Gary’s Special


Gary talks a lot about Original Joe’s in San Jose. I remember going there when I lived in the Bay Area, late at night after performing in a show. They had huge plates of pasta, which was the best way to calm the post-performance adrenaline and get a good night’s sleep. Gary’s favorite dish from OJ’s used to be Joe’s Special which is a San Francisco specialty dating to the 1920’s made with spinach, eggs and ground beef. Gary put his talk into delicious action and made his version, vegan, of course, which I am certain is better than the original or any of the versions based on it.

For the Batter:
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
a dash of salt and pepper (optional)

For the vegan ground round or “chopped meat”:
1 package tempeh (8 ounces)
1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos, Soy Sauce or Tamari (optional)
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley (fresh)
1 clove minced garlic

Dark Leafy Greens Filling
1 package frozen spinach
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon organic canola oil for sautéing


In a bowl, crumble the tempeh and toss with parsley, garlic and Bragg Liquid Aminos, Soy Sauce or Tamari. Let marinade for several hours.
Preheat oven to 375oF. Spread the tempeh crumbles on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until desired browning is reached. (This may be done ahead of time and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
Sauté spinach, onions and seasoned tempeh.
Mix together the simple Socca batter: In a medium size bowl mix the chickpea flour and spices, if using. Whisk in the warm water and make a smooth batter. Set aside.
Joe's Special In Preparation
Transfer the spinach/onion/tempeh mix to a baking dish.
Pour the socca batter over it.
Bake it in a hot oven and in no time you have the final masterpiece: Gary’s Special can be served with creamy Béchamel and Spicy Tomato Sauce.

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