Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chinese Takeout that you make yourself, more soup, and a recipe for chickpea salad

Jason posting: 

A couple weeks ago I was really jonesing for something with a real "Chinese Takeout" feel to it - but have become irrationally afraid of the Chinese Takeout place in Kenmawr plaza.

At first I thought they were really friendly - then one night I ordered Vegetable Mei Fun and asked for no egg and all freaking hell broke loose.  I kid you not there was a woman literally screaming - in actual hysterics - in the background in an Asian language while the girl on the other end of the line explained, dead-pan, that there isn't egg in Vegetable Mei Fun.

Well, there is egg in it at like every other Asian takeout place I've ordered from - thus being trained to ask them not put it in.

So every time I would go in there after that I was convinced that they were looking at me with something close to hate.

So I actively avoid it now while being at least partially aware that all of this likely happened in my head and not in reality.

Anyway - like I was saying I wanted something with a Chinese Takeout feel to it without wondering if they were going to spit in my food because I asked for no egg in something.

Gina reads this blog called the V Word.  You should too - its really good.  The recipe that I found for Sweet and Sour Cauliflower (it ryhmes) was from that blog.

It's surprisingly easy to make, it just feels like you're chopping vegetables forever because you're really hungry because you worked overtime and then had to drive to the grocery store and then had to explain to the 16 year old cashier what that weird looking brown thing is (ginger) and that yes, you can actually eat that.

Then you get home and you're all, "Why dont I just order a no-cheese pizza?"  but then the part of you that isn't 17 years old says in this annoyingly adult voice that you suddenly realize is your own: "That would be a waste of money since you just bought all these freaking groceries.  Now clean your room."

In truth, her recipe - found here - only really calls for cauliflower and the ingredients to make the freaking amazing sweet and sour sauce.  I wanted more so I added green pepper and celery.

While making this I recommend listening to something radio Pop.  Anything will do.  This chinese takeout place I used to go to in Oakland always blasted radio pop and I now associate it with eating cheap asian food.

Anyway, the final product is delicious and easy and looks like this:

A few nights later I wanted soup and Gina was all "Yeah, that sounds good!" but was really thinking ("Why do you always want to make soup that you have to simmer for like an hour - and that's after all the freaking prep work when we're already really hungry?")  And because I can read minds I answered her back, telepathically, ("Because it's so goooooooooooooooooood!")  And the lightbulbs all exploded around us from the strength of my Carrie-esque telepathy.

That didnt really happen.

But this did:

It's from the book Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero.  She calls it Egyptian Lentil Soup.  The neat spin on it is that while the lentils are simmering with carrots in broth - you slice up 3 large red onions and saute these for about 15 minutes in olive oil with toasted sesame seeds and fennel seeds.  When that is done you add the wonderful sauteed onion mixture directly into the lentil soup.

Lastly, today we made what has become our own recipe for chickpea salad sandwiches.  I'll let you in on the secret:

First, put on LaGrecia and then CRANK IT.

What you'll need for the chickpea salad:
1 15 oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed if them being in an aluminum can freaks you out like me.)
1 medium onion (chopped into very small pieces)
2 stalks of celery (chopped into very small pieces)
1 medium carrot (grated into it)
1/4 cut of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 heaping tablespoon of brown mustard (or deli mustard or really whatever you've got)
3 tablespoons of Veganaise

How you do this thing:
In a mixing bowl, dump in the drained can of chickpeas and use your hands to smash them to smithereens.  It's cathartic.  Make this a really positive, hippyish experience by picturing them as all of the world's negative energy and you're not just crushing them, you're coercing them into understanding, empathy, and total transcendence.

You don't have to be really anal - I mean, it's okay if some of the chickpeas dont get crushed.  Seriously, you can stop squishing them now.  Stop it!  COME ON! STOP!

Thank you.

Now dump in all the other ingredients and mix very very very well with an absurdly large fork.

Spread that noise on whatever bread you've got lying around (if its moldy, pick it off.... I'm joking, I was never that punk.)

It looks like this:

Gina made "fries" out of chickpea flower and some kind of magic.  They look like this:

I LOVED them but she thought they were too spicy.  I was like, "Nothing can be too spicy."  She was unimpressed with my resilience. 



  1. Great post I'd like to make some of that myself. You should try using food boxes to store them in. It will create the correct setting and atmosphere to keep your food in.

    1. Thanks for the tip! That's a really good idea!