Aug 28, 2017

Gluten Free Falafels


We absolutely love falafels!  Whenever my daughter and I go out to eat Meditarranean food we aim to find gluten free falafels, however, this is not an easy task. Many restaurants use flour as a binder. I have been trying to make these delicious little balls of chick peas and spice for some time now.  This is probably my fifth time trying and finally I got it right!

The problem I had was getting the right texture so that they do not fall apart when you cook them.  I also wanted to make them light so my goal was to bake them.  However,  no matter how many times I tried they were just super dry.  I mean they were edible but that's not enough for me.

  

I like the WOW factor! If I can't eat them and then want to stick a piece in everyone's mouth around me for them to taste, then I won't post it.  After several attempts, I have decided that baking them just didn't do it for me.  So I decided to use some canola oil and pan fry them.  Using the oil increased the smart points but they are so worth it.  
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Also,  I made these falafels from dried chick peas not canned.  They are so much better and so much tastier when they are made fresh.  I cooked the chick peas in the pressure cooker for 50 minutes.  As you can see from above, the end result was dough like.  The reason for this is simple.  If you are going to deep fry the falafels then you would not cook the chick peas all the way through, but if you are baking or pan frying them you have to cook it through or it will taste like you're eating sand.  This makes a lot of falafels, 42 balls to be exact.  So unless you're having a party, you may want to freeze half.  I gave my half to my daughter, since she lives on her own now.  She deep fried them and could not stop talking about them.



So I cooked them in the pressure cooker, drained the water, added all of the ingredients except for the egg and sesame seeds (I added after) and pulsed it the food processor in batches. When it was done, I added the egg and sesame seeds. I then split the dough in half, gave one half to my daughter and rolled the other half in my hands, into 21 little balls (a little over an ounce). I froze them for 10 minutes.  Lastly, split that into 2 batches and in a non stick pan I added one tbsp of canola oil and pan fried till brown.  So, I cooked each batch (aprox 10 balls) in one tbsp of oil.



So obviously, if you want to keep the calories down you would eat this in a salad right?  Hell to the NO!!  Not when I have a batch of Naan dough in my refrigerator and some fresh tzatziki sauce!  I would rather skip a meal and eat all of my calories here!


Actually,  the total points for this meal is 11 smart points. Which is very fair for dinner.  I calculated 5 points for three falafel balls, 4 points for the Naan, 1 point for 2 tbsp of tzatziki sauce and 1 point for 1/2 tsp of olive oil my salad.   This was filling and I wouldn't have had it any other way, on that day.  However,  that being said there are days where my focus is on point and the salad and the falafels, topped with tzatziki sauce would be perfect! just not on this day 😜😝

Aug 24, 2017

Tzatziki Sauce





I really don't think this sauce needs an introduction except to say that it is a lighter version of my favorite sauce.  Its the perfect addition to almost anything.  I top my falafels, my salmon and even my chicken with this.  It will elevate any dish,  Add a little hot sauce and yum, yum, yum is all I could say 😋



Jul 15, 2017

Grilled Indian Inspired Spicy Cauliflower and Chickpeas




This gluten free, vegetarian dish is probably the best cauliflower I have ever made.  Did you know that besides chickpeas being high in protein and fiber there are also many other nutritional benefits? Chickpeas contains what's called resistant starch.  That's a starch that isn't fully broken down and absorbed.  This is a good thing for many reasons such as: stimulating blood flow in the colon, increasing nutrient circulation and helping to prevent us from absorbing toxic/carcinogenic compounds. But, also the rate of digestion changes absorption, increasing satiety, which means it keeps us full longer.  



I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture but I marinated the cauliflower in a yogurt sauce with Indian spices.  When I originally made this dish, I was thinking I could have this like a taco: a meatless taco of course. I was going to make my Naan bread but make the bread thinner and rounder so it would be taco like.  However,  as I was making it some unexpected company showed up and so this was served up with some grilled salmon kebobs instead.




I cooked the cauliflower and the chickpeas separately and made a side of mango slaw which would have been the topping on the taco. You don't have to make this cauliflower with the chickpeas, you can have the cauliflower by itself or as a side dish.  I forgot to take a picture of the grilled chickpeas after it was done cooking. You can make them as soft or as crispy as you like.

Jul 6, 2017

Banana Bread


The one thing that I can promise you is that I would NEVER post a recipe that is not as perfect as it can be.  This gluten free banana bread is absolutely perfect!  I dare anyone guess that this is gluten free. I drizzled it with chocolate because I love the combination of chocolate and banana but you really don't need it.  The picture has extra chocolate because I made a mess drizzling it and attempted to fix it by adding more. It is delicious without the chocolate, especially with a cup of coffee...yummmm




I tried this recipe at least 3 times and in my previous attempts the loafs were too dense. This is delicious and moist the way a banana bread should be. I made 3 mini loafs but you could totally make these into muffins.  This would make exactly 12 muffins since there is one cup of batter per loaf which would be 1/4 cup of batter per muffin. I like the mini loafs because you can freeze two of them until you are ready to eat them. 



So because my first two tries were unsuccessful, I will tell you what I did differently.  First, whisk the wet ingredients well but once you add the dry ingredients, do not over mix, don't even use a whisk, just use a rubber spatula to mix.  Also, I originally used the refrigerated buttermilk but maybe I used too much.  I went with the powdered buttermilk and it was perfect.  Lastly, do not over bake!  Cook for no more then 25 minutes.   

Jul 3, 2017

Puerto Rican Pinchos/ Beef Kebobs


In Puerto Ricao we call these Pinchos, which is Spanish for "spikes" and they are commonly sold off the side of the roads or in kioskos, which are like makeshift kiosks.   These are basically beef kebobs but using traditional Spanish seasonings. They are definitely better marinated overnight.




These Pinchos are usually served with a piece of bread on top.  I serve them hot off the grill with just a little hot sauce.  I always make larger amounts of meats because it's easier for food prepping.  Usually I will only cook what I need and freeze the rest.  The flavor only gets better and it's less work to do during the work week.  I don't like BBQ sauce, never did but Pinchos are usually topped with BBQ sauce and hot sauce.  I like to use the same marinade to make a sauce. Once you skewer the beef, set the marinade to the side.  In a small pan, heat the marinade, you can add a little beef stock or water to make sure you get it all off the pan, add 2 tbsp of raw honey, 2 tsp olive oil and a little hot sauce and simmer about 8 min. Brush the meat with this in the last 1-2 minutes of cooking.  

 

Most Latin people like their meat well done. I know for most of you this is unheard of but that's how most of us grew up eating meat.  I like it medium, with just a touch of pink but not bleeding.  So timing on these Pinchos will vary for all of us.  I cooked mine for a total of 7 min.  I cooked each side for 3 min and then used my marinade and turned it to the sides for an extra minute.  I also used metal skewers, but if you like yours medium rare you should probably use the wooden skewers (soak them in water for 30 min first) because the metal will heat the core more than you would want.  My pictures show 2 servings on each skewer.  There is about 8 oz on one skewer.