Geeky Greek

In college I was a philosophy geek. Now, I miss that part of myself sometimes. At Bates every senior has to write a thesis to complete their major. Being the philosophy loving geek that I was, I chose to write a year-long honors thesis on “Beauty, Experience, and Morality.” That year I spent hours and hours tucked away in my little single room delving deeper and deeper into this topic than I ever thought possible. I loved it, but sometimes I drove myself crazy. Luckily, in the moments when I just couldn’t think about philosophy any more, there was a neighbor across the hall to have tea with. Grif and I became friends sharing cups of tea in the middle of the day and in the middle of the night, between thesis writing meltdowns and extraneous biology class homework assignments. Since he moved to the city this fall we’ve been happily sharing tea again, and now that we have our own kitchens we can serve more than just tea.

Recently I made a dinner for Grif that was inspired by The Philosopher’s Kitchen by Francine Segan. (It seemed appropriate somehow.) It’s a lovely book; full of careful historical research on food in relation to ancient Greek philosophers. I chose to follow a recipe for Crisp Chickpea Wedges that had been adapted from Galen, a “second-century physician whose writings influenced medicine throughout the Renaissance.” The recipe calls for chickpea flour, but I could only find a chickpea and fava flour blend, so I used that instead. I adapted the recipe a bit to make the end result more like a fritter than a cracker. I also concocted a dipping sauce out of yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, salt, chopped fresh dill, and cumin, which complimented the fritter’s flavor perfectly and helped to solve the issue of the fritters being a bit dry. Along with the fritters I served a roasted pork tenderloin which I had stuffed with a puree of capers, walnuts, and wine-soaked prunes, and a chunky Greek salad of cucumber, olives, red peppers, tomatoes, and lots of chopped fresh dill. Grif contributed a bottle of Fat Bastard Shiraz which was an excellent companion to our feast and philosophical musings…

Chickpea Fritters
serves 2-4

3/4 cup chickpea flour
1 1/2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/ tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk together the flour, stock, salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic in a bowl until smooth. Let sit for about half an hour.
Preheat oven to 500F.
Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
Add 2 Tbs of olive oil, the oregano, and the cheese to the chickpea mixture and stir.
Pour the mixture into the cake pan.
Bake until almost dry and golden, about 30 minutes.
Remove from cake pan and cut into wedges.
Pan fry the wedges in 1 Tbs olive oil until crispy, about 5 min.
Serve hot with a yogurt dipping sauce.