Millet & chickpea kofta

Millet and chickpea kofta

Millet and chickpea kofta

Malcolm’s basketball coach told him that if he keeps his head in the game he’ll be unstoppable. “Keep your head in the game” is now my favorite phrase in conversations with myself. “Keep your head in the game, Claire, or you’ll never get two breakfasts and two lunches made by 7:30!” And Malcolm’s teacher said that with a little more focus he’ll be unstoppable. There it is, the “f” word. It all comes down to focus, it all converges at focus. Isaac has been advised that he needs to focus on his focus, as well. It’s a distracting world! There’s so much going on, so much to see and say and taste! How can anybody concentrate on just one thing? It’s all very well to tell somebody to keep their head in the game, but the game is so complicated! The game is so fast-moving and there are so many things going on at once! One is in danger of getting one’s head bonked, if one keeps it in the game for too long! I’ve always had trouble focussing, too, so that’s probably where the boys get it. I can’t concentrate on one thing very long, with my gnat-like span of attention. My life is strewn with half-read books, half-written novels, half-sung songs, and lots and lots of brilliant ideas that never amounted to much (you’ll have to take my word for it). It doesn’t feel good, and I would wish my boys more success in concentrating on one task until it’s completed. I wish for them the ability not just to focus narrowly on one thing, but to bring everything around them into focus. To adjust the lens through which they view the world so that everything is as bright and vivid and clear as they can make it. Malcolm has discovered the joy of focussing beams of light through a magnifying glass until he makes fire, and this is sort of how I can see him moving through life–focussing his light and energy to set the world on fire. (Safely, of course, as executed with focus’ good friend self-control!) And I hope they’ll be able to concentrate on everything that interests them in the sense that they’ll distill it and make it as pure and flavorful as possible, creatively speaking. Isaac is a rare child who can actually sit and concentrate on one project for a fair amount of time. He’s happy with his own company, singing and drawing or making something out of legos. From when he was very little, his whole face reflects his absorbtion–head on one side, tongue out like Charlie Brown. Here’s Isaac’s picture of a focussed face…
This is how I’m going to imagine myself, from now on, when I want to try to get something important done!!
Millet and chickpea kofta

Millet and chickpea kofta

I wonder if I like cooking because it’s a chance to finish a project – to see it through to its tasty completion. When you start to make a meal, you can’t stop till it’s done. You can’t give up halfway through because you get to a tedious part. If things aren’t going well you have to fix them, you can’t just set it aside for another time and then forget about it completely. And you have the promise of a good meal that you can eat and share as motivation to get it all done. Plus it’s fun! These croquettes were so simple to make. I combined leftover millet with chickpeas and grated cheese. I seasoned them fairly simply, with basil, cumin and lots of pepper. They turned out lovely–crispy and delicate outside and soft and flavorful inside. We ate them with spicy spinach cashew sauce and OOTOs (yeasted semolina flatbreads), as well as avocado and arugula. But you could eat them with pita bread or tortillas, and any sauce you like…tahini or tomato sauce or mustard or mayonaisse, or no sauce at all. Very versatile.

Here’s De La Soul with En Focus. Love this one!

1 1/2 cups cooked millet, cooked like this.
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, roasted or toasted
1 t cumin
1 t basil
1/2 t salt
1 t ground pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
juice of half a lime
1 egg
olive oil for the tray.

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the millet and chickpeas in a bowl and mash with a fork or a potato masher until the chickpeas are mostly smushed. A few big pieces of chickpea is fine. Mash the garlic clove and stir that in, too. Stir in the cumin, basil and cheese, and mix well. Stir in the egg and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

Coat a large baking tray with a thin layer of olive oil. Form the millet mixture into small balls, like flat pingpong balls, and put them on the tray.

Bake till they’re brown on the bottom, about fifteen minutes, and then bake till they’re brown on the other side, about another ten or fifteen minutes.

Serve with spicy spinach and cashew sauce, or the sauce of your choice.


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