Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Falafels

Consumerism pervades all the major holidays, but none other like Thanksgiving! I kept seeing news stories about people who braved the cold in anticipation for early bird specials, and people getting trampled to death from mobs of shoppers - scary! Since most of my gifts are handmade, I managed to avoid much of the madness - there were some items that I did order online, making my experience this season much better! I made a small dent in the laundry list of to-do items that I previously made - I ordered my cards from Snapfish, created a family calendar from Shutterfly, finished reading both Halfway House and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, made some more holiday cards with my newly acquired stamps from Yellow Owl Workshop and card stock - what has ended up on the back burner are my knitted gifts - perhaps I bit off more than I could chew in this department... eek! My days to get this done are numbered. What better way to avoid what needs to get done is to eat food - there was a sale on garbanzo beans, and I had a sudden inspiration to make falafel. Initially I used a recipe in Joy of Cooking but the results were disappointing - when I tried to fry them, they ended up being a mushy mess on the bottom of the fryer. I do like the crispy texture that comes from deep frying but since it's not so healthy, so I ended up searing them in high heat, then baking them in the oven. I adapted a recipe I found on AllRecipes:

Falafel (Adaptation from Sean's Falafel on AllRecipes)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 onion, chopped (I cooked them a bit - drizzled olive oil in a bowl with the onions and popped them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes, so the harsh onion taste doesn't overpower the falafel)
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh parsley (or dried, if you don't have any)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of potato starch (I subsituted for an egg)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl mash up 1/2 of the chickpeas until thick and pasty; don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, the other half of the chickpeas, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into hand-mashed chickpeas. In a small bowl combine egg/egg substitute, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form into balls and then flatten into patties. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides. Place patties into a lightly greased baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes.
It was kind of messy and time consuming to make, but the recipe makes quite a few patties, and you have enough leftovers for a quick lunch that you can take during the week, cutting down on the number of meals you have to prepare.
Next on the agenda - homemade vanilla extract, english muffins, and pad thai! As for non-food related items, I am assembling a knit party on Wednesday to solve my procrastination problem with my knitted gifts...

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