There is a reason that street foods are eternal and craved relentlessly; they’re just damned good. When you load your diet with legumes, you’re always after new ways to be creative with them. In my opinion, the queen bean is without a doubt the garbanzo. Call it ceci, chickpea or Bengal gram, it’s still the reigning sovereign of many vegan’s diets and a favorite of omnivores the world over.
Here I celebrate and pay homage to panelle, a Sicilian street eat that is traditionally served as a simple sandwich filling on a bun. One of the reasons that I love panelle so much is because, when pan-fried and warm, it has that contrasting textural thing going on with the crispy edges and a velvety soft interior. It is, hands down, a great sandwich.
Panelle [Chickpea Polenta]
1 ½ cups garbanzo bean flour
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of salt
Freshly-cracked black pepper
Slowly add broth to the flour while whisking to avoid lumps. Add in the oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring the entire time. (It does not need to boil and shall spit molten chickpea lava at you if you do let it boil, so be careful.) It is going to be very thick once finished but you want it to have that consistency because you want a substantial texture for a sandwich filling.
Transfer panelle to a non-stick pan and tamp down with a spatula. (I used a loaf pan sprayed with olive oil.) Place into the refrigerator until chilled solid. Invert onto a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. You can either pan fry in oil (as is traditional) to crisp it up or do as I did and simply give a quick spray of olive oil to each slice and place in a pan until the sides are golden.
As always, my predilection for the savory-sweet combination shines through here. I like to add a nice slather of apricot jam to my panelle sandwich, though it’s entirely up to you how you wish to assemble your own masterpiece.
[This slightly-modified post/recipe was originally published at VelvetPark last year. I wanted it here, on my personal blog, because it is one of my favorites and I felt it was important to include it here in my collection/index.]
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This was my first foray into the realm of ice cream making, and all I can say is that I wish I’d invested in an ice cream maker and tried this sooner! No preservatives, no stabilizers, no artificial colors or flavors, no gums or thickeners darkened this doorway. A handful of wholesome ingredients, including some gorgeous seasonal figs, was simply transformed into an amazing summertime treat that bests any commercially-made vegan ice cream I’ve tried.
Caramelized Fig and Tree Nut Ice Cream
[Makes 1 pint]
2 cups full fat coconut milk [I use AROY-D because it is preservative and BPA-free.]
1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar, packed
1 T coconut or macadamia nut oil [I used macadamia nut because of its rich and buttery flavor.]
4 figs, diced
½- ¾ cup nuts [I used macadamia nuts and cashews]
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
Heat oil over medium heat and add in brown sugar. Once the sugar has melted add the diced figs and a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes until soft and bubbly. Slowly add the coconut milk and vanilla extract. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a container and place in the refrigerator to chill.
While the ice cream mix is chilling preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the nuts on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until they begin to turn golden. Set aside. [Transfer the nuts from the cookie sheet to a cool container so that they do not continue to cook and burn on the hot cookie sheet.]
Once the ice cream mix has chilled, add to your ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is semi-solid, add in the roasted nuts and continue to freeze until it sets up.
Serve immediately as soft serve or place in a container in the freezer to harden further.
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This is a simple and delicious rice dish that’ll become a favorite. It has wonderful flavors and a variety of textures that keeps it interesting until the last bite. It also just happens to contain some ingredients that are powerful antioxidants/anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, chile peppers, and ginger.
1 cup brown basmati rice
⅓ cup raw cashews
¼ cup yellow split peas
2 spring onions, sliced
1 T fresh ginger, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 T unsweetened dried shredded coconut
½ tsp turmeric
Juice and zest of one lime
1 dried chile [I used a Chile de árbol]
2 tsp coconut oil
Rinse rice and split peas under running water in a colander. Drain well and transfer to a heated pot on the stove over medium high heat. Add the chile pepper. Stir frequently until the rice begins to dry and pop. Add water to cover by a couple of inches. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Drain in a colander. Reserve the chile pepper.
Return the pot to the stove and add the coconut oil. Sauté the onions, ginger, garlic and finely diced reserved chile pepper for a couple of minutes. Add the turmeric, dried coconut and lime zest. Add the cooked rice and peas, cashews and lime juice. Stir until the rice is well coated.
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