I know, I know … I owe you a post about the Duke visit. Tomorrow, I promise. I even have pictures of Emma and Abby. I should have taken a picture of our tour guide! Cutie Patootie from our neck of the woods … but that would just be weird.
Anyway, we got back safe and sound to Winky, Dobby and Pochancho all hale and hearty, a clean house and thirty-five tons of laundry.
Such is my life story.
Saturday we jumped right in to the swim meet. Two 18 hour days back to back. It was exhausting, but it was a great meet. Abby, for the first time this long course season, got all best times. She actually smiled! (Any of you who have been reading my posts about Abby and swimming know this is a huge, huge deal for her.) Mollie came away with one more state cut in the 400 free. She was hoping for three but alas, the stars weren’t aligned for her. She will still have a great state meet in a few weeks. Abby has one more “last chance” meet next weekend, please start your prayers now!
So, I digress.
Actually, I’m stalling.
I have a dear friend who is Greek and makes some of the MOST amazing food. I know she reads this silly blog of mine, and I am cringing. Greek food ranks exceptionally high on the Robertson list of favorite food. It comes right behind, in front of, or equal to Indian, Asian and Mexican (depending on the day, of course). We have our favorite dive bar right down the street that serves Greek food. It has become the tradition to go there after every SAT or ACT exam because they can go with their tired and weary brains and order their favorites, not even having to think a second more. They love it.
Lucy though, as we all know, doesn’t eat meat. She misses out on the Gyros and the Pastitsio, the kinky chicken and the Bifteki. Greek however, is one of those awesome ethnic foods that has huge selections of vegetarian options. Dolmades, moussaka, spanakopita, hummus. Falafel though, is one of her favorites. She has eaten it many places, but told me that mine is her favorite of everywhere she’s eaten.
(Okay, Ellie … I know you are laughing to yourself right now!)
My recipe, based on Guy Fieri’s is like most of my made up stuff, it has evolved, changes slightly every time I make it, and doesn’t really have hard, fast measurements. I am posting it anyway, in the hopes that you are the kind of instinctive cook that understands how to read between my lines and can adapt to fit your own needs and tastes. I will try to give as exact measurements as possible.
(this makes around 15-20 balls, depending on the size of scoop used)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 sweet pepper (red, orange, yellow or green, or some combination), diced
1-2 stalks of celery, diced
1-2 large cloves of garlic (or 3-4 small ones), minced
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice and zest from 1 lemon
bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1/3 – 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Olive oil, extra virgin
salt and pepper
Olive or canola or peanut oil for frying
Saute the onion, pepper, celery in about 2 T. olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, until soft (about 5-7 min.). In the last minute or so, add the garlic. Set aside to cool slightly. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a sharp blade, put the chickpeas, lemon zest, cilantro, parsley and sautéed vegetables. Pulse the mixture until it is blended, but still fairly coarse. Add the egg and pulse. Add lemon juice (to taste, this may not take the whole lemon, start with half) and about 2 T. of olive oil and pulse again, scraping down the sides of the bowl, in between pulsing if necessary.
Beginning with 1/3 cup flour, add to the mixture and pulse until combined. Continue adding flour until the mixture is thickened. This will take more or less flour, depending on how much lemon juice and olive oil you add. The mixture will also tighten up in the refrigerator, so don’t be alarmed if (because the vegetables are warm) the mixture seems like it won’t hold together. It needs to stick to a spoon and not drip off (if that makes any sense). Taste mixture for salt and pepper, transfer to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge as long as possible but at least 4 hours, even overnight. (This is a great make in the morning, cook for dinner later food.)
When ready to eat, heat canola oil in a deep fryer or deep sided pot to around 360 – 370 degrees. Using a small ice cream scoop (about 1″), drop scoops of batter into the oil to fry. It should fry immediately and puff up or your oil isn’t hot enough. Cook batter in small batches so as to not mess with the oil temperature too much. When done (about 3-4 minutes?), they should be golden to dark brown. Remove to a paper towel covered plate to drain. You can keep them warm on a rack in the oven set to 250.
Serve with lettuce, tomato, tzatziki (or plain Greek yogurt), cucumber and sprouts on whole wheat pita or flat bread.