Appetizer, Entrée, Fall, Gluten Free, Spring, Summer

BAKED HERB + PISTACHIO FALAFEL

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We ate our last lunch of a quick trip to NYC at Carnegie Deli. There was a line outside, which I'm guessing is due to an Anthony Bourdain or Seinfield episode because I know there is better food in New York. My dad, as you'll gather from a few headnotes in our cookbook and snippets here, likes his food straight forward (although, I did bring raw chia date brownies for plane snacks and he LIKED them! Heavens to Betsy). A few days in New York for this man necessitates pretzels, pizza and a hot pastrami sandwich.

My dad was my date to the James Beard dinner in town - an event I attended hesitantly seeing this month is more travel heavy than average. Thanks to a few friends coaxing me, I knew I would regret it if I didn't make it happen - something I may get to experience once in a lifetime. We shopped around to find me a new dress, he found a bagel, I found a salad bar (and a dress!), we communicated mostly in sarcasm and jest, as my family does, and the day was really nice. That evening, I sat around a table of collegues from my publishing house, amid a room full of cookbook and journalism professionals. I was taking it in, but mostly just nervous, my legs shaking in high shoes I couldn't walk far in. I knew my odds were quite slim, but when you are the small fish in a big pond, the magnitude of the pond itself is enough to make your legs wobbly. Regardless of what is even happening in said pond, but you just swim anyway. Winners gave a little speech, think of a food version of the Acadamy Awards. It crossed my mind for a split second, what would I say if I did win? Every underdog has their chance, right? The people who build me up: My husband who had slipped a homemade card in my purse reminding me, albeit humorously, how proud he was, my mom checking in all day wanting the details, my sister responding to my dozens of picture texts helping me choose a dress, my dad who had made the trip across the country to go with me, and a complimentary and supportive publisher. I had encouraging notes and emails from long time friends and blog friends alike. You know the phrase moms say about raising children, "it takes a village"? I felt like I had my village cheering me on. You must listen to the village. Your own voice will question and doubt and make your legs wobbly, but your village has pom poms and megaphones and big red finger sponges telling you you're great. I am so thankful for my village.

A friend and I were emailing about cookbook business and she mentioned "the ubiquity of blogger cookbooks." While there is certainly a trend to it, I find that I garner a ton of wisdom and inspiration, both personally and food wise, from blogs. It is such a pleasure to see personal work all bound up in a pretty package. I am excited to be cooking out of the new book from Green Kitchen Stories, Vegetarian Everyday. It is every bit as wonderful as their site. Filled with super gorgeous vegetarian recipes, many vegan and gluten free. I am going to try their cauliflower pizza crust and dark danish rye bread next, and the homemade vegetable chorizo sounds so unique. I really like how light these falafel taste and feel in your tum as opposed to a breadcrumb-heavy, deep fried alternative. So glad I have leftovers.

I know you worked your buns off for this, David and Luise, and the book is absolutely lovely. Many congratulations to you! 

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BAKED HERB + PISTACHIO FALAFEL // Makes about 20

Recipe barely adapted from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl

David and Luise suggest a simple cashew nut dressing in their book which is a blend of soaked cashews, oil, lemon juice, and salt. I had some tahini sauce to use up, so I went that route instead. Just use half the amount of water called for. A fresh tzatziki would be refreshing here too. The original recipe uses 2 cups pistachios, I scaled it down a bit due to preference which is why mine yields a bit less than thiers. Your call. Don't be shy with the herbs, these falafels can take it. 

  • 12 sprigs of mint
  • 12 sprigs of parsley or cilantro
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 T. buckwheat flour (or another flour of choice)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • hearty pinch of salt 
  • / tomato chili salsa /
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (I used baby tomatoes)
  • 1/2 a small red chile, seeded and finely chopped (one jalepeno works)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. fresh chopped oregano
  • pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • collard leaves, cabbage or pita bread for serving
  • fresh herbs for garnish
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Preheat the oven to 375'. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oiled foil. 

Pulse the herbs in a food processor. Add the pistachio nuts and pulse again to chop. Add the chickpeas, garlic, onion, oil, cumin, flour and baking soda and blend for thirty seconds, scraping down sides when necessary. You want the mixture a bit rough. 

Using your hands, form 20 small round falafels. Place them on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned. 

Stir all tomato chili salsa ingredients together in another bowl. Allow ingredients to sit for flavors to blend. 

Make your wraps with the collard, cabbage or pita with a generous spread of the sauce and the tomato chili salsa. Falafels will keep for about a week covered in the fridge. 

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