Monthly Archives: July 2012

Savory Chickpea Pancakes

I’m kind of a connoisseur when it comes to pancakes. Pancakes have been a Saturday morning staple since I was about ten years old and learned to make them on my own. If I had to name my top comfort food, it would be blueberry pancakes smothered in butter and  maple syrup. Who could resist? Alas, my love of carb-y, starchy goodness had led to a spare tire. I recently dropped 15lbs (and counting!) by vigilantly counting calories and eating a low-glycemic diet. That means no more sugary pancakes for the time being.

I live nearby a wonderful Indian/Pakistani grocery on Devon Avenue, here in Chicago. It is everything a market should be, primarily fresh fruit and vegetables with only a few spare shelves of dry goods and plenty of bulk grains, flours and spices. Every week I feel like I’m going on an adventure and discovering new and wonderful foods. This week I was inspired by some beautiful oyster mushrooms and peppers and decided to make savory chickpea pancakes.

Almost too beautiful to eat.

Chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan, is made from dried, ground chickpeas and has been used in Southeast Asian cooking for centuries. It’s high in protein, with a deep, nutty umami flavor it makes a wonderful substitute for grain flour. It’s also completely gluten-free for people who are watching their gluten intake.

Savory Chickpea Pancakes

1 1/4 cup Chickpea flour

1 cup water

1 small egg (optional)

2 Tblsp oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1/2 tsp black pepper

Oyster mushrooms (about 1/2lb or 8oz)

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small

1 large scallion, diced

1 small garlic clove, minced

Mix the spices with the chickpea flour. Add water and egg and beat until smooth. Set aside.

On medium heat, saute vegetables in butter, gee or a little oil for 3-5 minutes until tender crisp. If you are making these cakes for breakfast or brunch, this step can easily be done the night before. If you dice everything up small enough, the vegetables can be added directly to the batter without pre-cooking, however, I find that it makes for a less watery batter if you cook off some of the water in the vegetables first.

Many recipes for chickpea pancakes do not call for an egg. I find that it makes the cakes fluffy and adds flavor. If you do not want to add egg, simply make sure to let your water/flour mixture sit for about 15mins to thicken.

Add veggies to batter. In a hot, well-oiled skillet, add small dollop of batter. The batter will be somewhat thin, so make sure to not pour in too much. Cook for about 2-3 mins on each side.  (makes about 5-6 small pancakes)

This was my first time making these pancakes and they were so delicious I didn’t miss the sugar! I have a stack of them in the fridge for a quick snack or lunch. Here’s to losing the next 15lbs. I’ll be fitting into my old skinny jeans in no time.

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Summer Kale Salad

I’m starting to think I should just convert this blog to “salads only,” since I seem to only write about salads.

Sorry, guys.

As was previously mentioned, my tiny, third floor apartment overheats in the summer, so I’m keeping the oven off as much as possible. Plus, I’ve been going kind of nuts at the Farmer’s Market.

 My husband, Chris, flew off to Italy yesterday and he’s traipsing around Rome right now, as we speak, taking in the breathtaking sights in that ancient city. He’s there for a conference, but I can’t afford to join him and turn it into a vacation. So, I’m by lonesome for the next three weeks. I’m envious and a little sad, however three weeks to myself sounds kind of nice.

 

Me and my darling husband diverge on matters of taste, health and nutrition. He’s all about hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza and simple carbs in general, and I’m all quinoa, tofu, kombucha and complex carbs. One time, I tried to make him taste my favorite breakfast, warm Grape-nuts cereal with a faint drizzle of honey, and do you know what he said? He said, “It tastes like wood pulp.”

Then he went and ate a pizza.

 Meanwhile, I recently dropped 15lbs by eating low-carb vegetarian meals, cutting down on eating bread and upping my exercise routine. I’m hoping to drop some more while he’s away. In fact, this morning, the first morning as a lone girl in the city, I had a salad for breakfast. FOR BREAKFAST. It was amazing. You’ll find the recipe below, but here’s the gist: I took some kale, steamed it, chilled it and then took a grapefruit, cut it up, added blueberries and smoked almonds and made a simple dressing. Wow. I could feel the vitamins working their magic after the first bite.

Simple Summer Kale Salad

1 head of kale

1 grapefruit

½ cup fresh blueberries

¼ cup smoked almonds

 Dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon

1-2 Tblsp olive oil

pinch salt and pepper

 Soak the kale in a tub of cold water for 20-30mins. This will loosen any grit stuck in the curly leaves. Rinse. Remove the thick stem in the middle of each kale leaf and chop the kale roughly. Steam in a large pot, on medium heat until just tender, about 3-5mins. Put the kale in the refrigerator until chilled. Cut the grapefruit into sections and combine with remaining ingredients. Toss with dressing and enjoy.

 

 

I love fresh salads, not only are they nutritious but it’s much easier to throw together a salad than to deal with prepping and cooking times.

It’s going to be a lazy summer around here. I’m okay with that. 

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