Thursday, March 1, 2012

Soca + White Bean Spread + Mushroom Walnut Pesto

Warning: For some reason my photos are even more blurrier than usual!

It's March! I know everyone was excited about having a Leap Day yesterday, but I have to tell you that I am much more excited about today: March 1.

March makes me think of warmer weather (although, as we speak, I am waiting for our snow storm to begin..), I think about the first day of spring (yay!), our engagiversary 2 years ago (I know, I know...I'm married now but it's still special!) and I think about St. Patrick Day celebrations (i.e. sugar-free froot loops and beer. More on that later on in the month :P ). This month, I get to add even more excitement with our trip! It's March 1 today and we leave bright and early on March 7 for a full week of warm, warm weather and relaxation - just the two of us as hubby and wife. I cannot wait.

Happy times, indeed.

Speaking of happy times: FOOD. Now that's a happy topic. I cannot believe how I've become a person that is mapping out how dinner will be cooked as I'm eating my morning breakfast. I love it. I spot recipes and I dog ear them and wait patiently for a time that feels "right" to try it out. I'm such a different food person than I used to be...and I love it.

Well. I've been seeing soca recipes around on blogs and in magazines for some time and finally felt the time was right to try it out. This recipe came from the February 2011 Clean Eating Magazine. It's one of the easiest things I have ever made. The only reason I think I had been avoiding it is because it's pancake-ish and I just simply have a bad past with cooking pancakes. Anything batter-like, really, hates me - or they make me feel that way, any way.

As I said, this was so very easy and delicious. The only annoying part was that I had to let it "sit", although I don't know what would happen if I didn't? My friend Roshika said that this is often made in Indian cuisine with a ton of spices like cumin. For the purpose of this first recipe, I made it plain. I followed the recipe as is. For toppings, I followed the same recipe for a bean spread. I also had some leftover walnuts from a previous recipe sitting around and a lot of mushrooms that had to be used, so I made my own mushroom walnut pesto-type thing. We had smoked mackerel on the side so we can top each piece with whatever we wanted to. We love food options! 
Soca (Chickpea Pancake)
Clean Eating Magazine, February 2011
*Note: this does not taste like chickpeas! Had I told J I was making a chickpea pancake, hell would have broken loose: P
1 cup of chickpea flour (besan flour)
1 1/2 cups of water
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl, slowly add the water to the flour. Mix until smooth. Let sit for an hour (I let sit for 45 minutes) - wondering what would happen if you didn't?

2. Heat a cast iron skillet on high with 2 tbsp of oil - or use any oven-safe round, flat skillet.

3. Right before you're ready to start cooking the pancake, pour the oil and salt into the batter.

4. Pour batter into hot skillet. Let cook for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute. Put in oven for 25 minutes.

5. Cut in triangles and eat alone or add things to the top! This would be good as a savoury dish or a sweet dish.
White Bean Spread
Clean Eating Magazine, February 2011

1 cup of white (kidney) beans, drained and washed
2 tbsp of basil
1 clove of garlic, minced (I cooked mine)
3 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of lemon juice (this was my addition)

In a food processor or blender (or Magic Bullet), pulse all ingredients together.  You are done!

Mushroom Walnut Pesto
From Allie's Kitchen

1 1/2 cups of chopped mushrooms (I used a mix of portobello and button)
2/3 cup of chopped walnuts
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 of a red onion
3 tbsp of water
2 tbsp of white wine
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of cilantro

1. In a pan, cook onion, garlic and mushrooms with 1 tbsp of white wine and oil.
2. Meanwhile, pulse the water and walnuts into a paste.
3. The process gets a bit sticky after this, but essentially you want to mix your cooked goods (after letting them cool off a bit) with your walnuts. I added water, lemon juice, wine and oil in as needed so my measurements are a guestimate. The walnuts really dry everything out so it's important to keep adding a wee bit of moisture of some kind until everything is mixed to the consistency you would like.

This would be excellent on pasta, but a lot more liquid would need to be added. For our purpose, we were spooning a dollop out on each of our slices of soca so it worked out.

I took it on crackers with a bit of tuna for lunch the other day - very versatile!

Again: apologies for this low-quality photos....


How's everyone feeling about March?? Exciting? Do anything special for Leap Day? :)

Love Love, Allie Pin It

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! This is SO similar to the pizza I made last night. I'm posting it next week....but I added sweet potato to my socca crust, and made a spicy white bean spread, and topped it with caramelized onion, red peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. AMAZING