Falafel with Tzatziki

I love Greek food, and I have tried many times to make falafel just to end up with a mushy mess that falls apart while cooking.  But not today.  The trick is to start with dried chickpeas.  I always assumed that these would be hard to find, but I got mine at Walmart for about a dollar.  Definitely had to stock up!  All you have to do is soak these overnight in a bowl of water, and when you’re getting ready to make dinner, just drain and dry them well.  Oh man, these turned out absolutely amazing!  Plus they’re vegetarian, full of protein, and totally healthy.  Adding this to my Greek repertoire!

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Tzatziki

-1/3 c mayonnaise

-1 clove garlic, grated

-1 Tbsp lemon juice

-1 small cucumber

-salt and pepper

Peel, seed, and grate the cucumber.  Then combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.  You can definitely substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise if you don’t need it to be dairy free–either works great!

Falafel

-1 lb dry chickpeas, soaked overnight

-1/2 yellow onion, chopped

-1/3 c parsley

-4 cloves of garlic

-2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil

-1 Tbsp flour (gluten free if needed)

-1 Tbsp ground flax*

-2 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp salt

-2 tsp cumin

-1 tsp coriander

-1 tsp red pepper flakes

-black and cayenne pepper to taste

-red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, tzatziki and pita (or gluten free tortillas) to serve

Combine all ingredients except for the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste.  Next add the chickpeas and blend until you have a mixture that’s almost smooth, but still has a bit of texture.  You don’t want it to be completely smooth or it won’t hold together well while cooking.  You also don’t want it to be too dry.  It needs to hold together in a ball but still be pretty moist to the touch.  Feel free to add a little extra olive oil or even a touch of water if you need it.  Pour this mix into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.  Section the falafel mix into patties, 2 to 3 Tbsp in size.

Next you can either shallow fry these in about 1/4 inch of oil or bake them.  I tried both ways, and honestly the baked ones were just as good as the fried.  Preheat your oven to 450º and place your falafel patties on a greased baking sheet.  Slightly oil the tops of the falafel as well–I used coconut spray for this which made it really easy.  Bake them for 10-12 minutes, give them a flip and a slight press down, and bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Serve in a pita, tortilla, or on a salad with chopped red onion, tomato, lettuce, and tzatziki.

*If you don’t have ground flax, then feel free to substitute it with flour, but the flax adds a nice hit of fiber, protein, and omega-3s which is awesome!

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Creole Crawfish Pasta

Last weekend we had friends over for crawfish on Saturday afternoon, we put the leftovers on ice in a cooler then I peeled them on Sunday morning. I would advise peeling them while you have everything out and “crawfishy,” recruit a peeling helper by simply offering them an additional beer and turning this music up, this usually does the trick. Put the crawfish tails in a ziplock in the fridge to be used for the best leftovers ever.  

 

Grant found a similar recipe in Square Table that he requested for our crawfish tails. I tweaked it to make Creole Crawfish Pasta. Normally I can’t let myself make creamy pastas but justified this one and it was worth it! The perfect Sunday supper.

Creole Crawfish Pasta

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 Onion, diced

1 Yellow Pepper, diced

3 cloves of Garlic, minced

4-6 Green onions, chopped 

Pint of cherry Tomatoes, quartered

2 Tbs. Butter

1 1/2 c heavy cream

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning

Crawfish Tails, approximately two cups after shells are removed.

Pasta of your choice (we used angel hair because it’s what we had in the pantry)

Directions:

Put water for pasta on to bring to boil. 

In a separate skillet melt butter and add onion and pepper. Sauté until softened, about 7 minutes.

Add in garlic, crawfish, and tomatoes, combine.

Add heavy cream next add Tony’s, paprika, and green onions.

Reduce sauce, while simmering and reducing, add pasta to boiling water and follow directions on box.

Once pasta is al dente plate and top with the crawfish sauce.

Add additional green onions for garnish.

Enjoy     

   
   

Four Faves

Spring Sangria – I’m a fan of pretty much all sangria, but there’s something about a fizzy, bright sangria full of fresh fruit that really gets me in the mood for spring!  Here’s our basic recipe:  one bottle of wine, 2 cups fruit, 1/2 cup liquor, 1/2 cup fruit juice, 1 cup mixer, 1/2 cup sweetener (if desired).

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Check out this gorgeous Peach Strawberry Sangria from Bon Appetit


Funky Sunglasses – It’s finally bright outside again!  So it’s time to whip out some funky shades.  I love these cool rounded ones that don’t go full on Lennon. Not to mention they’re the perfect, not scary price point of $50!

Our recipe of Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Energy Bites from last spring. I found myself wanting to make a sweet treat, but also needing a filling snack to get me through afternoon hunger. Instead of making some sort of cookie or relying on excessive little snacks of fruit, chips and candy I decided to make a batch of our energy bites. Boy do these do the trick, they take mere minutes to whip up, require no baking, and they are also a treat without being packed full of processed sugar, gluten or dairy. One batch makes about 15 and they keep easily in Tupperware in the fridge.   

Rounding out our favorites for the week is The Master’s this weekend. Grant and I love watching this quitensential spring golf tournament. This year we are using it as an excuse to have friends over Sunday afternoon to “watch the Master’s and cook out.” Such an easy get together that will inevitably involve lots of time spent on our porch watching the gorgeous greens.. and golfers (kidding!) at Augusta – Hey Jordan! Hi Rory! As well as pimento cheese in some form or fashion, see the pimento cheese recipe from the Junior League of Augusta pictures below.  

   
 

Easiest Air Popped Popcorn

We all know the story:  it’s 2:00pm, you’re starving, you need a healthy, filling snack.  Well as long as there’s a microwave around, you can make a giant, but somehow 100 calorie, sized portion of yummy popcorn in under 2 minutes.  Plus there’s no clean up.  Doesn’t get any easier than that!

Put 3 Tbsp of popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag and fold it closed.  Nuke it for 1 1/2 minutes and sprinkle with a little salt.  Done!

*** Be careful to follow directions and not over cook or can catch on fire in your microwave