Monday, September 20, 2010

Little fried things and hummus soup.

The tuberous things on the left are fried sunchokes and on the right are a couple squash blossoms from my garden. My method for frying most root veggies these days has been to chop or slice them into roughly uniform pieces (roughly being the key word here) and put them in a pan of cold oil. For some reason - and I'm sure Harold McGee has said plenty on the topic already - frying them by bringing them up to heat causes a lot less risk of splatter and smoke, and you don't have to worry about monitoring the temperature of the frying oil. The results were fantastic! The sunchokes were perfectly crisp with toothsome, creamy centers. They stuck in our teeth in the most delightful way. The squash blossoms were really tender and juicy, and the vegan breading I made (seasoned flour and garlic and ginger-steeped soy milk) was flavorful without overpowering the flavor of the flower.

I soaked and cooked up a bunch of dried chickpeas, intending to use them for mock tuna sandwiches, but I forgot about them for several days and decided to instead use them up in one go by making this soup. It's essentially the same ingredient list as hummus, plus lots of caramelized onions and vegetable broth (I used Better than Bouillon's No Chicken base, which is vegan but hits a lot of the same flavor notes as a classic chicken stock, with plenty of water and a little white wine). You could add a little cream, but we chose not to in order to keep our menu vegan for the night. I added some halved cherry tomatoes and basil from my garden, a generous drizzle of olive oil, and paprika. I bet it would be even better with sumac; next time!

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