Posts Tagged appetizers

Achievement Unlocked: Full of Falafel

The kitchen floor desperately needs a sweeping, the cook needs a shower, but by golly, I’m getting the picnic food made.

So, the day before my weekly excuse to try out new recipes (read: D&D), the boyfriend planned a picnic with me and one of our other gamer friends.  As awesome as that is, the food I had planned for the next day wasn’t exactly a snap, so around four pm, I went into Turbo Mode and whipped up a Middle Eastern spread to make my mom proud.  (They’re not her recipes, but she’s the one who introduced me to them growing up, so I credit her.)  This and the next two posts cover those specific recipes.

For anyone who’s not familiar with falafel, they’re immensely tasty chickpea croquettes that are normally served shoved into a pita with some sauce or salad.  There are a number of pre-made falafel kits out there, and I may have actually used one once – the memory is fuzzy.  These are a bit more work than just shaking out a mix and adding oil, but I really hope they’re worth it!

Recipe from Allrecipes, because I don’t have my mom’s.  I think hers have an egg in them, while these are vegan.  I did bake them rather than frying them, both because I’m scared of deep-frying and for healthfulness reasons.  Also, I fudged the proportions because of the amount of chickpeas in my pantry.  The original recipe makes about 24; this makes 35, and I will be shocked if they all get eaten tomorrow…wait.  On second thought, between the DM, the cleric, the fighter, and visiting nibblers, no I won’t.  🙂

On an unrelated note, I’ve been getting into drinking (store-brand) seltzer rather than soda and have actually grown to like the taste.  Tonight, though, Safeway was all out, so I came home with a bottle of diet tonic water instead.  Blech.  Needs a crapton of lime juice before I will consider this even mildly palatable.  Still, it’s better than brandy.  Slainte!

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Baked Falafel

  1. Drain, rinse, and empty three fifteen-ounce cans of chickpeas into a bowl.  Mash the ever-loving hell out of them with a potato masher.  Try not to wake up sleeping roommate in the basement.
  2. (Realize that you’ve had Pandora on for the past hour and were singing along to “Barrett’s Privateers.”  Reason that, if roommate is still asleep from that, the potato masher will make no difference.)
  3. Add chopped onion to taste.  The original recipe called for two small onions for this much chickpea mash; I substituted one large  shallot and one medium one.  I like my croquettes a little less onion-y than most.
  4. Add four minced cloves of garlic, AFTER figuring out where you put the bag you just peeled not four hours ago.  Question wisdom of housecleaning-type behavior.
  5. Add generous shakes (about two tablespoons each) of dried parsley, cumin, and cilantro.  Upon encountering cilantro after ten-minute hunt, pause to dream of the day when you and only you will organize your kitchen.
  6. Add teaspoon or so of turmeric and teaspoon of baking powder.
  7. Add two cups of “fine” bread crumbs; I used panko, because that’s what was around.  Stir the whole mess together.
  8. CAREFULLY.  Pause to clean spilled breadcrumbs from counter.
  9. Add drizzle of water and sprinkle of pepper, then move to table for assembly.
  10. Squish mixture into little balls and lay out on baking sheet.  I wound up with thirty-five, slightly uneven balls.
  11. (Panic for a moment and check the ingredients on your breadcrumbs.  Reassure yourself that there are no eggs.  Continue.)
  12. Slide tray into fridge overnight (if you’re planning ahead) and go take a shower.
  13. The next morning: preheat oven to 375.  Bake tahini for about 15 minutes; remove from oven, flip balls over, and bake for another 15.  Serve with delicious things!  🙂
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Achievement Unlocked: Hee Hee, You Said Sausage Balls

Monthly game nights at our place involve a LOT of cooking on my part.  It’s a potluck, so I know it’s not necessary, but something in me  will not allow me to welcome people into my home without offering food, even if it’s enough food for twenty.  The next four posts will be writeups of this month’s party food!  (Rarely do I make the same recipe two months in a row, with two exceptions: a rave review potato salad and a vegan curry that’s spread halfway across the country.  I’ll post them the next time I make them.)

First up: sausage and cheese balls.  (There’s just something funny about “sausage” and “balls” in the same sentence.  Yes, I am in fact twenty-two.)  They’re not pretty, but they’re delicious, especially when you tweak the recipe as you go along.  The problem with making uber-delicious party food is that you end up eating seven or eight of them before the party ever starts.  😀  Also, they worked like a charm for taking my mind off my aching back as I cooked.

The original recipe calls for breakfast sausage, but I’ve had beef chorizo sitting in the bottom of my fridge for a while, so I used that instead.  I believe it was a little more squishy and less clumpy than it would have been otherwise, but you certainly didn’t hear me or my guests complaining.  Makes somewhere between forty and fifty little appetizers.  Thanks to the awesome ladies at We Are Not Martha for the recipe (and a lot of pictures of glittery crafts!).

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Chorizo and Cheese Balls

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  (Or Silpats, if you’re lucky enough to own them.)
  2. Mix one-and-a-quarter cups of flour, half a teaspoon of sea salt, a generous shake of chili pepper, a less generous shake of black pepper, and one-and-a-half teaspoons of baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. Dump in roughly two cups of cheese: in this example case, about half a bag of reduced-fat Italian cheese blend, and a cup of cheddar that your roommate so generously shredded.  Toss with hands to coat cheese mixture with flour mixture.  Eat bits of cheese that stick to hands.  (Wash hands.)
  4. Roughly chop half an onion and add it to the mix.
  5. Squeeze in two ten-ounce tubes of beef chorizo.  Mix to coat.  Attempt to push mixture into loaf.
  6. Reread recipe, add half a stick of melted butter, THEN push mixture into loaf.  Realize that bottom of bowl still contains a nontrivial amount of flour and cheese bits.  Resolve to make that up as you go along.
  7. Form mixture into small (smaller than limes, but being consistent is not hugely necessary) balls.  Place on baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until crusty on top and cooked the whole way through.  Remove from sheet and place on paper-towel-lined plate to drain.  Try not to eat the entire plate before your guests arrive.

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