Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dishes from Far, Far Away...Part 1

I love to cook. I love to experiment. I love to eat.  All this brings me much delight in trying new recipes and foods from faraway places.  If you are like me,  the exotic spices and aromas of things I'm not used to cooking sends me into an ecstatic reverie. The more I cook like this, the more I want to cook like this. And I am so blessed to have a husband who has an adventurous palate like mine.  I hear people all the time say --my family won't eat that. Or my family won't try new things. So sad.

  So...I garden and can and freeze and dry a lot of food, as you know.  I also stock my pantry with groceries that I can't produce, as you know.  One of the most versatile and nutritious foods I stockpile are canned chickpeas. Garbanzo beans.  Aldi's now carries them and I can get them there for about 69 cents a can (compared to anywhere from 99 cents to 1.59 a can in other places). So, I buy them by the case.  The easiest and most nutrient dense delicious dip in the world is hummus. Made from a few simple ingredients that are always somewhere in my kitchen--garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon juice, spices. Boom !

  Here's what you might NOT know about  chickpeas (garbanzos):

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

  • Fiber Advantage and Weight Loss: Like other beans, Chickpeas, are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that snares bile (which contains cholesterol) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders.
  • Protein for Vegetarians: Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat protein, they provide amount of protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fats.
  • Manganese for Energy Production: Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies 84.5% of the daily value for this mineral.
  • Iron Boost: Garbanzos can boost your energy because of their high iron content. This is particularly important for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women and growing children. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
  • Stabilizing Blood Sugar and Low Glycemic Index (GI): Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, beans like garbanzos can help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. They have low GI value of 28 – 32 means the carbohydrate in them is broken down and digested slowly. This is helpful for weight loss as it controls appetite.
  • Heart Healthy: Regular intake of Chickpeas can lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol. Garbanzos contain the significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate lowers the levels of the amino acid, homocysteine and strengthens the blood vessels. Studies have found chickpeas lower the risk of heart attack
  • For Women: Garbanzo contain phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants. It could lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and minimizes hot flushes in post-menopausal women.
  • Weight Loss: Due to high fiber content and low GI, chickpeas are excellent for weight loss diets. Salad with chickpeas are tasty and can keep you full longer, controlling the appetite.
  BOOMITY BOOM !!!!!!  Can you beat that for a nutritious food ?  

So...the yummy supper I made a few nights ago was a finger food extravaganza of  lettuce wrapped falafel  with a big platter of fresh cut veggies from the garden and a dish of hummus to dip them in.


These veggies came from my garden. So not only fresh they were, but FREE. Relatively.  lol
 Usually you get falafel served as little balls or patties in pita bread, with a yogurt sauce of some kind (or even hummus sometimes), with some veggies stuck in there too. This was a Saturday night supper and a movie at the Kelley House, and we opted for no bread, and wrapped them instead in leaves of crispy romaine (from the garden too).  It was delicious, we ate until we nearly died and the food was a satisfying mix of protein and carbs and yummy. Best of all, the approximate total price for this meal was about  5 dollars.

 So--wanna try it ?  Here goes:


 1/4 cup lemon juice
 1/4 cup water
 2- 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans (One drained, one not)
 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
 1 Tbsp. olive oil
 2 cloves garlic, peeled
 1 Tsp. ground cumin
 1/2 Tsp. salt

**Put these ingredients into your blender/food processor and process until smooth.  Refrigerate. **

  Easy Peasey, no ??   Serve with an assortment of fresh vegetables and/or crackers.


2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
1/3 cup lemon juice
Sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup flour (plus another 1/4 cup to roll balls in)
vegetable oil for frying

  In your food processor, combine the garbanzos, onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley, egg, and lemon juice.  Pulse to combine and season with salt. This mixture will be a little coarse, but no really big chunks of anything.  You don't want to over process it because it will not have the correct texture or holding ability.

 Stir in the flour and baking powder,  mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

 Add the oil to a cast iron frying pan, about half an inch deep. Heat it over medium high heat until it reaches 360 degrees (or until a drop of water or falafel sizzles when you drop it in). 

 In the meantime, put your remaining 1/4 cup of flour on a plate and drop spoonfuls of the falafel mix onto the pate, rolling into balls.  Press gently into small thick patties and carefully lower into the hot oil.  Fry about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and drain on brown paper  or paper towels. 

 Take your clean crisp beautiful romaine leaves and  lay the falafel patties on and fold over like a sandwich. Eat. Enjoy.

 And there you have it. Including the refrigeration time, this takes about an hour and 15 minutes to prepare. 
 This makes about 4 servings, unless you're us. Then maybe only 2. lol  My big hulking husband loved this meal and was completely satiated when finished. Meatless Monday meal--perfect. Picnic food--perfect.  Yummy finger food--perfect !

Bon Apetit !

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment ! I love hearing from you...