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Falafel From Scratch + Vegan Rooftop Dinner

Over the weekend, I helped host a friend’s Bachelorette party on the roof of an apartment building in Midtown Detroit. My food contribution was a homemade falafel recipe that I had made once before with success. [Others I’ve tried were not nearly as successful (can we say “falafel waffle”?)] Since we were expecting 20+ girls, I doubled the recipe. It did end up being just the right amount of food, but please beware, DO NOT double the recipe unless you are feeding 20 people. Even one batch is quite a lot of falafel 🙂

Falafel

Now, two days later, people are still asking me for the falafel recipe, so I wanted to publicly share it, and give credit to its author, Elephantastic Vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups / 500g dried chickpeas
  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • lemon juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup / 30g besan/chickpea flour
  • ⅛ cup / 30ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
 Method:
  1. Put the dry chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with enough water (the chickpeas will double in size!) and let them sit covered overnight.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  3. Peel the onions and garlic cloves. Put them in a food processor and chop.
  4. In a pan with a teaspoon of canola oil, add the chopped onions, garlic & cumin and let it cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until they starten to brown.
  5. Drain the chickpeas and then work in batches by adding the first batch into the food processor and chop until the pieces are really small (you don’t want to make hummus). In one batch add in the parsley to chop it as well. Repeat until all the chickpeas are used. Transfer everything to a huge bowl.
  6. Add the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, ground pepper, baking powder and the onions and garlic. Mix well.
  7. Add in the chickpea flour and olive oil. Mix the chickpea mixture well and form little balls. If the dough does not stick together enough, add more chickpea flour and oil.
  8. Put the falafel on a baking tray and put them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until they turn golden.
  9. You can eat the falafel like that or put them in a pan with a little oil for re-heating when you need them. They freeze very well, so you will have a nice stash of homemade falafel in your freezer, which is super convenient 😉

Note: For this party, I did fry them in a pan instead of baking them. It was a special occasion 🙂

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Photo credit: Royce Mathew

The beautiful bride-to-be!

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Filed under Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free, Lunch, Potluck, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Lunchtime at Work: Discussions About Food with Average Americans

Lunchtime at work regularly tends to bring up various discussions about food.  I find these conversations very insightful, as I regard my coworkers as “Average Americans”, and I like to analyze their perspectives.  I also like to help them see food in a new way, which unfortunately tends to fall on deaf ears.

During one memorable lunchtime discussion, a coworker said that he feeds his dog this expensive dog food because his veterinarian said it’s better for him. But while he is saying this, he is feeding himself $1 Campbell’s soup! Probably because his doctor doesn’t recommend anything different. Isn’t that strange?

Lunchtime at Work: Discussions About Food with Average Americans | real food. home made.

So many humans think we are not animals and therefore we have different rules to live by, which is not true.

On a different day, another coworker made a reference to the few of us in the lunchroom who were eating “rabbit food” (referring to fruits and vegetables) and I wanted to say “This is just called food.  We are animals just like rabbits.” Or something like that, but I couldn’t find the right words.

On my Dad’s birthday, I brought in my Black Bean & Avocado Brownies.  I received 2 positive comments, and the rest were a varying degree of negative, including: “I took one bite and then slam dunked it into the garbage”, and “I ate the whole thing, I’ll eat anything”, etc.

This was by far my favourite remark:

“I wish all desserts tasted like this, because then I wouldn’t want to eat as many.”

How insightful!  Desserts ARE supposed to taste like this! And we AREN’T wired to want to eat them in excess!  What a revelation.

By the way, this month I am celebrating the 1 year anniversary of my blog. I would love to post more often, so please tell me, what kinds of things do you wish to see? Recipes? Musings? Anything in particular?

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Check the Ingredients, Not the Marketing Claims

Zero-calorie, gluten-free, fat-free, vegan.

So many people are more concerned with what’s NOT in their food than what IS in it!

Does it really matter that your faux cheese has no trace of anything derived from animals or wheat, when it’s ingredient list looks more like a chemistry thesis paper?

Let’s think about this logically…

The way I like to look at it, is…Can you go outside and find this item in nature? Then it’s real food. Meant for consumption. Ideally, every food item you buy would only have one ingredient, itself. However, there are certainly times when you need convenience, in which case I urge you to carefully read the ingredient list. Do all of the ingredients naturally occur on the Earth? Are these the ingredients you would use to make a home made version? Or, as a lot of people like to ask: “are all the ingredients things that Grandma would recognize”? which is a pretty good rule of thumb.

Do not get so caught up in Calories, Fat Grams, Carbs, Sodium, blah blah blah. Simply stated, checking the “Nutrition Facts” is a waste of time.

The big companies have gotten extremely good at tricking us into thinking their products are healthy. Gluten free, All-Natural, Low Fat, well DAMN! This is surely a snack my doctor would recommend. “Diet” and “Light” are terms often used to make people think they are making healthier choices. But please think for yourself and actually read the ingredients.

For example, the peanut butter I buy has 2 ingredients: roasted peanuts and salt (exactly what I would use to make a home made version, if my time was abundant). Contrastingly, Jif peanut butter is MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT. Sure, it’s vegan. Gluten-free too. But that does not make it right! Recently they’ve come out with Jif Natural (which I’m sure has tricked thousands) that is MADE FROM PEANUTS, SUGAR, PALM OIL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SALT, MOLASSES (Source: www.jif.com). Completely un-necessary, and only slightly more “natural”. I know that all of the ingredients naturally occur on the Earth, but the addition of sugar to every food product is one of our nation’s largest problems. Keep an extremely watchful eye on added sugars. They are everywhere.

The first time you go to the grocery store (with no time constraints), and browse through the ingredient lists of your (once) favourite foods, you will be absolutely shocked.

Check the Ingredients, Not the Marketing Claims | real food. home made.

Stay away from anything that looks like this. Even if it is a “Good Source of 7 Vitamins and Minerals”.

It is SO possible to make easy and delicious meals at home using only ingredients that are one ingredient (themselves). Try not to feel overwhelmed. We are so used to “convenience” foods like grab-and-go pop tarts, but do you know what is naturally grab-and-go? Fruit!

It is only during recent history that our concept of “food” has transitioned from what you would find at a Farmer’s Market to what  you would find in the “Grocery” aisle of Walgreens. For millions of years, humans had figured out a way to feed themselves without microwave pop corn and hamburger helper, so I am confident that you can do it too!

*Disclaimer: of course, if you are allergic to wheat or dairy, or have an ethical stance against animal products, you will know to avoid these things. But please, don’t settle for engineered wanna-be versions.

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