Sunday, December 29, 2019

Really Delicious Falafel

This recipe is an amalgam of the falafel recipes 
from Michael Solomonov & Steven Cook and Adeena Sussman

It's the eighth night of Hanukkah and we have a last shot at eating something fried for the holiday. I re-learned something when I tried making these a couple of days ago (you are looking at a 2nd batch of falafel balls), which is sometimes the ingredient list & subsequent instructions really do make a difference in the final product. So a word of caution: do not try to substitute canned beans for the dry chickpeas in this recipe, it will not work.  This mean you have to plan ahead if you plan to make this recipe. The resulting falafel are not dry or cakey, which is often the case with pre-made frozen falafel balls. You can alter the spice mix to your liking, the constant for falafel are the chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt and cumin. 

Choreography: This recipe needs to be started a minimum of 10 hours before cooking. The actual cooking takes under an hour. 
  • Soak a 1 lb package of dried chickpeas  (garbanzo beans) for 10-24 hours
  • Blend everything in a food processor 
  • Fry, blot on paper towel and try not to eat the entire batch before the guests arrive 
  • Food processor (if you have an 8 cup or larger capacity, you'll be fine. If it's smaller, you'll have to process the beans in batches 
  • Colander 
  • Small saucepan or a deep fryer
  • Measuring spoons, cooking spoon to flip the falafel (if you are using a saucepan)
  • Small bowl to mix the spices 
  • 1 lb package dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo, Egyptian peas)
  • A large handful of Italian parsley (leaves and smaller stems)
  • A handful of cilantro (Optional: I don't ever use cilantro, but many people love the taste)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, cut into small chunks
  • 1 small-medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled 
Spice mix (combine in a small bowl):
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) - if you are using Mortons, use 3/4 T 
  •  1/8- 1/4 tsp chili powder. We use "GoldStone Farms," which means that it's made from the Thai and Jamaican chili's we grow in the garden - so I go very lightly as home made chili powder is generally hotter than the commercial type. 
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground corriander 
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • Neutral oil for frying 
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm water if needed for consistency of the mixture 

  1. Pour the beans into a large bowl, rinse, and cover with boiling water, so that the water submerges the beans and rests about 2 inches above the level of the beans. Cover and let rest for 10- 24 hours. You can check in several hours and add a bit of water if it looks like the beans are absorbing most of the water. To determine when the beans are ready, they will not soften completely, but you will be able to press your nail into the bean 
  2. Mix the spices and baking soda in a small bowl. Make sure to break up any baking soda lumps as you mix the spices
  3.  Pour half of the chickpeas into the food processor bowl with the garlic, onion, carrot , parsley and cilantro (if using). Add 1-2 Tbsp warm water if needed.  Process until it resembles course sand. Add the remaining beans and 1/2 of the spice mixture. Process again. Blend in remaining spice mixture, process until the spices are mixed in and transfer to a bowl. 
  4. The mixture should look like wet large grain sand. There should be no water puddling at the bottom of the bowl.  Take a tablespoon of the mixture and squeeze in your hand, it should hold together. If it doesn't form a ball, process until the pieces are finer. If this doesn't do the trick, try another 1 Tbsp of water. 

     5. Heat 2 - 3 inches of oil in a small sauce pan
     6. There is a small instrument specifically used to form falafel balls called a pal-ed falafel scoop. 
         If you do not have one, use a tsp to measure out about 1.5 tsp of mix into your hand. Squeeze 
         into a ball and ease into hot oil. 
      7. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then rotate so that the entire surface is cooked and turns golden. Drain. 
      8. Don't crowd the falafel balls in the oil, continue until all of the mix is used up. You will be able
          to make approximately 36 pieces. 
       9. Serve with tahina sauce (which is not the same thing as tahina paste in a jar or bottle), in a pita
          with salad and pickles or with as a snack with a a sauce like spicy mayonnaise (mayo mixed               with garlic and a bit of hot pepper in adobo sauce).

Enjoy hot or at room temperature. The falafel can be wrapped and refrigerated for a day or two. You can double wrap and freeze for a week or two as well. 

Another  "chickpea" recipe you might be interested in: Chicken Meatballs with Chickpeas and Chickpeas and Zucchini

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Brisket stuffed Corn Muffins

Thanks to Emeril Lagasse for this corn muffin idea. 
No worries for those who keep kosher, the meat is pulled brisket, the corn muffin batter is pareve. 
Yield: approximately 30 muffins

This cornbread is on our menu for Thanksgiving this year. You needn't follow the recipe, but rather the methodology.  If, however, you have never made pulled brisket or cornbread, you can easily follow the recipe below.  The recipe is made in two parts; the meat will take 6-8 hours and then must cool fully. Corn muffins are assembled in 15 minutes and cook for another 15.  The corn muffin recipe is inspired by a Rosso/Lukins recipe in The New Basics Cookbook. 

roasting pan
forks or meat shredder
aluminum foil 
mixing bowl and measuring equipment
muffin pan
muffin paper cups 

For the pulled brisket:
2.5-3 lb brisket (2nd cut, the fattier the better) or non-pickled deckel 
2 c of your favorite BBQ sauce . Our favorite BBQ sauce is a brown sugar- molasses based sauce. 
1/2 c red wine 

For the corn muffins:
2 c cornmeal (I like to use yellow cornmeal for this recipe)
1 c white whole wheat flour
1 c unbleached all purpose flour 
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 heaping Tbsp. brown sugar
1 15oz. can creamed corn
1 15 oz. can, or 1 c frozen corn kernels
1 c soy or almond milk
1 c non-dairy sour cream substitute
1 Tbsp. vinegar
4 beaten eggs
scant 1/4 c vegetable oil

I. The night before you plan to bake:
- place the meat in a roasting pan that is close to the size of the piece of meat. Pour BBQ sauce and wine over the meat. 
-wrap the pan in foil , you want to prevent any evaporation while the meat is roasting/braising 
-bake at 225 degrees for 6-8 hours . I do this overnight, setting the oven to turn off after 8 hours. 
- cool and then unwrap the meat. The meat should be fork tender and falling apart 
- using 2 forks, shred the meat. If strands of muscle are long, use a knife to cut across the strands making short strands that will fit into a muffin cup
-pour the liquid into a small saucepan and reduce sauce until it is thickened  (honey-like consistency)
-pour the hot sauce over the shredded meat and set aside (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days)
-meat will be saucy and "wet," but sauce should not be running in the pan 

II. Making the muffins:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees . Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups. 
1. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (cornmeal, flours, salt, pepper, baking powder, baking soda)
2. Mix the faux sour cream, non dairy milk, vinegar, oil, both types of corn, eggs
3. Combine the two mixtures, mix well and spoon 1 Tbsp of batter into each cup 

4. Place (and press slightly) about 1 tsp of meat into each muffin cup. Top with corn muffin batter.

5. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and remove muffins from the hot baking pan. 

6. Enjoy the muffins warm or at room temperature. These muffins can be cooled, double wrapped and frozen.  Unwrap prior to defrosting. Warm in an oven at 325 for 10 minutes after defrosting. 

Other Thanksgiving favorites on Bread and Babka: Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls 

Happy Holiday !

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Applesauce Coffee Cake (pareve, no nuts)

               This cake is modified from Applesauce Crumb Cake in Kosher by Design (S. Fishbein)

It's November on the US Eastern seaboard. It's cold all around: the weather, the politics, the mood of all of us who suddenly had to grab our down jackets just 24 hours after a balmy, sunny 65 degree day.  
I usually make dessert for Shabbat on Thursday, leaving cooking to Thursday night and the very early morning hours on Friday. In reality, I usually think about what I'm going to make for dessert for two or three days prior to Thursday since I love making sweets and because it's the only time we have a planned sweet at the end of any meal (as if week-night dinners are actually a planned meal). 

I'm partial to both chocolate and fruit and even though we're limited to apples locally (and lots of trucked-in out of season fruit), I have a chest freezer with lots of summer fruit that was purchased and packed up while the choices were abundant and prices cheap. This is the same freezer that I promised my husband would only be used in the few weeks prior to the fall holidays and then again in the spring before Passover. This is one of our family jokes- the way we over stock groceries, freeze anything that can be frozen (you never know when you'll need 2 oz. of fresh lemon juice, right?) and live by the motto that you never know when you'll need that one esoteric ingredient. The freezer is never empty and is never shut off. If you love to bake or cook and freeze, an extra freezer is a game-changer. 

Which brings me to this applesauce cake.  We do have a freezer with blueberries, sliced peaches, and fresh figs ;however, this is the week that I didn't think about dessert until an hour before I had to make it. So forget a fresh fruit dessert this week, everything is frozen. We do happen to have applesauce (just in case.....) and so applesauce became the central ingredient of whatever dessert we would have for Shabbat.  Even better (when you have a 32 oz. jar of applesauce)  this cake takes 16 oz of applesauce. It's not as stunning as a beautiful apple galette or crumble, but it is a simple comfort food all the same. 

The cake is assembled in 3 layers.  The fat-flour mixture is the basis of both the cake batter and crumb topping. The applesauce is added as a layer over the cake batter base. The cake is baked in a rectangle baking pan.  Beginning to end it's mixed and baked in under 2 hours. 

2 qt. rectangle pan (I use a 2 qt. Pyrex baking dish, measuring 7 x 11 inches)
mixing bowl, measuring equipment 
electric mixer or stand mixer
parchment paper (to line the pan)

Cake batter:
1 1/2 cup margarine (3 sticks). You can use butter or a combination of vegetable shortening and margarine.
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
4 c (18 oz.) all purpose flour
pinch salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 extra large eggs (added after the crumb portion has been removed)

Applesauce layer:
16 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla 

Crumb topping:
1/3 of the batter prior to the eggs being added
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c cinnamon chips or cinnamon bits (I use cinnamon bits, available from King Arthur flour)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut and line a baking pan with parchment paper
2. Blend the flour, salt and baking powder and stir
3. Cream the fat and sugar, add the flour mixture, blend well and set aside about 1/3 of the mixture. Blend in the eggs after the crumb portion has been set aside
4. Press the cake batter into the prepared pan
5. Combine the applesauce layer ingredients and spread over the cake batter base 
6. Combine topping ingredients. The flour mixture will be grainy, which is ok, since it will make a crumb-type topping.  Spread over the applesauce
7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean 
8. Cool before slicing.  The cake will stay well, covered for 2-3 days. The cake can be double wrapped and frozen (use within 4-6 weeks)

Another time, with a bit of planning, another great coffee cake  (made with blueberries) can be found here: Blueberry Crumb Spice Cake 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Chicken meatballs with zucchini and chickpeas

This is a totally accidental dish influenced by Ottolenghi's recipe for Chicken with miso and ginger (Ottolenghi's Simple, Ten Speed Press).  

I was looking to throw dinner together quickly and was thinking that something Persian-ish with ground chicken and chickpeas would hit the spot; however, I also had Simple on the counter and started leafing through it. The ground chicken was already defrosted and the can of chickpeas on the counter. A few zucchini were either going to be used or thrown away and it has been too cold to walk over to the compost pile. Such is the beginning of a really good, quick chicken meatball dish, which with the addition of steamed brown rice, is a delicious winter mid-week meal. This is the kind of dish you can play with and embellish as you see fit.  The recipe serves 3-4. 

The recipe calls for ginger. You can use fresh ginger, or ginger that has been peeled and preserved in sherry. 

  • start the brown rice
  • mince the flavorings (ginger, garlic, whites of scallion, parsley)
  • measure out miso (I keep miso frozen in the plastic packaging), liquid ingredients 
  • roughly cut up zucchini , open and drain the chickpeas 
  • mix the ground chicken with breadcrumbs (gluten or gluten free) and flavoring. Meatballs will be dropped directly into the sauce as they are formed 
  • Cook for 15 minutes, finish the rice and serve hot 
  • mixing bowls, measuring spoons/cups , mixing spoons 
  • large heavy frying pan or well seasoned cast iron frying pan 
  • whatever pot you like to make rice in 
  • For the meatballs:
    • 1 lb ground chicken, mixed with 
    • 1/4 c bread crumbs, 1 tsp roasted sesame oil, S&P to taste, 1/2 tsp (or more) granulated garlic  
  • For the sauce: 
    • 2-3 Tbsp neutral oil 
    • One 2inch piece of ginger, finely minced
    • two cloves of garlic, finely minced
    • 3-4 scallions, mince the white parts, roughly chop the greens
    • Several tablespoons of minced parsley
    • a pinch of hot pepper flakes (to taste)
    • zest of 2 small lemons
    • juice from the two small lemons 
    • heaping 1/3 cup red or white miso (you can find several brands that are marked kosher)
    • 1/4 cup white wine or mirin 
    • 3-4 Tbsp dark maple syrup
    • 3-4 Tbsp soy or terriaki sauce 
    • 2 zucchini, cut into chunks 
    • 15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 
  • Make rice according to your favorite method (using 1 cup of  your choice of brown rice)
  • Mix the chicken with oil and spices. Cook a small sample amount to check the spices. Shape 1 inch balls, let rest on a plate or sheet of waxed paper  
  • Sauté the ginger, garlic, white parts of the scallion 
  • Add the miso and liquid  ingredients and swirl the mixture in the pan , lower the heat to a very low simmer, add water if the sauce thickens too much
  • Gently add the meatballs, cover and simmer 5 minutes
  • Add the zucchini, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes. Don't overcook the vegetable
  • Add parsley and chopped scallion greens and beans 
  • Heat through, serve plated with rice. Enjoy !
I don't have many main-dish recipes on this blog, but you may be interested in Mafrum, another combination of meat with hearty vegetables. The recipe I use is from good friends in Israel, but the method is from Ottolenghi.