Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Middle Eastern Delights: Falafel, Tzatziki and Baba Ganoush

School must have started, because all of a sudden its been nearly two months since my last blog post and summer has slipped away. This meal, a combo of three recipes, was something I intended to have on the blog in summer, when cucumbers are cool and perfect, the garden is brimming over with parsley and tomatoes, but a las, for those of us who live in cooler climates, we will have to rely on grocery store veggies. This meal is really pretty simple and quick. Its a great week night meal or great for entertaining.

Just to fill you all in on my whereabouts, I started a new job a month ago. I am back to teaching Middle School Spanish, and am really enjoying it. Starting a new job is always a learning curve. I have had a lot to catch up on and a lot to do to stay afloat. Zsuly started Kindergarten too. She is doing a Spanish Immersion program, which is fantastic. She comes home every day singing a new song in Spanish. Of course, I still am not allowed to speak to her in Spanish though. During the afternoons I am darting around, bringing her to swim lessons or ballet class. Trying to sneak in a run here and there, get enough sleep and cook healthy meals for the week. My blog is still on my radar, it just might be a little vacant until the slowdown of winter sets in.

The foliage here in Maine is just reaching peak. Driving to work has changed from an intense pallet of green to a watercolor canvas, splashed with fiery oranges, yellows and reds. Apple season is bountiful. I think I have collected at least 40-60 pounds of apples just from trees around town. Some have been crispy, juicy, eating apples, others were great in pie, apple sauce, and salads. We have also made pear and apple cider in the press the last two weekends. Sunday's dinner was Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, topped with crispy kale and pumpkin seeds. Filling and tasty. So perhaps this will be my last summer-like recipe, perhaps not.

Falafel

Ingredients



  • 1 can garbanzos drained and rinsed
  • 3 small cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 3 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • Olive Oil for frying
Step 1: Pat the chickpeas dry with kitchen paper. Pour into a food processor, add  the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, spices, lemon juice, flour and salt.  Blend until fairly smooth. If the mixture seems to soft add a little more flour. Using your hands, either roll the mixture into small balls or shape into  patties. 

Step 2: Heat the oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet. Cook the falafel balls or patties about 3 minutes on each side, or until brown and crispy. You can crisp them up a bit in a 375° oven for 5-10 minutes. 

Step 3: Serve with warm pita bread, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, Tzatziki sauce and Baba Ganoush. (see recipes below)


Baba Ganoush 
Adapted from the minimalistbaker.com

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large clove or garlic
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle over top
Step 1: Wash the eggplant and poke a few times with a fork. Either in a 375° oven or on the grill, cook the eggplant until it is soft, the skin starts to brown and it gets oozy. If on the grill the skin can char a bit. 

Step 2: When the eggplant is well done, let it cool. Cut the eggplant so that you are able to scrape out the flesh. Place in a food processor and add remaining ingredients, except the oil. Blend until smooth. Adjust salt, tahini, and lemon juice to taste. Transfer to a bowl or sealable container and drizzle with the olive oil. 

Tzatziki Sauce
adapted from greek.food.com

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup greek yogurt (I like Fage)
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 large cucumber, skins and seeds removed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill and or mint
  • freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: In a food processor, blend together cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. When well blended, transfer to mixing bowl. 

Step 2:  Stir in the yogurt and mix well. Allow to chill for 1-2 hours. Stir well before use.