Inspiration strikes me in so many different ways – I could be walking through a farmer’s market and spy something utterly seductive, and I know am going to play with it. I have been overseas, and encountered an unknown fruit or vegetable then I hear it whispering to me, telling me what needs to be done. Of course, every client is a source of ideas for everyone has their own particulars and I love to figure how to work within them. Then there are nocturnal visions. I am not one who has vivid dreams working out the daily crisis during what should be a time of rest – I rest. But I will say, many a recipe or germ of a recipe has occurred while I slept. More amazing to me is that I wake fully conscience the idea and I can carry the memory for days before I actually get down to work. It has always been a sign that I am in the profession I was meant to be in for no math problem was ever solved, by me, either when I was awake, or dead to the world.
Not all ideas are prompted by the high and esoteric. I obsessed recently about a container of yogurt -- we had a house of full of guests a few weeks back, and in an effort to be inviting I bought morning food. For me, that usually means 3 cups of steaming motor oil edged with a splash of soy milk. But I know not everyone can handle my daily java jolt, and I realize people actually wake up hungry where I wake up ready to satisfy hunger. The eggs became a frittata and the blueberry bread quickly disappeared but that container of yogurt remained, and a week later I was still staring at it. I thought I would whip a batch or two of flatbread; they freeze well and clients love them. I dawdled clearly I was not inspired. Then night fell and an adjunct to the usually bread bloomed during a REM cycle. The next morning I got down to making patties.
Chicken Patties – yields 8
2-cups non-fat yogurt (not Greek-style)
2-cups chickpea flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
2-cups all-purpose flour
In a large work bowl mix the yogurt, chickpea flour, baking powder, salt and 1-cup all-purpose flour until it forms a sticky dough mass.
Place the remaining 1-cup of all-purpose flour on a clean work surface, and knead the dough mass for 5 minutes incorporating the flour. The dough should be slightly tacky to the feel. Put in the dough in a work bowl, and cover with a clean towel. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
¼-cup tamarind paste
¼-cup coconut vinegar
1-whole boneless and skinless chicken breast
1-teaspoon turmeric powder
2-whole black cardamom
1-tablespoon coriander seed
½-teaspoon cumin seed
1-teaspoon whitepoppy seed
½-teaspoon celery seed
½-teaspoon mace blades
1-medium onion – chopped
3-garlic cloves – minced
¼” piece ginger – minced
1-tablespoon coconut oil
2-cups chopped greens (such as Swiss chard, spinach, mustard)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼-cup olive oil
To make the filling soak the tamarind in the vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes and then push through a fine sieve to collect the seeds and any fibrous debris. Coat the chicken with the tamarind/vinegar paste, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees and cook the chicken breast for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow the chicken to cool. Then shred the chicken and reserve in a work bowl.
In a spice grinder pulverize the turmeric, cardamom, coriander, cumin, poppy seeds, celery seeds and mace.
Heat an 8-inch sauté pan over a high flame, and add the coconut oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Low to a simmer, and allow the mixture to caramelize – stirring occasionally (should take about 20 minutes). Once the mixture has browned stir the pulverized spice mixture, chopped greens, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and the greens have started to wilt. Stir in the raisins and remove from the heat allowing the onion mixture to cool completely. Combine with the chicken, and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and on a clean work surface roll each piece into approximately a 6 to 7 inch circle. If the dough is sticking to the work surface lightly oil the area – avoid using any flour.
Place an eighth of the filling mixture in the center of each circle and fold in half to create a crescent shape. Crimp the edges with the tinges of a fork. If your patties are prefect and don’t have any “tears” create a vent hole with a small knife.
Place the patties on a lined baking tray. At this point, you can hold the patties in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.
Pre-heat the oven to 475-degrees. Brush each pattie with olive oil and cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.