Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chickpea "Crepes"

Allow me to introduce myself...I'm a 24 year old lady from Chapel Hill, NC living in Bloomington, IN. My husband Chris is in school at IU, and am planning on going back myself in the fall. For the past 2 years, however, I have been working in an office job that I (to put it nicely) dislike. Since I still have a long, boring summer of work ahead, I thought a nice blog would be a great way to keep me occupied at work and active in the kitchen. I have been a vegetarian for nearly 2 years now, but I had been very light on the meat for a long time before that. Although I don't think I am quite ready to take the plunge into veganism, I do understand that dairy farm practices are no more humane (or environmentally sound) than meat farm practices, and I intend to start making more vegan substitutions to my diet where I can.

Last week I made several big meals, so Chris and I have been eating (and getting sick of) the leftovers for the past few days. So, I decided to try something fun and new last night out of my Voluptuous Vegan cookbook. I have been eyeing the chickpea crepe recipe for some time, and had just purchased chickpea flour the day before - so it was a match. From what I read, the chickpea flour is supposed to act as the binder (as eggs do in regular crepes). Well, I am sorry to say it was a disaster - one so big that I am not sure the chickpea crepes will be worth attempting again anytime soon.

The recipe is essentially a 1:1 ratio of flour (chickpea and all-purpose) to water. This resulted in a gummy, thick batter that would never make it's way around a hot pan if it wanted to. I had to add at least an extra cup of water to get the batter to a more crepe-like consistency, and still I had bad luck. Uniform bubbles perforated the crepe batter with gaping holes so much that I had to turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cook the batter through at a PAINFULLY slow rate. If the heat was any higher, the batter practically evaporated into bubbles and the remaining Swiss cheese-like patties scalded in the pan. The end result was a few golden 4 inch crepes (which actually tasted good) and a disposal full of crepe carcasses. Since they were so small, we had "chickpea tostadas" instead.

Myra Kornfeld has organized The Voluptuous Vegan into menus of three or four recipes each. I topped the "tostadas" with simple roasted asparagus, red bell pepper, zucchini, corn, and halved cherry tomatoes (all of which over-cooked while keeping warm waiting for the crepes) along with the spinach-basil sauce, tofu "cheese" and potato salad recipes that accompanied the crepe recipe. The potato salad was my personal favorite of the evening - it was light, lemony, and delicious - so I will share it here instead of the crepe recipe.

Potato Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette
(tweaked from The Voluptuous Vegan)

Cut 2 lbs. of low-starch potatoes (I used Yukon Gold) into 1-inch cubes and place in a large pot with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes until they are fork-tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Saute 1 diced onion and 1 minced clove of garlic until soft and beginning to brown. Add the onion and garlic to the bowl of potatoes along with 2 diced stalks of celery. In a small bowl, combine the juice of one lemon with 3-4 T. of olive oil (feel free to change this to taste - the original called for 7 T. of olive oil) - incorporate in a slow, steady stream with a whisk until emulsified. Whisk in 1 thinly sliced scallion, 1 T. of chopped fresh tarragon, 4 T. of flat-leaf parsley (or cilantro), 1/4 t. of freshly grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the potatoes while they are still warm and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.