Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Felafel and Risotto, but not at the same time


Three Wednesdays ago we made a quick but delightful dinner of felafel. Here's my (fairly insignificant) contribution to the felafel – I chopped the veg! Red onion, field (we couldn't find English) cucumber, tomatoes and delicious chunks of avocado. The plate proves that I've learned what Alisha has to teach, namely: Presentation Is Important. Though she would probably have lined things up more neatly!

Meanwhile Michelle was working away, whisking the felafel mixture and cooking the felafels. She likes to use the two-spoon method to form them into patties. I'm afraid I was the one who forked the patterns onto the mixture while it was setting – clearly I had too much time on my hands after chopping the veg!

Here are the felafels, both cooking and finished on a plate. Cooked in oil they get deliciously crispy on the outside and remain soft on the inside. You can bake them instead, but they get a little dry, and if you cook them at the right temperature they shouldn't absorb too much oil. One hopes!

And here is Meg's finished felafel modelling for the camera. Isn't it 'fierce'? We couldn't find the pitas we wanted, so we used wholewheat tortillas instead, adding another healthy element to this meal – and perhaps proving my theory that one flatbread of the world can be substituted for another. Meg made a tahini sauce with lemon and garlic (I think...it's been a while! Was there another element?) and Michelle and I also had tzatziki on ours too. Tahini and tzatziki together at last! A fairly simple but altogether delicious meal.

Barley Risotto

So two Wednesdays ago found us at Alisha's. We had decided that we wanted to make something light and healthy, so we consulted Meg's recently acquired copy of Super Natural Cooking. We picked up some ingredients from Capers, including some barley, for it was to be a barley risotto. I liked this view looking downwards into the barley bag, but does anybody else think its shape resembles Australia? No?

We started chopping onions and garlic for the risotto and opened the bottle of wine that we had gotten (after consultation with the wine store employees) for the risotto – and possibly for drinking purposes. The wine was a 2005 Feudo d'Elimi Catarratto Bianco (which winegeeks.com tells me is "the second most-planted light skinned varietal in Italy, most notably the island of Sicily, where it dominates the western portion of the island." And sure enough, the bottle said 'Sicillia Indicazione Geografica Tipica' on it. It was chosen partially for its citrussiness, and was fantastic to drink. Well they do say you should only cook with wine you're prepared to drink too...

I zested lemon and supremed orange for the risotto. The lemon was super natural too, apparently. That's a little too much marketing for me...

We made a salad to go with the risotto. Michelle washed some greens...

...while Meg made a salad dressing and Alisha tended to the ever-needy risotto.

What went into the salad besides the greens was pretty incredible, actually. We used the balsamic that Alisha had bought on the field trip to Gourmet Warehouse (see the entries for April 15th and 26th) in the dressing. Words cannot describe the smooth mellowness of that balsamic. It needs to meet the fantastic olive oil that Michelle and I got on that trip. (I promised an entry on that! I remember!)

Also in the salad, walnuts:

Red onion:

Halved tomatoes:


And chickpeas:

Phew! What an ingredient list! It was an amazing salad, it must be said. The risotto also had a pretty amazing ingredient list, including a sort of goat cheese creme fraiche that Meg whipped up. Another delicous meal!

Desserts were provided by Capers, and I indulged in their amazing lemon tart, which has just the tiiiniest bit of whipped cream in it – thus it was that Meg and Alisha opted for a new (well, new to us) non-dairy lemon dessert (which I think one of you will have to explain) and Michelle had her beloved Nanaimo bar. I think Michelle keeps Nanaimo in business! Did anybody notice, by the way, that at the Fred Herzog exhibit Nanaimo was misspelled 'Naniamo'? A very different place. Anyway, here is my lovely tart:

Okay, no – here it really is:

What a meal! And what a mega-entry!

1 comment:

The Abecediarist said...

Whoops! I've just realized that the finished dish clearly shows that the walnuts were in the risotto...sad. Obviously I need to post earlier...