17 April 2008

Classic Cookbook Night: The Complete Middle East Cookbook

Falafel, Avocados and Oranges In Honey Sauce, and Baby Artichokes With Lemon Vinaigrette.

I think of Tess Mallos' The Complete Middle East Cook Book as a classic (it's been in print for nearly thirty years after all), but perhaps that's just because I grew up with it on the shelf. I remember my mom making phyllo, which was crazy. Why would you do that to yourself, mom?

I don't know if this falafel recipe is even remotely authentic or not (it seems dumbed down a bit), but these were some of the best falafel we've had in a while, even if a bit dry.

Falafel ("Felafel" from the Israeli chapter of the book)
Adapted from Tess Mallos, The Complete Middle East Cookbook (1979)

  • 1 cu. dried chick peas
  • 0.5 cu. bulgur
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs. roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. each of ground coriander and cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 0.25 cu. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
Rinse the chickpeas, then place them in a container with 3 cups of cold water to sit for 20-24 hours. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the bulgur and let sit for 10 minutes before straining thoroughly. Grind your own cumin and coriander. Combine chickpeas through black pepper in a food processor and whiz them until finely ground and nearly a paste. Stir flour and baking soda into the chickpea mixture. Form the mixture into little balls, using about a 1 Tbs. for each falafel, then let the uncooked falafel sit for 15 minutes to half an hour. Deep fry the falafel in batches in oil heated to 350°F until golden brown (about five minutes).

Oddly, Mallos gives you no real advice on how to serve them or for a sauce to go with them. We made an overly garlicky tahini sauce and served them in pita pockets with veggies.

Avocado Im Dvasch (Avocados in Honey Sauce)
Adapted from Tess Mallos, The Complete Middle East Cookbook (1979)

The picture in the book of this dish looked thoroughly unappetizing, and yet I had to try it, which was a lucky thing because it's quite good.
  • 1 sm. yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 0.25 (a bit less) honey
  • 0.25 cu. lemon juice
  • 0.33 cu. olive oil
  • 1 grapefruit and 1 navel orange with wedges cut from the membranes and skin
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
Whiz together the onion, mustard, honey and lemon juice in a food processor, then gradually stream in the oil. The sauce doesn't emulsify very well, so prepare for the sauce to look a bit broken with the onion purée a bit proud. Toss the sauce with the fruit and avocados, them make a nice arranged salad completely unlike the ugly mess seen in the picture above.

1 comment:

Lindvall said...

Wow, I scrolled through the recent menus. yum, looks good. Wish I could eat at your house.

mystery writer.