Month of July: “Purple Citrus Sweet Perfume” Recipe: Crimson Beet Falafel

“Friendship is never established as an understood relation. It is a miracle which requires constant proofs. It is an exercise of the purest imagination and of the rarest faith.” Henry David Thoreau

I started a 21 day on line meditation with Deepok Chopra centering on miraculous relationships. So last night, in the quiet of the evening, on day one, stopping and starting the audio, I wrote word for word his introduction. Here it is:

“By the common definition of miracles they are rare and supernatural occurences. But in reality the very existence of love is miraculous. Love is unpredictable even improbable from a rational and survival of the fittest point of view. But love not only exists, it is the basis of all human relationships. Miracle comes from the latin root miraculum, which means to behold with rapt attention. That’s exactly how love works. It involves our capacity to behold with rapt attention, to embrace another completely in our awareness.”

Beautiful, isn’t it? If only we could stay in this awareness! But we can’t. Well… I can’t. As I was making these falafels I was struggling with this recipe and was getting so tired. It was a challenge to both deep fry and retain the red color while ensuring they cooked thoroughly. A few got angrily tossed and wasted along the way.

I thought about love and how daunting it is at times. Love is miraculous, yes, but it is also so difficult. Love never goes smoothly, it comes to us with ups and so many downs, happiness and heartbreak, chaos and contentment, always two opposite sides of that one proverbial coin, the yin and the yang, light and shadow. For me, at this time in my life, I try harder to aim for the sweet spot. I look up, keep looking up, always hoping for high places but not without losing sight of my feet planted firmly on the ground. One with the other. That’s the deal.

Ingredients: 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 large onion finely chopped, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 3 medium beets, 3 tablespoons of chick peas, scant 1 cup milk, scant 1 cup chickpea flour, sea salt and pepper, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, vegetable oil for frying

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and saute onions with cumin and allspice for 3-4 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Cook the beets in plenty of water until 3/4 cooked, roughly 20 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and coarsely grate.
  3. In a medium nonstick pain, bring the milk to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Little by little, whisk in the chickpea flour until you have a smooth paste. Keep the mixture moving to avoid lumps. Season and then add remaining olive oil and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring all the time with a wood spoon. (this part was tricky) Like cream puff dough, as the mixture heats, it will come away from the pan and shape into a ball.
  4. Cool the paste and then mix in with onions, chickpeas, lemon juice and grated beets. Using your hands mold into gold ball sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. In a large saucepan pour 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 350F. Carefully place the falafel into the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown (this was tricky too). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

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