FALAFEL SANDWICHES WITH TAHINI SAUCE

I can remember a specific conversation from high school where some friends and I, then, maybe 15 years old, talked about what we thought our life would look like at 25 years old. You know how some memories seem so crystal clear? I actually, vividly remember my answer. I remember where I was sitting when we had this conversation and how ambitious and confident I felt about what I was going to accomplish in the next ten years. "I will be running a company - like be the lady in charge in a tailored black suit and heels, my hair will be nicely done. I'll be married, have two kids and own my first home." Maybe like an Olivia Pope meets June Cleaver sort of thing but with more Restoration Hardware/West Elm sort of taste, tracking with me? I actually don't think I knew a twenty five year-old person who had necessarily accomplished those things, but it seemed do-able.

A "what are we doing?" conversation seems to be a recurring between Hugh and I lately and I keep recalling that one moment; a little smug at my nievete but also jealous of her self assurance. Isolated, each of those goals are so hard - working, parenting, renting or owning and caring for your own place and honestly, I still can't figure out how to make my hair look nice. I have had a lot of business lady talks about the work we are doing here and what Sprouted Kitchen is going to look like for us over the next year or two and I am both overwhelmed and excited. It is hard to think there will be much left to give after caring for two babies under two but I love that this space is so ironically close but so far from what my 15 year old self thought I would be doing. I may be able to wear whatever I want, but it is ours. The tricky part is, I would love a little feedback from you all. I realize this is a large, perhaps unprofessional survey sample, but I have been wanting a bit more conversation going in the comments anyway so suppose this is one way to start. Why do you come here? I will always keep it some variety of weeknight meals, lighter treats, would like to continue the 'feeding kids' series, travel snippets and maybe a few personal or home posts on occasion, but I need to solidify my thesis. As much as this is my journal, it has also become my work, and I care what makes your visit here feel light and lovely. So, if you feel like throwing in your (constructive) two cents on what sort of things I could keep in mind for you, that'd be just great.

Now I know there have been a few falafel recipes here and I love them mostly because they are a vehicle for lots of veggies and a good sauce. I was reading last months' Bon Appetite magazine and read the tips about keeping the beans coarse and lightly frying them which I intended to do, but I am just not a fryer - I hate how it makes the kitchen smell! I did my best to follow directions, which I soon predictably deviated from, and then lathered the tops in oil and baked them in a hot oven hoping I would still get a crisp crust. It yields nothing as crisp as what frying gives, let's say that, but these fit into a veggie packed sandwich just perfectly. To be honest, often times I am deterred from entertaining because it gets expensive, but this is a perfect solution. It was so easy that next time I'll invite more than one couple over. And toddler/kid friendly too if you keep in mind they're pretty delicate. I served these with a naan or brown rice tortilla option and some matchstick roasted potatoes that I tossed with fresh rosemary and oregano hot out of the oven. Something to consider next time you have a few extra people at your table.

FALAFEL SANDWICHES WITH TAHINI SAUCE // Serves 4-6

Inspired by Bon Appetite

If you're trying to get ahead on dinner or make these for a party, make the falafel dough in advance and let it sit in the fridge. The flavor and texture actually benefits from a little rest. When ready to cook, prepare your balls and go from there. If you have any leftover, they can be kept covered in the fridge for a week, drying out a tad as they age. 

3 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 serrano chile, roughly chopped
1 tsp. baking powder
3 T. garbanzo or oat flour
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 T. fresh oregano
2 T. fresh mint
extra virgin olive oil, as needed

// tahini dressing //

1/2 cup tahini
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. orange juice
2 T. water
1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
1 tsp. real maple syrup
zest of a small lemon
pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste

to serve: naan or brown rice tortillas, thinly chopped romaine and cabbage, tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, pickled red onions, feta cheese and toasted sesame seeds. 

Preheat the oven to 425' and grease a rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil. Drain the garbanzos well. Into a food processor, combine the beans, onions, garlic, serrano, baking powder, garbanzo or oat flour, salt, pepper, cumin, parsley, oregano, mine and a dash of oil. Pulse the processor until you get a very coarse paste, about ten times, scrapping the sides down every few times for even texture. You want it to stick together but not resemble hummus.

Form small, ping-pong-esque sized balls and place them on the baking sheet 2" apart. With a brush or your finger, generously oil the top of each falafel. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops are just dry and crisp. Remove to cool. 

While the falafel bake, make your dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, adding orange juice or water to thin if your tahini is really thick. 

Assemble your wrap with a generous swipe of sauce, a few falafel and pack it with vegetables. 

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