Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas hysterics + Lazy French Onion Chickpeas

Christmas is fast approaching and the orders keep on coming in. I'm up to my ears in baking and while I sincerely enjoy hand-mixing cake batter and piping frosting on cupcakes, the work's starting to take a toll on me. Frankly I haven't really cooked a meal since World Vegan Day lunch and dinner as baking takes up a lot of my time. I have been known to spend Friday nights baking until Saturday morning, and sleeping throughout my Saturday out of sheer exhaustion. But hey! I'm not complaining. I'm getting vegan baked goods into the hands of the masses. And while I spent 10 hours yesterday baking I'm still pumped to bake some more this week. Sigh, I really must love this night and weekend job...

In case you were curious... this is what I baked yesterday and what I'll be baking tonight, Tuesday night, and Wednesday night (!):
  • 4 coffee cakes
  • 2 2-layer cakes
  • 3 brownies
  • 6 dozen cookies
  • 20 dozen cupcakes
To be fair, one of the brownies was a Christmas gift and so was 1 dozen cookies. The cupcakes are minis but I swear, they're more difficult to make than regular ones! And, 10 dozen of the cupcakes are for an outreach I'm participating in on Wednesday. A bunch of my co-workers (from my real job) and I are hosting a Christmas lunch at CRADLE, this prison / rehab center for juvenile delinquents (a more PC term is "children in conflict with the law"). The lunch itself is not vegan, hence my contribution of vegan cupcakes. I'm excited for this activity and I hope the kids will take a liking to my cupcakes.

Good Lord, sometimes I wish I had magic elves to do my bidding. It's a good thing I did my Christmas shopping in Hong Kong when Cebu Pacific decided to torture travelers, because I seriously have NO time to do anything except bake and go to my real job.

So where was I? Oh yeah, the cooking. Last night I found myself in a kitchen full of baked goods (for sale) with NOTHING to eat for dinner. I was too lazy to chop up som
e tomatoes and peel some garlic. Cooking a simple dinner was a nice break from the crazy baking. Since I was pooped out I decided to make a super easy, super fast, big-on-flavor dish that I christened Lazy French Onion Chickpeas.

Hah. Remove "lazy" from the title and the dish sounds so classy, no? The dish could probably be served in a posh restaurant as appetizer with bruchetta and a glass of white wine. I call it "French onion" because I took inspiration from the ubiquitous French onion soup. With the chickpea-onion ratio at practically 1:1, this dish is for the onion lover who is not afraid of the aftermath of potent onion-y goodness.

This recipe (finally! an actual recipe with actual proportions!) is enough for 4 people, or for 2 dinners and 2 lunches for the next day (some of us still pack lunch for work...).

Lazy French Onion Chickpeas
1 glug of olive oil (fine, if you want to get technical, about 2 tbsp.)
4 onions, chopped into half moons

a palm-ful of dried thyme (1-2 tsp.)
3 cans of chickpeas (454 grams or 15 oz), drained and rinsed well
salt and black pepper to taste
a splash of water (2-4 tbsp.)

Heat a saucepan on the stove. Add in the olive oil. When hot, throw in the onions and stir until caramelized, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the thyme and the chickpeas, and stir until the chickpeas are heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper -- I am a black pepper fan and am known to sprinkle generous amounts on my food. When the pan looks pretty dry, add in the water to help scrape up the good bits stuck on the pan, and to help the chickpeas absorb the onion's awesomeness. You should be done in about 5 minutes (after adding the water).

You know how French onion soup always has cheese on top? Well, if you want that cheesy flavor but don't want to torture the cows (or the carabaos, goats, sheep, or whatever
animal was abused for its reproductive secretion), may I suggest a copious sprinkling of nutritional yeast. I didn't take a photograph of the dish with the nooch because, well, it wasn't pretty.

Enjoy! Serve this dish with a side of vegetables, or on top of a salad, or with pasta, and/or with crusty bread. You can blitz this in your food processor to make a nice sandwich filling / spread -- leave it chunky. My co-vegan-brother-in-arms ate this with rice, I hope he enjoyed it.

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