Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 6: The Delicious Mistake

The main thing I love about cooking is the ingenuity and like science, it allows you to invent something new. Some inventors adapt recipes and make them their own (my main search engine for looking up recipes is Others use their learnt knowledge of different cultures to create new masterpieces. And then there are the mistakes that turn into unexpected successes that force you to just go with the flow. The point is that not everything turns out the way you had planned, but we have to accept our failures and remember the mistakes that may surprise you.

Among my research of the newest food trends, anyone who's a foodie has seen the abundant appearance of kale on restaurant menus, as well as fashionable healthy treats such as kale chips being sold at organic grocery stores such as Trader Joe's or Whole Foods; I like to call them designer grocery stores because of their obscene prices, but like haute couture, you get what you pay for...sometimes. :) Accordingly, I decided to try my own take on kale chips and Moroccan spiced chickpeas for some healthy side dishes/snacks. Well, after baking them for 35 minutes, I thought they needed about 20 minutes more...WELL, the chickpeas ended up being crunchy, spicy and delicious, but the kale chips were burnt so much that they crumbled like ashes in your mouth...not a complete failure because they still had some of the kale flavor versus burnt charcoal. Since I'm a poor student, I immediately thought, "Oh no, I just wasted half a bunch of kale!" However, all was not lost and I mended my error by doing the following:

Since I broke the blender, I noticed a small coffee grinder in my kitchen and thought, well if it grinds coffee beans, it'll grind baked chickpeas! Sure enough, it was a success. Crumbling the burnt kale into the mixture, I added the egg yolks left over from the Ricotta Mousse and voila, kale falafel patties with kale chickpea mash that I saved and added some canned salmon for a later treat! Here's the recipe if you're still intrigued:

Kale Falafel Patties with Moroccan Spiced Chicken
Makes 2-3 servings

1 can of chickpeas (I used Goya Brand--it's a little under 16 oz.)
enough fresh kale to fill a 12 quart mixing bowl--half a bunch let's say?
6 small chicken breasts (or 2-3 large breasts...chicken breasts that is.)
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime mix
2 tsp Parmesan cheese
3-4 egg yolks

Moroccan Spice Mix:
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ginger

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
3) Rince off kale and break into smaller pieces, discarding the stems
4) Drain chickpeas into a colander and really shake them till the liquid is completely gone.
5) In small mixing bowl, pour in olive oil and the Moroccan spice mix and stir.
6) Place chickpeas on one baking sheet and spread them out so none are on top of each other.
7) Pour 1/2 of the Moroccan oil onto the chickpeas and with hands, make sure they're coated (rinse off oily hands afterwards).
8) Place kale on the other baking sheet and spray Pam olive oil generously on top.
9) Shake Parmesan cheese over kale chips as well as the Mrs. Dash spice.
10) Place pans into oven on two different racks (I put the chickpeas on the lower rack--that may have been my first blunder, the second being the time obviously)
11) Bake for about 50-55 minutes.
12) Meanwhile, defrost chicken breasts in microwave on high for about 7 minutes and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour in the remaining Moroccan oil.
12) Remove chickpeas and kale from the oven and let them cool down a bit (5 minutes or so).
13) Once cooled, use a food processor (or the coffee grinder if you really want to improvise, haha, although cleaning that thing will be a bitch) to grind up chickpeas into a corse powdery consistency--or if you prefer your falafel to be softer, grind it to a finer consistency.
14) Pour into the small mixing bowl and combine with egg yolks until it starts to form clumps.
15) Clump together round patties.
16) Take out chicken from the refrigerator and pour oil from the bowl into a large skillet, heating it on a medium heat.
17) Once oil starts to boil, place chicken breasts into the pan and sautée for about 5 minutes, depending on the density of the breasts--basically until the chicken is mostly cooked when you slice them with a knife. Push them to one side of the skillet with a spatula and lower the heat a little.
18) Place falafel patties in the skillet on the other side and wait a few minutes, flip them over with the spatula and wait another few minutes until patties are crispy on both sides. Don't worry if they fall apart a little--you can mix that with the chicken breasts (and it all ends up in the same place in the end anyway, right?)
19) Arrange one patty on a plate along with 2 small chicken breasts or 1 large chicken breast. Serve immediately.

Enjoy and Bon Appetit! By the way, I lost about 3 lbs this week, yay! 17 lbs to go. My goal is Passover, a Jewish holiday that's around Easter time in April. Jews follow the lunar calendar though.  :)

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