Monday, April 12, 2010

Pitas, hummus, and falafel dinner - almost like New York

Sunday dinner (clockwise from the pitas): pitas, parmesan couscous salad, hummus (smaller red bowl) w/ paprika garnish, tzaiziki, tahini and falafel.

This was the first time I had ever worked with dried chickpeas, but found it to be just as easy as everyone else has said. I covered them with boiling water and kept them on low heat for a couple of hours. Had I planned far enough in advance, I could have used cold water and just left them over night.

I used half the chick peas to make hummus, which I made using homemade tahini for the first time. About halfway through, I found a full and unopened can of tahini in my fridge, but found I like the homemade version so much better. It's richer and nuttier and less oily. The food processor really was my kitchen workhorse for this meal - and because all of the flavors were blended together, I didn't bother to wash between making the tahini, hummus and falafel mixes. Here's the hummus spread on some bagel pieces:

Next, I rolled my pita dough and let them rise. They're so cute and fluffy.

I also made a tzaiziki sauce with yogurt, cucumbers and dill to serve with the falafel.

Jake caught some awesome light photographing the pitas while they cooled. We just used the grill pan (Jake acted as grill master while I rolled each little pita)

The falafel themselves were a mixed bag. I didn't take the time to chill the mixture as suggested, so they were fairly crumbly. After frying each side for a couple of minutes to brown, I popped them into the oven on a baking sheet for another 10 minutes. The second half of the dough went into the fridge over night, and I baked them for 12 minutes on each side the next day. They held up considerably better, and I was glad not to have all the oil fried into them.

The end result was not as exciting as it had been the weekend before at Karavas Place in Greenwich Village, but still tasty when paired with a couscous and avocado salad.


2 1/2 cups soaked chickpeas
3 cloves garlic
2-3 spoonfuls of tahini (homemade optional)
3 TBS olive oil
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
pinch of salt, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Squeeze a quarter lemon over (removing seeds) then combine again. Serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

1 packet rapid rise yeast
1 TBS sugar
1 1/2 c warm water
(combine and leave in a warm place for up to 10 minutes until foamy and expanded)
4 c flour
2 TBS olive oil
pinch of salt

Mix yeast with flour and salt then drizzle olive oil. Knead until smooth and elasticky (I do this by hand). Invert a bowl over the dough and allow to rise for up to an hour.
Punch down, then knead briefly and shape into 12 balls. Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise again until nearly doubled in size.
Roll balls until about six inches in diameter and thin. Grill over medium high heat until browned on both sides.
Serve warm.

2 1/2 c of soaked chickpeas
1/2 a medium onion
3 TBS chopped cilantro
3 TBS chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp baking powder
4 TBS flour

Combine all ingredients in food processor until coarsely chopped. Use hands to gently shape small golf-ball-sized balls, then flatten slightly.
Optional - fry on each side 3-5 minutes until browned
Transfer to a cookie sheet at bake 12-15 mins on each side at 300 F.
Serve with pitas, tahini, hummus and tzaiziki sauce.

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