Remember Bob Ross, of The Joy of Painting fame? Remember his line "We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents." He would take blobs of paint and turn them into happy little trees or happy little clouds or what have you. You could probably go insane and dump an entire can of paint on a canvas, Joker-and-his-henchmen style, and Bob Ross would probably figure out a way to turn it into a happy little mountain scene. It sounds like I'm being cynical but actually I admire that very much, the ability to turn a mistake into something positive, the ability to just think of it as a happy accident.
And so it was that I decided to make vegan sour cream. I blended together a 300 gram package of soft tofu with 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and a pinch of salt. I whirred it all together, happily envisioning a big dollop on top of my quesadilla, mixing it with salsa as a dip for salty tortilla chips.
Then, I tasted it. And it was vile. It may have been one of the worst tasting things to ever have come out of my kitchen, or perhaps even to come out of any kitchen.
I scraped it into a container with the hope that allowing it to sit, refrigerated, would help matters. It did not. I let it sit for longer. It was unchanged in its vileness.
Later that day I was making soup. I sauteed mushrooms and onions, added the vegetable broth and some spices. I pureed it all together, but it was missing the creaminess that I love in a mushroom soup. Light bulb: would the vile vegan sour cream be less vile as a component of something better? I nervously stirred 1/4 cup of the concoction into my soup and...it was the best soup I had ever made.
Happy accidents indeed!
After the soup incident, I decided to madly add the gross simulated sour cream into anything that seemed to want a nice creamy texture. It turns out that it only wanted to be a part of something bigger, that horrible sour cream. It wasn't strong enough to stand alone but as part of a group, it shone. It elevated a simple soup into something creamy and decadent. I wondered what would happen if I added it to hummus.
Without telling my husband my diabolical plan, I prepared hummus in my usual way, but added 1/4 cup of my formerly-reviled-but-now-admired sour cream. I set it on the table along with pita and Greek salad, and vibrated with excitement. "Wow," he said. "This hummus is really good!" I smiled as I told him the secret ingredient was tofu! Tofu! He grimaced. "I wish you hadn't told me that." He took another giant scoop of the hummus. "I didn't need to know about the tofu."
Nicole's Yummus Hummus
1-19 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup vegan sour cream (recipe above)
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup pitted Kalamalta olives
In a food processor, whir together chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon, oil, and vegan sour cream. Add pepper to taste. When hummous is very smooth, add olives and pulse until olives are chunky. Serve with pita, vegetables, or as a protein-rich sandwich spread.