Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm More "Moron" Than "Moroccan"

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a quiet family gathering with just one extra setting at the table, making prep very calm and relaxing. Perhaps that was the reason I decided to go against the grain.

You know how they say to never never never try a new recipe on a big day? Well, I am so stupid awesomely confident that I was sure only good things (versus complete and total failure) were in store for me. Ahem.

Well, hello there, Complete and Total Failure! Fancy seeing you here. How are your kids:  Embarrassment and Egg-on-Face?

I cooked several new recipes for this year's table, and I'll blog about each individually, but I figured I'd get the worst result out into the open first thing. It was our main course. I know, I know.

I need to say right up front that I'm sure it wasn't the recipe. It was me. I know where and when I went wrong,  and I'll point it out. 

From Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan!

Moroccan Chickpea Patties served with Ginger Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4-5 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 1/2- 3 Tbsp tamari
1-1 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir to mix well.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 medium clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil (for puree)
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp sesame seeds 
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil (for frying)

In a skillet over med heat, heat the oil. Add the fennel, salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for another 5 mins. Remove from heat. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas with the garlic, vinegar, olive oil, ginger, salt, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon and puree until the mixture becomes smooth (scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed). If still a little chunky, add a touch more oil or water and puree again until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the fennel/red pepper mixture and green onions. Stir through to combine well. If you have the time, refrigerate for at least an hour (the mixture will firm up and be easier to shape). Mix the breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, and sea salt and pour onto a plate. Take a mound of the chickpea mixture (roughly 1/3 cup) and form patties, then dip both sides in the breadcrumb mixture. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and fry the patties for about 7-9 minutes on each side, until lightly browned (flip only once or twice). 

And here's where I went wrong:  I added just a tad too much of each of the liquid ingredients (rather than a scant amount I let the measuring spoons overflow a bit) and then, even though the mixture in the food processor seemed quite smooth I went ahead and added additional oil anyway. I don't know why, because she mentioned it, I guess. And then, because I'd mismanaged my time (we were less than an hour from dinner time) I was not able to leave the mixture in the fridge for an hour as recommended but only about 10 minutes. 

The result? I was trying to form, coat, and fry patties out of a chickpea & fennel mixture the consistency of really soupy mashed potatoes. REALLY soupy mashed potatoes. It didn't work well. Nevertheless, I fried up the mush as best I could and served them at our table: in a heap of random fried pieces versus the golden browned patties I had been imagining. They looked, well, they looked gross. But they tasted good (if you could manage to scoop them up onto your fork). And the dipping sauce (which, of course, became a pour-over-the-food sauce since the "patties" weren't about to be dipped into anything) was very tasty.  I will attempt this recipe again on another day, being careful to measure correctly and leaving myself enough time for the mixture to firm up in the refrigerator.

Lesson learned. I will not try and cook a new recipe--at least not for our main course!--on a holiday ever again. (Wait... is my husband's birthday considered a holiday?)

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