Well then you’re not alone. And I’m not trying to be irreverent here, I’m serious. I love Middle Eastern food and when the word “Syria” or “Israel” appears in the news, sometimes I just start to drool and think “mmmmmm hummus…”
Offended? Don’t be.
Violence in the Middle East –> BAD
Food in the Middle East –> GOOD!
Every time I read about political turmoil that seems totally shambolic and even worse, unending, it’s hard for me not to feel helpless and depressed. So in my opinion, I’d rather deal with these feelings by enjoying something like this:
So in an effort to beat the Middle East violence blues, I cooked up a celebration of Arab/Israeli cuisine and had my own little culinary peaceful protest at home, alone with my boyfriend. I highly recommend you try this yourself.
Peace in the Middle East Falafel | Rainbow Tabouleh Salad | Tolerance Hummus
All three of these recipes will involve a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you can probably use a blender, or an immersion blender. Even if you’re not a “cook” having some sort of blender in your kitchen is key. Actually ESPECIALLY if you’re not a cook. It allows you to make salads, soups and all kinds of other yummy goodies quickly and efficiently without the tedious drama of chopping. Last year I received a John Lewis (posh UK department store) Food Processor as a Christmas gift from my boyfriends parents. Along with an apron, spice rack, tons of Jamie Oliver kitchenware, and tons of other stuff, this little Jew really cashed in last year and as a result I’ve experienced an incredible year of cooking.
Okay enough of that; let’s get started. First, let’s make the falafel mix. It’s best to let this mixture stand for at least a half hour so we will make the falafel mixture first and then the salad and hummus after.
In the food processor you want to add the following:
(Makes about 14 perfectly sized falafel)
- One can of chickpeas, water drained and moisture absorbed as much as possible (using paper towel or something)
- One small red onion
- Half a red pepper
- Half a large bunch of curly parsley
- Some chickpea flour or plain flour (start with 3 tablespoons)
- Toasted cumin and coriander seeds (or about a tablespoon of each spice ground if you don’t have the whole seeds)
- About a tablespoon of dried chili flakes
- Ground pepper and salt to taste*
- A small squeeze of lemon juice
- I also added some ground flaxseed powder cause I’m an obnoxious hipster
*Be careful with the salt. You do not want these to be too salty or they’re ruined. Once the mixture is pureed, have a taste and add more salt as you see fit.
Puree all the ingredients until its a paste. Keep some extra flour and lemon juice on hand to add wet or dry depending on how the mixture feels. You want the mixture to be damp, malleable but not crumbly. You should be able to stick your finger into the mixture without having too much falafel mixture sticking.
It should look like this:
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it stand while you rinse out the food processor (just a bit) and get ready for your hummus. Standard hummus is normally really easy to make and so freaking delicious: one can of chickpeas; a couple tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste); the juice from one lemon; a couple cloves of garlic; salt and pepper.
But sometimes I like to shake things up a bit and to make my special “Tolerance Hummus” ™ you will want to blend all of the above ingredients with some sundried tomatoes and black olives! Be cautious with the olives and tomatoes. Both are quite salty and you don’t want the hummus to be too salty. Blend, taste, blend, taste and repeat until you’re fully satisfied.
Rinse the food processor again (this time quite well) and it’s time to make your “Rainbow Tabouleh” ™
First of all, you want to use some bulgur or cous cous. I used about half a cup of bulgur. This shit’s so easy to make as it comes dry and all you need to do is put it in a bowl and cover with some boiling water. After about 8 minutes the bulgur (or cous cous) will absorb the liquid and puff up deliciously.
For the veggie aspect of the tabouleh, the ingredients can be, but are not limited to:
- One bunch of curly parsley
- One small red onion
- Half an orange pepper
- Half a cucumber
- Some baby spinach leaves
Pulse the veggies until they’re a nice chunky consistency and toss well with the bulgur. Drizzle with some olive oil, lemon and lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. Then, top with some halved cherry tomatoes and some toasted pine nuts and just stop and admire how freaking gorgeous your rainbow salad is!
But don’t dig in just yet! It’s time to finish the falafel!
First, fill a small saucepan about half way with sunflower oil (or another neutral oil). While the oil is getting nice and hot, roll the mixture into little balls and place them on a plate or a piece of parchment paper. Reserve a little clump of the mixture to test the heat of the oil. When you drop it in, it should start sizzling right away, now the oil is ready. (You can also shallow fry these if you want to be healthier I guess)
Do about 4 at a time, making sure the falafel ball doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or the basket–so you want to use tongs to kinda push them around and shake the basket a bit.
It should take approximately 3 minutes before they’re golden brown and ready to eat. Remove them to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Now you are ready to enjoy your Middle Eastern Peace-Feast™ ! Just think, every bite you take in some strange way, makes the world a better place!