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 a 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



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)


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


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


feta cheese, if desired


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! 


preserved lemon pappardelle with fried pine nuts, feta, and mint

molly on the range goes to print today. hallelujah! all of my fears about typos and clarity were at an all time high this week. i started to second guess some things that i thought were funny when i first wrote them and wondered if they weren't funny at all. at first i thought, well, nothing is funny after you've read it 5,000 times. but then i realized that pitch perfect 2 is still funny after watching it 5,000 times. so that's what kept me up at night this week. i started drafting answers to questions that i'm afraid people will ask when the book comes out, in case they don't understand things. i'm probably being silly, or maybe i'm just paranoid because i'm extraordinarily sleep deprived. but in general i am very excited to be one step closer to have all of my favorite recipes in a physical object that i can splatter paint with soy sauce, give as gifts, and just pet like a small animal.

the one other thing that kept me up at night this week was tel aviv nightlife. i cashed in all of my frequent flier miles for a little college reunion with brian and rob, my bridesmen, and we did some of the best most shameless dancing we've ever done. (it was probably more like stylized jumping than dancing, but whatever.) what i like about the dancing in tel aviv is that you don't have to get dressed up or wait on a long dumb line, there's just an abundance of chill bars with chill humans that aren't overcrowded and which happen to have great djs in one section where you can dance like tomorrow is the end of the world if you want. (fave spots: sputnik, radio, and kuli ama.) it was such a great time! but now i'm so happy to be home, right in time for wheat harvest! and also our garden is like whazzup! 

in the summer i love fresh pasta with just fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon. leave the heavy sauce for sweater weather, these days i'm all about things from the garden tossed about and served next to a sausage or vegetable from the grill. my little macaroni eggs (well, now they are big macaroni, as you can see!) make this pasta so beautiful and yellow, and i'm using the fresh pasta recipe from my friend emiko's stunning new book, florentine (i'm giving away a copy of it over here, btw)the pasta is surprisingly easy to make and totally luxurious, but if you're short on time or just can't be bothered to get out your pasta maker, the combination of flavors here is still worth ripping apart your mint plant for. it's a combination i cannot get enough of these days: feta, mint, olive oil, nuts, spicy stuff, and either a fresh squeeze of lemon or chopped preserved lemon (which lends a funkier pickle-y flavor that i love, just make sure to rinse them otherwise this will be too salty). it's sort of like a deconstructed pesto situation that's just gotten back from summer vacation in morocco. i'm using preserved lemons from trader joe's, but you can also make your own. and california olive ranch's rich and robust olive oil is my go-to for this since its oomph factor can really hang well with the strong personalities of feta and lemon. 

this is a pasta i would gain 300 pounds for, fyi. 

preserved lemon pappardelle with fried pine nuts, feta, and mint

serves 4


kosher salt

1 lb pappardelle (store bought or use emiko’s recipe, below)

1/3 c california olive ranch rich and robust olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c raw pine nuts

4 slices preserved lemon, rinsed and finely chopped

1 c lightly packed fresh mint, chopped

Black pepper

1 c crumbled feta

Crushed red pepper


bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it ferociously, and cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when flicked across the surface. Add the garlic and pine nuts and cook, stirring, until they’re lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the preserved lemon and half the mint and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and toss the pasta to coat it evenly in the mixture. Give it like 20 turns of black pepper. Top it with the remaining fresh mint, the feta, and a few pinches of crushed red pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy. 

emiko's pappardelle

from emiko davies' book florentine

serves 4


200g plain flour

200g semolina, plus extra for dusting

4 eggs


Sift the flour and semolina onto a flat work surface and create a well in the middle with your hands. Crack the eggs into the well. Gently beat the eggs with a fork in a circular motion until they become creamy. Begin incorporating the flour and semolina little by little until it becomes too difficult to use the fork and then gather the dough with your hands. Knead for about 10 minutes or until it becomes elastic. Let the dough rest, covered so it does not dry out, for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into two or three portions. With a pasta rolling machine or a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll out the dough until about 1 mm thick or until you can see your fingers through the other side. If rolling by hand, roll from the centre outwards.

The noodles should be cut to about 2–2.5 cm wide. Fold the dough lengthways over itself three or four times (dust with semolina between each fold so they do not stick) and then cut across the short side of the folded pasta. Use a sharp knife for a straight edge or a fluted pastry wheel cutter for a ruffled effect (good for catching sauce). Unroll the pasta, shaking it out, dust generously with semolina and shape into little ‘nests’ of equal portions – 100 g is equal to one serving. Cover under a dish towel or plastic wrap until ready to use.

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for about 3-5 minutes, or until silky and cooked al dente.


thank you, california olive ranch, for sponsoring this post!