Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Falafel and An Edible Mosaic Cookbook Review

Today I have a lot to share with you. But it is all very fun and exciting so I hope you will read through!
 

I recently teamed up with five other bloggers, Kitchen-Play, and fellow blogger and cookbook author, Faith Gorsky, Author of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair; to bring you some great blog posts, recipes, and other fun events to share with you Faith’s new cookbook.
 
To start here is a review of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair:

 
Pictures: Yes, this cookbook is filled with beautiful photos; from completed recipes to specialty ingredients and spices.
 
Prep Time, Cooking Time, and Number of Servings listed: Yes, this information is listed on all recipes.
 
Nutritional Information provided: No
 
Clear, easy to follow directions and ease of preparation: The directions in this cookbook are very detailed, direct and easy to follow. The ease of preparation varies depending on the recipe. Some recipes require ‘thinking in advance,’ with marinating, soaking, and prolonged cooking; while others could be prepared and cooked in under an hour.


Easily available ingredients and budget friendly: This is cookbook shares authentic Middle Eastern cuisine and culture. While some of the ingredients may not be “standard” ingredients on your shopping list, most should be available at large grocery stores. One of the features that I love about this cookbook is that Faith has a whole section dedicated to explaining specific Middle Eastern ingredients; this is very helpful if you will be purchasing these ingredients for the first time. There is also a section with recipes for common Middle Eastern sauces and spice blends.
 
Variety of recipes: This cookbook has a variety of classic Middle Eastern recipes, from condiments to breads, to sides and main dishes, to desserts and drinks.
 
Special feature: This is a beautiful cookbook that I fell in love with the moment I opened it! It is evident that Faith poured her heart and soul into this book. There is detailed information about Middle Eastern cooking and food. Each recipe contains an explanation of the recipe with most including a personal story or antidote from Faith.

 
For additional An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair cookbook reviews plus recipes from the book, be sure and check out the following blogs:
 
 
Because I have wanted to make Falafel at home for quite some time that is the recipe I chose to make. I really don’t know why it has taken me so long to make Falafel. While, it required some advance prep, using dried beans does require soaking overnight and 1-2 hours of cooking; the recipe itself came together easily and cooks up in minutes. We really enjoyed this dish and will be making Falafel more often. We ate ours drizzled with a Sesame Sauce (recipe in the cookbook) stuffed in pitas with lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes; perfect for a filling and vegetarian meal!
 
For the Falafel recipe (courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky) as well as Faith’s commentary about Falafel continue reading below!
 

"Falafel:
 
In the Middle East, falafel is quite commonly served as a vegetarian meal. Stopping at a local falafel shop on your way home from work, you might pick up a plateful of steaming hot falafel and enjoy it at home with a spread of hummus, olives, a Middle Eastern chopped salad, and flatbread. Or you could order a falafel sandwich, which is what I usually opt for in Damascus.
 
My favorite falafel shop makes their sandwiches on crepe-thin bread. They include all manner of fresh veggies, like tomato, cucumber, onion, shredded cabbage, and herbs (mint being the most important one). They also load it up with all kinds of pickled veggies, such as turnips, peppers, and cucumbers. And of course there are a couple secrets to the sauce: they always include tahini sauce and pomegranate molasses. Strange as it may sound, the combination of flavors is addictive.
 
My falafel recipe is a tribute to the best falafel I’ve had in Damascus – crisp outside, pillow-y inside, and of course full of flavor. If you don’t have a falafel mold, don’t worry if this is your first time shaping it; before long you’ll have perfect little fritters, and even if you don’t, they will still taste fantastic." – Faith Gorsky, Author of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair

 
Falafel
Preparation Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus 12 to 24 hours to soak the chickpeas Cooking Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes Serves:4 to 6
 
1 cup (½ lb/250 g) dried chickpeas
1 onion, finely diced
3-4 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¼ bunch fresh parsley leaves, minced
½ teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Oil, for frying
Sesame Sauce (optional, for serving)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, for serving)
 
1. Soak the chickpeas in cold water for 12 to 24 hours; drain. After soaking, add them to a medium pot with fresh water; bring up to a boil, then turn the heat down slightly and cook until they’re easy to mash with your fingers, about 1 to 2 hours; adding more water as necessary so that they’re always immersed; drain. Pick through the beans to remove any skins you find.
 
2. Add the chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes to a food processor and pulse until it forms a chunky paste (do not purée it; alternatively, this can be done by hand using a large mortar and pestle). Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the parsley. Sprinkle in the baking powder and gradually add enough flour to form a dough, being careful not to over-mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 1 hour.
 
3. Add about 3 inches (7.5 cm) of oil to a medium saucepan; heat the oil to between 350 to 375°F (175 to 190°C). As the oil heats, shape the fritters with a Falafel mold or with 2 spoons, gently scraping them against each other to form oblong shaped falafels.
 
4. Fry the Falafel in batches so the pan doesn’t get overcrowded. Fry each batch until golden brown outside and fully cooked inside, about 4 to 6 minutes, and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. Repeat this process until all the batter is fried.
 
5. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of Sesame Sauce and a sprinkle of parsley on top, if using.
 
Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.


Disclosure: I was provided a copy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair for review and was compensated for my time and effort by Kitchen Play. But as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
 

2 comments:

  1. I love your professional and very informative approach to reviewing this book.
    Falafel has been on my list of foods to make for years, using dried beans and all:) You just might have inspired me to finally make it:)
    I am glad that Casey brought us together as i am looking forward to exploring your blog and getting to know you better!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I LOVE falafel but rarely make it at home - it's such an easy thing to make but for some reason it just never occurs to me!

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