Friday, March 24, 2017

Jamie's Diet Food: Sweet-potato chickpea patties with sriracha-yogurt sauce

Growing up, little hellion tomboy that I was, I did not expect that I would spend any time, let alone multiple hours a week, on a website* frequented by housewives and mommy bloggers. But I really like Pinterest. I spend a not-insignificant amount of time looking at pictures of color palettes, seasonal decorating ideas, cute pet pictures, and cilantro-lime-avocado-quinoa-whole 30-paleo-vegan-friendly-gluten-free-anti-inflammatory recipes. Seriously, all the recipes are like that. Somewhere, there is a random generator with all of those (search engine optimized) words that spits out ridiculous recipes.

There's a class of food and mommy bloggers out there (mostly on Pinterest) that have blogs that all look exactly the same: they're all on white backgrounds with an Instagram-worthy picture in the right-hand column and a cute, quippy "about me" section. They all have beautiful food photography that they've done themselves. They all write several paragraphs of backstory (which I scroll past) about the recipe that they're showcasing, interspersed with these well-lit, well-arranged, composed pictures of food. And almost all of these blogs are written in the exact same voice; I wonder if this is an SEO-approved way of writing, or if it's because they've all learned how to write from each other.

Good on them for having a blog and trying to make money off of it, but if you enjoy snarking at such creatures, you'll probably enjoy watching The Katering Show on YouTube. Hilarious.

I have no well-composed pictures of my dinner (and if you've made it this far, you're already through the backstory part), but I do have this recipe from The Kitchn that I tried a few weeks ago and really enjoyed. That link has a relatively short amount of backstory and only two well-composed food pictures; and it's from an online "magazine," rather than an individual's food blog. There is still an Instagram-worthy picture of the author, though.

Enough of that. Here's the recipe, adapted slightly from The Kitchn's version:

For the patties:
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces)
1/2 medium yellow onion
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon fine salt

For the yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce

1/8 teaspoon fine salt

Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans (did you know cicero is Latin for chickpea?). Do not use a potato masher to mash them; it will take forever. Instead, dump the beans into a food processor, along with the onion, grated sweet potato (you could probably just chop it in the food processor before adding the beans, because grating a sweet potato takes forever, too), breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, and cilantro. Pulse the food processor until you have a fairly uniform paste. The original recipe also calls for cumin and smoked paprika, which I forgot to add; the patties tasted fine without it, but I'm sure they would be even better if I'd remembered to season them.

I pan-fried these on a non-stick skillet with no oil to keep the calories down. Next time, I'll try baking them in the oven. These are very fragile, so go slowly and carefully or you'll end up with hash. Scoop out a quarter of a cup of the paste, pack it into a tight ball with your hands, then squish it down into a patty shape. Carefully lay it in a skillet on medium heat. The patty will change color as it cooks, from orange to a yellow the color of curry powder. Cook the patty until that color change has gone more than halfway up the side of the patty (should take 3-5 minutes) then CAREFULLY flip to cook the other side. The patty should be golden brown, not dark brown or black; if you get dark brown or black, turn the heat down on your skillet. This recipe made 9 patties for me.

The sauce is easy: mix everything together. We had these like falafel patties, with flatbread (homemade, thank you very much), sauteed cabbage, pickled onions, and the sauce on top.

We got a computer, 26.8 k modem, and AOL when I was 8 or 9 (before that, we had a Commodore 64). The connection was so slow that the only sites we could consistently access were AOL message boards and fan sites. Do you know which ones I spent my time on? Star Trek and Babylon 5. I was a really cool kid.