Monday, June 24, 2013

Lost Skillet Alert: Reward if Found

Howdy everyone! Did you make it through your Monday?!

Luckily, my job is flexible enough that traveling 4 hours (to and back) + the humidity/heat + the copious amounts of food, beer & wine via yesterday's in-law family reunion left my sleep patterns crazily out of whack, so today I kept low key... which in reality means my to-do list is continuously getting longer, WHOOPS!

First things first...

I'm attempting to solve the where the heck is our largest sauté skillet with a bright orange handle?!?!

We got Rachel Ray's Cookware Set as a wedding gift and have mysteriously misplaced/lost/SOMETHING our larger skillet... I'm tellin' ya, nowhere to be found!.... and it has a bright orange handle for goodness sake! How hard could that be to find?... Apparently, very difficult. 

I remembered it was "missing" or perhaps just misplaced several days prior, but after needing it to effectively make a dish for our family get together, I have been on a mission.... which has led to no success :(

PS: My husband is the most decisive person ever, while I on the other hand, can't choose anything to save my life! When my mother-in-law asked us to bring a side, while I immediately began ruminating ideas all through my brain of yummy, time effective & travel-friendly things to make, then Alex exclaims, LET'S MAKE FALAFEL! With little time to prep, I said alright and I started those babies up!

Falafel Balls with Katie's Lemon-Cucumber Greek Sauce
Serves ~ 10-12 large balls
Slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

In the line up folks (for the Falafel balls):
- 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas
- 1/2 red onion, largely sliced
- 4-5 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- Handful, ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro
- Handful, ~ 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley 
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup flour

Coach's Orders:

1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans/chickpeas, then add to a food processor or blender

2. To the processor, add sliced red onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin, parsley, salt and cayenne pepper

3. Pulse several time and scrape down the edges as you go to make sure you get everything incorporates.  No worries if you still have some smaller chunks of things after blending for 1-2 minutes.  The mixture will be pretty sticky at this point (see below). 

4. Transfer the bean and spice mixture to a bowl and stir in the baking powder.  

5. After, slowly incorporate 1/2 cup flour (about 1-2 Tablespoons a a time) into the mixture until it becomes dough like where you can mold it to your likin'



6. Cover and refrigerate to let all of the flavors combine.  I made this in the evening and let cool and mix together overnight. 

Fast forward to the next day...

 7. I used an ice cream scoop that I soaked in warm water for a little beforehand so that the mixture doesn't stick to the scoop and here we go folks!

8. Roll in your :clean: hands into a ball form and set aside until you're ready to cook the batch!

9. Heat ~ 4 Tablespoons oil into a skillet (insert where I remember we were "missing" the skillet I needed!) over medium/high heat to lightly fry the falafel balls for 4-5 minutes to let brown on all sides...  
Traditionally, falafel is only fried, but this is my healthier version!

10. My balls turned more into patties, and after just lightly giving them a roll in enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan, I popped them on a non-stick sprayed baking dish and let cook more and brown deeper at 425 on the middle rack for about 10 minutes.

 Since I was serving then as a side dish or appetizer to bring to the family get together, I thought toothpicks would be good if we chose to serve them before the main meal so people could pick one up, dip in the sauce we'll cover in a sec' and gobble down, but they're very versatile as an appetizer, a tasty side dish or our personal favorite, in pita pockets for falafel "gyros" style :) NOM! 

..... and here we go me-friends!

Browned enough to have a great crunch on the outside, but still moist and soft on the inside and not too dry.  I had several requests for the recipe and were gone before I had my go at trying one, but it's been something I've made many a times and can attest to the deliciousness of this flava'... especially when you let all the flavors marinate together overnight!

While falafel is great on its own, when served alone, a dip is a great addition! Hence....

Lemon-Cucumber Greek Sauce

Many know this is as tzatkiki sauce that is traditionally served in Greek dishes like falafel, but I like my take because it's simple, fresh, summery and stuff we always have on hand.

If you're a die-hard tzatkiki lover, this supplement probably won't be to your likin'...

In the line up folks:
- 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1-2 Tablespoon seeded and diced cucumber
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper

Coach's Orders:

1. Seed cucumber by slicing in half and taking a teaspoon and sliding it down to remove the seeds into the sink or garbage (to the left) until they look like mini-boats (to the right)

2. Chopped up cucumbers (see left side picture) and try to keep a little of juice from the sides of the cucumber or from when you were seeding it to add with the lemon juice for extra cucumber flavor.  

3.  Add 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream to a bowl (see right side picture), add the lemon juice and any remnants of cucumber juice and you will see it will become a silk-like texture when you stir it in.  

4. Add minced garlic, chopped cucumber, chopped cilantro and salt and pepper and stir to combine all together.  

5. Cover and let the flavors combine and marinate overnight in the fridge.  Serve cold alongside the falafel. 


The cilantro adds great flavor, the lemon juice adds a perfect tang, the cucumber sliced have the much-needed crunch and the garlic is just enough to taste, but nothing overwhelming.  So cool, refreshing, light and a great addition to however you choose to serve your falafel!

Thanks for tuning in and hope you give it a try, especially if you've never tried falafel, vegetarian or not... a must try for all!

... Now I'm off to watch my countless episode of Gilmore Girls... Just can't help myself folks!... and probably end the night with an episode of Arrested Development with my hubs (our current TV obsession, followed by re-runs of Kitchen Nightmares on Netflix!)

.... Perhaps it'll keep my mind off the mysteriously missing skillet?....


You can find me on Twitter: @IndyCookinGal 
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