Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indian cooking, veganizing, and the quest for the perfect hummus

Here it's been a whole week again since I posted... That's partly because the black bean chili I posted about last time lasted us an entire week, and partly also because it's been so gorgeous out that the thought of staying inside on the computer has not been very appealing. But here is a sample of what's been cooking...

On Saturday evening a good friend of mine came over to cook dinner with me, and I thought, What would be a simple, flavorful, fun vegan meal to teach Kelly how to make? And nothing seemed to fit the bill better than aloo matar, Indian potatoes and peas. I didn't remember until she got here that she had actually spent the summer in India, so we spent the evening discussing Indian cuisine and culture, and enjoying this spicy meal with whole grain chapatis.




Sunday morning I made these FatFree Vegan omelettes--I doubled the recipe and made vegan omelettes for two! I filled my omelettes just like SusanV did, with sautéed spinach and mushrooms--not because I meant to imitate her necessarily, but because those are my favorite omelette fillings. As you can see from the photo, I stuffed my omelette a little too full! Hee hee.


Bob wasn't too crazy about this breakfast... but I loved it. I think his main problem with it was that the inside of the omelette didn't cook up very firm, so it was a little squishy. A couple ways I could try to remedy this are to make thinner omelettes, or to cook one side of the omelette and then attempt to flip it and cook the other side. Both of these options sound tricky to me. I happened to like the softness of the inside, personally, and I think these omelettes could not be more perfect. There was a time in my life when omelettes were my favorite breakfast, and now that option is open again! Thanks, Susan!

There are some great pubs around town that Bob and I have had fun becoming familiar with. The default food item for a vegan to order at a pub is hummus--around here, every place has hummus, and so Bob and I are becoming hummus "connoisseurs," if you will. The good news is that every place we've been to serves first-rate hummus; the bad news, though, is that I've become addicted to it. And since going out for hummus two or three nights a week could become quite expensive indeed, I am questing to create the perfect hummus for those nights when I can't justify going out to satisfy my hummus needs.

I have made hummus many, many times before--just search my blog for "hummus" and who knows how many results you will find. And many of those times, I have been creative and come up with recipes I would gladly make again. However, I have to admit that I have never created the "perfect" basic, standard hummus recipe--you know, the plain, lemon-garlic variety. It often has a) a slightly bland flavor, b) too much garlic and/or lemon, or c) a dissatisfying texture. But in the next couple of weeks, I am determined to jump this hurdle and create a tasty, creamy, perfectly balanced hummus, and then I am going to do a happy dance.


This hummus came close, but it wasn't quite there. I was very satisfied with this hummus, though, and I'm looking forward to building on it next time. I found some big fluffy whole wheat pita loaves at the nearby grocery, and I warmed those up to serve it with--they're so much better than the thin, flimsy, cardboard-esque pita loaves that I have become accustomed to... Does anyone know a great recipe for soft, fluffy pitas?

My sister is coming to visit me this weekend, with her fiancé! I am having a hard time believing that my baby sister is engaged, but that's the way of the world, I guess--you get older, the people you love get older, and then you wonder where in the world all the time slipped off to. Anyway, I'm looking forward to her visit, and we've got some fun planned, so I may not be around until next week. But I wish you all a super-fantastic weekend, until next time!

24 comments:

maybepigscanfly said...

You can never go wrong with Indian food... and how cool that your friend went to India!

It didn't take you long to try out that omelette. Have you tried her mini quiches? If so which did you like better?

Have fun with your sister and make her some of your fantabulous hummus!

Oh and I am so with you on the whole being outside thing... this weather won't last long!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

funny, i just tried that omelet yesterday (will blog about it soon) and had the same problems but the more i ate of it the more i loved it. i think getting the temp juuuuust right will take some practice for me...and making it a bit thinner next time too.

your indian fare looks soooo good!

urban vegan said...

That omelet looks amazing.

You know, I've had great hummus and so-so hummus--and strangely, I will eat it all up. (Though I prefer quality, of course.)

Sarah said...

HI Laura,

That aloo matar looks great! Do you use a recipe or 'wing it'?

I never use a recipe to make hummus - I always wing it! Mostly it's great, and sometimes I mess something up (usually too much raw garlic!), but for me the trick is to use lime juice rather than lemon. It's zippier, without anyone being able to identify that it's lime rather than lemon.

But, if you want a good standard recipe I would suggest one a friend of mine found in the 'best recipes' cookbook by America's Test Kitchen (the Cook's Illustrated people). I like it - simple, straightfoward, and always great. If you like, I'll find my copy of the recipe and email it to you.

Sarah

Vegan_Noodle said...

Very tasty looking aloo matar. Thanks for the review of the omelette, i marked that one the other day out of curiousity. Maybe I'll give it a shot as well!

Good luck in your quest to make the perfect hummus!

Courtney said...

I am impressed that all of the pubs in your area have hummus! That is pretty great. I hope you can find your "perfect" recipe!

Have fun with your sister!

Courtney

Johanna3 said...

the food looks great!!

have a great time with your sis!!

The Little Vegan said...

Your blog is making me very hungry :o)

aTxVegn said...

Congratulations to your baby sis! Your quest for perfect hummus reminds me of my quest for perfect tofu salad. At least you can eat all the hummus you make! I have never tried making pitas, but I would love to, as soon as I get a griddle. Your aloo matar makes my Indian food cravings return.

VeggieGirl said...

mmm, your aloo matar, hummus, and omelete look incredible - no surprise there, since your food ALWAYS looks incredible!!

have a wonderful visit with your sister and future brother-in-law!! :0)

Dr. Melissa West, Lifestyle Coach said...

MMmmm everything looks delicious. I love that you tried the vegan omlette. I thought that looked really cool on Susan's blog as well.

theONLYtania said...

Your omelette looks delicious! I tried one once and it really didn't turn out at all :(
I've never made a good hummus either. I ALWAYS get A and C. If you come up with a real good one let me know!

Vivacious Vegan said...

I really hope that you find the perfect hummus recipe! I'm on the quest as well.

I too made Susan's omelette and loved it. I, however, had a difficult time getting it out of the pan and it crumbled a bit. Not quite as lovely looking as yours. I thought it tasted great and didn't have a problem with the center being a little more liquid, however, I think the next time I make it I might try it as scrambled tofu, cooking everything together. I think the key would be to spread it in the pan and let it cook a bit. Then break it up into larger chunks and stir them around. That way it isn't all crumbly and small.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Have a fun visit with your sis & future brother-in-law!! Having a friend over to cook dinner is such great idea! For basics, my favorite is Creamy Hummus from Vive...

stonielove said...

... when are you opening your restaurant? or maybe at least publishing a cookbook?

scottishvegan said...

Congratulations to your sister! Your omelette looks perfect and I like the sound of it being a little squishy!

The Little Vegan said...

Yup, we do know each other from facebook... that's how I found your great blog :o).

Monika K said...

It's ironic how hummus is such a huge staple of the veg's diet and is technically so easy to make, but can trip up the best of us. My hummus is usually extra garlicky, and while I like the extra garlic, my family often cries, "Mercy! Please tone it down!" So, I feel your pain and would love to hear if you stumble upon the "perfect" recipe. (-:

Webly said...

I thought your omelet was naan! Still exciting. Sometimes I think I could eat Indian and Mediterranean food forever.

Midwest Vegan said...

I can't wait until you perfect your hummus because hopefully you'll share the recipe. I love bean spreads but haven't found that perfect combination yet either.

Have fun with your sister. I hope you enjoy her visit.

bazu said...

I can never quite make the perfect hummus either, but I think I know why. My old roommate made the perfect hummus, and she was WAY more liberal and generous with the olive oil and tahini than I could ever be! Try adding more of those things than you're comfortable with- it makes all the difference, I swear!

Kris said...

Would you by chance be generous enough to share your aloo matar recipe? I have been struggling to come up with a good at-home version and yours looks so tasty...

Kumudha said...

Everything looks so delicious!
I have to make hummus sometime.

vko said...

yum yum yum to Indian food & to hummus- all looks really good.

Congratulations to your sister on her engagement- it's crazy how quickly time passes. It's great that you will be spending time with her soon.