Top Ten essentials to farmers market-worthy falafel
I had to work Saturday, which was kind of a bummer but for one thing: I had a morning assignment around the corner from the Waverly Farmers Market. With any luck, I could swing by before returning to the office and pick up a falafel sandwich for lunch.
Luck, however, was not with me. By the time I finished interviewing people at the newly reopened firehouse, the Waverly vendors were packing up.
I still had falafel on the brain by the time I finished up my work day, so I decided to make some at home. I've made serviceable falafel many times over the years, following a recipe in a cookbook so old that it brags about being high carb.
But it didn't come close to the falafel from the vendor who sells at Waverly and under the JFX. His is terrific because he pairs chickpea patties with more than a little tahini sauce and pita. He adds things like grated carrots, grated beets, strawberries and herbs.
So this time, the recipe in "Jane Brody's Good Food Book: Living the High-Carbohydrate Way" was just my starting point. I added lots of other stuff to the sandwich, either because Falafel Guy uses it or because it happened to be growing in my garden.
The result was a very tasty sandwich that my husband, 7-year-old daughter and I happily ate for three days straight. (My 5-year-old son wouldn't go near anything but the warmed whole-wheat pita.)
Which brings me to this week's list:
Top Ten essentials to farmers' market-worthy falafel
1. Cayenne pepper
A sprinkle on the mild patties gave them some needed heat
2. Grated beets and carrots
3. Chopped strawberries
4. Swiss chard
This addition could also serve as the missing No. 5 in last week's list of solutions for "The Locavore's Dilemma," a problem otherwise known as Swiss Chard overabundance. A few torn leaves, along with some lettuces from the garden, were a nice addition to the sandwich.
7. More dill
You can't have too much when there's a yogurt sauce involved.
Here are the basic falafel and tahini sauce recipes from "Jane Brody's Good Food Book." (1985, W.W. Norton)
1 T water
1 Tsp. lemon juice
2 T minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup tahini
2 C cooked, drained chick peas
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground chili powder
1/3 cup wheat germ
In a food processor, combine the egg, water, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, soy sauce and tahini until they form a smooth mixture. Add the chickpeas and spices and blend again. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Form into patties (six or more) and fry on a lightly oiled skillet until lightly browned on both sides.
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate, covered, until serving time.
Photo by math-hubby