We have a kitchen kitten. Actually we have two kittens but one of them is a kitchen rat like me. Thabo Lama and Ziva Jane joined us the end of January, not even a month after our little Sophie passed away. I have to say, I don't remember the kitten stage very well, it has been 12 years since we had a pair kittens running amuck in the house. Needless to say, we are in love and we are tired. Ziva Jane has come into her own, almost a cat, healthy, sleek and already she has carved out her spot as Alpha cat. Thabo Lama on the other hand is beyond lovable, and thank goodness for that because he has been a challenge.
The little guy loves food and stakes out his position in the kitchen when ever I am cooking. The only problem, he doesn't love his food. No, left to his own devices Thabo Lama would sit at the table, in a chair and eat what we are eating. He clamors for any thing Tina is eating, grabbing bites of popcorn, peanut butter and banana bread literally right out of her mouth. He makes a bee line for her morning oatmeal and just today he was crying over a pan of braised chard and chickpeas. He is crazy for people food.
We have struggled, daily for the past month to get him to eat. You see he lost about 8 ounces after he arrived and really gave us a scare. We spent two weeks making trips to the vet three times a week, then another two weeks going twice a week. He even spent three full days at the vet, getting hand fed and monitored to see if something more serious was going on. We seem to be on the other side of the scare, he has gained back all he lost and then some but not without some vigilance. Sometimes I wish we could just feed him a human diet and I will admit, it is somewhat amusing to watch him clamor for the things we eat. However, kittens need an essential amino acid called taurine, without it they go blind and develop serious cardiac and neurological problems. We don't need a blind kitten with an enlarged heart having seizures around here. There isn't anything other than cat food that will give Thabo Lama enough taurine. He can't afford bites of oatmeal here and there, or anything else for that matter.
So no Chickpeas and Chard for Thabo Lama but I assure you these are good.
Chickpeas and Chard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, two sliced thin and two smashed
sea salt and ground pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, more to taste
2 teaspoons tomato paste
two bunches chard leaves
1 can chickpeas, liquid reserved or 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Heat olive oil in wide, deep skillet. Brown the sliced garlic. Add onions and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, till soft. Meanwhile, pound the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cilantro, parsley, and cumin to make a rough paste. When the onions are golden and soft, ad the paste to the pan along with the tomato paste and work it into the onions and garlic.
Slice the chard leaves off their stems and put them in a pot filled with boiling water. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, strain in a colander.
Add the chickpeas to the onions with their liquid, or a cup of chicken stock or vegetable stock, simmer about 10 minutes.