Saturday, April 3, 2010

Middle eastern night

Ok, whoever invented middle eastern food is a freakin' genius. Those few hours spent in the kitchen today for one super-meal was actually worth it.

Tonight, as you know, is easter-eve. I, being Greek Orthodox, attend frequent,lengthy services throughout the week. One of the most...memorable? ones it tonight. It starts at midnight, and goes beyond that. The church is pitch black and we all sing "Xristos anesti!" (In english, christ has risen.) But anyways, Easter marks the end of lent. My dad was vegan with me throughout the 40 days, and tomorrow, that comes to an end. So I made a "last supper" in attempts that it would be a fantastic one. And what do you know.

I started with 2 different tabbouleh recipes, and used a combination of the two plus my random ideas to create a yummy one. Heres (I think?)what I did.

2 bunches of parsley, evenly minced

4 tennisball size tomatoes, chopped in 1/2 inch squares

1 shallot, chopped

5 or 6 chopped radishes
1/3 quarter cup of bulgur wheat, pre soaked

strained juice from 1 good sized lemons
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

dash of salt (to taste)
dash of pepper (to taste)
Combine parsley, tomatoes, and onions in a bowl. Cover and chill in fridge for 1 hour.Soak bulgur wheat in aprox. 2/3 cup of boiling water for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until fluffy.Combine salad, wheat, lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

I could give this recipe partial credit from the kind life, the radish idea and all. But it was based off a recipe I found on So I will just avoid tagging that.

I also made another recipe (yes, I know) from Vegan with a vengeance. Falafel. It was heaven. I was feeling a bit aprehensive about the deep frying, but figured if I'm super healthy for like 90% of the time, a bit of oil wouldn't KILL me. So there I dove into making falafel.

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat pastry, but all purpose is fine.)

1 medium sized onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon each cumin, coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsely

1/2 teaspoon salt

pinch of black pepper

Vegetable/canola oil for frying

4 large pita breads sliced in half to make pockets

any fix ins, lettuce, red onion, tomato. (for the pita pockets.) I did tabbouleh and it rocked.

tahini dressing (see following recipe)

In a food processor, combind the chickpeas and bread crumbs, pulse for 30 seconds until the chickpeas are chopped. Add the other ingredients (till the black pepper) and process, scraping down the sides until the mixture is relatively smooth but still coarse. It should look fairly green from the parsley. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour.

Shape the batter into 1 1/2 inch balls and then flatten into 2 inch diameter patties. In a large heavy bottomed pan, (cast iron is ideal) heat about 1/2 inch oil and test it by throwing in a little bit of batter. If the oil bubbles up immediatley, it is ready to cook. Cook the patties in 2 batches to avoid crowding, giving each side 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel or flattened paper bag.

Heres the recipe for the Tahini dressing. Delicious on the pitas stuffed with tabbouleh and falafel, but also good drizzled on the falafel with a crunchy pickle. Thanks, dad.

Makes 2 cups

8 teaspoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup tahini

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lemon

several dashes black pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup lightly packed parsley

1/2 cup cold water

Heat the garlic in 6 teaspoons of the oil in a small sautee pan over a very low heat. Place the heated garlic and all the other ingredients except the parsley in the food processor. Blend until smooth, add the parsley and pulse until its finely chopped but not pureed. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving.
On the side I also threw together some hummus made from chickpeas, lemon juice, and zest, tahini, garlic, salt and pepper. You can play around with really anything from red peppers to sundried tomatoes. This was also tasty on the pitas. What wasnt? Well I hope you try some of these recipes, if not I hope it was fun reading and feasting your eyes!

1 comment:

  1. Today was a fantabulous dining day! Olivia made the best brunch AND dinner. YUM!!!