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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.5: Baked Falafel

I'm Irish, as my pug nose, pale skin, and pudgy cheeks could tell you, but you wouldn't know it based on my food today. I'm alright with that. For more celebratory food, Choosing Raw has colcannon, Healthy Happy Life has damned near everything you could want, Oh She Glows has Shephard's Pie, and Hannah at Bittersweet has some really interesting potato candies! I'm sure you all have found a bunch-million other links too, so I'll leave it at that.
My tip of the cap today was breakfast, inspired by Kris: Irish Oatmeal.

I opted for a raw version of overnight soaked steel cut oats with dates and a bit of raw almond butter mixed in. Irish Breakfast tea with soy milk.
Lunch was leftovers from the Goddess Nicoise salad: red leaf lettuce, green beans, olives, chickpeas, tomatoes, and red pepper thrown in with the Green Goddess (Queen Maebe, perhaps?) dressing.

Eaten in the park, in the sunlight because it was beautiful out today!
And dinner was another recipe from Appetite for Reduction for the Cookbook Club: Baked falafel.
A staple in vegan "fast food," I'm sure we've all had our fair share of falafel. These are a bit healthier, being baked and not fried.

They were easy to throw together, and tasted fine - they just weren't anything special. I can't tell exactly what I felt was lacking, but I wasn't especially impressed. G, the falafel connoisseur (among so many other things), said they were good but the hummus and pita bread were lacking and considers them crucial to a good falafel experience. I didn't have mine with hummus but agree that the pita was a little sad. I ate the falafel with spinach, chopped cucumber, olives, tomato, and red pepper, and some tahini. Anyway, there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow - maybe the spices will have settled by then. The recipe DID have me discover coriander, which smells intrinsic to a good falafel. OH! And - notable for those of you who also have chickpea flour and were looking for a use for it, the ingredients also include a few tablespoons of chickpea flour to bind everything together, since they aren't being fried to a greasy crisp.
So, I think my Irish ancestors would be proud of my frugality with working with what I have and not baking an unnecessary loaf of dry old soda bread for show, if nothing else.
But - I can't pass up a chance to share part of a food-related poem from Seamus Heaney, one of my favorite poets:

At a Potato Digging

Under a gay flotilla of gulls
The rhythm deadens, the workers stop.
Brown bread and tea in bright canfuls
Are served for lunch. Dead-beat, they flop

Down in the ditch and take their fill,
Thankfully breaking timeless fasts;
Then, stretched on the faithless ground, spill
Libations of cold tea, scattered crusts.

And that ethic and gratitude in the face of a brutish life of hardship are the reason I'm not drinking tonight to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Read the whole poem here.


  1. I'm not drinking tonite either...and my family comes from County Mao!
    I may have to soak some oats tonite too :-)

  2. No worries, I drank enough yesterday for both you and Aimee.

  3. The soaked oats is a great idea; I'm giving that a try. I don't know whether it's widespread or just around these parts, but I can totally relate to your lacking pita bread. I've never found any store-bought stuff to be satisfying either....I've never made my own, but it's something I've been meaning to try.

    Happy belated St. Patrick's Day.

  4. Aimee, we're from Mayo too :)

    Shen, thanks. I knew I could count on you.

    Rose, most store bought pita is pathetic but if you can get it homemade around here, its a bit better. Happy St. Pat's to you too.

  5. I agree. If something is off in a sandwich, it can throw the whole thing off. One of our Greek restaurants has great pitas. I asked if they made them there, and they said they bought them at a Middle Eastern store up the street. So, I'm going to check them out. And, I guess that's a tip - to buy good storebought pitas, check out an ethnic store. But, like Rose, I'm going to play around with my own, too, and see what I can come up with.

  6. I like overnight oats, but I've never tried them with steel cut oats...I'll have to try that out.

    I was watching some cooking show the other day and they made pita bread. I thought to myself then that I would love to try my hand and some home made pita bread. :o)

  7. Blessed Mama (and Rose) I always want to make my own pitas too. I have a few recipes around, but let me know what you work with or what you use! (please).

    Michelle, overnight steel cut oats are definitely a different beast from rolled oats (obviously). Really good but still pretty crunchy. I like it but they don't plump up as much.

  8. The salad looks yummy ;-) !

    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

  9. Yay for oats! I love the salad, too. You always inspire me to eat more fresh goodness.


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