Monday, September 1, 2008

Mostly Middle Eastern Feast

I love middle eastern food. We have a local restaurant which is fabulous. But with a 2-year old and my natural frugality, we don't go there very often (it's pricey, but what isn't?) Hummus is a pretty normal part of my repertoire, but I wanted to branch out. I have been eyeing a recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance for falafel. I had it on my calendar a few times, but it always fell off for some reason. This week, Cheap Healthy Good had a little ode to falafel, so I put it back on the schedule.

I served this with tabouli. I guess that falafel is normally served with tahini sauce. I felt more like trying my hand at tzatziki, since I had cucumbers and yogurt. I had also been wanting to make a loaf of no-knead bread with some we also have Greek (tzatziki) and Italian in there.
It was very delicious if a bit labor intensive. For the bread, there's mixing it one day, then a short amount of kneading, then rising and baking. For the falafel, there was cooking the dried beans, then making the mix and chilling it, then frying it. Tzatziki required draining the yogurt and salting and draining the cucumber before mixing. And the bruschetta and tabouli required a lot of chopping. It was a lot of short little bits of work, and we ate all the falafel, so no leftovers there.

2 c. cooked garbanzos, drained (0.42)
1/4 c. whole wheat breadcrumbs (free, we make our own from bread heels)
2 T. flour (0.01)
1 onion, chopped (0.20)
4 cloves garlic (0.12)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cumin (0.12)
1 tsp coriander (0.12)
1/4 tsp cayenne (0.03)
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley (0.12)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil for pan-frying

Total: $1.39 for 16-18 pieces

Using a food processor, pulse the beans and the breadcrumbs until well chopped. Add the remaining ingredients through the black pepper. Continue to pulse for about 30 seconds, scraping the bowl as necessary. Move to the fridge for at least 1/2 hour.

Form into patties, about 1 T. Pan fry for 3-4 min per side until golden brown. Original recipe called for deep frying in 1/2 inch oil.

Tzatziki (adjusted from Barefoot Contessa)

2 c yogurt (1.50)
1 cucumber (0.50)
2 T lemon juicde (0.30)
1 T vinegar (0.08)
2 cloves garlic, minced (0.06)
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil (0.11)

Total: $2.55 for about 2.5-3 cups

Layer 2 pieces of paper towel in a sieve in a bowl. Put in yogurt, let drain 3 hours in the fridge.

Seed and dice or shred cucumber. Put 1 tsp salt on cucumber. Place salted cucumber in paper towel-lined sieve in fridge for 3 hours.

Squeeze liquid out of cucumber. Discard yogurt liquid - yogurt will have thickened nicely. Mix all ingredients, chill to let flavors mix.

Olive, parmesan, and rosemary almost no-knead bread (adjusted from Cook's Illustrated Magazine to decrease the cheese and sub some whole wheat flour)

1.5 c. whole wheat flour (0.33)
1.5 c. white flour (0.26)
1/4 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 cup green olives, chopped (0.14)
1 cup shredded parmesan (0.82)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 c. beer or non-alcoholic beer (0.15)
1 T vinegar (0.08)
3/4 c. plus 2 T water (room temp)

Total: $1.78 for 1.5 lb loaf.

Basic method: Mix yeast, salt, flours, parmesan, rosemary together. Add water, beer, vinegar, and olives and stir using a rubber spatula, scraping sides until a ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 8 to 18 hours. I let mine sit for 19-20 hours, still worked great.

Place a piece of freezer paper in a 10-inch skillet. It should be large enough so that you can grip the edges to move the bread in and out of the pan.

On a clean, lightly floured surface, knead the dough 10-15 times. Shape into a ball. Move to the skillet on top of the parchment. Spray with cooking spray. Cover with plastic (I use the same piece that covered the bowl), and let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours. On a cool day, 2.5 to 3 works better for me. It is ready when it doesn't spring back when you poke it with a finger.

Adjust oven shelves to the bottom or second from bottom. 30 min before baking, put a dutch oven, or covered pyrex or corning ware casserole dish in the oven to heat. Heat oven to 475F. I use a large square corningware dish.

When ready to bake, remove dish. Take plastic off of dough, make one slice down the center with a sharp knife. Dust with flour or cornmeal (lightly). Move the parchment and bread into the HOT casserole. Replace the lid.
Put bread in oven. Reduce heat to 425F. Bake for 30 min. Remove lid, bake another 15 min. Be careful my oven, another 5 min burns the bottom.

Remove from oven to wire rack and cool 2 hours.

1 comment:

Stephanie Griffith said...

Those recipes sound great! Thanks for posting them. I could eat middle eastern food every day.