Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Falafel Night!

Sunday night is often Dave's night to cook. Not only is it nice to have a break from being the family cook, but I can always count on Dave to try something new. Dave, unlike me, is good at following an actual recipe, and I can count on him to research his dinner idea with his typically meticulous attention. So when he decided to give Falafel a try a few weeks ago, I was psyched. Unfortunately, it didn't really come out the way he had hoped. The falafel tasted good, but in the frying up process, many of them fell apart. And despite his best efforts, he couldn't quite get the temperature of the oil right. Bottom line, it wasn't the best falafel ever. Welcome to the world of home-cooking, hon!

So when Dave offered to cook again this Sunday, I encouraged him to climb back up on that falafel horse. (Sorry for that horribly strained metaphor.) This time he used a recipe from Fresh, a new cookbook I bought recently - which is a great source for vegan and vegetarian recipes. This time he was completely successful. These little patties were amazing. Flavorful, tender and just the right consistency. They fried up perfectly.

Here is the recipe. We played a little fast and loose with the amounts for the herbs. And we didn't have any mint, so we just left it out. You don't need to be especially precise to make good falafel.

-In a food processor combine: 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup mint, 1/2 cup parsley. Transfer to a large bowl.
-Put 3 1/2- 4 cups of cooked chickpeas in the food processor. Blend until chopped but don't puree. You want the mixture to be coarse.
-Add chickpeas to bowl with herbs and add: 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup flour (the recipe called for spelt flour but we just used whole wheat), 1/3 cup finely diced onion, 4 tbsp tahini (you could substitute peanut butter, I suspect), 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp coriander
-Mix it all together and then use hands to form small patties.
-You can fry them or bake them right away of refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
-If you are frying, use a heavy skillet and about 1/4 cup oil. If baking, set oven to 350 and cook for about 20 min. We tried both methods and thought they were equally yummy.

We served them with fresh made pita, lettuce, cucumbers and tahini dressing. The kids weren't that into the falafel, so we substituted hummus for them. A super-healthy Sunday dinner. They made fabulous leftovers on Monday, too.

Thanks, Dave, for conquering your falafel fears and making us a wonderful meal. You rock!

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