Oven baked falafel and tzatziki

These days I am in the Bay area for work, but I will try to keep up with the blogsphere and keep my blog updated. I cannot guarantee I’ll be able to do it, but I am trying my best. Please bear with me!

I have to say I love it here, even if it is freaking cold. The restaurants are great even if you cannot make it all the way to San Francisco. I have focused mainly on Japanese food so far, but I am considering. If anyone has any advice for me on place I should check out in Berkeley and San Francisco, please let me know. I don’t have tons of time but am doing my best to fit as much stuff as I can in my free time.

So far the craziest thing I have seen are “Nobel Laureate reserved parking”. There are a number of such parking spots at Berkeley. I wonder if those spots are a better incentive than the $$$$ that comes with the prize….

Oven baked falafel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 bunch fresh cilaantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 onion
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Soak the chickpeas in water for 24-36 hours. Once in a while rub them with your hands to get rid of some of the skins.After the soaking is done blend the chick peas with the cilantro, the onion and the garlic WITHOUT cooking them. Add salt and pepper and olive oil if needed.
  2. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge and then use it to form the falafel. My mixture was very soft and was a bit worried, but turns out it worked perfectly for the oven baking. Roll the falafel in the panko crumbs and place on an oiled oven dish. Sprinkle some more oil on top and cook them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at 375F. You can use the broiling function for the last couple of minutes to brown the falafel.
  3. Apparently not cooking the chickpeas is the Arab secret to having perfect Falafel that do not fall apart.

3.1

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt

Directions

  1. Finely dice the cucumber and place in a colander. Cover the cucumber with salt to extract some of the water. Let it rest for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Finely chop or grate the garlic and mix it to the yogurt. Squeeze the water out of the cucumber and add it to the yogurt. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt. I didn’t wash the cucumber and the salt left from the salting and squeeze process was about the perfect amount.
  3. It is best if you can prepare the tzatziki ahead of time and let it rest a couple of hours so that the flavors have time to mix well.
  4. I like to serve the falafel with the tzatziki, pita bread and a greek salad.

Eva’s Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki is a popular Greek sauce that is often used as a dip with pita bread or enjoyed with various types of meat dishes such as souvlaki and gyros. It is best made with yogurt, but if you prefer not to use yogurt you may substitute it for sour cream. Keep in mind that the yogurt needs to strain for about 8 to 10 hours, so it’s best to begin the preparation the day before you plan to serve it. Some tzatziki recipes call for a bit of chopped dill or mint, but in this video Eva shows us how to prepare her version of this delicious sauce.

1 tub of plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic crushed
Half a cucumber
1 tablespoon of olive oil
a pinch of salt (or to your taste)
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

To begin you need to strain the yogurt. Place a cheese cloth or a few sturdy paper towels on a strainer and place the strainer in a bowl. Scope out the yogurt into the strainer and allow the water to strain for at least 8 to 10 hours in the fridge. Once the yogurt has been strained, discard the excess water and place the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl. Add the crushed garlic to the yogurt. Peel the cucumber, slice it in half, remove the seeds, and shred the cucumber using a cheese grater. Squeeze out any excess water from the cucumber and add it the yogurt mixture. Add the olive oil, salt, and fresh lemon juice. Stir the mixture well. Garnish with an olive or a slice of lemon.

Enjoy!