That’s Greek to Me

Well, it has been a whirlwind these past few weeks.

And, I missed all of you, and my blog, and I vowed never to take this long a break again. Whatever the reason.

And, in the rush of things, I’ve been running on what feels like a hampster wheel. Work, work, work, more work. Back to work.

So, tonight, in celebration of family, and friends, and followers, I prepared a (if I do say so myself) delicious falafel meal. Greek food, Girl Eat style.  I invited my family over, and we sat and talked, and laughed and ate falafel. Oh falafel.

In the years since my allergy diagnosis falafel has found its way to the top ten hardest things to find SOY FREE.  Restaurants fry in vegetable oil that typically include soybean oil.  Even grocery store brands are pre-fried in soybean oil, or soaked in soy lecithin. Until tonight, I had not crossed that boundary. Tonight, I crossed the line, and now there is no going back.

First, I opened a can of chickpeas. The minute I started to make dinner I knew I had made the right decision. Falafel, for the win.

Mmm, chickpeas. Now, I remember from when I was young that Mom Eat would boil chickpeas for hours in a slow cooker (God bless that woman for all the hard home cooked meals she made for us every single night) and the peels would slide off. Back then I didn’t think anything of it, and for years I didn’t think anything of it, but now I take the extra step and peel the skins off the chickpeas and I am left with an easier digestible and fantastically softer bean, perfect for things like veggie burgers or in this case, falafel. Now, peeling the skin off loses you some insoluble fiber so if you’re hankering for some extra insoluble fiber you may want to leave the peels on. Either way, peel or don’t peel at this point.

Peeled or unpeeled, take the chickpeas and throw them into a microwavable bowl with about 1 cup water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft enough to mash. Then, throw the chickpeas (or pour gently) into a large mixing bowl.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil (or garlic olive oil, please say you have garlic olive oil, pretty, pretty please), and yes you need the oil here, as much, and it’s for the best.  Trust me, you need it and you want it. Oh yeah.  Now, add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup bread crumbs (plain if you have it because plain works better than panko here.  If you’re stuck with panko, throw them in a ziploc and ground them up) and mash. Mash, mash, mash. Use a potato masher, a fork, whatever works for you. Add heaping teaspoons of cumin, coriander, and black or white pepper…or whatever spices you prefer, but please prefer these spices you prefer, but please please oh pretty please prefer these spices. Throw in some chopped fresh mint for flavor. Love me some flavor.

Put on some music, mash.

Dance a little jig, and mash.

Sing a happy song, and mash.

Once the chickpea mixture is all mashed up, form small balls (about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter-fancy talk!) and place into a skillet ton medium to high heat (you know your range better than I do) and make sure that the skillet is coated in oil, preferibly olive (no need to pour oil in here just coat the pan so the falafel will brown)

Now, let the falafel cook for 3-4 minutes (or until they start to brown) and flip for another 3-4 minutes. The patties will start to get crunchy and get a beautiful golden brown color, and they’re done.

Okay, here we go. Transfer patties to foil and keep cooking them til you’re done. Now, off to the accompaniments. Oh, accompaniments, how I love you.

Lettuce and tomato.

Yogurt sauce (a tzatziki style sauce) Okay, I’m definitely not a tzatziki expert, just a fan, and I like a good, cool yogurt sauce to pour all over my falafel sandwich so here goes nothing.

Saute 1 grated zucchini in about 1 tsp olive oil (or garlic olive oil, oh how I hope you have it). (or marinate one english cucumber-seedless-in garlic, olive oil, and salt, then add to yogurt).  When the zucchini starts to brown, transfer it to a small bowl and add 1/8 tsp salt, 18 oz. of plain lowfat yogurt, salt and pepper. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Alright folks. Don’t judge this book by its cover. Must.work.on.photos. Man this was good. So freaking good.

Now, heat your pitas (courtesy of Whole Foods for me, so thankful) in an oven preheated to 450 degrees for approximately 2-3 minutes, but watch them or change the temperature as needed (you know your oven better than I do, too) and you can choose how you like it, softer, crunchier.

I heated up some french fries and made some quick yellow rice and roasted carrots for side dishes and then, we went to town, without ever leaving home. And, after a delicious Girl Eat style Greek-ish falafel dinner,

Going, going,

Gone,

We headed out for a special treat.

                                                                                                          The National Christmas Tree

Whether you are celebrating a holiday now or not, enjoy the season.  It turned out it didn’t take that much to make me feel all better again. And, that’s no longer Greek to me.  Happy Holidays.

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2 thoughts on “That’s Greek to Me

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