I was so ready to sit down and write this, but then I realized that my wine glass is empty. Hold on.
All right, I just brought the bottle over. Way easier. Anyway, I know I haven’t posted in a while, but it’s been a truly crazy week. Photos from a meal cooked in San Francisco are forthcoming, and I’d post photos from jury duty but I didn’t take any, because it’s illegal. Meanwhile, there’s nothing like cooking to make a person who hasn’t made any Friday night plans feel busy. Similarly, there’s nothing like Acute Onset Ingredient Obsession (AOIO, pronounced “a yoyo”) to banish my ever-growing mountain of work to the margins of consciousness. This week’s obsession: vegan cheese.
Yeah, I know, I know. That’s a seriously weird thing to fixate on. But I mean, come on. Vegan cheese! There is an entire industry built around what I like to call the Fifth Noble Truth (“The Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering involves Cheese”) and its modification for the non-dairy crowd. Now, make no mistake. I am not giving up cheese. That said, I have spent some serious time thinking about the plight of dairy cows, and wondered if my over-dependence on milk products might be completely undoing the good of going vegetarian. On top of that, I have a really weird relationship with processed food. On the one hand, I find much of it (i.e. any Little Debbie’s product) perversely delicious, and on the other it makes me wonder if it’s not food, but just cosmetics for my digestive tract. Vegan cheese lives somewhere in the space between science and desire–cosmetics for the soul, if you will. It also tends to taste like chemical sludge.
And then, in an epic misdirection of my research training, I discovered a series of rave reviews of a vegan cheese called Daiya, which is made of tapioca, oil, and–that old standby–“other natural flavors.” So of course I had to buy some and find a use for it. And of course I also had to make the rest of the meal vegan, to keep it honest. And of course I had to go even farther off the culinary deep end and make it gluten-free.
And you know what? It was delicious.
The Best (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Low-Glycemic) Tacos (Ever)
Slice half a red onion and half a head of red cabbage, and put aside. Also slice a bosc pear into bite-sized pieces, and put on a plate. Then mix 1 cup of chickpea flour with 1/3 cup water and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Mix these ingredients into dough, and then separate into four evenly sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and then flatten it on a (chickpea) floured surface until it’s about the size of a small corn tortilla. Set aside.
Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent, and then add the cabbage. Add salt and pepper to taste–I used a ton of white pepper, which complements the flavor of the cabbage nicely. Lower the heat to medium-low.
When the cabbage has softened (about 10-15 minutes), add the pear and sauté for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and put aside. Heat some more olive oil in a small pan, on medium. When the oil is hot, fry the chickpea tortillas for about 2 minutes on each side, until brown. While each tortilla is still hot, sprinkle a small handful of Daiya on it, and then a few spoonfuls of the cabbage mixture. Let it sit for a minute while you figure out which half-drained bottle of wine you want to drink. Daiya is awesome/creepy–it melts! So take your time selecting that day-old wine.