Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Falafels and Lemon Tahini Sauce

One of the many cookbooks on my shelf is a small, unobtrusive looking one written by the original owner of a famous but now closed vegetarian restaurant in Montepelier, Vermont called the Horn of the Moon.

I have carried this cookbook around since it was given to me in college by a good friend. There is a small inscription in the front, 'to Miss Petunia, Hey good lookin', what you got cooking?' We are still good friends and she is one of the healthiest people I know so this cookbook reminds me of her and it reminds me to be healthy. I was a vegetarian when she gave me this cookbook and it seems like we might be heading that direction again, at least according to my husband. The debate on vegetarianism has been a hot topic in our household lately.

Flipping through this book I had no plan but came across the author's recipe for falafels. After locating a bag of garbanzo beans in my cupboard from my favorite bean supplier, Rancho Gordo, I decided falafels were what we were having for dinner. I forgot how good homemade falafels are.

Barely adapted from the Horn of the Moon
4 Servings

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, split
3 - 4 cups of oil for frying
4 pitas
1 cucumber, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
Lemon Tahini Sauce (recipe follows)

Put a skillet over medium heat and add the 1 T oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until they start to brown. Add the spices, mix well and turn the heat off.

Mash the garbanzo beans finely (or use your food processor which is super fast and easy).

Put the mashed beans in a large bowl with the tahini, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of the flour. Add the onion, garlic and spice mixture and mix well.

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan over medium to medium-high heat.

Put the remainins ~1/4 cup whole wheat flour in a small bowl.
Make a ball (about the size of a small golf ball) with the mix and lightly roll it in the flour. Drop it in the oil. The oil should boil and foam around the ball without foaming up too much. If it foams up a lot, then the oil might be too hot so turn it down. If it doesn't start sizzling, then turn it up a bit. When you have found the right temperature, add the rest of the balls and cook until a dark golden brown color,watching closely. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.

Serve in the pitas with the cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes and lemon tahini sauce.

Lemon Tahini Sauce
Makes 1 cup
Barely adapted from the Horn of the Moon cookbook

3/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 T tamari
1/2 cup water
freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until fairly smooth. Add more water if the sauce seems too thick. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.

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