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Making (and Fixing) Mistakes

May 13, 2010

I don’t often make up my own recipes. I’m not quite there when it comes to cooking. As much as I would like to experiment, the number of hours in a day and bills in my wallet stop me from doing so, plus Z would spend many nights going hungry or eating cheese on toast. And no, I don’t count mixing different vegetables in a frittata, adding a new protein to a stir fry, or finding a new combo of nut butter and fruit in oatmeal creating a recipe, though new wonderful food combinations are always welcome in my book.

Even as a recipe follower things don’t always turn out right. Most of the time its not the author’s fault, by my lack of timing skills.  Not believing whether something is “done yet” continuously leads me to, while not disasters, food that is on the less desirable side of the spectrum. Having cooked from recipes on an almost nightly basis for six months I am beginning to think it is not the recipe that leads me down the road to mushy zucchini, but that as a novice cook I should be doing things slightly differently so the steps are more separate than part of a kitchen flow I haven’t quite achieved.

Tonight’s dish I have been dying to make, from one of my favorite blogs 101 Cookbooks. Heidi’s meals are always so rustic, and it doesn’t help that her photography makes my stomach grumble very loudly at work, usually while the head of our department is walking by. He probably thinks I am starving. But I’d like to see anyone control their stomach talking while reading Heidi’s blog.

The meal did not turn out as I expected; while it was good it wasn’t “good Lord that is amazing” like Heidi’s pictures. Completely my fault. Chickpeas were over cooked, leeks under done, and what could have been a glorious meal was lost to my distraction of dancing around the kitchen to Timbaland. (Kid you not.) So here I will recount this undoubtedly delicious recipe, but with the changes I would make next time around, so that I can make it turn out the way Heidi’s obviously did.

Warm Chickpea, Leek, and Tofu Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pat them completely dry

3 chopped leeks

1 medium clove of garlic, minced

Zest of one lemon

1/3 cup + 2 spoonfuls plain yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup of loosely packed fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt and pepper

(This is where I would change the order for the newbie cook) Saute the leeks in the olive oil until they are cooked and slightly caramelized. Then add the chickpeas and tofu and cook until heated through. At the last minute stir in the garlic and the lemon zest. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Make the yogurt dressing by combining the 1/2 cup yogurt, curry powder, cumin, lemon juice, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Whisk the warm water.

Toss the chickpea mixture with the parsley and the chopped red onion. Add about 1/2 of the yogurt dressing and toss again. If you like more dressing, keep adding until it suites your taste. Serve over shredded lettuce, topped with a dollop of plain yogurt.

I am actually looking forward to trying this again, using my new noviced-up recipe. Though I do have to say, I haven’t had leeks in ages and boy they are good! Until we meet again, Warm Chickpea, Leek, and Tofu Salad. Until we meet again.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2010 11:37 pm

    Anything, ANYTHING with chickpeas i’m willing to try, and will most likely love.

  2. May 14, 2010 7:44 am

    This looks really good even if some of it was over/undercooked. I love dancing around when I cook too! Lady Gaga is my fav 🙂

  3. May 14, 2010 2:16 pm

    Haha, I dance around the kitchen too 🙂

    We love chickpeas and always have them around – this looks so good and I know it will turn out perfectly next time!

  4. May 14, 2010 2:26 pm

    hehe, timing is definitely a hard thing to get down, especially when you haven’t read the recipe fully (that’s my go-to mistake!). sounds delicious though, and i love heidi’s recipes!

  5. May 14, 2010 4:40 pm

    I’m right there with you that I’m a recipe follower but still mess things up…usually because of timing. I need a recipe to hold my hand every step of the way.

  6. May 14, 2010 9:22 pm

    I swear, im a high raw vegan b/c cooking things of vastly diff textures like beans and greens..is a recipe for somethng to be over/under done. Hey, the pics look great 🙂

  7. May 15, 2010 1:29 pm

    Sorry that it turned out overcooked but it looks really delicious to me! And don’t feel bad because I rarely wing it and have things turn out well. I think it takes a really long time to develop that skill!

  8. May 16, 2010 10:58 am

    I am not a recipe follower! When I see a recipe my brain immediately starts cranking out ideas to change it. Sometimes with success and sometimes not. The salad sounds like a good one – I love chickpeas and everything else that’s in it!

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