After having flubbed the original V-con chickpea cutlet recipe, I fired up my engines and tried, tried again. Luckily I had quite a bit of cooked chickpeas left over in my fridge that were, thankfully, still fresh and ready to be ingested.
For those of you new to the situation, last week I attempted to make these much-talked-about cutlets and ended up zesting a wee bit too much lemon in the recipe. This week, I followed the directions very closely. Actually, I followed them exactly. The result? Well, the over-whelming lemon flavour was gone, but sadly, the cutlet did not excite me.
I had added some bread crumbs to the outside and fried them up, which made it more interesting, but I just can't understand everyone's obsession with the recipe. I mean, they were very good, don't get me wrong, but there was no real flavour to them. There was nothing that stood out or especially pleased my taste buds in any way. They were good enough to swallow down after smothering in mustard and whatever other condiments please your taste buds, but they kinda tasted like a whole lotta nothin' otherwise. AND they were still really chewy from the wheat gluten.
But, alas, they satisfied my hungry belly.
Still having cooked chickpeas left over, Mike decided to try his hand at them. We put our heads together and made a much better cutlet. First, at my suggestion, he added a tsp of dijon mustard to the mix. Then, after having mashed and kneaded it long enough, Mike decided that the gluten was too gluteny and tossed in a bit more veggie broth. That really did the trick. No more nasty strings of gluten! Finally, he squished them out as thin as can be and generously layered whole wheat bread crumbs on either side. Once they were ready to fry, he put a nice helping of olive oil in the frying pan (not a recommended step for the weight-conscious) and did 'em up. When they were nice and brown and crispy, he padded each side of the cutlet with a paper towel, soaking up as much excess oil as possible (so we don't have heart attacks or, at the very least, have to roll out of the bed in the morning).
The result? Delicious! The right amount of crispyness and even that 'barbeque' flavour really hit the spot. Even the texture was just right. There was no chewy gluten consistency anymore!
Again, there was no real distinct flavour, which is disappointing because I LOVE chickpeas in most forms, but it was ten times better than before.
Here they are breaded and ready to go. (Mike is the master bread-crumber, I think.)
I would have gotten an 'after' picture, but I was just too hungry smelling these beauts to bother!
Conclusion? Personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to make this very often. They are tasty enough to hit the spot, but they just don't have a special or unique flavour to them. Even Isa and Terry suggest smothering them in mustard sauce. They must just be a form of substance rather than a decadent dish on their own.
In my opinion, black bean burgers and lentil burgers are far, far tastier. The beans give off enough flavour that one doesn't need anything beyond pepper and a little garlic powder. I'll have to make them again real soon and I would be more than happy to share recipes with any who might like to give them a try.
Mike loves 'em, though. I was craving brownies all night and he was craving another chickpea cutlet. That's just because he loves all things fried, I think. ;)
Now, of course I wasn't going to let this entry go by without a stew review! To go along with our cutlet dinner, I simmered up a vegetable medley stew.
Chock-full of potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, garlic, onions, green peppers and diced tomatoes, this stew was hearty and filling. I just mixed in balsamic vinegar, turmeric, cumin and chili powder. The chili powder brought the stew to a whole new level. What could have been a plain root veggie stew turned into a mouth watering delight. Mike said- and I quote- 'It's the best stew you've made so far'.
Lastly, being as obsessed with pasta salad as I am, I made yet another concotion for work lunch this week. It's the typical pasta salad with flax oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and garlic powder. The only difference is the minced vegan pepperoni I threw in. I'm sure I could find a homemade recipe, but I decided to be lazy and buy the pre-packaged pepperoni. It tasted much better than I thought it would and after whipping it around in my food processor and sprinkling it throughout, the salad became very reminiscent of the dish my mother used to make when I was a kid.
My mother didn't cook a lot of extravagant dishes. She was the 'buy it frozen or boxed and do the rest' kind of lady. But when she did cook, it was delicious. My favourite dish of hers was her pasta salad. She would use ziti, tomatoes, sharp cheese, peppers, onions and Italian dressing. But! There was always one ingredient that I am ashamed to say was my favourite: kielbasa. Looking back, it grosses me out to think I loved that stuff as much as I did, but since becoming vegetarian at the age of 12, I never got to experience that flavour again. My mother continued to make a vegetarian version for me, but it was always missing the meat!
Now, having come across a simple suggestion to throw vegan pepperoni in the batch, I can taste those smokey, spicey flavours without sacrificing my ethics or the life of an animal. I'd like to discover a homemade version because the pre-packaged ones are always low in nutrition and high in sodium. But for now, this is a great way to satisfy those cravings lost in time.
That's it for now! But before I go, I promised a few of you my recipe for hot cocoa. Sorry it took so long! I'm still working on perfecting it, but it's delicious enough for me to have the guts to post it. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts!
This recipe makes 2 cups, so divide or double accordingly.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups milk (I use vanilla soy milk)
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
Simmer water, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt in a pan over moderate heat, stirring until lumps are dissolved. Add milk to ingredients. Stir and bring slowly to a simmer. Ready to serve once fully blended and warm. For enhanced flavour (highly recommended), stir 1 tsp vanilla powder in each cup and enjoy!