Black Bean Falafel

As spoken prior, I am in city arranging my digital life in a manner that someone other than I can make sense of.  My roommates have fled the city, so I have some freedom of culinary creativity.

I had originally considered doing black bean burgers, but whence I saw the hummus, olives, pita and harissa in the fridge, my mind went directly to the Mediterranean ..

I am sure many of my readers shall shake thier head in my rouge departure from a street food classic, but then again, see the url…

From Wikipedia:

Falafel or felafe (/fəˈlɑːfəl//-ˈlæf-/; is a deep-fried ball, doughnut or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, that most likely originated in Egypt. It is commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon; “falafel” also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are laid over a bed of salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze (assortment of appetizers).

Falafel is a common food eaten in the Middle East. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and a form of street food.

 

 

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Black Bean Falafel
A rogue departure from the traditional Mediterranean specialty, but it does work well as a snack, entree, or part of a mezza
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Course Main Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Passive Time 15 min
Servings
ea
Ingredients
Falafel
Cooking
Course Main Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Passive Time 15 min
Servings
ea
Ingredients
Falafel
Cooking
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. Take all from main group and mash to a stiff and grainy consistency. Pastry blender, fork, or food processor.
  2. Let this rest for a few minutes so flavors can meld (15 minutes)
  3. Use a # 40 disher or a tablespoon measure to scoop up a small amount of the mixture. Roll it in between the palm of your hands to make a compact, round ball. Since I am NOT going to deep fry these, I flatten the balls to ~1/2 inch thick.
  4. Add 1/2" of oil to a heavy cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat
  5. As the oil shimmers, slip the falafel in and cook until golden brown, ~ 1-2 minutes per side. Remove to a draining rig
Recipe Notes

As a side / dipping sauce whip 1/2 cup tahini with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 cup water.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

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Vegetarian Sloppy Joe’s

It is Memorial Day weekend, I am in city, sorting out my “Digital Life”.  The room mates have decided to “be elsewhere”, leaving me with the freedom to explore new culinary avenues.

Usually I either grill or smoke for the weekend, but have not the time or the environment for this..   But all is not lost, the all time American standby by dinner, the “Sloppy Joe”, will come to my rescue.  And I’ll even toss the vegetarian twist into this.

From Wikipedia

A sloppy joe is a sandwich consisting of ground beef or pork, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun.The dish originated in the United States during the early 20th century.

Ground turkey or textured vegetable protein may be used as a substitute for ground beef.

A sloppy joe differs from a traditional loose meat or tavern sandwich due largely to its tomato-based sauce.

I have a number of options as a vegetable protein, to replace the meat component.  Various beans, tofu / soy products, or various mushrooms.  Perhaps, button mushrooms in a large dice, partially crushed black beans as well, then the usual onions, green peppers, garlic, spices and the ever present tomato sauce and top it off with a good melting cheese.

Traditionally, a grated parmesan cheese is used, but I just like a nice melted cheese.

As a follow on, I can use the left over joe mix with soy dogs and the rest of the cheese to make Chili Cheese dogs for another meal.

 

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Vegetarian Sloppy Joe's
A quick, easy meal for the on the go crowd.
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
People
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Servings
People
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat
  2. Add mushrooms and saute until caramelized; thence remove
  3. Add onion / bell peppers and saute until softened
  4. Add tomato paste and saute until carmelized
  5. Add garlic and saute until fragrant
  6. Reduce heat to medium low Add mushrooms, beans, spices, tomato sauce, soy sauce, liquid smoke, stir to combine and heat through
  7. Taste and adjust balance
Recipe Notes

Serve over toasted buns, and top with cheese.

I side this with tortilla chips

This is a great base recipe, one can omit the chili's and add oregano, basil and more tomato sauce for a basic pasta sauce.

That sauce and be lengthened with veggie stock to form a tomato soup.

Or adding additional chili powder and cumin can form a decent vegetarian chili.

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Fajita Style Peppers and Onion

It’s cool to cold today, and I am thinking Mex-Tex for dinner.  Bean and cheese enchiladas, maybe a bit of Guacamole and Salsa to the side.  But I really want a bit heartier of a filling, maybe I will add in some veggies.

Cruising the fridge and panty I find Peppers, Onions and immediately I think Fajitas…  I suspect this will fortify the fillings and add a bit of a topping.

From Wikipedia:

A fajita (/fəˈhtə/; Spanish: [faˈxita]in Tex-Mex cuisine is any grilled meat that is served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla.The term originally referred to skirt steak, the cut of beef first used in the dish.Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, lamb, salmon, other types of fish, and other cuts of beef, as well as vegetables instead of meat. In restaurants, the meat is usually cooked with onions and bell peppers.

Since I’ll be sharing this with my roommates, I will forgo the meats and stick with just the peppers and onions.

 

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Fajita Style Peppers and Onion
Tender crisp veggies for a side or a topping. The perfect Mex-Tex compliment
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Course Side
Cuisine Mex-Tex
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 10 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side
Cuisine Mex-Tex
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 10 min
Servings
people
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high heat
  2. Toss peppers, onions, oil, salt and oregano in a large bowl
  3. Whence the skillet is hot, add vegetables and stir
  4. Cook until tender crisp with a hint of char, 5-8 minutes
  5. Remove and drain on paper towel.
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Tools – Cast Iron

Let’s have a chat about the new rage in cooking, much talked about, and greatly misunderstood.  I speak, of course, about Cast Iron cookware.

Why is it all the rage?

Mostly, because it works.  The high density of the cast iron allows great heat absorption, and an even heat dissipation into the food.  This allows the maillard reaction, browning,  to occur generating the distinctive flavors of well colored food.

Many TV-Chefs and food bloggers are hopping on the cast iron horse, some will much less success than others.  Here are a few tips to allow you to be more successful ..

Select a decent pan

As with many things, price is NOT an indication of quality.  You are looking for a heavy pan, a well finished interior.  If you are new to using cast iron, or you are looking to add an additional skillet to your collection,  do not rush out and grab a $200 artisan crafted skillet, a $22, 10 inch skillet from Amazon will serve just fine.

Whilst the high end skillets with their machine honed, slick as a piece of glass interiors are very attractive, and yes I drool at them, but shudder at the price tag.

Seasoning your new cast iron

Like any other tool in you kitchen, cast iron requires maintenance.  Lets start with how to season a cast iron skillet, and how to maintain that seasoning.

Seasoning is the process of building up a fat based polymer, that adheres to the skillet and provides that super slick, no stick, surface.

I will do the following with any new cast iron I purchase, even the one’s that are “pre-seasoned”.  A well seasoned pan has a very dark cooking surface that has a reflective sheen to it.

  • Wash a new pan thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Dry completely
  • Apply a light coat of neutral oil
  • Bake in a 500 degree oven for an hour
  • Let cool and apply another light coat of oil
  • Either store the pan or repeat the cycle.  I tend to repeat this cycle at least three times with a new pan

Cleaning your cast iron

  • Clean After Use: Clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Don’t leave it in the sink because it will rust.
  • Add hot water: Wash the skillet by hand using hot water and a sponge or stiff brush.  Avoid using  soap, or soaped steel wool, as these may strip the pan’s seasoning. NEVER THE DISHWASHER!!
  • Scrub off stuck-on bits: To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Then rinse or wipe with a paper towel. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.  I also have a chain mail scrubber I use.
  • Dry the skillet: Thoroughly dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat.
  • Oil it: Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a light coat of neutral / vegetable oil
  • Put it away: Store the skillet in a dry place.

Cooking with cast iron

  • Always pre-heat.  Never add food to a cold pan then heat.  IT WILL STICK
  • Pre-heat gently.  Start over low heat, then move to medium low, to medium, to medium high, etc.  This allows you to control the heat of the pan.
  • I try to never go to full wack on the stove as this will just generate annoying clouds of smoke and tend to burn the seasoning off the pan.  Things will sear and brown quite nicely at medium high with a proper pre-heat.
  • Clean after use.