Showing posts with label Main Course. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Main Course. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Pizza are a cook's canvas.  A space for me to get creative.  A place to try out unusual flavor combinations on unsuspecting guests, and get away with it. are a medium for experimentation and a place for all my favorite flavors to converge. are the perfect food in every way.  I love you.

Not even kidding.  I will write a love letter to pizza any day.  I think pizza gets a bad rap for being junk food, but I will step in here and bash that idea on the head.  Pizza does not have to be a junk food.  Yup, it's bad if you load it up with a triple cheese, five meat, stuffed crust, quadruple bi-pass disaster.  But, if you pick your toppings wisely, you will end up with something that's OMG tasty and whole lot healthier.  Pizza does NOT have to be smothered in cheese and fatty meats in order to be good.  Don't believe me?  Read on my friends...

I love experimenting with new pizza flavors.  Where else can you have goat cheese, arugula, walnuts, honey and bread all wrapped into one little bite?  Or,  mozzarella, pesto, olives, roasted red peppers and spinach?  The possibilities really are endless, and you have all the power to make it as healthy (or unhealthy) as you choose.  I have discovered that I prefer pizzas that aren't smothered in gobs of greasy cheese.  Cheese is a lovely accent and definitely doesn't need to be a show stealer.  Sprinkling goat cheese, feta or fontina on the end gives pizza a boost without inundating the tastebuds and allowing all the other toppings to shine.  Keep the cheese to a minimum, experiment with new flavor combinations, and you are going to dig into a pizza that is not only healthier, but more delicious than you could have ever imagined.

Toppings are an absolutely critical piece of the pizza puzzle.  But, the crust...oh the crust.  This can make or break a pizza.  I have a crust recipe for you.  It is adapted from Cooks Illustrated and it is heaven sent...or at least Christopher Kimball sent, but you get the drift.  Its good.  It's better than any pizzeria crust I've had, with the exception of a genuine brick fire oven crust.  This recipe mimics a brick fire oven in your own oven, and the results are as close as you'll ever get to this at home (unless of course you have a brick fire oven pizza at home.  Duh).

Homemade pizza is the perfect meal for entertaining.  Whip the dough out before your guests arrive and have everyone join in the fun of decorating the pizzas.  Or give everyone a dough ball to create their own mini-pizza.

And, of course, no pizza party is complete without a cold local brew.  This is a particular favorite of mine from a local German brewery, Bayern.  It is a Doppelweizen, combination Heffeweizen and Doppelbock.  It is 7.5% alcohol...hence the name Face Plant (that and our little town's skiing problem obsession).

I'll share some of our favorite pizza toppings, but get creative!  Have a favorite flavor combo?  Add it to your pizza, you won't be disappointed.

-Pesto sauce, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, chicken and a smattering of fresh mozzarella on top.  After the pizza cooks, add fresh spinach to the top and let sit for five minutes before cutting.  The spinach will wilt ever so slightly and your pizza will not be watery, which cooking spinach on pizza tends to do.

-Olive oil & garlic sauce, thinly sliced pears, chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of goat cheese.  After the pizza is cooked, add fresh arugula to the top and let sit for five minutes.  Drizzle with honey and then cut and serve.


**A note about this dough: it needs to sit in the fridge for a full 24 hours before using, so you'll need to think ahead and make this the day before.  Its worth the wait.**

"Brick Fire" Oven Pizza Dough

Makes 2 12-inch pizza crusts

3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspon rapid rise yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water (ice water must be used to prevent overheating in the food processor)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt

In a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, add flour, sugar and yeast and process to combine; about 3 pulses.  With the processor on, slowly add water through the feed tube and process until just combined and there is no dry flour remaining.  Let dough sit in processor for 10 minutes.

After dough has sat 10 minutes, add oil and salt.  Process until the dough forms a ball that is satiny, sticky, and clears the sides of the processor bowl.  Remove the dough from the work bowl and knead on an oiled counter for one minute.  Form dough into a small ball and place in an oiled bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours and up to three days.

One hour before baking, remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half.  Form each half into a ball and place on a floured counter.  Cover with plastic wrap covered in cooking spray or a damp towel.

One hour before baking, place oven rack at second highest position, about 5" from the top heating element.  Put pizza stone (you can also use a regular baking sheet, but a pizza stone will give you better results) on the rack and preheat oven to 500F. 

After one hour, take one dough ball and lay on a floured surface.  Begin rolling out using a rolling pin to shape the pizza and then continue by stretching the pizza with your fingers until it is approximately 12".  Transfer to a well floured pizza peel or overturned baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Re-shape and stretch dough approximately one more inch.

Add your sauce and then your toppings to the dough just before baking.

Now, the tricky part...transferring the pizza to the stone.  I have found that removing the stone from the oven and then sliding the pizza on works best.  If you are using a heavily floured pizza peel, just slide the pizza from peel to stone.  If you are using an overturned baking sheet lined with parchment paper, slide the paper and pizza directly onto the stone.  Baking the pizza with the parchment paper will not alter the baking process.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting and then...


Friday, February 10, 2012

Roasted Beet & Brown Butter Pasta

I originally found this recipe when I was conjuring up new ideas for the plethora of beets we got in our CSA.  CSAs are awesome, but at certain times throughout the season they inundate participants with more of one vegetable than any family could possibly eat.  Beets were one of these things.

This meal has quickly become a favorite in our household.  I've even seen self-proclaimed beet haters take a liking to this pasta.  It says a lot about this dish.  Although, as we all know , a little brown butter makes everything taste better (and we all know this, right? If you don't, you should hop up on my little bandwagon).  Once the beets are roasted, this dish is very quick to put together.  Seconds.  Okay, I lie.  Naughty!  But it doesn't take long. 

This dish is beautiful...brilliantly red from the beets and topped with crumbled goat cheese.  Its a Valentine on a plate.  Can't you just see the look on your sweetie's face when they walk in the door on Valentine's Day and see this for dinner?  Pure love.


Roasted Beet & Brown Butter Pasta
Adapted from Epicurious

Makes 4 generous servings

1 pound red beets, scrubbed and greens removed
1 pound fresh fettuccine (I made my own from this recipe, but store-bought would work too)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp poppy seeds, heaping
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
4 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Wrap the beets in tin foil and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork.  Set aside to cool.

Once the beets have cooled, rub the skin off and roughly chop.  Place beets in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. 

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for the pasta.  When the water boils, add the pasta and cook for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.  Drain the pasta reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water for the sauce.

Meanwhile, add butter to a large skillet on medium-high heat.  When the butter has melted and is starting to brown add the poppy seeds.  Continue cooking until the butter is a deep golden brown color.  Once this happens, quickly add the pureed beets, reserved pasta water and salt, stirring to combine.  Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and cook until heated through and the sauce covers the pasta uniformly.

Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese and then...


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mushroom, Spinach & Goat Cheese Tart

So, I was a bit indulgent and bought my 1 year old an apron
for Christmas. What's the big deal?  A girl can dream, right?

Oh, this girl makes my day, everyday. She's so darn cute. I think Mace and I say this at least 47 times a day. She really made my Christmas too.

Its so fun to experience everything through a child's eye makes you remember just how cool life really is.  My train of thought these last couple weeks has been about slowing down and living in every moment. I watch Anna and the only thing she knows how to do is live in the moment. She doesn't have an agenda for the day, she doesn't worry about the time, she doesn't focus on how many things she needs to try and cram into her day in order to feel like she's accomplished something at the end of the day. She focuses solely on what is right in front of her. She reads a book, then she sees her piano and plays a tune, she gives me a hug, she smiles and she's off again to harass the dog and eat her lunch that she threw on the floor. She's happy and she's content.

I want to live this way. I want to focus only on those things in my present environment. I want to stare into my husband's eyes and talk about our days and not worry about cleaning up the kitchen. I want to sit on the floor and play with my daughter and not get distracted by my email or all the dog fur piling up in the corners (oh, but there's so much). This is my resolution for 2012. Slow down. Enjoy this day, this hour, this moment.

I do feel this way sometimes already.  I feel this way in the kitchen.  I never think about anything else I so urgently need to do when I am chopping vegetables or kneading dough or lovingly decorating a cake for somebody-I-love's birthday.  When I am in the kitchen I am in a world that is solely mine and I am pouring love and joy and creativity into food.  Delicious dishes that will nourish the people closest to my heart.

On Christmas Eve I made dinner for my family and dear friends and poured the love on thick.  I made a spinach and mushroom tart that my mom-in-law raved about for days.  I was proud of this meal and sat back to enjoy our evening, and basking in each moment we spent together.  I hope you were able to pour some love out in your own little way to those you adore this holiday season.  It's a few days late, but Happy New Year!


Mushroom, Spinach & Goat Cheese Tart
Serves 6-8

Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 1/2 (350 grams) cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen (see note), cut into 1/2" cubes
6-8 tbsp ice water

*note: this crust turns out the best if you freeze the cut-up butter for at least 20 minutes prior to using.

1 lb (16 oz) Mushrooms, sliced (I used mini portobellos, but cremini or any field mushroom would work too)
1/2 Red onion, chopped
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb (16 oz) Spinach, blanched or thawed frozen, and wrung dry (see tip here)
10 oz Goat cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

To make the crust: add flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter 1/3 at a time until incorporated and it looks gravelly.  Slowly add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together when pinched.  You may not need the entire 4 tbsp.  Remove the dough from the food processor and knead gently until the dough comes together in a cohesive ball.  Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

To make the filling: Preheat oven to 425F.  Combine mushrooms, onion and garlic and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray.  Roast mushrooms in the oven for 20 minutes, or until softened.

In a large bowl combine the hot mushrooms, spinach and 8 oz (1 cup) of goat cheese.  Stir to combine.  The hot mushrooms will aid in melting the goat cheese and will help evenly combine all the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

On a well floured counter or pastry mat, roll the crust dough into a 14-inch circle.  Gently, fold the pastry in half and move to a pizza pan covered with parchment paper, then unfold.  Cover the dough within an inch of the edge with the mushroom and spinach mixture.  Top with the remaining 2 oz of goat cheese.  Fold the edges of the dough inwards to create a free-form tart.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and flaky.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then slice into 8 wedges and...

Eat it!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuscan Spinach & Mushroom Roll

So, here it is ladies and gentlemen.  The recipe you've all been waiting for...the recipe I have been aluding to for days, maybe weeks, now.  The greatest recipe of all time.  May I present to you...

Tuscan Spinach & Mushroom Roll.


I originally found this recipe in a cookbook I picked up when we were in Florence, Italy a couple of years ago.  Its titled simply Tuscan Cookbook and is a collection of recipes from two Australian women, Maggie Beers and Stephanie Alexander.  These women spent a summer in Tuscany hosting week-long cooking schools.  Oh, I am green with envy when I read this cookbook.  There are pictures of these fine women and their students cooking, drinking wine, eating, perusing local markets, filling their tummies and souls with Tuscan food and culture.  I promise you this, someday one of those students will be me.  This is a dream of mine, and one I believe to be attainable. 

This is a special occasion meal, no doubt.  This meal takes time and forethought and love.  I adore this meal and I am certain it turns out so well because of the love I pour into it while I am cooking.  I firmly believe that love is a huge, if not the biggest, ingredient in cooking or baking.  I have never made a terrific meal when I am in a bad mood.  I have made this four times and I have had the opportunity to share the process with two of the moms in my life on separate occassions.  This was such a joy for me.

Easter with my Mama

Christmas with my Mom-in-Law

I don't usually post step by step photos with the instruction in my recipes, but I am going to post a few this time because some of the steps are complex.  But, please believe me, this meal is worth every second you put into it.  This meal is a journey and one that you will fall in love with at the end. 

I always serve this with this Focaccia Bread  recipe, because it pairs well together.  You should too.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all!

Tuscan Spinach and Mushroom Roll

Serves 8

6 whole eggs
4 cups (560 grams) all purpose flour
2 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups (12 oz) cooking sherry
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Oregano, chopped
30 oz blanched (or thawed, frozen) spinach, water wrung out (see tip here)
zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
12 oz fresh shiitakes, or other field mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups homemade ricotta (recipe here), or 1-15.5 oz container store bought
1/3 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup unsalted butter
16 sage leaves

Special Equipment
Pasta roller
2 CLEAN, large sized tea towels
Kitchen string

To make the pasta: Make in two separate batches.  Combine 3 eggs, 2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a food processor and pulse until the dough comes together.  If the dough still seems dry and will not stick together when pinched, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together.  Knead briefly and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Pasta can be made up to 8 hours ahead.

To make the mushroom filling: Warm 1/4 cup of sherry in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the dried porcini mushrooms to the pan. Add the remaining sherry a few tablespoons at a time until the mushrooms have been reconstituted to an edible softness.  This will take about 20-25 minutes.  Drain the mushrooms, being sure to reserve the sherry remaining in the pan.  Gently rinse the porcinis to remove any grit.

Heat olive oil in the same pan, then add garlic and saute on medium heat for a couple minutes.  Add the shiitakes and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium and add the reconstituted porcinis.  Cook for 20 minutes, adding the reserved sherry a little at a time until it all has been incorporated.  If there is sherry left in the pan, turn the heat up and cook until all liquid is evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.  Once cool, roughly chop.  Mushroom filling can be made one day ahead of time.

To make the spinach filling: Heat 3 tbsp butter over medium heat and cook the onion until softened.  Add the oregano, spinach and lemon zest.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.  Once cooled, add the ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg and stir to combine.  Spinach filling can be made one day ahead of time.

Assemble the pasta roll: Lay one tea towel out on a large clean work surface.  Remove pasta dough from fridge and divide into four pieces, keeping dough covered with plastic when not being used.  Run one piece of dough through the pasta machine on the second thinnest setting (this is a 6 on my Kitchenaid pasta roller) and lay on the tea towel.  With your finger or a pastry brush, wet about 1/2" along the long edge of the dough facing you.  Repeat with another piece of dough and lay this piece next to the first, overlapping the long edges where the water was brushed.  Gently seal the two pieces of pasta together. Cut the short edges to square them off (like the right side below).

Spoon half of the mushroom mixture onto the middle of the pasta sheet closest to you.  Spread half of the spinach mixture over the top pasta sheet.

Fold a small edge from the short sides of the pasta over. Starting from the mushroom edge, carefully and tightly roll the pasta and then seal the edge with water.

Wrap the tea towel tightly around the pasta then take kitchen string and tie it around the tea towel as shown below:

Repeat this process with the remaining dough and fillings.

Bring a very large stockpot of water to a boil.  Add one roll to the pot and boil for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, melt the 1/2 cup of unsalted butter over medium heat until it is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, about 8-10 minutes.  Keep on eye an the butter though because it will turn from golden brown to black in an instant.  Pour the brown butter into a spouted measuring cup.  Add the sage leaves to the hot pan and cook until crisped, about 1 minute.  Transfer to a paper towel and set aside.

After 20 minutes, remove the roll from the boiling water using two sets of kitchen tongs and place on a large cutting board.  Be very careful not to burn yourself because the roll is heavy and awkward and really hot!  Add the second roll to the boiling water for 20 minutes.

Allow the roll to cool for about 5 minutes and then carefully cut the string and unroll the towel.  Transfer the pasta roll to a cutting board and cut into 2 inch slices.  Place 3 or 4 slices on a plate and drizzle with brown butter and garnish with sage.  And then finally...finally...because you totally earned can...

Eat it!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

This meal knocked my socks off.  I have tried so hard to like black bean burgers for years.  You know, they're what vegetarians are supposed to eat, and therefore I should really dig these things.  Yet, everytime I try one again I am disappointed.  Usually they are dry, tasteless, boring, and they fall apart so it makes them almost impossible to eat.  But not these.  No, these were moist, they were bursting at the seams with flavor and they were as far from boring you can get.  Plus, they (mostly) stayed together and were way less annoying to eat than traditional black bean burgers.

I never would have tried another black bean burger recipe after several failed attempts.  So, when I showed up to my monthly cooking group, Bitchin' Kitchen, and this was the recipe we were going to make you can imagine my disappointment.  And then utter amazement ensued when these things actually tasted good!  Thanks for finding a winner Jen! 

We made a few changes to the original recipe, like swapping out ground oatmeal for bread crumbs to make this recipe gluten free.  And also I added more garlic, sweet chili sauce instead of spicy and used a red bell pepper to add some color.

This is a food processor meal.  You could theoretically make it by hand but it wouldn't be the quick meal that it is to throw together.  Have I ever told you how much I love my food processor?  It rocks my world on a daily basis.  How people ever lived without these precious things I do not know.

 This is a meal that you can make ahead of time and then throw everything in the oven 30 minutes before its time to eat. I made this whole meal yesterday afternoon (including the buns, which I'll get to in another post after a few tweaks) and then went to have some fun with some friends. We descended upon my house afterwards and all I had to do was turn on the oven and kick back and have a beer while we waited for dinner. My favorite kind of dinner party.


Oh, yeah, and the sweet potato fries.  Easy peasy.  I have been making these about three nights a week for dinner since I mastered them, thanks to Baking Jen's Blog!


Black Bean Burgers

Makes 10 servings


1 cup dried oats
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 eggs
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
Fixings - avocado, tomato, onion


Pulse oats in food processor until finely ground and set aside. 

Pulse bell pepper, onion and garlic in food processor until finely chopped.  Add black beans and pulse until thick and pasty.  Scrape black bean mixture into a large bowl. 

In a small bowl combine eggs, spices and chili sauce. Add egg mixture to bean mixture and stir well.  Add ground oats and stir well.  Put in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  This will allow the mixture to firm up enough to form into patties. 

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.  Form the bean mixture into 10 patties and place on baking sheet.  Bake the bean patties for 20 minutes, flipping them after 10 minutes.

Serve the burgers with avocado, tomato and onion on a bun.

Eat it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chickie Casserole

This weekend was a busy, crazy blur.  A very very fun blur, but blurring can be exhausting!  So, Sunday night the last thing I wanted to do was be on my feet cooking for another hour.  Yes, sometimes even I don't feel like hitting the pots!  So, I went looking for quick inspiration, and found a recipe in Cooking Light that I loosely based this recipe on.

I love recipes that are versatile and quick*. And healthy! Its fairly low in fat and calories and gets a huge flavor boost from a hit of Swiss cheese on top. Scrumptious! Oh, and this is a ton 'o food.  It made enough for me to have leftovers for 3 days.  No offense chickie casserole, you were delicious and very good to me, but its time for something new tomorrow.  Ta ta!

*disclaimer: this is quick to assemble, but it does need to bake for 45 minutes. So, you know, quick and then not quick.

Chickie Casserole



1 lb ground chicken
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese


Preheat oven to 400F.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground chicken and spices.  Cook, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.  Remove chicken from pan.

Add olive oil and then onions to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to become tender.  Add potatoes and salt and cook until potatoes begin to brown, about 6 minutes.  Add chicken and broth to pan and remove from heat.

Pour mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish and then top with Swiss cheese.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and cheese begins to brown.

Eat it!

MAKE AHEAD: After pouring chicken & potato mixture into casserole dish, cover and put in fridge until ready to bake.  Grate cheese over the top just before putting in the oven.  Bake as directed above, adding additional minutes as necessary until cooked through.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Falafel & Pita Bread

OH. MY. WORD.  I cannot believe my luck in stumbling upon this recipe.  This is far and away one of the best meals I have ever made!  Wowza!  I can't even begin to describe the party that ensued in my mouth after the first bite...crisp on the outside, soft in the middle.  Perfection.

The thing is, I was in a foul foul mood when I started cooking this meal.  Anna had refused to sleep the night before, I have a cold, it was a busy busy day.  I wanted to plunk on the couch, watch a movie and whine.  But, as usual, cooking worked its magic and energized me.  I started kneading the dough, pulsing my food processor, and suddenly I was singing and dancing around the kitchen.  Brother forming falafel balls behind me and Anna tugging at my apron. 

This wasn't a difficult meal to make, but you do need to have some forethought in planning it.  You need to soak the beans overnight and the pita bread needs a good two hours to rise.  So, this is a good weekend project if you are going to make it all fresh.  Alternately, the pitas would freeze well and you could have them on hand and pull them out in the morning.  I think the falafel would freeze well too, but haven't tried it yet.  I'll let you know if I do.  See note below in recipe...these DO freeze well!  Fried right out of the freezer.

According to Reeni, of Cinnamon Girl, do not even bother with canned beans.  Its dried beans ,or bust!  I didn't contemplate it for even a second after her tirade against canned beans and her mention of several failed attempts.  I will learn from her mistakes here and save myself the pain.

The falafel are deep fried, but don't let this deter you from making this recipe.  The key to deep frying is keeping the oil hot enough (350-375 degrees) that things don't get soggy and absorb too much oil, so a thermometer is a must.  And also, a deepish pot (not a skillet) is essential so the oil doesn't spatter.  It's easy though, I promise!!  You just have to give is a little love.  Awww...


Its really important to have good helpers too, to direct you along the way!

Falafel & Tzatziki

Adapted from Saveur & Cinnamon Girl


2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp fresh dill
1 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, to taste

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp flour
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (I love me some cumin, so adjust accordingly if you don't)
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
Canola oil, for frying
Warm pita, for serving (recipe below)


Make the sauce: Place all ingredients in a food processor except the yogurt.  Pulse until smooth.  Add yogurt and pulse until just combined.  Don't overdo it, or the sauce will get too runny (trust me, I know).

Make the falafel: In a medium bowl soak chickpeas in cold water overnight (8+ hours). Drain water and place chickpeas in a food processor with parsley, flour, coriander, cumin, garlic and onions. Pulse mixture until it is well combined but still coarse in texture.  Salt to taste. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes. Use a spoon to portion the mixture into 2-inch balls. *Make Ahead instructions below.
Pour 2" oil into a heavy sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until a thermometer reads 350˚. Working in batches, fry falafel balls, turning occasionally, until they float and turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer falafel to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Before frying the next batch make sure your oil is back up to 350˚.

Serve in pita with the tzatziki sauce. This is also good with feta, tomatoes and lettuce for fixings.

*MAKE AHEAD:  At this point, put falafel balls on freezer-safe tray lined with parchment paper and freeze at least 3 hours.  Once frozen put in a freezer-safe container and store for up to 2 months.  When you are ready to use follow frying instructions above and you have a delicious homemade meal!

Pita Bread

Adapted from Cinnamon Girl

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil


Stir together yeast and 1¼ cups warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fited with dough hook attachment, and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add oil to yeast and then add flour mixture.  Knead on medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Punch down dough and divide into 8 equal pieces, knead each into a ball. Place balls on a floured surface, lightly spray with cooking oil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, transfer to a work surface and roll into a 6-7″ circle, brush with oil and add to skillet, oiled side down, brush top with oil. Cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 2–3 minutes.  *Make Ahead instructions below.


*MAKE AHEAD: Allow pita bread to cool and then put into freezer bag or other freezer-safe container and store up to two months.  When you are ready to use, take them out of the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for at least 3 hours.