Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

Chickpea Spanakopitas

Unit 15: Legumes gave a bit more knowledge on how to best cook beans, different options on timing of cooking and how it will affect the final dish, and timing of adding other elements to the beans such as the fact that acid should only be added to the beans at the end of the cooking process or you prolong the cooking time significantly. Who knew? Not me! But my favorite part of this unit had to be the graded assignment which gave me an opportunity to show two creative ways of using one legume–of my choiceeven (think Snagglepuss from 70s Saturday cartoons)! More…

The more you eat, the more you *mute*
The more you*mute*, the better you feel
So we have beans at every meal!

Sorry, but I could not get that out of my head during Unit 15: Legumes. And I now have gifted it to you. You’re welcome!

As for me, I was given a bit more knowledge on how to best cook beans, different options on timing of cooking and how it will affect the final dish, and timing of adding other elements to the beans such as the fact that acid should only be added to the beans at the end of the cooking process or you prolong the cooking time significantly. Who knew? Not me! But my favorite part of this unit had to be the graded assignment which gave me an opportunity to show two creative ways of using one legume–of my choiceeven (think Snagglepuss from 70s Saturday cartoons)!

I chose to make cheeseless spanakopitas as my first legume dish. I used onion, garlic, and green onions along with a pinch of salt in my mirepoix, sweating until soft. To that, I added spinach which I pulsed in my food processor to create a fine chop. I chose to do this rather that cooking as I did not want the added moisture and thought it would be interesting to try. I mixed the spinach into the mirepoix. I then pulsed the chickpeas in the food processor into small chunks. I then added the chickpeas as well as some fresh parsley, fresh dill, salt, and pepper to the mixture. I stirred and tasted. I added a bit more salt. I then added an egg and stirred to complete the filling. The filo dough had been out thawing for a couple of hours and was ready to receive the filling. I cut the filo dough in half, storing one under a damp cloth and unrolling the other. I pulled two sheets out at a time and brushed with butter, and then added a tablespoon of the filling. From there, I folded by triangles much like you would a flag. I repeated this process with the remaining dough and baked for about 25 minutes in a 350-degree oven. I ended up with a lot more filling then filo dough, so I am planning on buying some lasagna sheets and making something later in the week.

Chickpea Spanakopitas

The final dish was amazing! The filo shell was tender yet crisp with a savory filling that was not overly heavy. I could taste the spinach but it was mellow and the chickpeas added a nice pop every so often as I bit into the triangle. And the pieces of more ground up chickpea added a slight nuttiness to the dish. I served the spanakopitas with the cashew white sauce that I had on hand with some Hungarian paprika dusted on top as a dip. It actually came together rather nicely.

I chose to make chocolate chickpea cake as my second legume dish. I used chickpeas, eggs, dark chocolate, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, butter, coconut oil, salt, and baking powder and a dusting of powdered sugar to create this fudgy flourless cake. I pureed the chickpeas with the eggs until smooth at which time I added all the rest of the ingredients except the powdered sugar and blended until completely smooth. I greased a 9″ round cake pan and dusted with powdered sugar and then poured the mixture into the pan. I baked for almost an hour; testing for doneness starting at 45 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter. Once done, I let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before flipping onto a cooling rack. I then let cool another 10 minutes before flipping back onto a plate. I then dusted with powdered sugar. I then cut the cake while still warm, added some berries, and two small scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.

Chocolate Chickpea Cake

The final dish had the most interesting texture. It was actually light yet rich. It tasted decadent, but not heavy. Normally, flourless chocolate cakes are dense, but this cake somehow pulled off being moist and chocolaty without being too thick. The flavor was slightly sweet. On its own, it could have used a bit more sweetness, but with the addition of the ice cream and berries, was actually spot on. The contrast of the cold ice cream and warm cake was comforting and almost familiar. And to get about 10 grams of fiber per piece was just icing on the cake!

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