Baked Falafel

I love falafels because of my dad. He instilled a love of ethnic foods in all of us. My first falafel memory is an amazing falafel sandwich at a little mom and pop restaurant with my dad. Now when I have the chance to visit home again, my dad and I enjoy sharing conversation over a falafel lunch.

Traditional falafels are fried which makes them crunchy on the outside (and oh so delicious!). This baked version is much more tender, but the flavor is fantastic. My husband and I enjoyed these falafels piled on top of pita with veggies and homemade hummus.

Baked Falafel

BAKED FALAFEL
(from Parents Need to Eat Too)
Print This Recipe

1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp flour or rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
Mixture of salad veggies (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mushroom, bell pepper)
Pitas
Hummus, tzatziki, tahini

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Set racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Grease or line 2 baking sheets.

In a food processor combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley or cilantro, spices, flour, baking powder, half of the lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until well combined but mixture is still relatively coarse, you don’t want a puree.

Using your hands or a small cookie scoop, shape the mixture into 18-24 balls (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Arrange on the baking sheets and flatten each slightly. Brush the tops with 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, then turn patties (rotating trays); bake for another 10-12 minutes. The patties are tender so be careful when turning.

Toss the salad veggies with the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the falafels with veggies, pita, and hummus (or tzatziki or tahini).

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The Salad Bowl: Marinated Mushroom Pasta Salad

Not long ago I woke up on a Wednesday morning and had no idea what I’d be bringing for my lunch that day. I picked a few ingredients from my pantry and voila, this pasta salad was born! I enjoyed my lunch and made another batch of this salad for the weekend.

This “recipe” is not so much specific quantities, but rather the ingredients, so tailor the seasonings to your tastes and pantry supplies. Feel free to add chopped onions or tomatoes. Make sure to add plenty of olive oil.

This is perfect for a summer picnic. To make this gluten-free, be sure to use brown rice pasta.

MARINATED MUSHROOM PASTA SALAD
Print This Recipe

Cooked corkscrew pasta
Jar of marinated Portobello mushrooms and red peppers
Can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Garlic and herb goat cheese, crumbled (feta cheese would be another good  option)
Olive oil
Splash or two of balsamic vinegar
Italian seasoning
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and toss to combine. Cool for an hour or two to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Off the Shelf: April Magazine Reviews

Bon Appetit (Stephanie): The advent of spring is celebrated throughout the pages of Bon Appetit with recipes highlighting ingredients like asparagus, radishes, peas, strawberries, leeks. After the long winter months, it’s such a pleasure to cook with fresh seasonal produce again. So many recipes sounded tempting: Garganelli with Asparagus, Artichokes, Favas, and Peas; Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Asparagus Radish, Arugula, and Red Onion Salad with Tangerines; Orange-Flower Pavlovas with Strawberries; Bacon and Leek Risotto with Poached Egg; Ginger-Pecan Scones. Doesn’t all of that sound springy and delicious?!

My pantry ingredients enticed me to make the Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs. I didn’t have the fresh parsley or basil on hand, so I did substitute 1/2 tsp of the dried herbs, though I’m certain fresh would have been better. Still, this made a nutritious, delicious, inexpensive lunch. I served it on a bed of shredded romaine. This will definitely become a standby recipe.

CHICKPEA SALAD WITH LEMON, PARMESAN, AND FRESH HERBS
Bon Appetit, April 2011
Print This Recipe

1 15- to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, chopped fresh basil, chopped Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season chickpea salad to taste with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

DO AHEAD Chickpea salad can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.


Everyday Food (Stephanie): Every couple of months I get my hands on an issue of Everyday Food, and while I’m not wowed by every page, there are always several recipes that pique my interest. In this issue I did find recipes I hope to try sometime: Sauteed Collards with Bacon; Raspberry Cornmeal Crumble Bars; Shredded Chicken with Kale and Lentils; Mushroom Risotto with Spring Herbs. Overall though, I felt like a Celebration of Spring theme seemed rather absent (other than the Easter Dinner menu: Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze; Salt and Pepper Rolls; Asparagus and Green Beans with Chili-Orange Oil; Balsamic Red Onions; Simple Lemon Cake). I would have enjoyed more lightened-up, spring produce featuring recipes.
We don’t eat much cereal in our house, but I love a bowl of granola now and then. So, I decided to try two variations of granola recipes: Pistachio-Apricot Granola and Cherry-Lime Granola. Both were quite tasty! (Though I didn’t have enough of the lime zest, so the lime flavor didn’t come through as strong as I would have liked.) I make my granola with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, so my husband can enjoy the bounty as well. These recipes are a little on the pricey-side as the nuts and dried fruits can be expensive, but it’s fun to experiment with different flavors. The basic quantities are endlessly adaptable to your pocketbook and palate.
PISTACHIO-APRICOT GRANOLA
Everyday Food, April 2011
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 3/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup dried apricots, diced medium
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios. In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, cardamom, and salt over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (Or, place ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes; stir until combined.)
Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and toss until oats and nuts are completely coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until oats are lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely; stir in apricots. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 weeks.)
CHERRY-LIME GRANOLA
Everyday Food, April 2011
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup agave nectar or honey
1 packed Tablespoon fresh lime zest, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup dried tart cherries
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios. In a small saucepan, combine butter, agave, lime zest, lime juice, and salt over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes. (Or, place ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes; stir until combined.)
Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and toss until oats and nuts are completely coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
Bake until oats are lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool completely; stir in apricots. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 weeks.)
Saveur (Alaina): This is consistently a great magazine full of information and great recipes. They nearly always include international recipes which I really like.
Sandwiches was the tantalizing theme of this month’s issue. You may recall, that I am crazy about sandwiches. So, of course, I had to feature this magazine in the review. I made two of the over 40 sandwich recipes. It was a little hard to narrow it down! They were quite different but both were popular with my crew.
The first was the Elena Cruz – yes, I partly chose it because it shares my name and also because it sounded delicious – it was. The second was the California. Yum. I made it as written and then after I tried it that way and loved it, I added some bacon and loved it even more. Sigh. Sandwich Nirvana. There are so many more to try…
CALIFORNIA SANDWICH
Saveur, April 2011
Print This Recipe
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices multigrain sandwich bread
2 slices Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 ripe tomato, cored and thinly sliced
Whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, chives, parsley, and garlic and onion powders in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and spread on all bread slices. Place 1 slice cheese each on 2 slices of bread and top with sprouts, avocado, and tomato. Season with salt and pepper, and cover with remaining 2 slices of bread.
Makes 2 sandwiches (You will have extra sauce, which would be delicious as a salad dressing.)

ELENA RUZ (Cuban Turkey Tea Sandwich)
Saveur, April 2011
Print This Recipe
1 Cuban roll or brioche bun
2 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. strawberry jam
3 oz. sliced turkey breast
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Split roll, spread cream cheese on bottom half, and top with turkey. Spread jam on top half of roll and close sandwich. Heat butter in a 10″ skillet over medium heat; cook sandwich, weighing down with a cast-iron skillet and turning once, until golden brown and heated through, 3–4 minutes. Cut in half, and serve hot.

Off the Shelf: January Magazines

Here are our January magazine reviews! Also this is the last day to enter our calendar giveaway!

EVERYDAY FOOD (Alaina) – This issue is packed full of recipes. It includes several “light” recipes heading into the new year with health and diet resolutions. It also features a great section with citrus recipes. I especially think the Fresh Orange and Yogurt Tart looks wonderful. They also have a nice section on stir-fry!

I decided to try the Chickpea Curry – it’s vegetarian. My older kids thought it was a little too spicy but the youngest really liked it. It has an international flavor and is definitely curry. It was quick and easy to put together. You can serve this by itself or over couscous or rice. I like the addition of the lemon wedge – I squeezed it over right before eating and it added some freshness but was not over-powering.

QUICK CHICKPEA CURRY
(Everyday Food, January/February 2010)

1 Tb. olive oil
1 lg. yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb. curry powder
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
ground cloves
2 cans (15-oz. each) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
3 Tb. ketchup
coarse salt and ground pepper
chopped cilantro and lemon wedges (opt.), for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown around edges about 6 minutes. Add garlic, curry, cinnamon, and pinch of cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add chickpeas, ketchup, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2 c. water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high (I removed the cinnamon stick at this time); cook until sauce is lightly reduced, 5 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro, with lemon wedges along-side if desired.

COOKING LIGHT (Alaina) – This issue features quite a number of seafood recipes but it also include a variety of other proteins and main dishes. There are several soups and several vegetarian recipes.

The cover boasts superfast comfort foods and tips for eating healthier in 2010. The photos are (as always!) beautiful and inspiring. The Upside-Down Fudge-Almond Tart looked delicious and I really would like to try the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese. I tried the Carrot Cake Pancakes and they did not disappoint. They were quite good topped with the suggested honey butter and even though it doesn’t keep it quite as light, we added a bit of pure maple syrup drizzled on top. Yum!

CARROT CAKE PANCAKES
(Cooking Light, Januray 2010)

5.6 oz. flour (about 1 1/4 c.)
1/4 c. choppe walnuts, toasted (I didn’t have walnuts so I subbed pecans)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of ground ginger
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk
1 Tb. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. carrot, finely grated (about 1 lb.)

Cooking Spray
3 Tb. butter, softened
2 Tb. honey

Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs); add sugar mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist. Fold in carrots.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (I used my electric griddle). Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter by 1/4 c. into mounds in skillet, spreading with a spatula. Cook for 2 min. or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over and cook 1 min. or until borroms are lightly browned. Repeat until all batter is gone.

Combine buter and honey in a small bowl and serve with pancakes. Yields 12 pancakes (about 6 servings)

FOOD NETWORK (Alaina) – Perhaps the best feature of the January issue is the 50 dips pull-out. They have quite the variety of dips for your next party including several hummus recipes, aiolis, and southwest dips.

I thought their cupcake recipes looked divine. The White Chili With Quick-Roasted Garlic sounded good and as did the Bourbon Praline Cake, the Truffles, and the Hot Wings with Blue Cheese-Yogurt Sauce. If you are hosting a super-bowl party or any kind or party this would be a great issue for you!

I must mention that the section on Fast-Food Fix was quite disappointing to me. It seemed that it would be equivalent, healthy recipes – instead it used drive-through sandwiches and fillings to make different dishes. Not my cup of tea and far too many pages were devoted to it (four). Hopefully they will leave fast-food at the drive-through and come up with some creative alternatives in the future.

BON APPETIT (Heather) – This is Bon Appetit’s “review of the year” issue. In it you will find the dish of the year, cuisine of the year, ingredient of the year, party of the year, desserts of the year, and getaway of the year.

In the “fast, easy, fresh” section you will find a scrumptious looking Chocolate Nut Tart with Dried Fruit, Pork Tenderloin with Pears and Shallots, and Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage to name a few. Fennel is their ingredient of focus this month, with four recipes to try, including the Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs which I tried and loved.

The rest of the magazine is devoted to large and beautiful articles on each of the “of the year” topics, including numerous recipes, complete with gorgeous pictures.

SPICY SPAGHETTI WITH FENNEL AND HERBS
(Bon Appetit, January 2010)
Print this recipe

3 ounces pancetta (or regular bacon)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
2 large red jalapeno chiles, seeded, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup) — I omitted these for our family
2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, cut into thin wedges with some core attached (I used one)
1 1/2 c. low-salt chicken broth
4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
1 pound spaghetti
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c. finely grated Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided

Saute pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until pancetta is golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to drippings in skillet. Add garlic and chiles; saute over medium heat 1 minute. Add fennel; cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Mix in broth, 2 Tbsp. parsley, lemon juice, and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is very tender, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until tender; drain. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Uncover skillet with fennel mixture and return to high heat. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add fennel to pasta. Stir in 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 c. cheese, and pancetta. Add cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Toss pasta; transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. parsley over. Serve with cheese.

NOTE: Since most of my family does not like very spicy, I omitted the jalapeno chiles and substituted most of the grated Pecorino Romano with 1 c. grated pepper jack cheese. I then just garnished the top of the spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan. The dish was delicious!

MARTHA STEWART LIVING (Heather) – I don’t often consider reviewing MS Living for this blog because it is more than just a food magazine and often its recipes are a little “over the top.” However, I was delighted to find a number of recipes in this issue which sounded very good and didn’t look that complicated. The first set of recipes comes under the title Dinner in No Time Flat and is a collection of three main dishes based on paillards (pieces of meat that are pounded thin) cooked in a saute pan and finished with a sauce made in the very same pan. Included in the article are Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce, Pork with Sour Cream-Paprika Sauce, and Veal with Mushroom, Mustard, and Sherry Sauce (for which I may substitute chicken). Cooking paillards in a saute pan is one of my favorite, easy dinners and I can’t wait to try these new versions!

Later on in the magazine there is a whole article devoted to chicken soup, with four options pictured just calling my name to be made. Recipes include Basic Chicken Soup, Thai Chicken Soup, Colombian Chicken Soup, and Spicy Indian Chicken Soup. Immediately following is a helpful article on Fresh Thinking: Organic, Local, Seasonal, meant to help you out when you go to the grocery store. The article includes The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen — foods with the lowest pesticide residue and foods with the highest pesticide residue. Of course there are other recipes and articles, including a focus on cabbage, and a menu featuring a hearty winter-vegetable soup with popovers. Yum!

MARY JANES FARM (Heather) – I also wanted to mention a magazine that has just come to my attention this week. Mary Janes Farm dubs itself “the everyday organic lifestyle magazine”. Sort of a Country Living for those interested in organic, simple, and seasonal. It includes a large section on food (this issue includes a great mini-section on an organic, gluten-free valentine’s day), as well as sections on gardening, community, quilting & stitching/crafting, city and town “farming”, and natural home care. Next time you are by a magazine stand, you’ll have to have a look!