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falafel, falafel recipe, toum, garlic sauce recipe, pita, pita bread, pita bread recipe

FA-La-La-La-LA-La-La-La-FEL

When I think about the history of Falafel, I'm taken back to the memories of being a child.  As far back as I can remember, I had a TV in my room growing up, and as a kid I found myself turning on Nick at Night at 3am because I couldn't sleep.  For anyone that wasn't awake then in the early 90's, Nick at Night proudly re-ran the Newhart show and I got really familiar with it.  So, how does this relate to Falafel?  Remember the famous, "Hi, I'm Larry.. this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl" line?  Well, falafel history is sort of like that.  Three different people lay claim to the falafel: the Christian Copts of Egypt, The Muslims of Palestine, and the Jews.  I'm not here to judge or pick favorites, I'm just here to eat. Who cares where they came from or their origin?  They're delicious!  And as you are in a heated round-table with your friends about whether the Copts came up with Falafel as a way to replace meat during lent, or if the perfect Falafel is made with fava beans or chickpeas, I'm going to sit quietly in the corner eating all of the delicious falafel before they get cold and thinking to myself that the idea probably first originated in the sub-continent of India with the frying of ground and mashed legumes and as Alexandria, Egypt was a bustling port city in Ancient Egypt, the idea probably came by boat as an adaption of a larger traveling food ideology.  But I digress.  As of right now there are 2 days, 16 hours, and 34 minutes until Christmas, and I need to go out and find a Christmas tree.  So, enjoy this weeks recipes - have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I'll see you all again in 2019!!! 

Falafel

• 1 C. chickpeas, dried and soaked overnight (4-5 C. when soaked), drained and dried or 3 x 14 oz cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed well, and patted dry

• 1 onion, diced

• ¼ C. parsley, chopped

• 2 T. mint, chopped

• 5 cloves garlic, minced

• 3 T. – 1/3 C. chickpea flour, depending on the wetness of the batter

• 2 tsp. salt

• 2 tsp. cumin, ground

• 2 tsp. coriander, ground

• ½ tsp. black pepper

• Pinch of cayenne

• Pinch of cardamom

• Frying oil

1. Combine the chickpeas, onion, parsley, mint, garlic cloves, salt, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne, and cardamom in a food processor. Grind to a chunky paste. Add the chickpea flour as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

2. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Before you fry all of your falafel, drop ONE into the hot oil and let it fry up. Taste it for seasoning and density. It should not be too dense! If the batter is too dense, add a touch of water, if not dense enough, add a touch more chickpea flour.

3. Drop the falafel batter in consistent sized balls into the oil in batches and fry until golden brown and cooked through. When the falafel is cooked, remove from the oil and let drain on a paper towel lined sheet tray. Season with salt immediately out of the oil. Serve hot.

Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)

• ½ C. garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped

• ½ C. lemon juice, divided

• ½ C. very cold water

• 2 tsp. salt

• 4 C. vegetable oil

1. Place oil in freezer to get very cold.

2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, salt, ¼ C. lemon juice and ¼ C. water. Process until smooth – make sure to wipe down the sides of the processor bowl.

3. With the processor on high, slowly slowly slowly add the vegetable oil 1 cup at a time – this is making an emulsion. After each cup of oil is drizzled in, add 1 T. water and 1 T. lemon juice. Do this 3 more times until all of the oil, lemon juice, and water are gone. Season again with salt, if needed. Will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator.

Tabbouleh

(For the Vinaigrette)

• Minced zest of ½ a lemon

• ½ c. each fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil

• 2 T. minced fresh garlic

• Salt and black pepper to taste

(For the Tabbouleh)

• 1 C. dry quick cooking bulghur

• 1 (10 oz) package grape tomatoes, halved

• 1 english cucumber, seeded and chopped

• 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

• 1 C. chopped fresh parsley

• 1 C. sliced scallions

• ½ C. chopped fresh mint

• ½ C. pitted and sliced Kalamata olives

1. For the vinaigrette - whisk together zest, lemon juice, oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

2. For the Tabbouleh - cook bulgur according to package directions; transfer to a baking sheet and chill.

3. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, scallions, mint, olives, and chilled bulgur; toss with vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and chill until ready to serve.

Pita Bread

• 2 tsp. yeast

• 1 C. warm water

• ½ tsp sugar

• ½ C. whole wheat flour

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• 2.5 C. flour, divided – 2 C. and (½ C. – this will be used for rolling, as needed)

• 2 tsp. kosher salt

• 2 T. olive oil

1. Place yeast into the work bowl of a stand mixer and add 1 cup warm water, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and sugar. Whisk together and let stand 15 to 20 minutes for mixture to rise and make a loose sponge. Mixture will bubble and foam.

2. Pour the olive oil and salt into sponge; add 1 3/4 cup flour. Mix at low speed, using a dough hook attachment, until dough is soft, and slightly sticky. If dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, a little at a time.

3. Knead dough with machine on low speed until slightly springy and still soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and form into a ball. The dough should be a bit moist. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, and rub the surface with olive oil. Place the bowl covered with a towel in a warm place until doubled in size.

4. When the dough has doubled, turn the dough back onto a floured work surface (will use the ½ C. flour divided). Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape into round balls. Rub with a bit of olive oil and cover loosely with saran wrap and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

5. Working with 1 ball at a time, flatten down into a disk, and then roll out to 1/4” thick (5-6 inch round) circle. Cook on a griddle or a cast iron pan on low to medium

6. heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Pita should have a few brown spots. Remove and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining dough.