Twice lucky; a good start to 2013

January 6, 2013

Which, of course, I am beginning in the same fashion as I ended 2012; juggling, procrastinating, doing what has to be done first, and devil take the hindmost.

With some carrots and hummus, it made a fine, if non-traditional, New Year's meal!

With some carrots and hummus, it made a fine, if non-traditional, New Year’s meal!

This was the meal with which I opened 2013. I am writing about it five days later, because, well, because I’ve been involved in more important things. Like holding babies. And driving home. And retrieving Lucy. And sleeping in my very own bed. And now I am contemplating this disaster area which purports to be a house, and thinking about the week I have upcoming, and wondering when I may ever find time to get done all I have left undone.

Yep, not much different about this year than last.

Except a hellacious good way to fix your black-eyed peas for New Year’s. Or most any other time.

These little critters are black-eyed pea falafel. And they were just pretty exceptional. I served them with the vegan equivalent of my black-eyed pea cassoulet that was a prize-winner on the Food 52 contest board recently. I figured if the double dip gins me up twice the luck I managed to snare in 2012, it’ll be well worth the effort.

Here’s the recipe for the falafel, a last-minute “Huh! I think I’ll try that!) from the Commercial Appeal’s food section the day after Christmas.

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 1½ teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15½-ounce can black-eyed peas
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • — Chopped scallions, to garnish

 In a medium skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, reduce the heat to moderately low, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until it has softened. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic, the cumin, coriander and the cayenne. Cook for 1 minute, then transfer to a medium bowl.

 Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas. Pulse them in the food processor fitted with the chopping blade just until they are coarsely chopped. Remove ½cup of the chopped black-eyed peas and add to the onion mixture.

 To the remaining black-eyed peas in the processor, add the egg, tahini and salt. Process until very finely ground, then stir them into the onion mixture. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the spicy aioli. In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, remaining ½ teaspoon of garlic and the hot sauce. Set aside.

 Once the black-eyed pea mixture has chilled, shape it into 18 patties (the mixture will be loose). Spread out the panko in a pie plate lined with waxed paper or parchment paper, then one at a time dip the patties into it to coat on all sides, lifting the paper on both sides to move them around. Shake off any excess.

 In a large nonresistant skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil until hot. Working in batches, add the falafel patties and cook until crisp and golden on one side. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and turn the patties; cook for 3 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

 To serve, arrange the falafel patties on a platter and top each with aioli and a sprinkle of scallion.

I passed on the spicy mayo, because my kids don’t keep the stuff on hand and I didn’t feel like making any. Likewise, I passed on the scallion, because they didn’t have one. I used dried peas, which I soaked for about 2 hours and cooked for 20 minutes in salted water. And I used my go-to GF bread crumbs, i.e., Rice Chex cereal crumbed in the FoPro.

I told my mostly-vegan son-in-law that there was one egg amongst the 12 falafel patties. I guess he thought he could tolerate half an egg, as he ate six of ’em.

The cassoulet, should you have missed the recipe when I think I blogged it before, is here. In a nod to veganism, particularly since I was making red beans and rice with about two pounds of meat for the next day (Child B’s birthday, and her most-favoritest food ever), I passed on the sausage and used sauteed mushrooms instead. It would’ve been OK with smoked paprika, but I didn’t bring mine and she didn’t have any, and it was cold and wet and rainy. I used regular. As a result, the taste wasn’t what I wanted it to be; it was almost more of a marinara sauce over black-eyed peas type stuff. But it wasn’t bad.

Today I think I’m going to bestir myself to clean up a few things around the house, and make me some potato salad. Some comfort food before taking on what promises to be a hellacious week next week sounds attractive.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em enjoy the New Year and the football and the basketball and all that good stuff.


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