Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Falafel and Yogurt Sauce

Today was a blah day at work.  All day I kept thinking, how is it only Tuesday??  I think two weeks in a row of 4-day work weeks completely spoiled me.  But I was determined not to let the entire day be a bust.  So what does someone like me do for a pick-me-up?  Well, other than pouring a nice cold glass of wine immediately upon getting home, I cook.  Days like today are when I like to get creative in the kitchen.  I may refer to a recipe or two for inspiration, but when it comes down to it, I just wing it.  Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes it ends up in the trash and I have a bowl of popcorn for dinner!  Thankfully today I got lucky….

I’ve always wanted to make falafel, but the thought of deep frying something has never really appealed to me.  I try to be as health conscious as possible - and by the way, it’s bathing suit season people!!  When I get a craving though, I have to satisfy it.  So I decided I’d make falafel patties and fry them in a pan like burgers rather than immersing them.  I used a mixture of canola and olive oils, just a few tablespoons of each, just barely coating the bottom of the pan.  I would have preferred to use all olive oil, but the smoke point is higher for canola oil and these patties needed a good sear.

Now – if you know me, you know I am slightly moderately totally obsessed with yogurt!  And every good falafel has a delicious yogurt sauce accompanying it, right?  Done.  I mixed up a quick sauce of Greek yogurt, chopped parsley, grated cucumber, garlic, salt and pepper.  Just taste it as you go and season accordingly.  If you don’t want to take the time to make this, you could always use some hummus or tahini instead.

I opted to skip the pita or wrap today (again, images of myself on the beach flashing before my eyes…) and just have the falafel with some mixed greens and a deliciously ripe Roma tomato.

Anxiously awaiting the star of the show....

It wasn’t the “best falafel in the world” that I had in Paris last year (seriously, this place had a bouncer for the line and everything!), but a couple bites of this meal, a few sips of the wine, the fact that I got to be creative and use one of my favorite appliances – my food processor – and today was looking up!

 To make the falafel, combine the following:

1 15-16oz can chick peas
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic
½ medium red onion, large dice
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
– ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp flour

Amounts are estimates; I really did just throw everything in the processor and puree it.  You are looking for the consistency of a thick paste.  If it’s too thick, add a drizzle of olive oil.  If it looks too loose, add a little more flour.

Form the paste into patties about the size of your palm and about ¼ - ½ inch thick.  If you make them any bigger they may fall apart as you cook them.  On medium heat, fry them in oil until dark golden brown, then flip and repeat.  Drain on paper towel when done and enjoy while hot.

Dinner is served!