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imitation; inspiration.

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:03pm

Don’t forget to enter my Stonyfield giveaway!

In one of my creative writing courses in college, an assignment I particularly enjoyed was “rewriting” a short story we had read as a class.  Our task was to choose one element to imitate, then use it to develop a piece with our own voice.  Highlighting the work of another writer, whether it be as abstract as form or as specific as character, was an ideal way to hone my own craft while taking a cue from the masters.

I tend to apply this concept to all aspects of my life, and it certainly lends itself to my recipe-challenged cooking style.  I like to unleash my own creativity, with a nod to the experienced chefs thrown in.


A recent inspiration of mine has, of course, been the fall.  My autumnal pumpkin obsession has been resulting in a lot of savory brainstorming: there have been pumpkin pasta sauces and pumpkin curries, pumpkin polenta and pumpkin hummus.

That last one left me convinced that pumpkin and chickpeas should be united with much, much more frequency.  Hummus and curry were covered.  What next?  Falafel.


I love falafel.  In terms of flavor, I’m not really into most fried foods – I’d choose a baked sweet potato over one made into fries without a second thought.  But falafel?  It’s love.

I’d never attempt an imitation of the hot, tahini-dripping falafel pita that was my perfect reward after Israeli desert hikes.  There’s something to be said for treasuring local cuisine in its native environment – and leaving well enough alone when concerns such as healthy habits or lack of local ingredients interfere.


Plus, I don’t deep fry in my kitchen.  So while thoughts of falafel resulted in this meal, I won’t tarnish the traditional name by deeming this recipe such.  I’ll save real falafel for the roadside masters the next time I find myself in Tel Aviv – in the meantime, the memory served as excellent inspiration.

pumpkin chickpea cakes with yogurt tahini sauce

  • 1/2 c pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 c cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t evoo
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce (makes about a cup):

  • one individual container plain  Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t parsley
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t evoo
  • pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Combine all ingredients, except those for sauce, in food processor.  The mixture will resemble hummus.  Scoop onto greased baking sheet [I got 5 mini cakes out of this].  Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Whisk together ingredients for sauce.  Serve over pumpkin cakes.


This recipe is my entry into the Stonyfield Na-Moo-Ste Giveaway, which will send a randomly selected blogger to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts for one weekend.  [If you're a blogger and would like to enter, you can find more details on the  Stonyfield website.]  Sure, my chances are slim, but it never hurts to try – especially being that a yoga retreat is well, dream-worthy.

Regardless, I got to eat this delicious meal.  It didn’t resemble falafel in the slightest – more like baked hummus with a crispy exterior.  But that’s the beauty of inspiration – there’s no need for authenticity.  


What has inspired you lately? Besides fall and falafel, I’m feeling the love for this play  and this dress.  I need a good book!

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