Monday, January 30, 2012

Cookbook Challenge: Falafel w/ Cilantro Yogurt

The Lowdown:

This week, Kristy and I decided that we would randomly open a cookbook and cook something from that page. For one, I've always enjoyed random encounters. Yes, that is definitely open for interpretation. Secondly, I decided that drinking a two-six of double chocolate vodka while playing Mario Kart till 3 a.m. last night was a great idea. Needless to say, I'm a shadow of a man right now. Albeit, a very handsome shadow. Where does all this tie in? Oh right, I'm extremely lethargic and unable to think for myself. Therefore, why not let a cookbook tell you what to do. Thirdly, it's shopping day and I can pick up some of those odd ingredients that I don't normally have on hand.

My page, luckily enough for me, was tucked away in the meatless main courses section of the book.  Nothing a hung-over stomach can't handle.  The other options given to me by Fairchild's (2006) The Bon Appetit Cookbook pp. 258-259 were: Wild-mushroom Bread Pudding, Sweet Potatoes Topped w/ Vegetarian Black Bean Chili, and Oven-roasted Winter Vegetables w/ Rigatoni. As you can see, my options made it very simple to choose. Bread pudding? No thanks. Spicy chili? Ya, that's gunna happen. Not. Oven roasting took an entire hour. Its 6 p.m. and this is going to be my first meal, so I just couldn't wait that long. Like I said, my selection was an easy decision. Just in case anyone is wondering, I did not cheat! However, I can't speak for my counterpart. The page I got, was the page I stuck with.

This Middle Eastern meal is supposed to be quick, easy, and healthy. I did find that after refrigerating the falafel "mixture" over night they were much tastier and easier to form into patties.

The Playlist:

 (Printable Recipe: Cilantro Yogurt)

1 cup Plain yogurt (Greek preferably)
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

(Printable Recipe: Falafel)

2 14oz cans Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup Cilantro,  finely chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3/4 cup Onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp Flour
2 tsp cumin
1 Egg

1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Olive oil (for frying)


Pita bread
Tomatoes, chopped
Lettuce, chopped
Olives, chopped
Artichoke hearts, chopped

The Skinny:
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combined and mix yogurt, cilantro, onion, garlic, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Refrigerate until needed (1 - 2 hours is recommended to allow the flavours to circulate).
  3. Put the garbanzo beans, onion, cilantro, 3 tbsp flour, egg, cayenne pepper, garlic, and cumin into a large mixing bowl and mash until almost smooth.
  4. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat (throw a piece of onion in to test heat. If it sizzles that's good).
  5. Form small hamburger sized patties of the falafel mixture (1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick).
  6. Coat each patty with the remaining flour (1 cup).
  7. Fry the patties on each side for 6-8 minutes.
  8. Serve in a pita w/ the yogurt and any of the optional ingredients (or on its own).


    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    RPI: Mission Mango...

    I know what you're thinking. I thought it too. Unfortunately, I lost this first challenge of Rock, Paper, Ingredient. Haydn's selection? Mango. Are you kidding me?? What on Earth is sustainable or healthy or happy about fuel-laden mangoes??! Those of you that follow Gastronomical Sovereignty (no, I won't mention my other blog in every single post...) will know that I eat - which is to live - by the season. Locally. Organically. Happily. So accepting this first challenge was actually a bit of a challenge for me.

    I fought with my ethical stance on food and whether or not I was prepared to ditch my morals in the event that Haydn selected something that I ordinarily wouldn't have. After all, it's his blog too! Shouldn't we do some of the things he wants to do? Ultimately, I acquiesced to mangoes this week. But I'm vetoing any further unhappy produce. At least for myself and for future RPI assignments.

    From now on, there are rules:
    1. You do not talk about Rock, Paper, Ingredient.
    2. You DO NOT talk, about Rock Paper Ingredient.
    Hang on, wrong rules...
    1. The ingredient selected by the winner of Rock, Paper, Ingredient must be locally (Pacific Northwest) in season and somehow accessible.
    2. Refer to rule #1.
    That being said... I rocked that shit. Mangoes are rad. I'm not sure I've actually even eaten a mango before but as of this week, I ate 3. And they were juicy, brilliant yellow in color, and a massive pain in the ass. Do you have any idea what a process it is to get the fruit off the little buggers? I googled it and figured it out but it took me a while. Aye.

    The flesh of mango is delicately sweet, floral in scent, pliable, and moist. The juices trickled over my fingers, across my wrists, down my arms and onto the counter - I made quite a mess! Oh the succulence of it all!

    Note to self: Enjoy it while the left-overs last, sister. No more mangoes for you!

    Mangoes 2 Ways: Firely Lime Sauce & Tempura Sliced Mango
    Ingredients for the Sauce:

    2 Mangoes.
    1 Lime for juice.
    1 Bird's Eye Chili, thinly sliced (you may remove the seeds for less heat if desired).
    1 Tbsp Ginger, peeled & finely grated.
    1 Tbsp Local Organic Honey.

    Ingredients for the Tempura:

    1 Mango.
    1 C All Purpose Flour.
    1 Tsp Baking Powder.
    1 C Iced Soda Water.
    1 Free-Range Organic Egg.
    2 to 3 C Vegetable Oil for frying.
    Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

    What to Do for the Sauce:

     To begin, remove the flesh of 2 of the mangoes. Mangoes come with very large seeds in the center which you can't cut through. Therefore you must cut away the "cheeks" (fleshy sides) of the mango, carefully dice/cube the flesh and peel it away from the skin.

    Chuck the flesh into a food processor along with the ginger, lime juice, honey, and just a touch of salt and pepper. Puree until the mixture becomes soft and silky. Gently mix in the chili and set aside. Ta da!

    As you can see from the photo, I served my mango with some pan-seared halibut. If you wish to do this, just pat your fish dry with some paper towel, and season well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a bit of oil and/or butter over medium heat in a frying pan, and once the butter starts to sizzle, gently place fish in the pan. Cook 3 - 4 minutes, flip, and continue cooking a further 3-4 minutes. Fish will be done if flaky and white. Remove from the heat and set fish on a surface, covered in foil, and let rest about 5 to 10 minutes. Top with some pea-shoots and a little green onion.

    Otherwise, it would also work very well with chicken also or maybe some chick-pea patties.

    Eat! (almost...)....

    What to Do for the Tempura'd Mango:

    As above, cube or slice the mango flesh from the cheeks. Set aside.

    Pour your oil into a deep wok and heat over a medium-high setting. The oil is ready when a 1" cube of white bread dropped into the oil browns in 60 seconds; that oil temperature will be about 365 degrees F. Be careful to not heat too high and keep water away from the oil because water + oil = explosive disaster. Literally.

    As the oil heats, mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

    In a medium sized mixing bowl, gently whisk the egg. Add the cold water and mix well. Throw in the flour mixture and stir to just barely combine. Do not over mix or  the starches in the flour will active and you'll end up with a very "doughy" tempura.

    Lightly dredge the pieces of mango in the mixture and very carefully drop them into the hot oil. Always drop away from you (think of it like pushing the food away rather than pulling toward) to avoid splashing yourself with oil. Watch your fingers!

    Allow to brown and crisp up, turning often to ensure even cooking. Once golden and crisp, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and let drain on a side of paper towels. Serve immediately.



    This post is linked up with This Chick Cooks; Full Plate Thursday; Tasteastic Thursday; Tasty Tuesdays; Tuesday Talent Show.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    RPI: Mango Infused Crepes w/ Stawberries & Bananas

    The Lowdown:

    This is the first installment of Rock, Paper, Ingredient (RPI), which is a clever little scheme devised to expand mine and Kristy's culinary adventures. You can, of course, get the formal description from the Rock, Paper, Ingredient sub-heading on the menu bar. Version 1.0 of RPI required that we use mango in one of our creations. I dont' really care for mangoes. That's right, I said it. They are pure evil to peel (unless you know the handy dandy trick), they have a weird odor, and they take over the flavour of pretty much everything. However, through many failures, I have learned how to disguise the flavour of many ingredients and force people to eat things that they don't even know they are eating. I'm so devious. But seriously, if you'd just eat your damn mushrooms I wouldn't have to hide them in everything! Ya, so, anyway.

    After a few attempts at some other recipes that utilized mango, I was drawing a blank. The other recipes would suffice, but they just didn't have the right feel to them. Don't get me wrong, there were no leftovers, so they must have been good. However, they lacked the creative edge that I wanted to display for the RPI Version 1.0. Then, like everything else that I devise, inspiration came in the oddest place - Bob Marley's, "Sun is Shining." Don't ask me how mango infused crepes relate to Bob Marley, or the Sun is Shining, but for whatever reason, they do in my odd little world.

    The Playlist:
    1 cup Wholewheat flour.
    1/2 tsp Salt.
    2 Eggs.
    1/2 cup milk (I substituted soy milk because I'm a lacto).
    1/2 cup water.
    2 tbsp vegetable oil.
    1 Mango, cubed.
    1 tbsp Oil (for frying).
    12 Strawberries (my lucky number).
    2 Bananas
    The Skinny:
    1. Place flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
    2. Blend mango and milk until smooth.
    3. Add mango/milk mixture, oil, and eggs into the flour.
    4. Mix until no flour clumps remain.
    5. Slowly add water and mix until desired consistency.
    6. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan on medium heat (crepe pan if you have one).
    7. Pour 1/3 - 1/2 cup of the crepe mixture into the pan and tilt in circular motions.
    8. Cook the crepe on either side for 1 - 2 minutes.
    9. Place fruit inside and roll.
    10. Garnish as desired.


      This post is linked up with This Chick Cooks

      Monday, January 23, 2012

      why, hello!

      Apparently, my original blog doesn't keep me busy enough. In the Fall of 2010 I started Gastronomical Sovereignty, a space where I explore my ethical culinary adventures highlighting and examining the importance of food sovereignty. That is, our legal, social and ultimately political right to good, whole, healthy, happy food... with wine, of course.

      In that space I identified myself as a Feminist, Daughter, Sister, Lover, Friend, Chef, Artist, Activist, Self-Proclaimed Comedian, Organizational & Control Freak, Student, Server, and a pure, unadulterated, excitable, passionate, mad-lover of food and wine. Nothing's changed. The only thing that's different is I'm now taking that on with a close friend... most endearingly offensive friend... Haydn.

      Here we hope to share our libation assisted culinary explorations. He's a little crass (albeit clever) and I'm a little sweet (albeit bitter) - and together we hope to take over the world, glass in hand, one dish at a time.... and now, a not so modest introduction...


      ...First thing is first, I am awesome. Really, that's all that needs to be said. But due to the dog-eat-dog world out there in the so-called blogosphere I should continue. My name to most is Haydn. Some choose to call me less desirable things, but they are soon dealt with. Due to the economy, and the over saturation in the super villain market, I am forced to write blogs and go further into debt... Errr, I mean dive further into the metaphorical sea named school. Although, I'm pretty sure they are synonymous these days. However, one day, like the great phoenix, I will rise from the ashes and take over the world. One blog at a time. One do-gooder at a time. One beer at a time. Actually, scratch that -- let's just focus on the food and beer, because that seems like the more reasonable thing to do. Not to mention, less embarassing. Spandex costumes are not my best friend.

      "Tell me about yourself," is probably one of my greatest pet-peeves. Regardless of that, I'm going to bless you with my credentials. As previously stated, I believe I'm awesome. I don't care for walks on the beach because they are kinda lame. Especially when you consider you could be skimboarding, throwing rocks at children, or engaging in meaningless conversations about politics or what band is better: Lady Gaga or literally anything else. I love experimenting with food (not in the American Pie sorta way either). I also enjoy employing unorthodox methods in my culinary crusades. After all, fusion cuisine is highly acceptable now. Besides, lame rules made by the French 400 years ago are for Kristy.

      If I could label myself under one word it would be animated. I bet you all thought it was going to be awesome, and I thank you for that. Clearly, you know me well by now if you were assuming that. I chose animated because... well, I'm sure you will figure out why soon enough. That, and I'm just too lazy to type why.