November 1, 2011

Falafel Bites and a Gourmet Giveaway!!

I'm so thrilled to participate in my second Kitchen PLAY Progressive Party this month! Six bloggers are invited to each monthly party, and each blogger is responsible for a creating and writing about a different course (cocktail, amuse-bouche, salad, appetizer, entree, or dessert). For my last kitchen play post I created the "Petal Pusher" cocktail. This time I was asked to create an amuse-bouche (french for "mouth amuser") - perfect because I love small bites!!
This month's sponsor is Calphalon who provided each chef with one of their terrific small appliances. I received their XL Digital Deep Fryer - eek!!  Some good news for you... Calphalon is also sponsoring a wonderful giveaway at Kitchen PLAY. Simply recreate any one recipe from this month’s Progressive Party, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen PLAY to enter.  All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win a Calphalon Kitchen Electrics prize valued at $100 (6 prizes total).  The deadline is November 30, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!
To be completely honest, I've never fried before. I've eaten plenty of delicious fried food as most of my family lives in Kentucky, but I have never attempted to fry at home.  One of my favorite fried foods is stuffed squash blossoms but they aren't exactly in season so I had to try a different route. I wanted my one bite to be full of flavor and easy to make (for a first time fryer). After lots and lots of deliberation as to what would make a delicious one bite, (and tickle taste buds) I decided on falafels! These are a Middle Eastern classic that can pack a lot of flavor and  satisfy any type of eater from vegan to carnivore. 
The falafel recipe I used couldn't be any easier, fried up perfectly and can be made ahead of time - all things I love in a recipe. These little fritters come from Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook. I always turn to her for inspiration since her recipes are fool proof.

Lima Bean Falafel Fritters in Radicchio Cups 
makes 2 1/2 dozen


· 
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
·  8 oz frozen lima beans
·  1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
· 1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas rinsed and drained
· 
1 garlic clove
· 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
· 
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
· 
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 
1/2 red onion
· 
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
· 
juice from 1/2 lemon
· 
3 - 4 tablespoons flour
· 
peanut oil for frying
· 
1 head of radicchio

Garnish
       ·  1 tablespoon tahini
· 
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
· 
zest of lemon
· 
salt and pepper
· 
finely chopped tomato, yellow pepper, cucumber, red onion
· 
toasted sesame seeds
    1 Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the lima beans and return water to a boil. Cook the beans for about 5 minutes and drain. Rinse with cool water to prevent further cooking. Set aside.
    2 In the bowl of a food processor, process the parley and the cilantro until fine. Add the chickpeas, lima beans, garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt, the red onion, red pepper and the lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture forms a paste and is fairly smooth. Add the flour and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. This mixture can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated.
    3 Heat the oil in an electric fryer to 375. Drop 1 tablespoon of the falafel mixture at a time into the oil in batches of 6. Fry until the mixture is golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and repeat with remaining mixture. I sprinkled a little coarse salt on them right when they came out.
  
    4 Combine tahini, yogurt, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl.
    5 Serve each fritter in a radicchio cup, garnished with the finely chopped tomato, yellow pepper, cucumber, red onion, tahini / yogurt sauce and sesame seeds.
A couple of great things about these fritters. If you skip the yogurt, these are vegan. As I mentioned above the dough can be made the day before and refrigerated in a tightly covered container. These can also be made ahead of time and served either at room temperature or reheated just before plating. It's up to you!
I'd say for my first frying experience these were a fool-proof recipe! My next frying adventure is definitely going to be some kind of pumpkin or apple cider doughnut. Stay tuned!

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