Out of the blue the other day, I got a craving for Falafels. I haven’t had one in years, but I suddenly had a craving for them. I really like Falafels, but it’s not something that comes to mind often, unless I bump into someone selling them, and, here in the middle of Wisconsin, that doesn’t happen too often. I guess I am too much of a carnivore. I need to start rethinking this whole ultimate carnivore thing a little bit. I really need to start eating a little healthier a little more regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never give up the “good stuff.” Let’s face it, I like steak, bacon, burgers, pepperoni, and sausage way too much to ever give all that stuff up, but at age 40, and considerably overweight, maybe I should think about adding some healthier stuff to my diet.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to turn into a health food nut, but I imagine you will start seeing a few more healthy options added to the mix. But there will always be room for bacon and butter in my cooking. I have friends who have given up all the “good” foods for the sake of health and they are miserable. I don’t understand the thought process of giving up all the things that you love just to add a few more years on to your life so that you can spend those years avoiding the things that you love. On the other hand, I know many vegetarians that are very happy with the diet and lifestyle they have chosen. More power to them, but I’m not one of them, though if I can find more foods like Falafels, I would be happy eating vegetarian more often. In fact, this past Friday, as I went to bed I realized that I had gone through the whole day meatless. To many of you that may not be a big deal, but to me, I was amazed that I had gone the whole day without eating an ounce of meat. Lunch was vegetarian lasagna and dinner was Falafels. What amazed me wasn’t so much that I went the whole day without eating meat as much as I was amazed that at no point during that day did I crave meat. Yes, sad, I know. Man, I got to change my diet!!!
1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans), dried, not canned
1/2 onion, small, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tsp. cumin, ground
1/2 tsp. coriander, ground
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup cilantro, leaves only, no stem
vegetable oil for frying (the deviant in me says use lard, but I will try to refrain )
Soak the chick peas in 2-3 cups of water for 12 hours. Place in a food processor pulse until the chickpeas are roughly chopped. Add the onion, garlic and spices. Process until everything is incorporated. Add the cilantro and continue to process until mixture turns greenish, is finely ground, and holds together when formed into a ball.
Season with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile heat 2 inches of lard….I mean vegetable oil to 350°F, in large pot. Divide the mixture into 15 balls. They will be about the size of a walnut. Once formed into balls, flatten slightly. Add 4-6 balls to the oil and fry until dark brown on the outside and cooked all the way through.
They should take about 5-7 minutes to cook through. Drain on paper towel, and season with salt while still hot. Allow to cool just briefly. Meanwhile stuff a pita pocket with lettuce, diced tomato, and chopped cucumber (optional), place 3 Falafels on top and drizzle with Tahini Sauce (recipe) below.
1/2 cup tahini paste
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Combine the tahini paste, garlic and lemon juice. Stir well then add enough water to thin out into a thin sauce. Season with salt.