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earliest spring panzanella + green stuff


Bold claim: classic panzanella is my favourite salad ever. Juicy summer tomatoes, pungent vinaigrette, tons of fresh basil, heavy pinches of salt and the bread, oh man the bread. Little toasted cubes slightly softened by all the luscious tomato juice and that sharp dressing. Too good. I could eat an 8-serving bowl all by myself. It’s not just the flavour/texture aspects that really get me either…

The dish itself represents the kind of food that I love to make/eat and the philosophy behind it. The bread is cubed and toasted up because it’s leftover from yesterday and I am so not about throwing away something that requires such skill to craft.  There’s too many tomatoes and heaps of herbs in the garden that need to be ate because of all the hard, dirty work that was put into their raising. We have shallots, cold pressed virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar in the pantry always because we’re just cool like that… I’m thoroughly convinced that this is a lifestyle thing. Once you’re there, it’s a taste revelation wrapped up in easy rusticism. I wish you could all just come over, rummage in the garden, make it with me in a sunny kitchen, drink some crisp rosé, laugh, catch up and eat outside on a big blanket in the cool grass before the day turns to night. That is some certified, undeniably good living.

But it’s March! I can’t even talk about tomatoes (although our seedlings are coming along nicely) or eating outside yet. Despite the crazy summer-in-spring temperatures we’re having (twenties!), there’s limited local produce available. So I took the aspects of panzanella that I loved and applied them to what I can work with now. The softening of croutons from vinaigrette and vegetal juiciness is the big “whoa” in this salad, which is easy enough to achieve with the help of some extra vinaigrette. I roasted leeks, apples, fennel and radishes to add substance. Chives, sunflower sprouts, shallots, and parsley  fill out the rest. The sprouts addition was out of a sheer need for green stuff. My local grocer is now selling amazingly fresh, still potted sprouts. The tangled little shoots and confetti of herbs on a heap of heavy, winter vegetables is perfect. Winter and spring. Transitional side dish extraordinaire. Lots going on, but it all works out in the end.


roasted vegetable panzanella for early spring
serves:
4-5
notes: Use whatever sprouts/shoots you have access to/preference for. After tossing all of the ingredients together, I would allow the salad to sit for 15 minutes so that the flavours marry and the croutons can soften up a tiny bit.

salad:
1 large leek, white and light green part only
1 small fennel bulb
8-10 radishes, trimmed and cut into quarters
1 large apple, cored and diced
2 cups bread cubes (3-4 slices of bread)
1/4 cup-ish grapeseed oil, divided
5 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
large handful of sprouts (sunflower sprouts and pea shoots are my favourites)
10 blades of chives, minced
5 sprigs of parsley, chopped fine
salt and pepper

dressing:
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp grainy mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey, agave etc)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line one baking sheet with parchment and set aside along with a ceramic/glass baking dish.

Cut the leek in half lengthwise. Clean thoroughly, removing any grit in between the layers. Slice halves on the diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a large bowl.

Trim tops from the fennel bulb (save these for stock). Cut bulb in half from the cut side down through to the base. Remove core and tough outer layer. Cut halves into lengthwise slices. Place in the same bowl as the leeks. Toss these vegetables with half of the thyme leaves, half of the grapeseed oil (2 tbsp), salt and pepper. Dump vegetables into ceramic/glass baking dish. Set aside.

In the same bowl, toss diced apples and radishes with remaining thyme, 1 tbsp of the oil, salt and pepper. Dump these onto the parchment lined baking sheet.

Place all vegetables into the oven on the same shelf and roast. The leeks/fennel will require a mid-way flipping to achieve even browning.  The apples/radishes will take about 15 minutes, while the leeks/fennel will take 20-25 minutes. When vegetables are softened and coloured a bit, remove them from the oven and allow to cool.

Line another baking sheet with parchment. Toss the bread cubes with the remaining oil, salt and pepper. Dump onto the baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove and set aside.

Make the dressing: in a medium bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Add the oil slowly, whisking quickly to combine the dressing. Set aside.

Combine the cooled roasted vegetables, dressing, chopped chives, parsley and half of the sprouts in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Garnish finished plate with remaining sprouts. Serve.

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Fi Figueroa26/03/2012 - 1:54 pm

I’ve never had this before! It looks beyond flavorful and I can’t wait to try this out.

Thanks for sharing!
-Fi

Michelle26/03/2012 - 1:58 pm

Oh wow, Laura. This looks fantastic. So springy and lovely! Definitely going to be making some panzanella soon.

Kate26/03/2012 - 5:23 pm

I do love a good panzanella salad, and believe that the bread, really, is the best part about it. The whole mess of it, freshly tossed on a hot August day with tomatoes that are almost boiling from the sun is impossible to mimic any other time of year no matter how hard one tries. I’ve one-upped the Panzanella ante by adding a great deal of roasted zucchini and eggplant, changed up the appearance with colored tomatoes, shaved fat summer radishes over the top and crumbles of goat cheese, but I have never made one without tomato. Never even gave it a thought.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to the store for some root vegetables.

Margarita26/03/2012 - 6:24 pm

I’ve never had leeks, fennel, and grapeseed oil before… I always learn something new here! Loving this salad… by the looks of it, I know it is delicious!

Jeanine26/03/2012 - 7:41 pm

This is the prettiest thing I’ve seen all day. I love panzanella and I love your variation on it! I’m just starting a garden for the first time… I think I was born with a black thumb, but here goes :)

Evi26/03/2012 - 9:53 pm

I don’t like throwing the bread out either! If I don’t have something to make with it, I at least food process it and make bread crumbs- they’ll be used!

Cookie + Kate26/03/2012 - 10:20 pm

Truth: I’ve never tried panzanella, but your lovely post is just the motivation I needed to give it a try. Your spring version looks wonderful, and I really appreciate the philosophy behind the recipe. There’s nothing better than feasting on a giant bowl of salad. Happy belly!

Adrienne @ How to Ice a Cake26/03/2012 - 11:32 pm

I am totally on board with this. I’m a panzanella fiend!

Sarah27/03/2012 - 2:26 am

This salad looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

Caitlin27/03/2012 - 11:06 am

this salad looks so lovely and delicious. i love spring salads!

Rachel @ Bakerita27/03/2012 - 4:41 pm

I love a good panzanella. This looks like the perfect use for the spring veggies that are popping up. Yum!

Kelsey27/03/2012 - 11:50 pm

LOVE a good panzanella. Cheers to Panzanella in every season, but especially spring (in my opinion). You had me at fennel. I’m kinda addicted.

Oh and… Kate!! How on EARTH have you never had/made Panzanella?! Make this one, immediately!

Eileen28/03/2012 - 12:16 am

That looks like one amazing salad! I love the combination of roasted radishes with fennel and apple.

Koko28/03/2012 - 11:35 am

This really is the first panzanella that I have seen this season. It looks absolutely stunning….I adore the fresh ingredients you used. I happen to love panzanella, too…and this recipe looks like it provides the perfect twist to change it up!!

Maria04/04/2012 - 11:29 am

Love this salad!

[…] adapted from The First Mess […]

alison05/04/2012 - 11:45 am

This looks like the most beautiful spring dish. I love a good panzanella, cannot wait to try this.

Kate King07/04/2012 - 7:39 pm

I’m anxiously awaiting for when we can transplant our little seedlings as well and have a garden for the first time… then i will take on my own version of this yummy looking panzanella/greens. Pure rustic and purely simple – awesome.

[…] when I made a fresh and spring-y panzanella and I told you about my sheer and ridiculous-silly love for the classic, summertime version? Well, […]

everything cookies + sweetness


The sun just shines on and on. I always have to remember that. We’ve been having unseasonably warm and pleasant weather in my pocket of the world. This is concerning in a lot of ways, but it’s also kind of nice. We’ve done some grilling, had time in the sun, gone for longer walks, little green things are poking up in the garden, and most importantly: sandwiching ice cream between cookies has become a bit of a thing. Happy spring days for all. The earth seems to wake up a little bit and give us all a sign of the miracles that lie beneath. A wave hello, amazement, brilliance, life, smiles, everything…

In general I admire everything that cookies represent: portability, preparation, variety, adaptability, staying power, loving gestures and a bit of sweetness. I’ve always gravitated toward cookies like these little wonders: sort of energy bar-ish, lots of stuff in them and oat based. They’re lovely to take on a hike, bike ride, scenic walk etc. and frantically(!) nom at the end of it all. Delicious, wholesome, nutrient dense, gluten free, vegan and surprising.

I made these with coconut sugar, my new sweetener obsession of choice (I’m toting packets of it in my bag for coffees on the road now). It’s derived from coconut tree sap and is kind of brown sugar-ish with a bit of complexity. You can swap it 1:1 for any dry sweetener (like sugar, brown sugar, sucanat etc). I also used a pre-fab gluten free flour blend for these cookies as an experiment. Typically I’ll mix up my own depending on what I’m making, but I realize that this step isn’t for everyone. Convenience won this round and the results were delicious, a perfect everyday cookie. A little rough and textured, yummy surprises within, nicely sweet, a bit complex, open to change/interpretation and particularly wonderful with ice cream. That’s living! Cookie metaphors? You bet we’re going there.


everything cookies
adapted from here
serves: makes 2 1/2 dozen
notes: Give the flax and water some proper gelling time (like a good 5 minutes) to achieve that egg-like consistency. Also, whatever GF flour blend you use, make sure it has potato or some other type of starch in it to hold things together.

3 tbsp ground flax seeds
3/4 cup water
1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose)
1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup gluten free oats
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2.5 cups add-ins (I used pumpkin seeds, dried sour cherries, chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips)
1/3 cup soft coconut oil (not liquid, but not crazy hard either)
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix the ground flax seeds with the water in a small bowl and set aside, stirring here and there. It should be thick and gel-like by the time you’re ready to use it.

In a large bowl, mix the gluten free flour blend, almond meal, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, sea salt and various add ins. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the soft coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Mix on medium speed until combined. Add the flax and water mixture. Mix on medium speed until a thick mixture is achieved, about 1 minute. Add the coconut sugar and maple syrup. Mix on medium for another minute.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Mix gently with a spatula until thoroughly combined and there is no visible flour left in the dough.

Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets in heaped tablespoonfuls. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the process. Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly on the sheets.

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hännah @ dishesanddishes18/03/2012 - 11:35 pm

I agree that the energy bar-like cookies are best and I love the idea of using pumpkin seeds. I can’t think of a time that I have ever made chocolate chip cookies without sneaking some oats in…it does amazing things for the texture. I’m glad that you’ve been have this kind of whether that makes you want to make ice cream sandwiches. I’m looking forward to having that someday soon too!

Cookie + Kate19/03/2012 - 1:45 am

Lovely, Laura. I really want to snatch one of those cookie sandwiches right out of my computer screen!

Margarita19/03/2012 - 3:17 am

Love the add ins! And the coconut sugar… I’m so curious to try that now.

Elenore Bendel Zahn19/03/2012 - 3:52 am

Wowza! I´m making this <3 I love reading your words, tales, poetry! Hugs:)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugark19/03/2012 - 6:54 am

These are fabulous and so full of goodness! Yum!

Ali @ Farmers Market Vegan19/03/2012 - 7:03 am

Hello, Laura!
Gorgeous photos and yummy recipe, as always.
I was wondering if you could expand on coconut sugar, though? How refined is it? What are its nutritional benefits? Is it high on the GI scale? I’ve been curious about it for a while now.
Thanks!
-Ali.

Laura19/03/2012 - 8:14 am

Hi Ali!
The sugar is derived from the sap of the blossoms. So they tap the developing coconuts essentially for 3-4 weeks. From here, they cook the sap down to concentrate the sugars/flavour (similar to maple syrup making). The final step is dehydration to make the sap into an actual sugar.

Calorie wise, coconut sugar matches up pretty evenly with the regular stuff. It hits at 35 on the GI scale (regular sugar is 64). Generally the lower GI score means that it will be higher in fructose (like agave nectar), but I haven’t found anything speaking to that. The coolest part is the mineral content though. It’s fairly rich in magnesium, potassium (lots!), zinc and iron. It also has 16 amino acids!

I hope that was at least a little bit informative :)
-L

thelittleloaf19/03/2012 - 10:07 am

These look incredibly beautiful, and so full of goodness! Love the idea of sandwiching them round ice cream too :-)

I’m so glad I found your blog! These cookies look amazing!! Great recipe, love all those healthy ingredients. Pinning! :)

Jacqui19/03/2012 - 3:14 pm

My kinda cookie! I really want to find some coconut sugar now too!

Erin19/03/2012 - 3:37 pm

I really love these (like rreeeaallllyyy.) They sound amazing!

sarah19/03/2012 - 4:04 pm

Yum. These are the perfect size! And I *love* that first picture.

Anna @ the shady pine20/03/2012 - 6:57 am

I love all the gorgeous ingredients you’ve used in these. This is one cookie I would never feel bad eating!

Caitlin20/03/2012 - 3:57 pm

i love your add-ins! it reminds me of a granola-ispired cookie, which sounds delicious! the ice cream in the middle makes them an ice cream sandwich filled with fiber! love it.

art and lemons22/03/2012 - 10:11 am

Lots of sun, backyard picnics, and warm days here too. We dug out the garden beds already and are anxious to plant. These little sandwich numbers will be good to get us through these bursts of summer heat.

[…] loved this recipe Laura posted on her (always-lovely) blog, The First Mess. This gluten-free, coconut-sugar-sweetened […]

Sara02/04/2012 - 7:15 pm

I am new to your blog and I am in love, beautiful photos and great recipes. I have never used xanthan gum, or been given the opportunity. Is there a reason in this recipe (gives it flavor, helps the cookies keep longer, etc)? Or maybe you can give me a suggestion to opting out on this additive….

Thank you,
-Sara

Laura03/04/2012 - 8:47 am

Hi Sara,
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the xanthan gum addition, so I’ll lay it out here. Its primary function in my kitchen is to improve the texture and viscosity of gluten free baked goods. In super tiny amounts, it lends a stickiness that holds batters together throughout the baking process. I tend to not gravitate towards really gross additives/non food substances so I’ll explain what it is as well.

The name sounds suspect, scientific, evil etc., but xanthan gum is derived from a naturally occurring substance. It comes from a microorganism called xantomonas campestris, a natural carbohydrate that affects crops like corn. When making it into a gum/producing it in its purified form, manufacturers ferment it for four days. It is then extracted, dried and ground into a powder.

In sum, it’s not my first choice, but I’m okay with using it in small amounts to hold cookies together periodically. I think you could get away with omitting it entirely, but the cookie may be a tad drier/more crumbly. Hope that helps :)
-L

sabrina12/04/2012 - 12:52 pm

These look great!! Quick question on the flax/egg. If I wanted to use eggs, how many would I need to use in this receipe? And where do I find coconut sugar? I have used Agave for years, so if similiar and a 1:1 ration to real sure, it would be easier for baking.

Laura12/04/2012 - 1:21 pm

Hi Sabrina! I would use two eggs to sub in for the flax/water mixture. Coconut sugar can be found at most health food stores or if you live near a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, they would definitely have it. If you are using agave, I would still go with the 1/4 cup measure, but add a couple tablespoons more of the almond or GF flour blend to the dry ingredients to make up for the extra liquid. Hope that helps!
-L

[…] you should most definetly go there now. I´m having a spring fling with all of Lauras recipes! Like these ice cream cookies or this green goddess pizza. A true gem in the world of healthy and super inspiring […]

29+ Pumpkin Seed Recipes17/10/2012 - 4:23 pm

[…] Everything Cookies […]

spicy tempeh empanadas + doing something


I get overwhelmed sometimes. Not in a debilitating way, just in a mind-racing, go read 20 books and a jillion web pages on the subject-kind of way. If my curiosity is piqued, out of boredom or fear or whatever, I’m a slave to information, detail and know-how. All consuming. I have to know more and get to the bottom of it.

Lately I’ve been puzzling over a few things. Small and big stuff. Whether I should be working in the field that I’m in, should I really be taking vitamin D?, the public’s perception of “fine dining” (Is it just another place to put food in their mouths? The idea of it and some of the pretensions are troubling to me…), how totally fine I felt after taking a little social media/computer break, general iffy-ness on the celebrity chef phenomenon and its effect in kitchens, WHY do I even use pinterest?, the enormity of this post and on and on.

When it all hits that crescendo of too much at once, I kind of panic in a quiet way. Unsure of what to do, I essentially do nothing. I read about the issue(s) at hand a bit more, take in more ideas, criticisms, strategies, opinions etc. Then when it’s time to move on to the next scheduled thing in my life, I feel ridiculous. The ratio of concern to productivity doesn’t match up and now I have to go to work or meet up with a friend. Without any answers. Feeling sorta shitty. What needs to happen at that point?

I make plans to dwell in the kitchen and do something, anything. It could be constructing a layer cake, it could be carrot sticks, doesn’t matter. It re-instills that feeling of capability, confidence and adaptability in the face of adversity and confusion. It’s doing something; not to take yourself away from the concern, but to pursue it in a different way. It’s mindful moving on and it brings me back into the light. New perspective, clarity and a meal.

This dish makes for a bit of (totally mindful) prep work, but it’s still relatively easy to put together. I wouldn’t say that these are authentic empanadas (“authenticity” is another thing I could go on about). It’s a pocket meal enclosed in dough that can be eaten any time of the day for sure.  Mine have a chickpea flour-based dough and slightly spicy, sweet and citrus-y filling that’s hearty with tempeh and sweet potatoes. A more wholesome and actually tasty hot pocket perhaps? I’m okay with leaving it at that.

Oh, and just as a little experiment, I’ve started a facebook page. You can like it if you want (or if, you know, you actually like it).


spicy tempeh and sweet potato empanadas with pepitas and spinach
serves: makes 7-8
special equipment: a rolling pin
notes: The woman who taught us pastry at culinary school told us to start our pie dough in the shape that you want to end up with. Similarly, with this dough, you should shape it into a tight circle before rolling it out. Also, other flours like whole wheat, spelt, brown rice, GF all purpose etc would work in place of the chickpea.

dough:
3 cups chickpea flour
pinch of salt
4.5 tbsp olive oil
1/3-1/2 cup water (depending on how your dough feels)

filling:
1/2 block of tempeh (125 grams)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, fine dice
1 cup grated sweet potato
1 fat clove of garlic, minced
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1 tbsp (or less if you want!) chili flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
2 handfuls of spinach, rough chop
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup raisins
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes. Bring some water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the tempeh cubes and simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the tempeh and set aside.

While tempeh is cooking, make the dough. Place the chickpea flour and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and 1/3 cup of water. Stir to combine. Begin to knead the dough, adding more water as necessary to bring it to the right consistency. The dough should feel slightly tacky and dense. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside on the counter at room temperature.

Make the filling: Heat the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the grated sweet potatoes and saute for 1 minute. Add the drained tempeh and start mashing it up with the back of your spoon. Add the garlic, thyme, chili flakes, cumin, lemon zest (not the juice yet) and oregano. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes, keep mashing/breaking down the tempeh. Remove pan from the heat. Add spinach, pumpkin seeds and raisins. Stir to combine. Season the whole mixture to taste and set aside.

Cut the dough into 7 or 8 pieces. Form one piece into a circle, trying to avoid little cracks in the dough on the sides. Dust your work area and rolling pin lightly with chickpea flour. Roll out the circle evenly to 1/4 inch thickness. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling onto the circle of dough, slightly off-center. Fold the dough over the filling, pinching the dough at the widest point of the circle. Fold all of the edges of the dough over each other to enclose the filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Place finished empanadas on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush a little olive oil on top if you like. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges and bottoms are slightly browned and dried.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

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dana @ my little celebration13/03/2012 - 4:46 pm

Gorgeous! I love the use of chickpea flour and tempeh in this recipe. So creative and healthy!

Michelle13/03/2012 - 4:59 pm

Love that I’ve finally got a way to use tempeh- a usually daunting protein!

Could you use another flour instead of chickpea (assuming you are not gluten-free) like whole wheat?

Sarah13/03/2012 - 5:17 pm

Girl…I am with you on this. Same cycle: crazed pensiveness –> feel kind of bad about everything –> do something tangible in kitchen. It’s _something_, at least. Your something looks delicious at the very least…on a chickpea flour kick myself.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar13/03/2012 - 5:31 pm

These are absolutely lovely. Great job!

Margarita13/03/2012 - 5:48 pm

When I get too overwhelmed because I have so much to do… I put everything off and start cooking or baking instead. It takes me away from whatever stresses are going on around me without feeling like I’m just doing nothing, because I have a product at the end… an edible one! :) This is a great recipe… do you think I can use firm tofu for this instead of tempeh?

Laura13/03/2012 - 5:52 pm

Michelle: You could definitely sub in whole wheat or spelt for the chickpea.

Margarita: You could certainly use tofu! I would skip the initial boiling/simmering step though. Maybe just saute it in a bit of oil with salt and pepper, remove from the skillet, cook everything else (shallots, sweet potatoes etc) and add it back in at the end. Hope that helps!

Kelsey13/03/2012 - 7:11 pm

You’re the best. I’ve been feeling in the mud with “it all” too lately. We’re all in it together, love. And I love this space and your voice and all the beauty you contribute to this community. Just in case someone hasn’t told you that lately.. :)

sara forte13/03/2012 - 7:14 pm

oh my I NEED to make these for hugh, he love love empanadas but I never want to eat a bunch of pie crust. Your alternative sounds so perfect! More importantly, I really value what you said. It does end up being a lot to take in doesn’t it? So glad that you are here sharing your thinking time with readers :)

janet @ the taste space13/03/2012 - 8:10 pm

Cooking is definitely my way to escape… I can feel successful in the kitchen when everything else in life is less so. I totally relate. I love how you used chickpea flour here. :)

Blaine13/03/2012 - 10:43 pm

These look amazing, I’m a sucker for anything with tempeh or chickpea flour. Together is better!

Just curious, what culinary school did you attend? I’m currently enrolled in one and loving it.

Laura14/03/2012 - 8:34 am

Hi Blaine!
I went to George Brown College in Toronto. Lovely experience. Glad you’re enjoying your time in school :)
-L

Erin14/03/2012 - 9:29 am

This rings all too true for me as well. I unfortunately go on overload far too often but I’ve found that two things can help that: cooking and hiking.

Love the empanadas. This is the second recipe in a weeks time that has used tempeh that I’ve drooled over. Slight confession: never had it. So, I think it’s time to change that! Lovely post as always!

Caitlin14/03/2012 - 12:21 pm

i absolutely adore chickpea flour for everything. i love how you used it here! i will DEFINITELY be giving these pockets a try! thank you!

ps- i LOVE your blog. just so ya know ;)

sarah14/03/2012 - 10:32 pm

Yes, yes and yes. It does get overwhelming! and I’ve been feeling the same way. I don’t have much to add, just that coming to your space makes me happy and makes me want to eat healthy.

Cookie + Kate15/03/2012 - 9:41 am

Oh girl, I hear you loud and clear. I get all-consumed by a hunch, and other times I’m overwhelmed and fidgety and can’t get anything done while my subconscious tries to straighten something out. I’m not usually into crusty-all-over things but your empanadas look like a major exception. Did you ever get around to trying Bittman’s chickpea fries? I’d love to see how those turn out!

Laura15/03/2012 - 10:01 am

Aaaah perfect reminder, Kate! Gonna do that soon while I have tons of chickpea flour around.

Kasey16/03/2012 - 7:39 pm

I can’t even tell you how much I relate to this post (having just recently written one in a similar vein myself: http://www.turntablekitchen.com/2012/02/argentinian-beef-empanadas-a-return-to-calm/). I feel like we all struggle sometimes with the decisions that we do or don’t make. But, I, like you, turn the kitchen. It’s definitely a place that helps me find balance. It keeps me grounded. And for a short while, I stop questioning things so much.

nancy19/03/2012 - 6:42 am

These look great. I love the use of the chickpea flour in the dough and the portability of these.

Jenny16/04/2012 - 7:15 pm

I thought this was great. I used black lentils in the place of tempeh and cranberries in place of raisins. It made for a nice dinner on a very warm day.
Thank you

Shayne20/09/2012 - 8:36 pm

Not sure if someone asked this already, but I’m not gluten-free, so could I use all purpose flour? If so, are there any changes I would need to make via measurements?

Laura24/09/2012 - 12:25 pm

Hi Shayne,
You could definitely use all purpose flour instead. Although the AP may absorb more liquid than the chickpea flour, so just gradually add the liquid ingredients until you have a pliable dough. And since AP flour contains gluten, be careful not to stir the dough up as much to avoid toughness.

Hope that helps :)

-Laura

Roxanne10/02/2013 - 5:49 pm

Oh man, does this post resonate with me. I go down the same mental spiral all too often. And I hate how counterproductive it actually is, when the initial idea is to be productive in some way, perhaps too many ways. It’s nice to remind myself to return to simplicity- rice and beans, a piece of toast and banana, a good book. But time in the kitchen is also sacred and amazing for all the reasons you stated.
I loved the concept of this recipe and decided I had to try it out. I love the health advantages of using chickpea flower especially. Mine unfortunately didn’t turn out so well. The filling is fantastic, but the dough was difficult to work with, spread out and fold. It felt dry and like it was just crumbling up. I added some water and it was slightly improved and I managed to roll out some empanadas. Out of the oven, though, they turned out kind of how they felt- dry, chalky, crumbly.
Any ideas as to why? Was the flour maybe too old? Should I’ve added more oil?

Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!

Laura Wright11/02/2013 - 10:10 am

Hi Roxanne!
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m so sorry that the empanadas didn’t work out for you! From the sounds of it, I think your dough may have needed a bit more fat/oil added in. Every batch of chickpea flour is different in terms of absorption so depending on that, the dough may need more moisture to bind it. I generally make doughs like this by feel, adding the water or oil until a I reach a point of elasticity in the dough. I’m not sure how much of a role freshness in the chickpea flour plays, since I know that mine wasn’t terribly fresh when I made these. I’m glad that you found the filling tasty though. Hopefully the dough rolls out a bit easier for you next time :)

Thank you so much for the feedback!
-L

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Amalia26/07/2013 - 12:10 pm

I had the same problem as Roxanne. My chickpea flour was pretty old as well… I will definitely try these again as my boyfriend enjoyed them despite my crumbly tough empanada dough and the filling was quite yummy.

Great blog!

Sandranista27/08/2014 - 11:51 am

excited to try this with ingredients I have around the house! The kitchen is a refuge for me too; it’s our art!

Juliette Ober19/10/2014 - 11:06 am

Thank you for this – the recipes and the thoughts. I try my best to use my own insight and bloodhound nose/palette to keep our veg/vegan life simple with few ingredients but when I’m stuck I grab the computer and run to you. Thank you for sharing your time.
This post was most inspiring as I wrestle daily with what the social media aspect means and offers to my own path. Rescuing and retraining Thoroughbreds is so rewarding daily and so without any need for documentation – or is it? Can I, in good conscience not share what I know? I tell myself I have to write, explain, photograph for the horses but then I get tied in the tight web of icky computer time and feel trapped.
It was nice to read that I am not alone!