Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Falafel

Falafel always reminds me of my time spent in Israel, and of my Jewish heritage.  I've been meaning to post this recipe for awhile. I have tried various recipes for falafel with mixed results until trying Sarah Raven's recipe from Fresh From the Garden.  This time I didn't have the usual problems of the falafel balls not sticking together properly, and they fried up perfectly in canola oil for a healthier falafel. I served it with some cucumbers and tomatoes, as well Sabra hummus for that perfect Israeli meal.  This recipe makes 35 falafel balls and I didn't need nearly that many since it was just a week night dinner for the two of us, so I cut the recipe in half (full recipe is below).

1 lb dired chickpeas
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, quartered
small bunch of flat leaf parsley, stalks removed
small bunch of fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest if 1/2 lemon, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp baking soda

Soak the chickpeas in cold water for about 12 hours. Drain and put them in a food processor with all of the other ingredients. Process and blend until combined but not fully pureed. You want them to have some texture.  Allow mixture to stand for 30 minutes before shaping into 35 balls.  Then allow to stand for another 35 minutes. Fill a saucepan or deep fryer with canola oil . I always fry with canola oil (regardless of what a recipe calls for) because it is much healthier. You would like a couple inches of oil. Heat to 375 and deep fry the balls - the falafel balls, that is :) Fry for about four minutes until golden brown, and drain on paper towels.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I recently ordered some squash blossoms with my Fresh Direct groceries, from a local New York farm. There's a very short season on squash blossoms and I had never prepared anything with them before, so I wasn't really sure what all the fuss was about. Well, I figured it out - they have a lovely, sweet delicate taste that is just perfect with goat cheese and some herbs, and fried up with a bit of panko. It's healthy too, as long as you fry in canola oil, like I always do. The herbed goat cheese that I used was the perfect accompaniment for these delicate little blossoms.

Sasha's Stuffed Squash Blossoms
8 squash blossoms
4 oz herbed goat cheese
2 eggs
panko bread crumbs
pepper to season

To prepare, stuff the blossoms packed with the herbed goat cheese. Beat the eggs and coat the blossoms before dredging and covering in panko bread crumbs.  season with a bit of pepper and fry in canola oil. Totally lovely for a summertime snack of appetizer - I'm so glad I tried this.

I haven't made cupcakes in awhile. I've been trying to cook a bit healthier, plus life has been really, really hectic in a Bill Murray "Groundhog Day" kind of way.  But I plan on making some Harry Potter "Butterbeer" inspired cupcakes this coming Friday, so they'll be posted shortly thereafter as the triumphant cupcake return.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Tilapia Fish Tacos with Peach-Mango Salsa

Peaches are one of my favorite foods of the summer. I incorporate them into just about everything - grilled peaches with barbecued meat, salads, pies, cobblers, you name it. They are also a key component of my fruity salsas in the summer months. Recently I made some delicious tilapia tacos with a savory peach salsa that was delicious and healthy - full of vitamin C.

Sasha's Peach-Mango Salsa
1 mango diced
2 large peaches, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
2 T lime juice
1/2 diced jalapeno pepper

Sasha's Tilapia Fish Tacos (serves two)
2 filets of tilapia, skinned
1/2 cup mirin or sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 T sesame oil
2 T fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Marinate the tilapia for about 12 hours (a whole day is usually good). Then grill or bake the fish. After the fish is cooked to your liking, break it up into small pieces with a fork. This should be very easy as it will just fall apart. Serve in corn tortillas with salsa and a bit of fat free sour cream and lowfat cheddar cheese.
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