Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lavash with a Vegan & Gluten-Free Dip...Do I Dare?

I’m not going to say how long it’s been since I’ve done a Daring Bakers challenge. I’m not going to explain how work/life/people/lack-of-decent-lighting/a-sauna-for-a-kitchen got in the way. All of us have busy lives, and yes, quite a few of us also have blisteringly hot kitchens, but that doesn’t stop them from (against all the odds) rolling out a laminated dough and whipping up multi-steps desserts.

They are my heroes and my inspiration – a kid (or a ravenous family) in one hand, a laptop and Blackberry in the other, a rolling pin and a spatula somewhere in between, and the checkbook’s on her (or his!) head. In stilettos (or those long, narrow man-shoes...I love those, boys!) or sneakers. The guys and gals of the Daring Bakers :)

They are the reason I am here doing this month’s challenge...because who wouldn’t want to be part of that fantastic bunch of people? Well, that and the fact that I love bread. And I know this challenge is not laminated nor is it dauntingly multi-step, but it’s a challenge even so, especially for someone like me: It’s vegan. And gluten-free.

The powers that be have blessed (cursed) me with the ability to eat anything that is not locked up in a vault. Animal, vegetable, mineral...I love it all! Vegetarian food has always been, to me, like some exotic cuisine...delicious to eat, a challenge to cook well, but not something I eat every day. Gluten-free is more a I am only just learning about it, so I still get confused what is and what’s not.

That being said I did have a point in my favor...remember my hot as a sauna kitchen? Perfect for anything yeasted and in need of proofing!

I followed the recipe for the Lavash as is, and you can find it at Natalie’s Gluten A Go Go or Shel’s Musings From the Fishbowl. These were the rules:

“You have so much freedom! You can make the Lavash Crackers either with all purpose wheat flour or you can try making them gluten free. You may use any variety of spices/seeds/salt to top the crackers. All dips/spreads/relishes/salsas must be vegan and gluten free.” I could use all purpose wheat flour...not gluten-free, but something that I’ve definitely got stashed in the pantry. I used sesame seeds to top the bread. For the rest of the steps, I followed the Gluten Free dough process because it worked better for me – you see, the gluten free version had you rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment (which is how I like to roll dough) instead of misting the counter with spray oil (which I find too messy). I didn’t get to roll my dough as thin as I’d wanted though, so my crackers were not as paper-thin and “snap-able” as I’d wished. They were not bad for an initial attempt however, and went well with the dip which we served to some friends we had over for dinner.

Oh! Didn’t I mention the dip? Part of the challenge was making a gluten-free, vegan dip to go with the lavash. Now this was more of a challenge for me because I was doing this from scratch – no friendly vegan/gluten-free recipe telling me if I was on the right track. So if something is amiss please let me know!

Chickpea and Roasted Capsicum Dip
  • 1 400-gram can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, de-seeded, roasted and peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baharat (an Arabic spice mix, there are many blends depending on country or region...use any you like or make your own), or to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil

- Drain chickpeas and set aside. You may want to save some of the chickpea water to thin out the dip if needed....though I didn’t.
- Roast the peppers and garlic. I cut them in quarters, remove all the seeds, and then lay them skin side up on a baking tray lined with parchment. Place the garlic cloves (remove most the outer peel but leave the last layers on) in a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, close foil over garlic to make a little pouch, and place on the baking tray with the peppers. Place in a 200C oven until the pepper’s skin is black and blistered in place. Take the peppers out, place in a bowl, and cover with cling wrap. Leave to cool slightly. Take your garlic our and poke with the tip of a knife to see if it’s soft. If it’s not, return to the oven to roast some more until soft. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, gently peel off skin (it will come off easily at this point) and set aside. When the garlic is soft, squeeze out of skins and set aside. This can both be done ahead of time.
- In a food processor place chickpeas, roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, parsley, lemon juice, baharat, salt and pepper, and pulse until chopped up finely and mixed thoroughly. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil (depends on your taste and how smooth or chunky you like the dip) and pulse again. Taste and adjust seasoning, and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. If it’s still too thick you can add some of the chickpea liquid, although I didn’t.
- Spread on a shallow bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve.

I loved the challenge of cooking vegan and gluten-free. A different challenge from the usual, but a challenge still...and one that gives us a little glimpse into the lives of our friends who enjoy different eating habits, which makes it even more meaningful and fun in my book :)

Note: In case you are wondering why there are only three crackers in the photo, it's because we finished pretty much everything the night before and it was too dark to take a picture then!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great job! Your Lavash Crackers look fabulous! I love your dip! Very tasty!



Aran said...

i went the gluten free route and what a great result. your crackers look crispy thin. great job!

Stella (Sweet Temptations) said...

Nice dish Joey, love the dip & crackers. It's a great combo of ingredients!

Chris said...

Great job! Love the dip.

Manggy said...

It's actually a little chilly today! Honestly I'd rather have it a lot less humid so I can make the breads kind of approximating what the authors had in mind, especially when it comes to kneading... Those doughs can be really wet in our climate!
You do dare! I'm so proud ;) I'm not much of a cracker person but lavash has been in my checklist of things to do... Probably since I *started* the blog, ha ha ha! Good work!

creampuff said...

Yaaayyyy! So glad you're back, Joey! I agree with you in terms of why this was such a captivating challenge. It was really interesting to try to make a dip and crackers that embody alternative baking. Your dip is GORGEOUS!

shellyfish said...

That dip sounds amazing! I'm so glad you liked the challenge!

rainbowbrown said...

This was a great challenge pick up, your crackers look delicious and so does that dip.

Alexa said...

Your crackers look perfect! And the dip... delicious.

jo said...

congrats on your challenge. i do like your dip recipe.

glamah16 said...

I did like you. I rooled the traditional dough the gluten free way. Way easier and cleaner. Welcome back. We all get busy, buts its nice when we have time to bake.

Angela said...

Your lavash look perfect and I love the dip you made. I'll have to dig out my bahrat blend and give it a go...

Foodie Froggy said...

Baeutiful ! Both the crackers and the dip !

Andrea said...

This was a fun challenge, and you did a great job. The lavash look perfectly browned and that dip looks fantastic!

FT3 said...

Hello. Long-time lurker, first time poster. New to the cooking and blogging thing but your blog's become one of my pegs. Just wanted to say - thanks.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Your lavash look great! I love the dip too. Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Hey, wow, that looks great. As for gluten-free, I would double check the spice mix for the dip. Sometimes you get wierd lurking things in it like MSG or "natural spices" that sometimes contain gluten products, likely not in an Arab mix, but you never know. That could foul it up! Gluten is in everything, ketchup, soya sauce etc because wheat is often used as additive. Drives the gluten free crazy!

cuisine by monsoon said...

hi there,
you did a great job. I love your pic too. Funny, we both opted for the same dip.:))

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rosa! Thanks much! :)

Hi Aran! Thank you! Next time I’ll have to try it with some gluten-free flour :)

Hi Stella! I love the mix of flavours in the dip :)

Thanks Chris!

Hi Manggy! I know what you mean about wet dough...I always have to watch it on the water! I have still got to get the right balance for my no-knead without it being so gummy. But I’ve started with Artisan Bread in 5 and so far so good :) Go do the lavash! It’s pretty inelegant nature can’t seem to get the dough rolled as thin as it should be though!

Hi Ivonne! Yes yes yes! So happy to be doing the challenges! And I totally agree about it being great to have had an alternative bakers’ challenge :) I really enjoyed it!

Hi Shellyfish! I did, I did! :) Really made me think about ingredients and what goes into making something gluten-free and vegan! Lovely challenge on many levels :)

Hi Rainbowbrown! Thank you! :)

Thanks Alexa! Not so perfect...I creased the dough so much while rolling them so they look like they have wrinkles...nyarf. Didn’t affect the taste though ;)

Thanks Jo! I enjoyed making it :)

Hi Glamah16! It’s good to be back :) Rolling the gluten free way was much simpler for me...and it’s really how I like to roll dough...especially considering how sticky dough can get in my humid climate!

Hi Angela! I love the flavour the baharat gives dips...I plan to try and mix my own one day :)

Hi Foodie Froggy! Thank you :)

Hi Andrea! Thanks! I agree, it was a really fun challenge :)

Hi FT3! Thanks for leaving a comment...and such a nice one at that :)

Hi Stickygooeycreamychewy! Thank you!

Hi Anonymous! Thanks for the heads up! I never even thought about the spices! My goodness, how vigilant you must be if avoiding gluten!

Hi Cuisine by Monsoon! Great minds think alike ;) I will go check it out now!

Chez US said...

Great job, the crackers look great and since you only had three left, they must have been fantastic. Your dip sounds great too, I will have to add it to my must cook list!

Suzana said...

I so wanted to have tried the gluten-free crackers... oh well, some other time. Beautiful lavash and what a yummy looking dip! Well done.

zlamushka said...

fantastic. love challenges in the kitchen. Dip with chickpeas and bell-peppers, yum.... if i was around, noit even those three crackers would be left ;-)
Joey, I hope you are participating this month´s T&T. We re cooking from Monsoon Spice. I have extended the deadline for another 10 days, so please, when you get a chance, I am sure you ll love Sia´s recipes.

white on rice couple said...

You make cooking vegan and gluten free look so easy. Love, Love, Love the photograph and the dish too!

Aparna said...

Really nice crackers and I love chickpea dips.
I can understand the no crackers to photograph syndrome.:)
Btw, I'm vegetarian and its not really exotic, well a lot of it is, maybe.:D

veron said...

Joey, your lavash looks fantastic. And that dip sounds delicious!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

And as it should be the Lavash is so wonderful with your dip. The chickpeas are always welcome especially with your wonderful spices.

Sarah said...

Yummy sounding dip! My lavash wasn't overly thin either, but I liked the chewiness of them. Great job!

JMom said...

hi jo, great job as usual and amazing photograph! I didn't know much about vegan or gluten free cooking, but I did enjoy this challenge a whole lot. I'll have to try out your dip next :)

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

This is really a mouth watering photo, I want! I haven't had lavash since I was in Israel.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Chez Us! Thanks! I wish I had gotten them thinner and flatter though, but oh well we enjoyed the dinner so all’s well that ends well :)

Hi Suzana! It was interesting...especially for the dip! Trying to figure a vegan and gluten-free dip was more challenging than I thought! You should definitely try it sometime :)

Hi Zlamushka! I will check it out! I love roasted red peppers and chickpeas too :)

Hi White or Rice Couple! Thank you :) It was a bit more challenging than I thought but I think the next times will be easier :)

Hi Aparna! Although I don’t think I could ever give up meat, I am learning to love vegetarian food...and I think the fact that it is so novel to me has a lot to do with it :) It’s literally like discovering a whole new cuisine! And all the vegan and vegetarian blogs out there, with gorgeous photos and delicious recipes, are just inspiring me further!

Hi Veron! Thank you :) I like how they came out :) (except for the wrinkles on the lavash...gotta be gentler next time)

Hi Tanna! I love chickpeas!!! Even the name is cute – like peas for chicks ;)

Hi Sarah! Thanks! Yeah...mine snapped in places, but wouldn’t snap in others...but that’s ok, I enjoyed them anyway :)

Hi Jmom! Thanks!!! I didn’t know much either but it was definitely a fun challenge!

Hi Ari! Thank you :) I wish I could visit Israel! I imagine the food to be great :)

Jude said...

mine thin enough as well but didn't mind the extra chewiness. It was good nonetheless, right?

Marketing Gurl said...

I love your blog!!

shellyfish said...

I got those dip recipes up on my blog! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jude! Yes it was :)

Hi Marketing Gurl! Thank you!

Hi Shelly! Yay!!! I’m going to check them out now :)

Bordeaux said...

Mmm, do you think you can send me some of that dip this way? The ingredients sound divine and the texture looks perfect!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Bordeaux! I wish I could! I really like anything with chickpeas...and roasted red pepper! :)

Eileen said...

Great post! Love your dip. I stayed away from DB myself this summer since my kitchen is also someplace you do not want to make a laminated dough in June.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Eileen! Thank you :) I know...gosh my kitchen is like that all year!

christine said...

Oohh la la, looks like another chickpea dip I'd love!! Can't get enough of those, mashed or not mashed! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! those chickpeas :)

Matt said...

Amazing :)

You have the most beautifully organised and well-taken photos I've seen, and your food writing is superb.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Matt! Thanks so much for such a sweet comment!