You may or may not be aware of the fact that there is a contest happening today. I'm not a very competitive person. In fact, I usually
run away fast shy away from competition. It's just part of my nature. This time, however, when I discovered this contest, I got pretty excited.
Basically, Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen, got the idea to do a virtual vegan version of the Food Network's show, "Chopped." I'm sure that all of you have not been living under a rock as I have, and do not need twin eleven year-olds to fill you in on the details, but as Maxwell and Sophia have explained to me, "Chopped" is a show where several cooks are presented with 4 super-random ingredients that they have to incorporate into a dish. As one could imagine, things get pretty crazy and some pretty amazing (but usually never vegan) dishes are prepared. How fabulous is Isa's idea to do a vegan version? How could I not get excited?
To get the full list of rules, you can go here, but basically, we were given 4 ingredients to prepare an entree with in about 40 minutes. The ingredients we were given were blackberries, bittersweet chocolate, mint, and canned black-eyed peas. After much deliberation and brainstorming, I came up with my concept. I did my shopping and got to work, and it came together more quickly and easily than I had envisioned. Before I knew it, the meal was plated and Chris was getting out his camera.
I couldn't be more pleased with my creation: Black-Eyed Pea Mole Cakes with Blackberry Mint Salsa. It looked absolutely gorgeous, especially the blackberry mint salsa (I'm not ashamed to admit that once we were done with dinner, I ate the rest of the salsa straight-up. It was that good. I'll be making that quite a bit this summer!). Chris and I both muttered expletives while injesting our meal, and Chris always says "if a meal forces you to swear, you know it's f%#$ing good." I never would have thought that I would eat those four ingredients in the same bite, but it was one of the finest meals I've made in awhile. Without much further ado (insert drumroll here), here is my submission to Post Punk Kitchen's Chopped Vegan Contest!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 mild green chile (from can), chopped
- 1 date, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili pepper (or regular pepper)
- 1/8 cup semi-sweet dark vegan chocolate
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 14.5 oz. can black-eyed peas
- ¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
- ¾ cup water
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon mole sauce
- oil spray
- 2 cups fresh blackberries, halved
- ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped into thin strips
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make your salsa first. In a bowl, combine your halved blackberries, mint and balsamic vinegar. Place in the refrigerator.
- In a medium bowl, mash the black-eyed peas. Set aside.
- On the stovetop, combine the water and quinoa in a pot and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover again. Once the water is absorbed and the quinoa has sprouted its “little tails,” remove from heat.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the sauce. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the date, almonds, tahini, and tomato paste. Pulse a few times to combine. Scrape the sides and add the vegetable broth and the seasonings (minus the salt and pepper). Process until smooth.
- In a small pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and sauté until it begins to sizzle. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato and chile and mix to combine. Sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add the sauce mixture from the food processor, stir to combine, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for about 5 minutes, until sauce has thickened and condensed to about half (you don’t want a thin mole sauce because it won’t hold the cakes together. The thicker, the better). If you have an immersion blender, use that to puree the sauce until it is almost smooth (there should still be some small chunks in it). If you don’t, just return the sauce to a food processor and pulse about 10-12 times, then return to the pot. Turn the heat to low, and add the chocolate chips and mix to combine. Once the chocolate is completely melted and combined, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Add the quinoa and the mole sauce (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) to the bowl of mashed black-eyed peas. Stir to fully combine. There will be leftover mole sauce that will be used later for serving. Cover with a lid to keep warm.
- I used a double-burner griddle, but a large frying pan would work just as well. Spray the pan with oil, or add a tiny bit of oil to grease the pan. Heat over medium heat.
- I used a biscuit cutter to form the patties, but you could use a ½ cup measuring cup and pack it half full with the mixture to make the patties. Once you make the patty, place it on the griddle pan. Since I used the double-burner, I was able to brown the sides of all the patties at one time. Cook them for about 3-4 minutes on each side, and place on the baking sheet.
- Once all the patties are on the baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and serve with a spoonful of the leftover mole sauce and topped with the blackberry mint salsa. Enjoy!
Thank you very much, Post Punk Kitchen for presenting this challenge! I had so much fun with it and it really helped me get in touch with my competitive side. If you'll excuse me now, I have an arm-wrestling match with my dog to get to.
Photography by Chris Miller
GOOD LUCK..as soon as I saw the title I knew it was for her competition, a few of the blogs I get emails from has black eyed peas blackberry...
Oh, I'm sure! There are so many awesome entries out there- I'm excited to see the results of the contest! 🙂
Congrats on runner up!!!
Theres left over quinoa too right
I so should've tried to make this friday night...exhausted...but I had black eyed peas...but not reading directions right I put chocolate before supposed to ...added too much quinoa lol epic what was I thinking
Oh but it was still good lol mole was awesome
I made subs blueberry since hubby just ate the blackberries...Thai basil since I don't like mint lol mine just weren't near as pretty...but its taste right
I do things like that aaaaaalllllll the time- not reading the directions, skipping steps, etc. They're the best learning experiences, though. I like the salsa- blueberry thai basil! Yummm!
Looks gorgeous, sounds scrumptious! Good luck! 🙂
Thank you, Melissa! 🙂
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Wow I'm so intrigues by this dish! It looks so good, I am bookmarking it for sure, I just have to try it!
Good luck in the contest!! You deserve a win with this masterpiece!
You're so sweet, Gabby! Thank you! 🙂
Thank you, Jenn!
Oh, so elegant and sophisticated! Looks like an winning dish to me... Love the fearless combination of sweet berries and bright, herbaceous mint in a savory dish. It's unconventional, but I can imagine how it would work.
Awww! Thanks, Hannah! Thank you for stopping by! 🙂
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
my oh my that blackberry salsa sounds so bright, and refreshing! YUMMMMMM!!! and your photos always blow me away with how beautiful they are! kudos!
Thank you! The salsa was my favorite part! I hope you had a great weekend, Caralyn! 🙂
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack!
Looks super delicious! You know what's hilarious? I did the same thing that you did with my leftover salsa, I just called it dessert. ;P It's funny how things like this can push you to be more creative and make some crazy things. Good luck to you in the contest! 😀
Thank you so much, Jackie! I wish I stopped at the leftover salsa as dessert. I had a whole mess of blackberries that didn't make it into the salsa that ended up atop some vanilla soy ice cream (Blackberries never last more than a day in our house). 🙂 I wish you luck as well- your enchiladas are fantastic!
Craig @ Inspired Eats
Great entry, your plating looks very elegant!
Thank you, Craig! I had a lot of fun plating these guys! 🙂
i had never watched chopped either:) and i get too nervous with deadlines and competitions.. finally got my entry in today!
love the saucy cakes and the blackberry salsa!
Thank ya! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has never seen the show! We don't watch TV in our house (we don't even have cable), and I was the same as you- I tried to watch a bit online, but so grossed out by all of the dead animals. I just relied on the what the twins told me. 🙂
I was just browsing the fabulous entries for this competition on the PPK facebook page and came across yours. Sounds like a winning dish to me. I'm excited to try it 🙂
P.S I'll be subscribing to your blog!
Awwww, Emma! You're so sweet! Thank you! I'm glad you like the dish (and the blog)! 🙂
wow, girl, this looks phenomenal! this is a dish i will absolutely be making asap. you're gonna win, i can feel it 😉
Thank you, Caitlin! I hope you enjoy the cakes- they are so good! Who knew chocolate and black-eyed peas would be a good match?!?! 🙂
So beautiful!!! I hope you win! It sounds marvelous. Those were not easy ingredients to make into an entree. I love the idea of a blackberry and mint salsa. I thought the challenge sounded like loads of fun, but I didn't have time to pull anything together this round. Maybe she'll do it again!
Thanks, Cadry! The ingredients were not easy, but wow! They certainly tasted delicious together! I would love for her to do another challenge- it's so great to see how many different vegan creations can come from it! 🙂
Oh my gosh - you are so freakin' amazing! These look so incredible Kristy - a total WINNER!!!! You had me at Blackberry Salsa- the Black-Eyed Pea Mole Cakes are just a bonus!
I can't wait to hear how you do in the competition - but I am convinced you are going to win!
Thank you, Heather! The salsa was pretty fantastic! 🙂
An amazingly innovative recipe 🙂 Good luck with the contest. This one's a sure thing btw... though I'm sure you know it 😉
Thank you, Averil!
You have officially entered the world of rock star vegan! Do we get to vote? xoxo
Can that be my title? Like, on business cards and such? Kristy Turner, Rock Star Vegan. It has a charming ring to it! 🙂 Thank you!
No votes- bummer! The winner is announced today, I think. We'll see! xoxo
Yes, it's your new moniker. Own it. Checking to see winners!!!
Boo for the salmon dish, it was lame in comparison to yours. I did see however that you were the numero uno Runner up! Great Job!!! You're the winner in my book!
Thank you, Somer! If I'm going to be a winner in anyone's book, I'm proud for it to be in yours! 🙂 The Salmon dish was incredibly inventive and no body did anything else similar. I totally understand why she won- it sounded pretty yummy!
See, vegan rock star, all kind and deferential to the salmon dish with not nearly as good as Chris' photos. Hehe.
These are a few of my faaaaaa-vorite things (yes sings like the Sound of Music)!!!!!!! Happy day to my favorite blogster, and thank you for the hearty laugh, splendid creation and dinner plan for tomorrow. What a marvelous combo! I AM a chopped watcher btw... You would have had this one in the bag. Beautiful!
Happy day to my sweetest reader! I'm so glad you like the recipe, Jennifer! Hope dinner goes well! 🙂
Sarina @ Earthgiven
So creative! And gorgeous photos. You deserve to win, good luck!
Thank you, Sarina!
You did an awesome job with those ingredients! I personally love watching Chopped and still hope that one day they will do an all vegan episode. Good luck!
I also wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! http://thecrueltyfreereview.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/on-lovely-blog-award/
You are so sweet, Reia! Thank you for the kind words, and for the award! I am quite honored!
Genius I say! You definitely qualify to move on to the dessert round hehe. I'm glad you didn't shy away from this challenge, the result looks good!
Thank you, thank you! I'm looking forward to the dessert round- hope you'll join me! 🙂
Susmitha - Veganosaurus
This is so very creative! Totally looks like a meal one would have at a fine dining restaurant. 🙂
Awww! Thank you, Susmitha!
CJ at Food Stories
Wow ... an online chopped episode ... that's way cool 🙂
I know! Isa at PPK is amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Wow, I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to make these! All of the components sounds amazing on their own. I can only imagine how incredible they would be brought all together. Awesome post! 🙂
Thank you! The ingredients really did blend well to make an elegant and delicious dish. Sooo good!
Would this also be good on a burger bun, or some other sort of wrapping, or would it detract from the flavors? I just love carbs so much, and this dish seems a tad light compared to my usual entrees, so my instinct is to add something bready and comforting 🙂
It would be great on a bun! 🙂