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Aug
30
2013

Foodie Friday: Falafel

Happy Friday Peeps!

Now bear with me today approving comments (and come on – leave me some feedback!) and it might be tomorrow evening before I approve them. Jerry, Ben and I are off to the big city for doctor appointments.

Today’s recipe is for Falafel.  I love love love falafel. And it is so easy to make gluten free.  I want to remind you of my favorite falafel recipe.  I posted this recipe a long time ago – three years ago I think.  Before I had to give up gluten. So to make gluten free just sub the flour for your favorite all purpose gluten free flour mix.  Some times changing a recipe to gluten free changes the texture and even the taste but happily not in this recipe.

Honestly, I used to love the boxed mix.  Homemade is always better but if you are short on time, and aren’t restricted from gluten, the boxed is a pretty good substitute for “the real thing”.   My favorite boxed brand is Casbah.  I think I have even seen gluten free mix but am not sure. If you have the time to make falafel completely from scratch this is the recipe you want. If you are not familiar with falafel, it is a fried ball of chickpeas, dating back to Biblical times, likely originating somewhere on the Indian subcontinent but now popular all over India, North Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptian version  exclusively uses fava beans but I can’t vouch for that recipe as I have never eaten a fava bean falafel. What makes falafel different from many other bean dishes is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.

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oil for frying

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.

Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, salt, cayenne, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, or use a small cookie scoop found here.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a skillet or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serving suggestions:
~ Fill a  pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled relish. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Or any combination of such condiments.  I am not a big fan of tahini but here is a quick recipe for you.
Tahini  Sauce
* 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
* 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
~Serve as a finger food with a Tzatziki.
Tzaiki is a yogurt cucumber dip that you really need to make the day before and chill overnight.
*Plain low-fat yogurt
*juice of 1/2 lemon
* Medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
* 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
* 1 tsp. dried parsley
Finely dice or grate the entire cucumber. In a bowl, combine 8 oz. of plain yogurt and add the diced cucumber to it. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill overnight.
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So there you have it! Yummy, yummy falafel!  Homemade is always better but if you are short on time, the boxed is a pretty good substitute for “the real thing”.   My favorite boxed brand is Casbah.  If you have the time to make falafel completely from scratch this is the recipe you want. If you are not familiar with falafel, it is a fried ball of chickpeas, dating back to Biblical times, likely originating somewhere on the Indian subcontinent but now popular all over India, North Africa and the Middle East. The Egyptian version  exclusively uses fava beans but I can’t vouch for that recipe as I have never eaten a fava bean. What makes falafel different from many other bean dishes is the beans are not cooked prior to use. Instead they are soaked then ground with other ingredients and deep fried.
My Favorite Falafel


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas or one can chickpeas drained, if you are pressed for time
  • 1/2 large onion, diced chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro or both
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (not necessary but adds a little heat)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (possibly my favorite spice in the whole wide world 🙂 )
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4-6 tablespoons flour (all purpose or gluten free blend)
  • oil for frying
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, salt, cayenne, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball, or use a small cookie scoop found here.
Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a skillet or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serving suggestions:
~ Fill a  pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled relish. Drizzle with tahini sauce. Or any combination of such condiments.  I am not a big fan of tahini but here is a quick recipe for you.
Tahini  Sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
~Serve as a finger food with a Tzatziki.
Tzaiki is a yogurt cucumber dip that you really need to make the day before and chill overnight.
  • Plain low-fat yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
Finely dice or grate the entire cucumber. In a bowl, combine 8 oz. of plain yogurt and add the diced cucumber to it. Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill overnight.
So there you have it! Yummy, yummy falafel!
Love and peace to you all!
Namaste!
Aug
29
2013

Happy Birthday Hannah!

Number 25.  A very important one.  No more important than any other but very important just the same.  Hannah has become such a beautiful young woman.  Strong.  Determined.  Disciplined.  Focused.  Brave.  Brilliant.  Hilarious. Motivated. Honest. Trustworthy. Conscientious. Accomplished. She a wonderful daughter, sister, cousin, friend, student, employee…human.  She feels strongly about women’s rights.  And being raised to believe she was at least equal to every man she knew, she expects every man she meets to comprehend this as well.  She doesn’t instigate any confrontation, and will play the roll of peacemaker to a point, but don’t hurt her family or friends unless you want the full hurricane force response from Hannah.

If you have followed my blog you know Hannah spent a year at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Yep, that happened. I missed her more than I said.  And more than I realized.  But she is back and attending LSU Shreveport and is moving into her first apartment this very week.  She is so excited to have her own home. It is a beautiful apartment in a safe, gated community.

What a birthday!  She has a great job with an accounting firm (her field) and of course they love her and seem to appreciate the gem they have found in her.  She just started the semester and of course loves school, loves learning, loves grades and new books and classes and lectures and assignments, sticky notes, highlighters and notebooks. Not to mention new clothes, make-up and shoes 🙂

She won’t spend her birthday with us and won’t get a birthday cake unless someone at work gets her one.  But I don’t think they know she’s gluten free so…maybe just a “Happy Birthday” would be best.  We will go up tomorrow because Jerry, Ben and I all have doctor’s appointments and will take her TV and a few of her clothes.  Then Saturday will be the big haul.  All of her chotchkies, books, shoes (she has a LOT of books & shoes), posters etc.

Jerry and I honestly couldn’t be more proud of her. She is goal oriented and disciplined enough to accomplish those goals.  She made up her mind a long time ago that she wanted to be able to take care of herself financially and she has set about to get the education that will insure she can do that.  She decided she would get married and have a family when she met someone she couldn’t live without and who couldn’t live without her.  She realized she deserved to be loved and treated like her dad loves and treats me.  She also realized those kind of people aren’t just coming out of the woodwork.  She knows her own value as a person and that she doesn’t have to “settle” for what comes along just to be able to say she’s a wife.  That’s when things begin to go wrong in a woman’s life, if they are good to begin with.  I have always wanted and believed my daughters would grow up to be strong, independent, determined women and to believe that their worth is in no way tied to their marital status.  Do I hope the two that aren’t married get married?  If they want to.  If they choose to.  More than that, I hope they find love.  I hope they meet a person like their dad.  If they don’t meet that person and fall in love with them, then I hope they don’t ever feel pressured to marry the next best thing.  That would break my heart.  You shouldn’t marry “good enough”.  You should marry The One.  And as far as I know both my unmarried girls are straight but if they aren’t, all this still applies.  I want my children to be healthy and happy and know they are always the lights of my life.  I want them to be who THEY are – not who someone expects them to be.  They are way more than anyone could ever expect anyway.

Well, that turned into more than a birthday tribute, didn’t it.  I get long winded sometimes.  But that’s what you love about me, right ? LOL

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANNAH! I LOVE YOU!

hannah

Aug
28
2013

Wednesday’s Woman – Tasha Tudor (1915-2008)

Today would have been Tasha’s 98th birthday.  I would rehash my admiration of her but that was tainted a couple of years back when her family started fighting over her estate and ultimately her remains.  I wondered what kind of woman actually raised such a passel of idiots.  I invite you to read my original thoughts on the matter here. It was interesting to go back and read how strongly I felt about it at the time and how just a couple of years will change the strength of feelings about something you are so removed from.

92nd

I still very much appreciate her art and her ability to live her life as she wanted.  But even as the years have passed I wonder at what cost any or all of it was to the health of her family life.  But what do I know of it?  Not much.

Happy Birthday Tasha.  I wish your apparent peaceful life had had more of a positive influence on your offspring because they seem to have turned out rather badly.  Nonetheless, your cookbook still graces my kitchen shelf and your print hangs in my shoppe.  RIP.

cooking

War of the Tudors

Today is also our nephew Patrick’s birthday and 50th Anniversary of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream” speech.  RIP Dr. King.  We have made progress, but we still have an awfully long way to go.   But thank you for your courage and convictions.

mlk3

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