[STOP THE PRESSES!!!** I am beyond thrilled to share the news that Ellen (yes, that Ellen!) has featured one of my recipes on her "Going Vegan with Ellen" website! Thank you, thank you, Ellen, once again for your generosity in sharing my recipes! And thank you to reader Weisserose for letting me know about it in the comments yesterday. My mouth is still sore from smiling so much! (or could that be just because I basically never shut up? ]
One of the things I loved about attending university in the only Canadian city south of its closest American counterpart was. . . . shopping in the States.
Sure, I loved the fact that the University of Windsor was small enough that all of my profs knew me by first name (and many welcomed students at their regular “lunch meetings” at the local pub). Or that it was possible to actually become close friends with my beloved mentor, with whom I remained in touch and from whom I continued to solicit advice on life, love and literature right up until he died (far too early, at age 66). Or that U of W’s literature profs were revered, famous or a little bit crazy . Or even that the university was located near one of the all-time best Chinese dim sum places I’ve ever had the pleasure of frequenting.
But what really made it seem fun to be in Windsor (because, let’s face it, Windsor on its own needs quite a bit of help in that area) was heading across the Ambassador bridge to Detroit and spending an afternoon at the Fairlane Mall. In those days, Canadian money was accepted at par–a perfect invitation to a twenty-something fashion-obsessed female undergrad. And once the shopping was done, the new earrings, belts, mini-skirts and knee-high boots donned and the old outfit (which I’d been wearing while shopping) shoved into garbage bins in the mall’s public restroom, there was the inevitable trip to Greektown, the downtown section of the city close to the Detroit River. It was there amid many a wooden table and bench, whitewashed walls and robin’s egg blue décor that my first boyfriend and I spent countless evenings enjoying dinners together.
I’ll never forget the excitement of seeing my first performance of Saganki, also known as flambé Kalofagas cheese. First, a swarthy waiter swaggers over to your table, compact cast iron skillet balanced on a heavy towel that he brandishes on his outstretched hand. He dips the skillet down toward your table, splashes it with a good dousing of brandy, and with consummate showmanship, sets it aflame, shouting, “OPA!” with a flourish. The surrounding patrons all emit cries of “Ooooh!!” and “Ahhh!” as if the server has embodied one of the unfortunate drummers from Spinal Tap, about to spontaneously combust. He extinguishes the flames with a deft squeeze of lemon juice, leaving the skillet behind for you to dive in, relishing the salty, rubbery, lemon-kissed cheese.
While I no longer eat most of those Greek delicacies these days, I still love many of the Mediterranean-inspired components like salty, briny olives, oregano-infused tomato sauces and the fruity aroma of unrefined olive oil. What could be more appetizing, really (besides an entirely new wardrobe, at par)?
For this dish, I decided to combine some of my favorite Greek flavors in a breakfast scramble that offers a great alternative to tofu. Modeled after the concept of my Green “Eggs” and Ham recipe, the scramble is fragrant with oregano, basil and thyme; pungent with black, oil-cured olives; and punctutated by bursts of juicy grape tomatoes. Best of all, the chickpea base provides a substantial serving of protein to get you going in the morning in a form that imitates the appearance of scrambled eggs incredibly well.
And while I wouldn’t recommend setting it ablaze, you might nevertheless find your kitchen infiltrated with “oohs” and “aaahs” once people taste their first forkful of this scramble.
** Of course I realize that there’s probably no longer any such thing as “presses” these days, what with digital media, interwebs, iPhones, yadda yadda. But some expressions are not meant to be updated. I mean, can you imagine saying, “Walk a kilometer in my shoes”? Or “rose-colored contact lenses”? Or “sounds like a broken MP3″? Or “The best thing since sliced foccacia”? Or “don’t put all your (free-range, organic) eggs in one recycled paper carton”? Or “out of the frying pan and into the six-burner gas range”? Or “$1.25 for your thoughts”? Or. . . (okay, somebody, stop me–I must be off my IKEA Poang Chair).
Suitable for the Anti-Candida Diet (ACD), All Stages
A great savory breakfast that’s quick to put together and offers lots of flexibility in terms of veggies. I always feel totally satisfied after a scramble like this one!
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped sweet bell pepper (red, green, yellow or orange)
1/4 cup (60 ml) chickpea flour
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried thyme (optional)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried oregano
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried basil
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) turmeric
fine sea salt, to your taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable broth or unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tahini
2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) chopped cilantro or fresh parsley, to your taste
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped black olives (I like the kind in oil)
1/2 cup (120 ml) grape tomatoes, cut in half (or 1/3 cup/80 ml chopped tomato)
Heat oil in a medium nonstick frypan and add the onion and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent, 5-10 minutes (if it begins to scorch, add a splash of vegetable broth or water).
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, thyme, oregano, basil, turmeric and salt, if using. Add the broth and tahini and whisk again until the tahini is well incorported. Stir in the cilantro.
When the onion is cooked, scrape the chickpea mixture over it in the pan and spread it out as if making a pancake. Once the edges and top begin to look dry, scrape across the bottom of the pan with a hard spatula (wood or metal) as if making scrambled eggs. Keep scraping and stirring the mixture until it begins to dry on the outsides and forms clumps. Toss the clumps around or break them up until you have pieces the size of “scrambled eggs.” The dish is ready when the exterior of the clumps of “egg” are dry and the pieces are still soft (not yet browned).
Just before serving, add the olives and tomatoes and stir until they are heated through. Serve immediately. Makes one generous serving.
I’m sharing this recipe over at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
Two Years Ago: How I Spent My Florida Vacation Part II: Sarasota. A Copycat Recipe. And Alligators! (Butternut and Edamame Hash–gluten free; ACD all stages).
Three Years Ago: Three Shindigs and a Midterm (Break)
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs