of celery, diced.
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Kosher salt.
- Ground Pepper.
- 3 tablespoons of minced garlic.
- 4 bay leaves.
- 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves.
- 1/4th a cup of hot sauce.
- 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
- 8 cups of water.
- 3-4 cups of red kidney beans.Washed and cleaned.
- The TVP.
- 2 cups of Brown rice.
- 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter. I used the stick kind.
- 3 cups of water.
So, if you do not like heat, subtract some of the hot sauce, and/or cayenne. I was once like you, but I have seen the light, and I want heat.That light I saw being a flaming ball of fire.
In a large pot, heat up the oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated up, toss in the onions, peppers, and celery and cook for 7 minutes or so, then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.Stir frequently or you will burn your garlic, and burnt garlic is horrific.Toss in the water, tvp*, beans, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne, and of course the beans. Turn the heat up to high, as high as the sky, and bring to a hard boil.Let it boil for 6 minutes, stirring every few moments.Lower the heat to a really low simmer, lid, and let it cook for an hour and 45 minutes.
*Oh, and before you toss in the TVP, make sure you it is just the chunks, without anything else.
Now, you can remove the lid, and bring the simmer up a little higher.The longer you cook on this simmer, the thicker your sauce will be.I went another 30 or so minutes.
During that time, you should cook your rice. You can use whatever rice you want, or use your own method. I used Alton Brown’s Rice method, as it seemed fairly easy, and I tend to sometimes mess up cooking rice. I know, terrifically sad.
Heat the butter up in a skillet, and bring the water to a boil in a pot. Once the butter is melted and kind of bubbling, toss in the rice, and kosher salt.Stir and cook for a few minutes, then pour in the boiling water.Cover with a lid and let it cook for about 25 minutes over medium low heat till the water has gone bye bye.
Plate some rice, top with some of the beans mixture, and there you have it.
See? Easy peasy.
I was going to write about the saffron-cashew rice I made as a side dish. I was. I really was. I swear.But, then a light bulb went off, or I just simply decided I would rather just sing the praise of my favorite thing in my kitchen.The Wok.
Now, now, please wait a moment. A pot about a wok, or THE WOK, does not have to be boring.Does it? Is it? Between preparing TVP chunks, to cooking tofu, to stir-fries, I find this wonderful piece of metal beyond useful.
You can even make that previously mentioned saffron-cashew fried rice in the wok, just so you know.
I do not know a lot of about the history of the wok, other than they are Asian, and probably very old.Did Marco Polo see them when he visited the region? No idea. I think he may have missed them, or kept it to himself if he did see one.No real surprise there. Can you imagine you being the only person around with a wok?You would have everyone over bothering you to borrow it and use it. No thanks.I will keep my wok to myself, thank you very much.
I feel kind of wrong even posting that photo up there of my wok, with all these strangers looking at my wok. Kind of creepy.
I just have to say, I love my wok. You should love your wok, everyone should love their woks. Wok on, etc, etc.
I should really quit with the horrible puns, but I just can’t seem to wok away from them.
Saffron Cashew Fried Rice Ingredients.
- 3 cups of cooked rice.I used basmati.
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- 2 good pinches of saffron.
- 3/4 cup of cashews.Roughly chopped.Non-roasted, and soaked in water for an hour.
- 1 cup of frozen peas.
The following list of spices should be ground,and combined.
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
- 1/2 a teaspoon of allspice.
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.
- 1 teaspoon of cumin.
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn.
- 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
- 1 teaspoon of cloves.
Combine the spices, grind them, and toast in a pan over medium /high heat for 60 seconds, and then put aside.
Pour the oil into your wok, and heat over medium/high heat.Once it is heated up, add the cooked rice, cashews, and peas. Cook, and stir for several minutes.Now add in the saffron, stirring it in, and cooking for another few minutes. Mix in a tablespoon of the previously mentioned spice combination. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
Now, you probably would like to know about the tofu that is topping the rice.Well, maybe you are not, but I am going to talk about it anyways.Take that, society!
I like to freeze my tofu, then let it thaw out. Press the tofu for a couple hours, then freeze it. So, then the next day, let it thaw.We will start from there.
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
- 2 tablespoons of Braggs Liquid Aminos.
- Teaspoon of kosher salt.
- teaspoon of pepper.
- 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning.
- 1 teaspoon of cumin.
- 1 teaspoon of cilantro.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.Yes, a bowl.I like bowls. You like bowls. We all like bowls.Put this bowl aside.
Heat your wok or pan , only over low heat.No oil, please.Cut your tofu up in whatever shape you want.Now, as you will have limited room, unless you have a mega-wok, you will have to cook a few at a time.Place several pieces of the tofu in the wok, and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula.You will see some water come out of the tofu when you do this.That is good.
Once you see a golden tone to the tofu, flip them, and repeat the same. Remember, this is over low heat, and will take more then a few minutes on each side.Dry-frying tofu allowed for a better marinade, duh!
Okay, you have cooked them all?
Place them in the marinade, making sure they are all covered.Let this sit for an hour.
Now, you may use some oil. I would say a couple tablespoons, heated in your wok over medium/high heat.Cook the tofu for a few minutes on each side, they will cook up fairly fast.
There, you have made some stuff in a wok, other than just a stir-fry.I have faith you will not fuck it up.Maybe I am being kind.But anyways, you just made some tasty food.Now, you must be feeling special? No? Yes?
You may be special, I do not know. I have found that parents have often lied to their children about being special.Well, I think you are special, if that matters. I do.
I may be lying.
Indiana Jones and I have something in common. No, it is not our rugged good looks, and despite my enjoyment of finding native american relics in my back yard, it is not archaeology.
We both hate snakes.
I really hate snakes.I loathe them with most of my fiber, or whatever you want to use.This hate or dislike is somewhat baffling, as no snake has ever harmed me or anything or anyone I know or care about. But, even if one snake had, I doubt there was or is some snake-wing conspiracy out there plotting to go after me for some unknown reason. I simply do not like snakes.I know it is absurd, and I know it is not logical, but I simply hate snakes.
But, that is okay.It is okay as long as I do not start some personal war on snakes. I let them be, doing whatever horrific, slimy, gross things they wish to do, and they do the same for me.
I also find most cats to be pricks, too.Dolphins and monkeys can be assholes, too.Hell, go and watch some gifs on Animals being dicks dot com and you can see there are plenty of pricks in the animal kingdom, and plenty of them I dislike.
Vegans will often use the claim that if you truly love animals you will not use them for fur, eat them, and make them perform tricks in a circus.I say, you do not have to love anything not to do any of those things.
Sure, I love my animal companions, they are as close to me as some family ,and I love a few select other people. But I don’t love every single living non-human animal or human in the whole entire planet.Frankly, I can even think of some family and friends I do not even love.Sorry!
I suppose such talk could get me kicked out of the abolitionism veganista movement, as I am kinda saying I like one species more than another.So be it.
Do you love every single person you come into contact with? Every single person you sit on a bus with, walk by, drive along side on the highway? Of course you don’t.What about that dick who was on the phone the whole bus ride, and you just wanted to throttle his throat and toss his mobile out the window? Do you really love that dood?
We have laws that protect people from being attacked, sure. But, we basically just go about our days not attacking, killing people, stealing, talking loudly on phones on buses because we generally like to be treated politely.Live and let live.There will always be assholes, like that dood on the bus, but generally most people try and just have manners, and again, live and let live.
Well, that is how I feel about non-human animals, too.I do not eat cow flesh because I love every cow that has ever been on planet Earth. I just do not think it is very nice to go around killing cows and eating them. I think it is rude to enslave animals for personal entertainment values, fashion needs, or dietary needs.
The problems people have in life seem to come from the opposite of love, that being hate. Bigots, racists, etc.Love and hate seem to only actually matter though when those emotions are enforced, for good and bad. Laws and how we live should not be based on emotions such as love and hate.They should be based on equality and fairness.
If we go about acting simply because we love or a hate thing, that is how you get to where plenty of people care about puppy dogs and kittens, while other animals are just left to be used and abused.
Also,don’t you think would be kind of hypocritical of me to go around telling people who claim to be animal lovers that if they are gonna eat meat and dairy they cannot be animal lovers , especially after I just stated my dislike for snakes and other creatures?
No one should be expected to love everything, always. We should just be expected to treat everything fairly, equally, and with some respect.
I recently had a light-bulb moment. This moment of clarity and possible genius was very empowering, and I soon set about making it a reality.
First, I will give credit where credit is due, and give thanks to the great Vegan Dad, that wizard of vegan food, that lives up yonder in the great north. He recently posted this potato quesadillas recipe. I was going ot just go and make that, but then my mind began wondering, and I had this realization. What else can be put inside a quesadilla? Could I possibly just made a candy quesadilla?
Well, I am not sure about the candy (yet), but I have an answer to the original question.I had some butternut squash taunting me in the fridge, mocking me in the sense that within a few day it and I both know I will forget about it till I find it rotting away in the dark corner of a crisper.
That happens a lot to me with butternut squash. Terrible habit, really.I become a mini-hoarder from the A&E show when it comes to it.I use a little, and seem to forget about it, and then find it in a less than fresh state, a week or so later.
I made the shells from the Vegan Dad recipe, so just use his, as they came out perfectly.
So, let us just ahead.
- Half of a butternut squash, cubed, about one inch in size.
- Half a yellow one, chopped up.
- Garlic, peeled, use about half the cloves.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- A few dashes of kosher salt.
- Ground pepper.
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
- 2 teaspoons of cilantro.
- 1 cup of chopped red roasted pepper.
- A cup or more of Daiya Chedder and Pepperjack, combined.
- Oil for brushing.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a pan, place the garlic, onion, and butternut squash.pour in the oil, and add the salt and pepper.Mix it all around so everything is covered with the oil and seasonings.Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes, till everything is softened.
Place this all in a processor, and puree.You can leave it a bit chunky, or not.Mix in the cilantro, roasted red pepper, and the cayenne.
Heat up a skillet, pan, whatever, over medium-high heat. Brush one side of each tortilla with oil, then flip them over, and spread out the butternut squash mixture over half of each shell, sprinkle some Daiya over the spread, fold over, and place in heated pan.
Cook for about 3-5 minutes,flip over, and cook for another few minutes.
Cut up, serve with some sour cream, and garnish plate with more cilantro, if you want to.
Now, I will get back to figuring out if I can make a candy quesadilla. Okay, I won’t be, but a man can dream. Can’t he? Especially if that man is more of a man-child.