Friday, May 19, 2006

Black-Eyed Pea Pitas

Two recipes today from Erin Pavlina's Vegan Family Favorites: Black-Eyed Pea Dip in mini-pitas and Carrot Pecan Salad, made with apple juice, Vegenaise, pecans, and dried cranberries.

I've started thinking of Vegan Family Favorites as the cookbook version of a coffee clache. I imagine all the moms that contributed their favorite recipes gathered together at a kitchen table, sharing stories while the kids play. The dishes are simple, easy, and very straightforward, just right for that mother of three trying to get healthy vegan food on the table that their kids will eat.

To complete the meal I tucked in a pear, some vanilla soymilk and a bottle of water, and two peanut butter creme sandwich cookies.

The final ingredient listed on the cookies was "natural flavors". Just out of curiosity I called the company to find out if the flavor was dairy-based. I learned (sorry if you all already knew this) that "flavors" are proprietary (meaning they won't tell you), but if the flavor is derived from one of the eight main allergenic foods (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish), they are required to print that little "may contain..." warning on the package. So since it did not warn that it may contain eggs or dairy, the operator and I figured it was safe and that that was about as close as we could get to knowing for sure.

Verdict: So nice to have a meal that involves no hot stove or oven today! I had never considered using black-eyed peas to make a hummus-like spread, but it worked well and we all liked the field pea flavor. Shmoo ate all the fruit, cookies, and pita breads, but only two bites of the salad. He said it was the dried cranberries that put him off, but I wouldn't dream of leaving them out. Double up on them (and the pecans!) and let your picky shmoos pick them out. 3 stars.


vegineer said...

foods that don't require any cooking are definitely mandatory for summer time. i love all kinds of refreshing salads when it's hot out!

Anonymous said...

Yum! The carrot pecan salad sounds great, and I agree, double up on the dried cranberries! They're my favorite.

Kourtney said...

Does he like raisins? They're what my mom always put in carrot salad.

Black eyed peas are one of my favourites.

Armchair_Archives said...

Yum! That salad sounds super! I was just thinking today about all the summer foods (i.e. chilled soups and salads) I need to start planning. Cool use of black eyed peas too, can't wait to try that.

And from yet another poster who has been follwing your blog for months but never commented, thanks so much for all you do!

Zachary said...

I agree about the dried cranberries...they're so tart! I like golden raisins or dates in my carrot salad.

LadyRachelLynn said...

I just love how you get creative with sandwiches! That's something I need to do more of. We get stuck with vegetable sandwiches around here most often! Not that we mind of course! But variety is great!

OshinkoTickle said...

Mmmmmm....being born and raised in the south, the black eyed peas thing really appeals to me! It's like redneck hummus! ;-)

I am adding Vegan Family Favorites to my list of books on my Amazon spree.

Susan said...

I have a question not pertaining to today's lunch. I checked Uncheese cookbook out from the library and was very excited to try a recipe until I noticed that a lot of the recipes call for tahini. The no dairy child I cook for is also allergic to sesame seeds (and tomatos, peanuts and eggs). Any suggestions for a tahini sub?

Fastveggie said...

Mmmm, carrot salad with cranberries sounds so good! I'm not a big fan of raisins.

I hope it's okay to talk about the magic loaf here...I made my first one tonight and I have a caution to everyone. I went with sort of an Italian loaf (quinoa, white beans, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, etc). Well, it turned out a very unappetizing pink. Sort of spam-like. DH really liked it but I had a hard time with the color. The taste was good, but I think I'll stick to darker combos when I'm using tomato sauce :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Susan -- I would ask Jo. She hosts the vegsource vegan discussion board, so you could post your question there:

Jennifershmoo said...

>>it turned out a very unappetizing pink

Ha, that reminds me of the time I made beet burgers. My mom stopped by just as I was bringing them to the table, and she thought I was serving raw ground beef patties! They were just that shade of pink. But tasty!

I bet if you used darker beans the red wouldn't show through quite so much.

Milinda said...

I have a black-eyed pea salad from an old vegetarian cook book that is a summer favorite of mine. There is just something about black-eyed peas that seem so right.

I got my very own laptop lunchbox today. I am so jazzed and have already started next week's lunch planning.

Future Adopter said...

Hi Jennifer. I saw a homemade version of Aplets & Cotlets at Recipe Goldmine. Thought you might be interested. I am sure that as a big fan of the real version that this won't be quite the same for you, but I hope you enjoy it. It calls for regular gelatin, but you can try the vegan kind.

Aplets and Cotlets
A favorite treat from the great American Northwest!

3 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
3 cups apple juice or unsweetened apricot juice
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon lime juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup of the apple juice. Boil remaining juice with the sugar for 15 minutes to concentrate it.

Mix the lemon and lime juice, and add all but 1/4 cup cornstarch to dissolve it in the mixture. Add both gelatin mixture and cornstarch mixture to the boiled juice and boil again rapidly for 10 minutes until very thick, stirring constantly. Taste for sweet and sour and add more lemon juice if desired.

Mix in the walnuts and pour mixture into a 9-inch square baking pan that has been dipped in cold water. Let paste harden 12 hours or overnight, then cut with a sharp knife into squares.

Mix together the reserved 1/4 cup cornstarch and confectioners' sugar. Remove squares with a spatula and roll each in the confectioners' sugar mixture (the cornstarch helps keep the sugar dry).

Yields about 64 small cubes.

Let me know what you think, especially if you try it.


Future Adopter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Freedom said...

How could anyone not like dried cranberries?!!

SuntoryTime said...

I usually hate black eyed peas, but I think I'd try those mini-pitas (:

I agree that chilled soups are perfect in the summer. Have you tried Gazpacho, Jennifer?

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, OshinkoTickle! Hey, I've been struggling to answer your question on which "top 3" cookbooks I would recommend. Boy, that's tough! I have over 60 cookbooks now, both vegan and non, as well as four 3-inch binders filled with recipes I've printed out our copied from other cookbooks.

This morning I finally figured out how to narrow it down. I asked myself which cookbooks I would buy first if all my books were lost and I was starting over from scratch. The very first one would be Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone". It's not vegan, but many of the recipes are vegan or are easily adapted. The book is very comprehensive, and in the middle she covers every vegetable alphabetically, with recipes, cooking techniques, and "go with" flavors for each veggie. I turn to her first each time I come back from the farmer's market. I could eat well for the rest of my life with just her cookbook alone.

The second is "World Vegetarian" by Madhur Jaffrey, to satisfy my love of ethnic cuisine. Her bean and legume recipes are shockingly good.

The third one you already have -- "Ultimate Uncheese" by Jo Stepaniak. Cheez Please Soup, Gee Whiz, and Amazing Mac & Cheez...'nuf said!

Hope that helps!

raising_kahne said...

wow. You just MAJORLY helped me! I have been trying to find out for a very long time how to know if it said natural flavors if it meant something animal based. So I have been staying away from a bunch of foods because it said that! haha Thanks a ton!

Laura-Marie said...

Those Back to Nature peanutbutter cookies are so good. They were at the 99 cent store here, and we bought a ton.

Susan said...

I posted to Jo (about tahini and uncheese.) She told me to use cashew butter in place of tahini for the block cheese. I'll have to try it, but thought I'd pass along the info if anyone else was curious.

Deva said...

in the aplets and coplets recipe, can agar be subbed for gelatin?

Jane M said...

Thanks so much for the info on what 'natural flavor' means. That is something that always had me worried. Now I know!

I love black eyed peas! Always looking for a new way to eat them too. Black eyed peas hummus??? It just seems so right some how.

Taleia said...

Jennifer - that's the official answer as per natural flavors. What my mom discovered is that they aren't required to mention that often they're processed on the same equipment as dairy ingredients. This probably isn't enough to deter most folks, but if you have allergies to milk, it's probably enough to make you react (it is around here!). So beware.

Farah said...

Wow! I'm not sure how I stumbled across this site, but it's great! I'm a vegan teen in a meat-eating family, and I can never come up with any good lunchbox meals for school--I'll try some of these recipes. Thanks!

High Power Rocketry said...

When will you have to repeat an item?


Tom Mylan said...

To wiegh in on the cranberries v. raisins debate.

I prefer dried cherries to either and dried apricots most of all.

Make sure that the brand you buy is unsulfered or in some cases called sufites (like in wine).

If you buy in bulk ask the guy at the store to check the bag they come in if the info isn't posted.

raising_kahne said...

This is such an awesome lunch Jennifer! I am planning on copying it! haha The pitas look delicious!

StefaniaVegan said...

I'am a vegan italian girl.
Your blog is beautiful! Great!

raising_kahne said...

Hi Jennifer! I hope you dont mind me asking you this question(or if anyone else can answer also that would be great!) but I have some cornmeal here at the house that my parents bought(I really wanted some cornmeal pancakes!), and I was having a difficult time figuring out what all the ingredients were, and mostly if it was vegan and healthy for me. Here's the ingredient list:

Enriched Yellow corn meal(contains yellow corn meal, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), enriched bleached white flour(contains bleached white flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), salt, sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate.

Crystal said...

Thanks fo researching the "natural flavors" question for us!


harlemgrrl said...

raising kahne-

you can check out the free online edition of _animal ingredients from a to z_ here:

there are also updated editions for sale through vegan retailers and on amazon, but this is nice to print and have handy.

raising_kahne said...

Thank you HarlemGrrl. Unfortunately, my computer wont open that page up! It says that it's blocked--uugh!

JOYCE said...

u should rename this Black Eyed Pea-tas =)

btw, i loveeee love love your little lunches. i'm sure you've heard this many times, but they've inspired me to be more creative with my own! thanks!

red said...

thank you


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