You Win Some, You Lose Some

Super quick post before I head to catch some zzzzzzs.

So, I feel like whenever I post a new recipe, in my review I rave and rave about how good it was. Delicious. Mouth-watering. Yummy. Makes my tummy happy. Stuff like that. But, I have mess-ups too. I’m human. I swear. When I was in 8th grade, my friend Danielle and I used to make up recipes all the time. I remember we had a roaring success with some muffin-like things with graham cracker bases and apples and stuff in the middle. Memory-where are you? However, the ultimate disaster was when we tried to make cookies out of stuff in my cabinet including peanut butter and whipped egg whites that were only half whipped cause my arm got tired. We ended up with pancakeish floppy cookies that totally spread in the oven and didn’t taste good one bit. (Mom-do you remember this? I think you made fun of us.) Therefore, you know know I’m not perfect-I am susceptible to kitchen disasters.

Last night, I had, not really a disaster, but not by any means something that was near success. I decided I wanted to make some pan-seared falafel-y cake things. I don’t know where I got the idea but it’s been floating in my head for a long time. In hindsight, I should have let it float a little longer to flush out the idea more. So, here’s what I did.

I combined 1 cup of chickpeas with about 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro, 1/6 cup of finely chopped parsley, about 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of the garlic breadcrumbs that I had leftover from the cassoulet, salt, pepper and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I smushed it all together with a potato masher and that’s where I hit my problem. I was hoping that the mixture would come together pretty easily and it didn’t. It was very very dry and crumbly. I did snag a little bite and it tasted fine. But, I had no idea what to add that would make it come together and emulsify the combo (besides eggs, which I didn’t have and didn’t want to use in the first place).

So, I was just going to try my best and attempt to make patties out of the mixture. I tried-I tried so hard. I pressed and pressed handfuls of the mashed ingredients together-and it took a LOT of major man power to get it to resemble even the slightest patty. After lots of work, before cooking, I ended up with 5 kinda falling apart falafel patties. I put 3 in a non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil and hoped for the best. 2 basically fell mostly apart right away and 1 stayed intact. When I flipped them, I lost all hope for the 2 falling apart ones and the other was ok. Same thing happened with the last 2. 1 stayed ok (but fell apart when I put it on my plate) and the other turned into something that looked like a tofu scramble.

Here’s the best looking one:

And here’s the rest:

This is not what I was going for! It looks really similar to the tofu scramble I made a few weeks ago, eh? I was hoping for fairly solid patties that held up their shape and looked like little pancakes. Ugh. I still ate it all, cause that’s how I roll. The scraps (cause, really, that’s what it was, in the end) tasted quite good, very much on the dry side, but good. So, I think I have the flavor part down. I just need a binder. Something to pull it together.

Ok everyone-I need your help again! Any suggestions for a binder? I want to keep it vegan so no eggs or dairy or pig fat please. Thoughts??? Muchisimas gracias!


11 Responses to “You Win Some, You Lose Some”

  1. 1 VeggieGirl April 17, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Oh no! Sorry about the recipe disaster – but hey, we all experience them!! No worries!! Besides, EVERYTHING you make always sounds enticing to me :0)

    For a binder: what about vita wheat gluten, or even flax?

    Get some rest, and have a wonderful Thursday evening!

  2. 2 Betsy April 17, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I was thinking about using VWG cause I know that’s whats used in the chickpea cutlets from v’con. It’s a definite possibility!

  3. 3 Romina April 17, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I’m sorry it didn’t turn out as you wanted. =( But I agree with VeggieGirl… Vital Wheat Gluten will work like a charm!

  4. 4 K April 17, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    i use flour since it’s what i usually have on hand; you could also use potato starch.

  5. 5 Alice (in Veganland) April 18, 2008 at 12:15 am

    I’m thinking chickpea flour… When you mix it with water, it has actually a consistency similar to egg, so it could work, and chickpeas with chickpeas? sounds good to me!
    We all have disasters or non-successes in the kitchen. Half of the times, things don’t look like I expected! But even a half-success tastes better than processed food!

  6. 6 Lisa from CA April 18, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Maybe flour, even a combination of flour and something like tahini? I think vital wheat gluten would work best, but if were looking for something wheat free, maybe chickpea flour and some liquid and oil…?

    Part of the fun of a food blog is recording the unsuccessful stories, I’d say! Let us know if you ever make this again! Did you ever figure out the kale chips? (I made mine too salty and burnt them too… I have a VERY old oven.)

  7. 7 RhodeyGirl April 18, 2008 at 7:51 am


    use about 1-2 tbs and that should be enough.. it is really runny and a little goes a long way.. plus it will add a lot of flavor!

  8. 8 trustmyintuition April 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Vital Wheat Gluten 🙂

  9. 9 ChocolateCoveredVegan April 18, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Eh, it all gets broken down in your tummy anyways– it still looks great to me.

    I have no ideas for you, and I’m sure other people have already given you ideas… but when you do perfect the recipe, I’d love to know what worked as a binder, as it sounds like a delicious recipe :o).

  10. 10 arielle April 18, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    ooh, I agree with the tahini suggestion. I was stumped prior to reading that.

  11. 11 Betsy April 18, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    i think i’m going to try the vital wheat gluten and the chickpea flour.

    i don’t like tahini {crawls into a corner and hides from humiliation}. I think i’m the only person ever who doesn’t like tahini.

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