Tonight I made my first attempt at homemade falafel. I found this site on the web called Allrecipes (probably not new to you real chefs out there - in other words, I am not a real chef nor do I play one on tv, or in my kitchen) and decided to work my way through the list of "Twenty for Twenty: Vegetarian Edition." The idea is that you purchase 20 ingredients and then they give you 20 recipes that you can make with those ingredients. Sounded easy to me, so today was Day 1, recipe #1 (Okay, I skipped over recipe #1 because it was for an omelet and I decided not to make that for dinner - cheating already, a very bad sign): Jeanie's Falafel.
So, after spending about an hour and a half searching through the neighborhood Publix for ingredients that I never buy (tumeric? anyone??), I proceeded with my laptop on the counter next to the stovetop - risky I know but I was trying for efficiency. First up - mash the garbanzo beans. I know garbanzo beans so I quickly opened the can with my handy-dandy Pampered Chef can opener (LOVE that thing - no edges to cut you!), poured them into a collander, rinsed with cold water, dumped them into the requisite large bowl and began trying to mash with a fork. Uh, no. Okay, so lets start again....I got out the rarely used Cuisinart food processor purchased with credit card points back in grad school :). MUCH easier to mash with the propper kitchen utensils.
Okay, now it's a lot of dicing up onion (would help if I had sharper knives - I think I've had those since grad school too. Yes, I know I have), mincing garlic (THANK-YOU Pampered Chef!!), chopping cilantro - mmmmmmmm, and a bunch of spices (this is where the tumeric comes in) and bread crumbs. Oh - and during this time I'm heating up the oil. Stop. Panic. I don't own a deep fryer so this part always gets a bit dicey for me. I feel my temperature rising and my heart rate increasing. Oil frying - not my strength. I knew this too - so in the store I purchased a temperature gauge - what's it called? Oh yes, a cooking thermometer :) And I used it to check the temp before gently sliding my falafels into the steaming bath of oil. My little round balls of falafel. I made them round like they said in the recipe but then decided to make them flat like they usually come. They looked lovely and little with lots of fresh cilantro poking out like stray hairs on bald baby's head. And then. came. the oil....
It was awful.
My lovely falafel.
I let what was left brown and then fed it to my husband who ever so sweetly exclaimed, "Falafel! I LOVE falafel! This is WONDERFUL!!" god love him. Isa, on the other hand, took one look and said, "THIS is our PASTA??"
What was left after the great canola disaster of 2009 was actually not bad - the onions were devine, but in the end the kids had bowties.