04 June 2008

a first date...of sorts

Have you all seen Jen's first date cake? Okay, don't get any ideas here. There was no cake baking last night (though I'm really hoping she makes that for me if I ever visit her). I was hoping to make cookies, but, um, making a from scratch dinner for guests starting when you get home from work that day is a little hard. Did you all know that? Well I didn't. Not to mention Jared was working until about an hour before they arrived (at which point I sent him straight to work putting his studio back together so as to avoid the mountain of boxes and audio equipment that had been littering our living room and entryway) so I was flying solo on the cooking there.

So I had to let a few things go (like the aforementioned cookies, and cleaning the bathroom). But it turned out delicious. And having new friends over (not to mention the new friends' new baby too!) is super fun. Of late, I've become semi notorious for trying brand new recipes for company, something about which my mom has repeatedly warned me. It has not yet come back to bite me as so fare everything has turned out quite delicious. (I thank my best friend--Veganomicon--for that miracle).

Last night, the main course was Veganomicon's chickpea cutlets (I know they don't look all that appetizing in the photo, but they were. I promise). I doubled the recipe hoping that there would be at least a little bit of leftovers. No luck. They flew out of the pan. I also made some olive bread with the european peasant bread recipe from my other best friend--Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Also no luck with the leftovers. In any case, it was delicious and fun. And I can't wait to do it again.

Chickpea Cutlets (from Veganomicon)
A couple of quick notes: This recipe makes 4 cutlets, if you're serving more that 2 adults, or want leftovers, I would highly recommend doubling (or even tripling) this. Also, I always soak and cook my chickpeas from dried chickpeas. If you're doing that, make sure that the chickpeas are really well cooked (maybe even overcooked) because you have to mash them really well, and if they're even a little bit hard, it will not be so fun to mash them (trust me).

1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tbl olive oil plus more for panfrying
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup water or veg. broth
2 tbl soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed or very finely minced
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage

In a large mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with the olive oil until no whole chickpeas are left. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes until strings of gluten have formed (it will feel kind of elastic-y).

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, divide the cutlet dough into four equal pieces. To form the cutlets, knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each one out into a roughly 4"x6" rectangular shape. The easiest way to do this is to first form a rectangular shape in your hands and then place the cutlets on a clean surface to flatten and stretch them out.

Add a moderately thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of the pan (if you use too much, it will take longer for them to cook well and they won't get as crispy). Place the cutlets in the pan and cook on each side for about 6-7 minutes. Add more oil, if necessary, when you flip the cutlets. They're ready when lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Just in case you're wondering, you can also bake these too! Baking these patties gives them a toothsome chewy texture and firm bite. Preheat the oven to 375, lightly oil a baking sheet. Brush both sides of the patty with olive oil, place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip patties and bake another 8-10 minutes, until firm and golden brown.

**The book recommends a mustard sauce, which I think would have been delicious, but I didn't have time (or all the ingredients) to make it, so I served it with no sauce, and it was delicious that way too.


  1. you know i'd love the chance to make you sometihng yummy if you visit!! please come + visit! :)
    these look delicious, btw.

  2. Oh I am going to try the cutlets!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!