falafel with preserved lemon yogurt, spicy pickled onions, and fresh mint

happy new year, friends!!

i hope you all had wonderful holidays, wonderful food, heated fireside debates, manageable new year’s days hangovers, etc. i had a great little weeklong break where i actually for the most part kept to my rules of not opening my computer, turning on my camera, or scribbling down recipe testing notes. as a result i still found myself in the kitchen for most hours of the day, but i explored all sorts of new time-consuming treasures that i’ve been meaning to try, like kubbeh soup and the novel-long-yet-extremely-thorough-and-rewarding recipes in the breads bakery book (more on that later, i can’t wait to talk your ears off about this). i also revisited this brilliant spinach salad recipe from jerusalemand i can’t believe that i just called a spinach salad recipe “brilliant” but try it and you’ll know why and don’t skimp on the butter—and stocked our fridge with ribollita, hotdish, challah, and sarah kieffer’s chocolate chip dough. so i now have no excuse to just gnaw on my pile of cake scraps when i forget to eat lunch and then feel as if i’m going to kickstart the apocalypse if i don’t eat immediately.

when i wasn’t in the kitchen, i was cleaning with our new daughter, stacy the roomba, listening to my new favorite podcast, unorthodox, and actually going to the gym. my chrismukkah present to myself was a floor length coat that is essentially a walking sleeping bag, and i have not known cold since the day it arrived so i’ve been a bit more motivated to go out into the cold and drive to the gym. i even went to a morning class, it was one of those new drumming workout classes and it was a lot of fun even though i can’t really walk now. 

we spent our new year weekend skiing in bemidji on their cute as a button little ski mountain where the black diamonds were about as difficult the bunny hills in the alps (go figure…) so now we don’t hate skiing anymore and eggboy feels like a good nordic boy again. and then we rang in 2017 with emily and evan the cow farmers over my weird craving for a chocolate martini and big basket of french fries. this brings me to my sad life update which is that i’m actually vaguely following through with my dumb resolution about giving up french fries and potato chips and other fried foods. but only monday through friday at sundown. my yoga pants were getting tight.

but i’m making an exception for this week (#ourdietstartstomorrow) because this week i’m flying out to new york with eggboy for:

  1. the launch of my falafel collab with taim!
  2. i’m gonna make tater tot hotdish on the today show on friday morning during the 9am eastern hour! 

this falafel collaboration is part of the guest chef series at taim, which is one of my very favorite falafel spots in the city. every month since september they’ve had a new special falafel and i am honored to be mrs. january. since january is a cold dark month, i went with some bright colors and flavors to add a little zing to your day. the sauce is yogurt that’s been blended with some tangy preserved lemons (fried things + yogurt is my new peanut butter & jelly), and then i’ve also added some fresh mint and crunchy cucumber, and pretty pink pickled onions that have a bite. it’s groovy. it’s sunshine for your mouth. it’s your chance to ingest your way out of any winter blues.  

also $1 from every falafel sold goes to hands of peace, a super awesome organization that fosters understanding among israelis, palestinians, and americans, with the mission for change and peace in the middle east.

here is a recipe so you can make this january falafel at home! the falafel and pita here are the ones from molly on the range. to get einat's magical falafel, you’ll have to get your bum to taim


Falafel with Preserved Lemon Yogurt, Spicy Pickled Onions, and Fresh Mint

makes 4 sandwiches

ingredients

pita:

1 1/2 c warm water

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 tb sugar

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 tb olive oil

3 3/4 c bread flour, plus more for dusting (optional: sub out 1 3/4 c bread flour for 1 3/4 c for whole wheat)

falafel:

1 c dried chickpeas, soaked for 10 hours or overnight and drained

2 tsp cumin seeds, freshly toasted and coarsely ground in a spice grinder

1 tb coriander seeds, freshly toasted and coarsely ground in a spice grinder

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c lightly packed cilantro leaves with stems, roughly chopped

1/4 c lightly packed parsley leaves with stems, roughly chopped

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp kosher salt

black pepper

2 tb flour

1 1/2 tb lemon juice

olive oil or flavorless oil, for frying

 yogurt:

1 c plain full-fat greek yogurt

a handful of finely chopped (or pureed) preserved lemon

2 cloves minced garlic

Salt and pepper

pickled onions:

1 c warm water

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tb sugar

1 large purple onion, thinly sliced

Tabasco sauce

fresh mint salad:

1 part fresh mint leaves

1 part mix of parsley and cilantro

1 part chopped cucumber

olive oil

salt and pepper

a good pinch of sumac

also:

feta cheese, if desired

clues

to make the pita:

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. let it sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. with the mixer running on low speed, add the salt and oil, and then gradually add the flour. increase the speed to medium high and mix for 7-10 minutes, adding just enough additional flour so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. do not add too much flour. the dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. lightly coat a clean large bowl with oil or cooking spray and then place the dough in the bowl and turn it once or twice to coat it in oil. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. mold each piece into a ball by stretching the top and tucking the edges under. place the balls 1” apart on a piece of parchment paper, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rise for 30 minutes. 

preheat the oven to 500ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment.

with a rolling pin, roll out the balls of dough into circles that are 1/4" thick. place them on the baking sheets and bake for about 5 minutes, or until they're puffy and just starting to brown. this will make more pita than you need for the sandwiches but leftovers can be stored in freezer and reheated in a toaster.

to make the falafel:

in a food processor, combine the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, a few turns of pepper, flour, and lemon juice and pulse quickly, about 80-100 times, until the mixture is combined, but still slightly grainy. 

in a large skillet, heat 1/4” oil over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. form 3-tablespoon sized balls of the falafel mixture, packing them firmly. fry on all sides until golden brown. transfer to a paper towel. 

for the yogurt:

whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl. keep chilled until ready to use.

for the pickles:

whisk together water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. add the onion, cover, and let sit at room temperature for an hour or in the refrigerator overnight. add Tabasco sauce to taste.

for the fresh mint salad:

toss herbs and cucumbers with enough olive oil to dress well. season with salt, pepper, and sumac.

To assemble: spread yogurt in a pita, add falafel, pickled onions, mint salad, and feta, if desired. enjoy! 


-yeh!