Overworked and underpaid. That sums up my feelings on life at the moment. I’ve been working myself ragged lately, neglecting my friends and spending far too much of the day on my computer.
Want proof? Friday night, I stayed in and stayed up late finishing up work for my real job. I finally passed out in my queen-sized bed with my dog, two plates, and a fork. Saturday, I took an embarrassing number of photos of my breakfast and checked blog stats a couple too many times. That night, I cranked up some tunes and cleaned up the disaster zone otherwise known as my apartment in between sips of cheap champagne. My dark chocolate consumption is at an all-time high (it’s ok), and the question I keep asking myself is this: how many lunges does a quasi-fit, 20-something female need to do, per week, to counteract computer bum?
…I can do nine lunges across the length of my apartment, so please round your answer down to the nearest multiple of nine.
The upside to all of this business is that I’m really proud of the magazine I’m designing and I have some exciting new contributions and publicity lined up for this little bloggidy-blog of mine. I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been working on. The downside is that I’ve spent almost all day, every day, staring at this screen with my pup-a-lup by my side. Perhaps the biggest negative here is that I am losing sense of time and place and making up words. Beep beep beep, boop boop boop, beep beep beep.
So, this recipe. I am awfully pleased with how this recipe turned out. The first rendition was a composition of two cookbooks’ recipes, one of which continues to produce sub-par recipes that never make it to this blog (I’m officially done with it) and the other is one that never lets me down. At first, baked falafel burgers sounded positively brilliant, but while the outsides were crispy, the dry insides required a lot of smacking to get down. Those leftovers are in my freezer and I assure you I will finish them, but they aren’t anything I’d serve to guests.
My second try was much closer to the latter cookbook’s original recipe and, not surprisingly, much better. Crispy outsides, tender insides, smaller size. Just right. I don’t own a decent baking sheet or jelly roll pan, so I wasn’t sure how to bake them with enough oil covering the baking surface until it occurred to me to bake the falafels in my cast iron skillets. Why, after baking with my cast iron skillet so many times with great success, this did not occur to me in the first place is beyond me. Anyway, they baked up perfectly.
I thought about serving these falafels in a pita, and then I thought about serving them with a salad, and I ultimately decided to take apart the pita sandwich and adjust the proportions. More lettuce and veggies, less pita. I also put a Greek spin on my latest obsession, creamy tahini dressing, by adding dill and parsley and blending it all together in my food processor.
Speaking of food processors, I am so glad that my grandmother gave me her food processor because it made this whole meal come together quickly and painlessly. I don’t push kitchen tools that I don’t think are the greatest, but I truly don’t think a kitchen is complete without a food processor and big cast iron skillet. This recipe isn’t complete without these tools, that’s for sure.
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup dried/uncooked/raw chickpeas, rinsed, picked over and soaked for at least one hour and up to overnight (do not attempt this recipe with canned chickpeas!)
- ⅓ cup chopped red onion (about ¼th of a medium red onion, chopped)
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- With an oven rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a large cast iron skillet with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (use more olive oil for more of a fried effect. I couldn't fit all of the falafel into my 12-inch skillet so I used my 8-inch skillet as well, into which I poured in 1 teaspoon of olive oil).
- In a food processor, combine the soaked and drained chickpeas, red onion, parsley, cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Using your hands, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Shape the falafel into small patties, about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Place each falafel on your oiled skillet or pan.
- Bake for 13 minutes, then remove the falafel from the oven and carefully flip each one. Return the pans to the oven for another 13 to 15 minutes, until the falafels are lightly browned on both sides.
- Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
- If you do not have a cast iron skillet, coat a large rimmed baking sheet with up to ¼ cup olive oil.
- Do not substitute canned chickpeas for dried chickpeas here! I made that mistake once and ended up with sad falafel pancakes.
- Although I haven't tried it, the original recipe notes that the uncooked falafel patties can be refrigerated on a parchment-lined baking sheet, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours before baking.
- I've found that falafel freezes well, too. It might be a little less crisp after defrosting but it is still very good!
Creamy Tahini and Dill Dressing
(Similar to my creamy tahini and miso dressing.)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- pinch of cayenne
- 1/3 cup water
Instructions: In a small food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend well. You can also whisk the ingredients together by hand in a small bowl, just note that you’ll need to chop the fresh herbs and zest more finely than you would if you were using a food processor.
- Spring mix
- Cherry tomatoes, sliced
- Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Kalamata olives, sliced
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Whole wheat pita bread, warmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- Baked falafel
- Creamy tahini and dill dressing
Instructions: In a salad bowl, combine all of most of the ingredients to your desired proportions. Enjoy!