#TASTYBITS: Homemade Falafels & Cucumber Sauce

by G&G in , , ,


Falafels are one of my favorite deep-fried items to prepare and serve to my family. They make great appetizers and are also yummy as wraps and even falafel burgers. Below I have outlined the steps (with pictures) to help you make your very own "DIY" Falafels and Cucumber Sauce.

ENJOY!!

STEP ONE: PREPARE YOUR CUCUMBER SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • (1) 6 oz.  container of plain Greek yogurt ( I use Greek for the consistency)
  • 1 tsp of Dried dill weed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and let refrigerate/chill for 30 minutes. It's usually ready to eat by the time the falafels are done!

Cucumber Sauce

Cucumber Sauce

STEP TWO: PREPPING YOUR GARBANZO BEANS

I only eat fresh legumes and the Garbanzo Bean (chickpea) happens to be my top favorite. When you buy them bagged there are a couple steps you need to follow before using. 

  1. Open the bag and sort the beans. Removing all broken beans and other items (rocks, sticks etc..)
  2. Rinse the beans
  3. Put washed beans in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 24 hours

You will notice that your beans have grown in size, absorbed most of the water and are now ready to use. Chickpeas can now be boiled for a hot dish or used cold in recipes such as this one.

Chopped Chickpeas

STEP THREE: "MASH IT UP"

Once your chickpeas are ready to use, pour about 2 cups (16 oz.) into a mini chopper (or mash by hand) and pulse until the beans are fine, with a little weight to them. You are looking for a "paste" like consistency.  Over pulsing (mashing) will leave the beans too thin, forcing you to use more breadcrumbs to thicken it up. 

Pour bean mixture into a medium sized container, preferably with a lid for any left over falafel mix. 

Chopped Onion, Parsley and Garlic

STEP THREE: CHOPPING YOUR VEGGIES 

Add onion, parsley, garlic to mini chopper and pulse until your mixture looks like the above photo. Not too mushy. Vegetables should still be identifiable. Add this to the chickpea container and mix together with a spoon.

STEP FOUR: WET INGREDIENTS & SPICES

In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper, baking powder & lemon juice. Stir all of these ingredients together and add to the chickpea and vegetable mixture. 

Chickpeas, vegetable mixture, wet ingredients and spices -- before mixing

Chickpeas, vegetable mixture, wet ingredients and spices -- before mixing

After mixing all of the ingredients together you should have an idea of whether or not you will need more or less breadcrumbs as this recipe calls for 1 cup. Sometimes, if you have "over-chopped" your beans the mixture will be wet and a little soupy. DON'T PANIC, a 1/2 cup of additional bread crumbs will save your dish.

Mixture and breadcrumbs

Mixture and breadcrumbs

Adding olive oil

After mixing ALL INGREDIENTS add your olive oil. This is like the binder or "glue" for your falafels and work well to hold it all together.  Following this step you will see the difference when you begin to stir the mixture. Allow your mixture to rest while you get ready for the final steps.

You should be able to form a soft ball with your spoon along the side of your the container/bowl. To get the true texture put about 2 tablespoons in your palm and roll into a ball. If they fall apart add more breadcrumbs, if they hold you are rocking baby!!

Form a round ball

Flatten like a burger or smaller if you wish

STEP FOUR: IT'S TIME TO FRY

Pour oil into a frying pan, about 1 - 1 1/2 inches. I prefer sunflower oil. It tastes better to me and keeps my food from being super greasy and heavy. There are other health benefits to using sunflower vs. other oils that you can check out here.

Heat oil on medium-low and test the grease by dropping in a little bit of the falafel mixture. If it sizzles, it's ready. I use a slotted spoon to drop the flattened balls into the oil. This method keeps me from "getting popped." Hot grease burns SUCK.

Fry the falafels about 2 minutes on each side, checking them to ensure they don't burn. Once the edges are brown flip them over and allow 2 more minutes of cooking time.

 

Once the falafels are done take them out of the oil and drain them on a paper towel. If you are making a big batch, I would suggest warming your oven and allowing those to hang out in there while you finish. Or just eat them as you make more. That's what I do. Your sauce is ready by now, so get to dipping!!

Finished Falafels

As I mentioned, falafels are great in the form of a wrap or burger. I prefer wraps because I am a sucker for HEB's fresh, soft tortillas. I could eat the whole pack by myself. Making a falafel wrap is simple and allows you to be creative with what goes in it!

Fresh tortillas

Warm your tortillas. I prefer the oven because they get a little crispy and I like that crunch. Once the toritallas are warm and puffy, remove the from the oven and place them on separate pieces of foil to keep warm and to keep the stuff inside from falling out.... now the fun part...assembly.

I like to add fresh avocado (lots of it), fresh roma tomatoes and green lettuce. This part you can do how ever you like, but I put the cucumber sauce at the bottom of the tortillas, added my veggies and top with a falafel or two. I finish it off with a dollop of extra sauce on top. 

That's it! NOW EAT... while everything is still hot! #FalafelFun

Fresh Veggies



Warm up with a little Whiskey the RIGHT way

by G&G in


As the weather gets cooler and fall approaches we often crave those warm comfort foods. Be it your typical Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks, the trusty savory/sweet butternut squash soup or your favorite "chest warming" beverage. Each winter I take on the cold with some of my favorites, Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, neat,  being at the top of that list.

I haven't always known how to determine the best Whiskey for sipping, shooting or mixing but this trusty and comical chart from Pam Wiznitzer, a mixologist at the award-winning New York City cocktail bar The Dead Rabbit has me on the right track for a good buzz.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-to-drink-whiskey-like-an-expert-2014-9#ixzz3EFxJmQ4z

Looking for a place to wet your whistle with some Whiskey? I have listed a couple of my favorite spots!

Image courtesy (Houston Press)

Image courtesy (Houston Press)

Facebook image

Facebook image



Drinking with Dinosaurs at The #CityExperts Exclusive: Night at the Museum

by G&G in ,


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This was supposed to be one of those "live action" shots but my friends and I had no idea how to make that happen and my poor husband had no idea how to shoot it! I love them all...

This was supposed to be one of those "live action" shots but my friends and I had no idea how to make that happen and my poor husband had no idea how to shoot it! I love them all...

Ever so often Google treats its #CityExperts to a night of great food, signature cocktails, bumping music and a ton of fun. Last night was one of those nights as we drank with dinosaurs at City Experts Exclusive: Night at the Museum!

The art pieces were AMAZING and the tour guides that worked the event were so enthusiastic and truly loved their jobs. I am not a science chick AT ALL but they had me jazzed, I even took a tour of the place..it was quite educational.

The "Trilobite" (Lichakephalus Stubbsi) 

The "Trilobite" (Lichakephalus Stubbsi) 

The "Trilobite" (Lichakephalus Stubbsi) 

The "Trilobite" (Lichakephalus Stubbsi) 

I was jazzed to learn that a bulk of the artifacts and fossils displayed were from Africa, Morocco to be exact.

The dinosaurs by far, were the highlight of the night. It's hard to believe that these massive creatures once roamed the earth. I couldn't even imagine running into one of these things in real life. I think I jumped every time I walked up on a display.. and they weren't even moving. 

Google provided yummy, passed hor d'oeuvres for all to enjoy. The duck empanadas and red snapper ceviche bites were simply amazing. We happened to stand at a table near the kitchen and got first dibs on all the food. 

A party wouldn't be a party with out delectable cocktails and sweet treats. We enjoyed an open bar with signature cocktails with cool names that adhered to the theme of the party! 

Of course with it being free liquor we tried them all but quickly struck the "Museum District Madras" off our sipping list once it was discovered (or read aloud from the menu) that it contained no alcohol. The "Space City Slinger" was good and when we had the bartender add vodka to the Madras drink it was quickly added back to our list!

"Space City Slinger" 

"Space City Slinger" 

"Museum District Madras"

"Museum District Madras"

Even the candy on the tables matched the Google color scheme. I over heard some idiot asking "So, how did you all decide what colors to use for the candy and lights?"..The waiter replied to me.. I mean the idiot, that these are obviously Google's colors. I heard the idiot say.. oooohhhhh...

Being the candy junkie that I am I ate more candy then food, but the question I kept asking everyone was where on earth do you find a bag of only green sixlets.. where? 

To close out the evening waiters passed around raspberry and pomegranate sorbet in waffle cones and mouthwatering chocolate truffles. My girlfriend who loves truffles literally lost it at this point and there was chocolate everywhere. 

Cake balls from #Petitesweets

Cake balls from #Petitesweets

These sweet parting gifts were the icing on the cake..balls..

I am oh so grateful for these experiences and the fact that I can share them with my family and friends is awesome. They always have a blast and in life I have found that happiness is all that matters. 

 

He was thirsty!

He was thirsty!