The Shampoo Girl Diaries; One Year Later & Vegan 7 Layer Taco Dip

I don’t know how the spa is doing. They may be facing bankruptcy or they may be booming. Either way, I don’t give a fuck because I am doing FABULOUSLY!

One year ago today I was unemployed,(after being fired from a job that I HATED!) making payments on a car that wasn’t even running, borrowing my mom’s ride to get around, living on my parent’s couch and just feeling worthless in general.

Today I have a job that I LOVE with no co-workers to whine about my undergarments (or lack thereof). It doesn’t pay a lot, but it helps fund what I REALLY want to do (write).

My car is back on the road, almost paid for ( I just made the 31st payment out of 60, that’s “almost”) and riding FABULOUSLY!

I’m 14lbs lighter, with NO boob shrinkage;)

I’ve met my idol (Dr. Rita Mae Brown) THREE times!

I’m single therefore I do pretty much whatever the fuck I want, whenever the fuck I want to do it (except naked Sundays. I do still live at home:/ But hey, that’s just less responsibility that I have:))

Why am I telling you this, you ask?

No fucking reason, I just felt like bragging:) J.K.

My point is that most periods of suckiness (it’s a word; look it up in the nictionary) are temporary. It doesn’t feel that way at the time, but it is.

There are times when I’m so depressed that I *gasp* don’t even feel like cooking!

I’m sure that you too, dear readers, feel the same way from time to time so while you’re waiting for things to get better, which they will,(or maybe they won’t. Maybe you killed a lot of people in a past life and you’re just now receiving your karmic retribution. I don’t fucking know) but whether things get better or not, you can always look forward to vegan 7 layer taco dip:)

Warning: This recipe makes a shit-ton of dip, so it’s best for when you’re either really depressed or need to make something quick and effortless for a pot-luck.

Even though I make this all the time, I always finish it before I can take a picture, which is probably a good thing as beans to not photograph well, but next time I make it, I will add a picture.

Layer 1 takes the longest (20-40 minutes, depending on if you use Boca crumbles* or lentils), but if you’re pressed for time, or just feeling lazy, it’s okay to skip and call it “Vegan 6 layer dip”.

What I love about this dip, other than it being insanely delicious (especially for being so quick an easy) is that it’s also cheap and versatile.

If you don’t like or can’t find one of the ingredients (like sour supreme*) you can just leave it out or replace it with more of another ingredient (like salsa).

This recipe is vegan, gluten free (leave out the sour supreme to make it soy free), contains a full serving of vegetables in addition to fiber, protein and “good” fats, and tastes even better on day 2. You can’t ask for more than that from a humble bean dish when you’re feeling like shit!

Of course, if you’re not feeling shitty, you can make all the layers from scratch and/or replace the canned beans with Dummus.

My good friend, Kate makes the BEST salsa and guacamole EVER and I will eventually shake her down until she agrees to be a guest blogger, but for now, I recommend Newman’s Own pineapple salsa*, and Wholly Guacamole*.

I’m not a fan of pre-mixed seasonings in general, but many packets of taco seasoning mix contain either dairy (in the form of dried milk) and/or MSG, which is known to cause headaches, so I make my own mix. For every 2 cups of protein (beans, boca crumbles or tofu) I use the following:

2-3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon sugar

pinch of turmeric

salt & pepper

I don’t use garlic or onion powder because I prefer to use them fresh but if you don’t have them on hand, use 2 teaspoons of each.

And now the recipe:

Vegan 7 Layer Taco Dip 

1 can of re-fried beans (check the label as many brands contain lard) or 2 cups of dummus

2 tablespoons neutral tasting oil (light olive oil, peanut or canola)

taco seasoning mix (recipe above)

1 cup dried lentils or 1 package boca crumbles

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 can rotel (tomatoes and chilis)

1 rotel can of water (if using lentils)

1 jar salsa

1 package wholly guacamole*

2 cups shredded cabbage (I use the pre-shredded coleslaw mix kind)

1 tub sour supreme or vegan sour cream of your choice*

1 small jar sliced black olives

tortilla chips for serving.

Step 1) In a microwave safe bowl, empty can of beans and nuke for one minute. Spread warm beans (or dummus) in the bottom of a large casserole dish or tupperware (I use the gladware that are shaped like shoe boxes)

step 2) Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet for 1 minute. Add onions, garlic and spice mix and saute for 5-10 minutes, until onion are soft. If using boca crumbles, add now and saute for 10 minutes then add rotel and cook for 10 minutes more. If using lentils add them now along with rotel and water and simmer for 30 minutes . Spread crumbles or lentils over beans. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

step 3) Spread the salsa over the second layer followed by guacamole, cabbage, and  vegan sour cream. Sprinkle sliced olives over sour cream and if you feel like getting fancy, add sliced jalapenos and cilantro as well. Serve with tortilla chips and your favorite box of wine.

4) put on your footy pajamas and snuggie, secure a cat or 2 in your lap and watch those 9 different court shows that you have DVR’d.

*I’ve found all of these items at both Kroger and Martins. The Martins in Colonial Heights even carries Daya brand vegan cheeses which are tasty as well as soy & gluten free, but kind of expensive. Feel free to add an eighth layer of Daya Cheddar over the cabbage layer.

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Top 10 Things Said To Me By My (Overly) Supportive Family In No Particular Order & Some Fabulously Fucked Up Family Salad

First, a disclaimer, I have an awesome family. I love them all dearly and thanks to them I couldn’t have asked for a better coming out experience. They had nothing but the best of intentions when they said the following to me, however, they totally actually said this shit to me! Bless their hearts!

1) From my maternal grandmother: “It’s a good thing you’re a lesbian and not a gay man. Drunk women are much easier to convince than drunk men. Find a woman you think is hot, buy her a couple of drinks, turn her out and next thing you know, you’ve got girlfriend”

2) A text message from my brother received while I was on my first date after coming out: u lickin’ that cooter-box yet? text me if u need some pointers

3) From my dad: “Maybe you should try playing golf”

4) From my dad: “Just so you know, I ain’t paying for your next wedding. It’s not because you’re a, you know, uh, that way, but as a father I’m only obligated to pay for one wedding per daughter. If you marry someone who’s never been married then her dad can pay for the wedding.”

5) A text message from my mom received while I was out with some friends at a lesbian bar: use double saran wrap or ur never drinking out of my glass again!

6) From my aunt: “Ordinarily I don’t think people can choose their orientation, but you’ve dated a lot of losers. Are you sure that you’re not just jaded on men? Maybe you should try it one more time to be sure.”

7) From my brother: “Now that you’re gay you should probably trade in your Beetle for a truck. ”

8 ) From my mom: “You should be butch. You just don’t carry yourself like a femme. You don’t have the body type. Plus, think about how much time and money you’ll save by not caring about how you look!”

9) From my brother after I let my nephews sample hummus:  “Goddamn it! You know they’re already genetically predisposed to being gay! Why are you encouraging them?”

10) From my mom: “You’ve been single for quite some time now. Have you even tried on a strap-on?”

So for those of you who’ve been wondering why I’m so damaged, there you have it. Please share your family experiences in the comments.

And now the recipe.

This is a quinoa salad that is composed of several things that one would not think go well together but actually work out fabulously, much like my beloved, fucked up family (including some fruits, nuts and a few ingredients that are only tolerable in small doses).

Quinoa is high in fiber and iron, low in calories and unlike most plant foods is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids. Although it is usually used as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed.  I’ve been able to find Bob’s Red Mill and Eden brands of quinoa at Kroger, Martin’s and some Food Lions. If you can’t find quinoa, brown rice will do.

Fabulously Fucked Up Family Salad:

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed

1 cup toasted or raw walnuts, chopped

1 cup black beans, (see Ruckus Dummus for cooking instructions)

1 small sweet onion, diced (I used a purple onion, but feel free to use white)

1 large carrot, diced

2 apples, diced (use your favorite variety)

1 cup seedless grapes, cut into eighths or 1/4 cup raisins

Dressing:

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup EVOO

2-4 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic, I use 5)

1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed, rinsed

1 teaspoon sugar

1 jalapeno, stem removed, keep the seeds! (optional, if you’re not a pussy, put the jalapeno in!)

salt & pepper (do I even need to remind you to use freshly cracked pepper only?)

In a medium sauce pan, bring 1 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low and cook for 12 minutes, covered. Meanwhile, dice the fruits and veggies and prepare the dressing. In a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients for dressing and blend on high until smooth and runny. Dressing will have a yellowish color. After quinoa  is cooked, fluff with a fork and move to a large bowl.  Add nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables and stir, add dressing and toss to coat evenly. The lemon in the dressing will keep the apples from browning. Makes 4 main dish servings or 8 side dish servings.

This recipe is really just a template, feel free to substitute chickpeas for the black beans, almonds for the walnuts, parsnips for the carrots, pears for the apples or whatever you want.

Quinoa Salad

My 10 year High School Reunion; An Overly Dramatic Interpretation of A Premonition.

Prologue: I have my ten year high school reunion scheduled for October 15, 2011. I will not be attending as being psychic, I can already predict what will transpire at this momentous occasion, and because I am awesome, I have decided to share my premonitions with you, dear readers. As always, names and identifying details have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.

I arrive at Outlaws Honky Tonk Bar & Grille and manage to find a parking spot for my 2005 silver convertible turbo Beetle amid the sea of jacked-up trucks (many with wildlife carcasses still bleeding and twitching in the back)  and a few scooters equipped with gun racks and baby seats.

I laugh to myself at the irony that the location of our reunion actually has the word “honky” in it. I also find it hilarious that “grill” is spelled with an ‘e’ on the end.

I was apprehensive about attending as I’m not sure how to answer the question “What do you do?”. It’s a little awkward responding with “Well after a certain obsessive-compulsive, narcissistic  former classmate made up lies and got me fired from my job, I started blogging and The Food Network, stumbled upon it while looking for easy and delicious  vegan recipes and now I have my own show The Hummuscidal Maniac LIVE!, debuting next month during sweeps”, as I don’t want folks to think that I’m bragging, but then again, I”M ON THE FOOD NETWORK BITCHES!!! (Remember, I did say OVERLY dramatic…)

Not much has changed since high school, the jocks and cheerleaders are all married to each other, the geeks are reminiscing about Comic-con and the preppies are all wearing unisex navy blue blazers. However, there is one major difference, I am the only former goth who isn’t either in prison or a Republican Baptist.

I spot one former goth, dressed in a nice black suit with an American flag pin on the lapel to match his American flag tie. Ugh. If you’re not supposed to let the flag touch the ground, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t do that to it!

He’s standing by the bar handing out pamphlets promoting his Republican bid for congress. It’s impossible to bypass him to get a Cosmo.

“Hello Nicole” Mr. Aspiring Politician greets me with a fake, veneered smile, “Have you considered who you’re going to vote for next month?”

“Absolutely.”

He looks at me expectantly as I pay for my drink. Leave it to Prince George to have a cash bar at its reunion. Tacky tacky…

I walk away without taking a pamphlet. I’ve already received one in the mail and I don’t vote for anyone who promises to “Protect human life starting at the time of conception” that’s just code for “I’m a woman hating douche”.

To his credit, his flier doesn’t say anything about “protecting traditional marriage” but if it did, I would be forced to bring forth the multitudes of men I know he has slept with. It can’t be a coincidence that all these guys who don’t know each other describe him as a “bottom”.

I spot my former best friend with her date. It’s sad that some women lack so much confidence that they stoop to trolling for men on Craigslist rather than just show up solo.

She loops her arms around him possessively as I walk by. “She’s the evil bitch I was telling you about” I hear her whisper loudly. He stares into space disinterested. You get what you pay for.

There’s a crowd gathered around the bowl of roasted chickpeas ordered from my company. I overhear comments like “These are so addictive” and “I didn’t know vegan food could be so amazing!”

The crowd then spots me and start clamoring for autographs. I not only give autographs, I also give them my roasted chickpea recipe.

Roasted Chickpeas:

1 bag of dry chickpeas, cooked according to Ruckus Hummus recipe

1/4 cup EVOO

1 teaspoon each, turmeric, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder

1-2 tablespoons siracha, if you want some heat

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. After cooking chickpeas, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Spread chickpeas on a large jellyroll pan and drizzle with the EVOO and Siracha (if using). Mix well with your hands to coat chickpeas evenly. Sprinkle evenly with spices, feel free to taste, the chickpeas are fully cooked. Place seasoned chickpeas in a preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Chickpeas are done when they are a dark, golden brown.  Makes 10-12 servings.

The Shampoo Girl Diaries, a “Blog-Opera” part V

Dr. Lopes instructs me to have a seat in the “principal’s office” while she finishes up with a patient. Fortunately, I’ve brought my purse along so I at least have my gum.

I wait about 30 minutes for her to arrive. I have a feeling that I know what this is about and I can’t wait to tell her about all the times Sharlotte has interrupted me while I was with a client or how my key mysteriously appeared in the trash.

“Where have you been all morning?” She asks me, clearly annoyed.

I explain that Connie had agreed to open, but changed her mind at the last minute, and show her the text I got 5 minutes before the shop opened.

“Sorry I don’t own a jet-pack, or I would’ve been here immediately.”

Dr. Lopes doesn’t find that remark as funny as I do.

“Well why did you come in for an hour and then leave for an hour and 15 minutes?” She asks.

I tell her about the things my co-workers said to me earlier.

“I just thought it would be better to walk away than start a fight.” I explain.

“Well did you get drunk last night? Don’t lie to me, Natalie already showed me all your Facebook pictures of you having a good ol’ time, knowing that you had to work today.”

Again, I wonder how she did that as I have blocked her from viewing my profile.

“Am I not allowed to go out on school nights?” I ask.

“Read this back to me,” she says handing me a print-out of my Facebook page from over a month ago.

“Hey Dorkfaces, I don’t feel like painting your hooves at 9 am on a Saturday.”

I see where she is going.

“I don’t mention the spa or any employees in this post, and if I was being serious, I would’ve used a word other than ‘dorkface'”

This ain’t my first rodeo.

“Well it still reflects badly on the company.”

No, the way my co-workers behave, reflects badly on the company. I think to myself.

“Also, Sharlotte told me that when she tried to get an eyebrow wax yesterday, you had 3 of your friends lined up to get free pedicures and you told her to “get lost”.

“1000% false!”

Now I’m pissed off.

I tell her what really happened and about how she’s always interrupting me whether I’m with a client or not.

“Well Sharlotte has a degree from VCU, she has no reason to lie.”

I don’t even bother pointing out how having a degree does not stop one from lying. It’s clear who she’s going to believe.

“Also, Natalie told me that you were a no call, no show last week when I was gone. Care to explain?”

I tell her about how my chinchilla, Mr. Chi Chi, died unexpectedly and I was crying too hard to call in myself, so my mom called for me and I didn’t even have any clients scheduled.

“Well they had to turn away 10 walk-ins that day. Your personal misfortunes shouldn’t compromise your professional performance.”

10 walk-ins my ass! We’re lucky to see 10 clients a week!

“And speaking of your professional performance, Connie tells me that you’re never available to assist her, she never has clean towels, she always has to sweep the hair off the floor herself, and that you are rude to her clients.”

“When I try to assist, she tells me that I’m in her way, and everything else is just a lie! You can go see for yourself that the spa is spotless and has plenty of clean towels.”

“Here’s what I want you to do,” she says, standing over me now.

“Today is Wednesday, I want you to go home, and come back next Wednesday with a 5000 word double-spaced, typed report on why you deserve a second chance here. I am willing to give you a second chance because I do like you, and you clearly need some direction in your life, but you have to prove to me that you  deserve it.”

I’ll vote Republican before I beg for this piss-ant job!

I get up to leave.

“Wait a sec,” she says, “Who’s scheduled to open for the rest of the week?”

“I was” I tell her.

“Well you can open for the rest of the week and leave at noon.”

Drive 1 hour each way to work 3 hours? Hell to the fucking No!

Glad I have some vegan bolognese waiting in the crock-pot at home. Looks like I’ll be eating it for a while.

Semi-Homemade Vegan Bolognese:

EVOO for sauteing

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 large Vidalia onions, peeled and diced (If slicing onions makes you cry, try storing them in the fridge)

6 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 jar Ragu* Mushroom and Green Pepper sauce ( no other kind will do!!!)

1 bottle of your favorite wine (you only need 1 cup for the sauce, the rest is for you, Babe:), I’ve made this with everything from Boone’s Farm Sangria to my mom’s homemade pear wine with awesome results)

1 cup hot water (to rinse the jar)

1 cup lentils

salt and pepper to taste

Your favorite pasta for serving, cooked according to package directions

Drizzle enough EVOO to coat bottom of 10″ skillet, preheat the pan on medium-low heat for 2 minutes, add next 4 ingredients and saute for 10 minutes, until slightly softened, but not brown, stirring occasionally. If vegetables begin to stick, add hot water or vegetable broth, a tablespoon at a time. Add vegetables and next 5 ingredients to a crock-pot and cook covered on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve over pasta. Makes 6-8 servings and taste even better the next day:)

*I know it may seem sac-religious of me to recommend using a jar of Ragu, instead of making a sauce from scratch, but sometimes you just can’t beat a 10 for $10 sale, plus coupons!  If you think you hate lentils, try them in this recipe. Lentils don’t require soaking and are natures fast food:), (sorry for the hippie-speak).

The Shampoo Girl Diaries, A “Blog-Opera” Part II

I make my coffee and set a plate of cookies out to share. I don’t have any clients scheduled yet so I busy myself with entering data into the computer. As the caffeine and chocolate enter my bloodstream, a soothing calmness washes over me.

The serenity is short lived. (pun intended)

I hear Natalie in her room screeching into her cell phone. It seems her husband packed her a lunch that she does not find satisfactory. She slams her phone shut and marches back up to the receptionist desk.

“I married a fucking retard!” she shouts to no one in particular. ” How hard is it to pack the dressing on the side?! He knows I’m on a diet!”

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to respond or not.

“Your 3pm upgraded to a deep tissue” I tell her hoping that the extra $20 to her paycheck will calm her down.

“Ugh!, You could have told me this yesterday! I need to mentally prepare!”

        Mentally prepare? There’s a WTF if I ever heard one!

So much for lightening her mood. I take another cookie, wishing that I had baked them with some “herbal supplement”.

“Did you get permission to put those out?” She asks gesturing towards the cookies. “You can’t serve homemade snacks to the public. It’s illegal. Take those to the break room IMMEDIATELY!”

” What will I be charged with exactly? Unlawful distribution of baked goods? Contributing to the delinquency of a low carb diet?”

“You realize I can see down your shirt. Right?”

       That’s her comeback?

“Or perhaps excessive use of weight watchers points?”

She storms back to her room.

Connie’s client shows up 15 minutes early, which would be ideal, if  Connie was actually there! I am able to stall her with a manicure and an eyebrow wax but Connie still has not shown. I text her to see how far away she is and if I should start the shampoo. She texts me back that she’s 15 minutes away and not to shampoo yet.

I apologize profusely to the client and explain that Connie is still running behind. I offer her a Perrier and invite her to relax in our private waiting area where the current magazines are kept.

Connie finally arrives 30 minutes later.  Her long dark brown is hair highlighted in the front with large stripes of platinum blonde and is teased at the crown. She has her eyes done in several shades of shimmering charcoal and super shiny clear gloss on her collagen enhanced lips. It’s obvious that she’s just left the tanning bed as her skin is even orange-r and still shiny from the coconut oil she uses to bronze faster. Even though she’s of Irish decent, she could easily pass for a cast member of Jersey Shore, though she’s going for a Real Housewives look. She’s still talking on her i-phone as she walks in and I notice that her French manicured acrylic nails have been filled in since the day before. Guess I know why she’s so late.

” Oh. Em. Gee! Manhattan?! Are you for realz?!” She squeals into her phone well within earshot of her client who has been waiting for an hour. “We’ll chat later. I have a customer who Nikki hasn’t even shampoo’d yet….yeah…..I know…..smooches!'”

Connie consults with her client for  30 seconds, then spends 10 minutes telling her about her upcoming trip to Manhattan that her boyfriend Emory, (henceforth referred to as “Doofus”) is taking her on, and showing her photos of a recent trip to South Beach. I’m certain that Connie hasn’t even met this client before as today is her first visit.

“Nikki, mix up 1 batch of DBR 6 and 1 batch of DBR 3.”

“No problem.” I tell her and reach in her closet for the formula mixing guide

” You should have that memorized by now” She tells me in her best authoritative tone. Her client fidgets uncomfortably.

” I like to be certain” I respond.

” Well it looks very unprofessional. You should never show uncompetentcy  in front of a client”

I’m pretty sure she means to say “incompetence”.  Good thing she’s teaching me cosmetology and not English!

Whatever. I take the “cheat sheet” to the supply room and mix. As a precaution, I affix a post it with the formula written on it to each tub as once mixed, all hair colors look the same.

I bring Connie the tubs of color and put rubber gloves on so I can assist.

“Actually, I need you to wash towels right now, I have 3 more color clients today”

” I’ve already done the towels.” I tell her.

“Okay, well I don’t really need you to help me right now”

Fine. I go to the back to study my cosmetology text book. I can hear Connie droning on about how she and Doofus got in a huge fight because he felt that she spent too much time with her children and he called her a “whore” so to make it up to her, he’s taking her to Manhattan, blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it a billion times. She didn’t care much for my advice to forget about dating for a while and focus on her children (the older 2 of whom are currently in Juvenile Detention), so she vents to her clients. If she wasn’t such a talented stylist, she would have no one to vent to.

About 30 minutes later I here Connie shriek “OH SA-NAP! I am soooo sorry Shug! I don’t even know how this happened!” I race to the front to see what is wrong. Connie had reversed the color bowls and her client now has the exact opposite look of what she asked for! The low lights (darker color) are in the front and the high lights(lighter color) are in the back! Both the client and Connie are in tears. There’s no way for me to pretend that this poor woman doesn’t look stupid.

“Perhaps we should start over with one color and add the high-lights later so the hair isn’t over processed today.” I offer

“Well what are you waiting for?! Get started!” Connie yells at me.

Sigh.

Guess I won’t get to leave for lunch today. I’m glad that I have a huge bowl of Super Healthy Vegan Greek Pasta Salad in the fridge!

Super Healthy Vegan Greek Pasta Salad

8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta, (About 1/2 a regular sized box,I use the Kroger store brand)

2 cups cooked chickpeas, ( see ruckus hummus recipe for cooking instructions)

1 12oz bag of spinach, rinsed and drained

1 pint grape tomatoes, rinsed and drained, and halved

1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced, (purple is pretty, but white is okay too:))

1 cucumber, diced

1 jar Mezzetta pitted black olives, halved

up to 2 cups of whatever leftover vegetables you happen to have.( Bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, or mushrooms are especially tasty, or you can add more cucumber or tomatoes)

Basil vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Cook pasta according to package directions, using the lesser amount of cooking time. While pasta cooks, prepare dressing and set aside. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add chickpeas and spinach and toss so that the hot pasta wilts the spinach.  Add remaining ingredients and toss well until evenly coated in dressing. Can be served warm, but is best chilled in the fridge overnight and served cold. Makes about 8 main dish servings so it is an ideal make-ahead lunch. Makes 16-20 side dish servings and is a hit at barbecues!

Basil Vinaigrette

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 vegetable, peanut or extra light olive oil (you can use all EVOO, I’m just trying to save you some money, but either way, it tastes the same, I promise!)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (your favorite vinegar may be substituted)

zest and juice of 1 large lemon

1 bunch fresh sweet basil, washed and dried

1 tablespoon mustard (use your favorite, I use store-brand dijon)

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon each of sugar, salt and fresh ground pepper

     Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until emulsified and no large chunks remain. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups. Can be used as a dressing or marinade.

Ruckus Hummus!

You can’t be a lesbian without a good hummus recipe. Hummus is to lesbians what Slim Jims are to rednecks. In other words, hummus is lesbian ambrosia. No vegan potluck is complete without hummus.

Today I’ll be sharing my classic-ish chickpea hummus recipe. I call it “classic-ish” because I do a few things differently. First, I don’t use tahini. Although tahini is very nutritious, it is also expensive and doesn’t add much flavor. I use EVOO, (extra virgin olive oil) instead. Also, I add a baked sweet potato for color, texture, and nutrition. Foods high in vitamin C (such as sweet potatoes)  help your body absorb the iron naturally present in plant foods. Vegans tend to be short on iron. I also add turmeric, which doesn’t add much flavor, but is an inexpensive source of powerful antioxidants (and it adds beautiful color).

I always start with dried beans for 2 reasons: 1) Dried beans cost 1/3 of what canned beans cost, 2) They just taste better!

You may notice that my recipes call for a lot of garlic. I am a garlic lover but no one has ever complained that my hummus is too garlicky. I encourage you to try it with the amounts called for and see how you like it. And yes FRESH garlic is required! Not jarred, minced garlic, not garlic powder (shudders), but REAL garlic.

Same goes for FRESH lemons and limes and FRESHLY cracked black pepper. This is one instance where crack is NOT wack! You can purchase whole peppercorns in the spice aisle and a pepper grinder at most kitchen supply shops. Readers in the Richmond VA area, I highly recommend The Compleat Gourmet in Carytown. They have sold me items I can’t live without, and they even have a kitty cat 🙂 Once you go crack(ed), you never go back!  Measuring pepper that you crack yourself can be tricky. I just guestimate. 4 grinds=about 1 t (teaspoon)

And now the recipe. This makes 16-20 servings, is perfect for parties, and freezes very well, just place desired amount to freeze in a glad-wear container, coat the top with EVOO and a sheet of plastic wrap, put the lid on and freeze. To thaw, let sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours.

Classic-ish hummus:

Ingredients

     To cook the chickpeas:

1lb dried chickpeas, soaked overnight then rinsed and drained

4-6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jalepeno, sliced (seeds left intact)

juice and zest of 1 large lemon

1 T (Tablespoon) kosher salt

1 T freshly cracked pepper

I like to cook my beans in a paella pan, but a large stock pot will do. Place all ingredients in paella pan or stock pot and cover with 2″ of cold water. Bring to a boil on high, then reduce heat to low and cook covered for 2 hours.

For the hummus:

1 large baked sweet potato*, peeled and cubed

1/4-1/2 C EVOO

1 jar roasted bell peppers (I like Mezzetta brand), NOT drained

1 C fresh basil leaves, packed

juice of 2 large lemons or limes**

1 jalepeno (sliced, seeds removed)

4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

1 T kosher salt

1 T freshly cracked pepper

1 T turmeric

Drain the chickpeas, reserving 1 C of the cooking liquid. Place chickpeas, reserved liquid, and ingredients listed above in a large bowl. Start with the lesser amount of EVOO, and mix with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. Add more EVOO as needed to achieve desired consistency. Serve with toasted pita chips and fresh vegetables. My favorites are cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, and bell pepper strips, but cauliflower, broccoli, raw sweet potato sticks, carrot sticks, celery sticks, squash slices and zucchini slices are also tasty:)

* To “bake” sweet potato, place whole sweet potato in microwave for 5-8 minutes until fork tender.

** Whenever I use citrus fruits in a recipe that doesn’t call for the zest, I grate them with a micro-plane, and allow the zest to dry overnight on a plate, then store in freezer bag for later use.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

-Nikki aka The Hummuscidal Maniac