Zen #5: Letting Go and Some Eggplant Falafel

I really wanted to call it “Baba Ganoush Falafel” but the lack of tahini in my kitchen makes this somewhat pointless. I think if you give foods exotic names, they taste better. Some strange psychological thing.

I actually made these a few days ago but didn’t feel like posting the recipe because I was too excited maiming the drunk cat on my birthday cake. Yes, there was a drunk cat and, yes, I will be putting pictures of said drunk cat on this blog as soon as my parents email them to me. Now, this was a very special cake (I spent six hours trying to find a place that would make it the day before I needed it so it better be special!). It was not only the first “non-dietized to the point of disgustingness” birthday cake I’ve cut (and consumed) in the past six or seven years, but also the most unique cake any of you have never tasted (yes, it’s supposed to be never).

This cake, which I spent half an hour ordering, was a variation on Whole Foods’ “berry custard cake” (or something). Instead of all normal cake, it had half regular vanilla cake and half angel food cake (soaked in pineapple juice…no, wait, orange…or pineapple?…ummmmm…), the “whipped cream frosting” on top was whipped with stevia instead of sugar, the custard, usually vanilla, was flavored orange (I think the cake was soaked in pineapple then), and all of it was adorned with a drunk cat holding a bottle in honor of my little kitty who couldn’t be there. Yes, this was the most unique cake Whole Foods has ever had the misery of writing down an order for. I would go into detail about the phone conversation I had with the guy, but I don’t think it needs to be any more painfully obvious how obsessed I was with having the perfect birthday cake.

You better believe I was going to eat this one.

I did realize something, though. The entire time I was there, whether I was stuffing my face with falafel and hummus from Anita’s Kitchen or stuffing my face with the poor dismembered icing-cat on my cake, I felt like something was off. Julie was there and my whole family was there and it should have been a really happy day, but it wasn’t. All I wanted to do the entire time was get up and run back to my apartment to give my little kitty a kiss.

And, then, amidst all the laughter and stuffing of faces, with custard still smeared on my face, it hit me. I didn’t belong here with these people. They weren’t the people I knew and loved anymore or, maybe, I wasn’t the person who knew and loved them. Somewhere, between the starving and the bingeing and the cutting and the pills and cat and dreams of changing the world, I had changed. I would always love those people because of my past, but I couldn’t force myself to be who I’m not anymore just to stay among people who value image as much as my family does.

"Falafel" and (sadly) store-bought hummus

"Falafel" and (sadly) store-bought hummus

Falafel (sort of)

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • roasted garlic
  • tahini would be great if you’ve got it
  • cumin (if you want)
  • salt and pepper
  • flour (all I had was oat but anything can be used)

→Broil the eggplant until the skin is charred. The best way to do this is over an open fire (got a gas stove? me neither). If you don’t have a gas stove, you can broil it in the oven, but you’ll have to watch it carefully and turn it frequently. Mine didn’t really roast all the way through. You could bake it too, but that wouldn’t give the same flavor.
When the eggplant is soft all the way through, scoop out the pulp (or peel it) and put it in a bowl or container or something. Mash with a fork until creamy.
Add roasted garlic (I cheated and used roasted garlic out of a bottle, but if you’re at the store, buy some garlic and roast it!), cumin and salt and pepper to taste.
Add flour, a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is thick enough that you can form patties.
Bake, fry, pan fry, whatever.

NOTE: choose an eggplant that is heavy for its size and use promptly to prevent a bitter taste.


2 responses to “Zen #5: Letting Go and Some Eggplant Falafel

  1. jord January 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    “For the first time in the entire day, I didn’t feel like crying because I knew, deep down, that I didn’t HAVE to stay. I don’t HAVE to let the image-obsessed world I grew up in push me to the point of death. I don’t HAVE to be thin to be good. I don’t HAVE to wear tight jeans and jewelry wherever I go. There has to be somewhere in the world that values the unique”

    I’ll drink to that

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