Archive for ‘Mediterranean’

April 6, 2011

A Shared Experience | Falafel

We’ve all been to the takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night in our blissful, hungry, after-the-pub or rock show moments.  We’ve all hit the kebab stand or the middle eastern place in the middle of the night.  As we stand cradling the foil wrapped object of our desire, cucumber sauce dripping down our chins, mouth full of onion, falafel, and tahini, we mumble to our friends, “This is so good!  Why do I only have this when I’m drunk after the bar?”

As it turns out, you can recreate this shared food experience at home, because it’s pretty easy.  Not only do you not have to precook the beans, there’s not even really a recipe to it.  Feel like including some parsley?  Do it.  Don’t have any onion?  Skip it.

Simply soak some chickpeas in water over night, drain and tip into a food processor.  Add in any combination of ground cumin, ground

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April 5, 2011

Moroccan Mystique | Orange and Olive Salad

This is one of those things I just wasn’t sure how it would all work.  Oranges and olives?  My goodness, yes.

I will always be impressed that onions, cumin and chili powder lend a North African vibe to this orange salad, but combine the same three flavors with pinto beans and you’ve got yourself the makings of some good beans for a Texas barbecue.  The cooking world is smaller than you think.

This late winter, early spring salad is a blissful marriage of briny, fatty olives with sweet oranges, spicy red onion and crisp mint.  It’s a cinch to put together and uses spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika) that lots of folks already have in the pantry.   It’s a fantastic side for falafels, or spicy chicken and it makes a great lunch on its own.

(Ooo!) Orange, Olive and Onion Salad, serves 6

Inspired by Claudia Rosen’s Arabesque cookbook

4 oranges, supremed or cut into chunks

20 olives, black, green, or a mix, sliced in half or left whole

1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced and then chopped a bit

Juice from 1/2 lemon

3 T olive oil

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t paprika

Pinch of ground chili powder

2 T chopped mint, parsley or coriander, or some combination thereof

Salt to taste

Combine the orange, olives and onion in a medium bowl.  Combine the lemon, olive oil and spices in a smaller bowl, whisk to combine.  Pour over the orange mixture, taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve.

Playlist included There is a Light That Never Goes Out, covered by Noel Gallagher.

 

 

April 4, 2011

The Versatile Bean | Chickpeas

When I made these recently, I couldn’t help myself from nibbling on them once they had cooked most of the way: quickly snatching one at a time with asbestos fingertips from the top of the pot and popping it in my mouth, or Cherub’s, if she happened to wander through the kitchen.   They are surprisingly delicious as a snack.

I almost always hate to say how good something is for you.  People never want to eat it then, it can’t possibly taste good.  But these, in addition to being downright addictive and snackable, are full of protein, fiber and an impressive amount of trace minerals including 71% of your folate (anybody pregnant out there?).

They also work beautifully as a side dish to lamb or chicken with heady, Moroccan spices.  Or transformed, as I will later tonight, into falafel, which is an ideal meal for the meatless Fridays during Lent.  And you can always whip up leftovers into a quick batch of hummus.

I start with dried beans, which have

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