I have expensive tastes.
In pretty much everything, from shoes to handbags to unlined notebooks.
But it is in the culinary realm, being more affordable for my wallet, that I actually get to indulge those expensive tastes. Little things can make such a difference: a hunk of real cheddar cheese (imported from England) or a wedge of Pecorino; French butter (makes breakfast luxurious!); real, all-fruit jam; sushi; ah, friends, the list goes on and on.
Gourmet meals are all well and good when they don't put a pinch on one's budget, but with the dollar fluctuating like a teenager's emotional state and future prospects hovering on grim, I've been paring back my little treats. Now is a good a time as any to figure out what to do with all those dried beans sitting in my freezer.
So today's recipe is thanks to a bit of forward thinking on my part. I actually SOAKED chickpeas the other day, which makes cooking them up a breeze, just about 15 minutes in the pressure cooker. I mashed the cooked beans up with some garlic, salt and olive oil before remembering that I don't really like hummus all that much. Soooo...experimentation time! I added some pepper, oregano, and cumin, along with shredded carrot, zucchini and cheese (Parmesan and some generic white cheese) and a handful of cracker crumbs. It tasted pretty decent by that point, so I patted them into rough burger shapes and pan-fried in olive oil.
Now, I know. Veggie burgers have nothing on real burgers. But price, health and speed-wise, they win hands down. These have a really soft texture, because they're based off a chickpea paste. The next time, I think I'll add more cheese, because as it fries, the cheese creates a crunchy crust as it melts onto the pan. And that has to be one of my favorite comfort tastes of all time...
So there you go. Recipe number one for a wallet-friendly lunch as you watch your stocks crater. Go ahead. Indulge.