Ok, anyone tired of salad? Good! Because I am now officially obsessed with falafel. Oh. It's so good. I have made it before; back when I didn't obsessively photograph everything I cooked and ate. This weekend Auntie Erin and I shared some delicious falafel and it got me thinking... then she asked 'have you ever made it?' and I said yes and then explained the whole 'pre crazy picture taking/recipe writing days' thing.
So tonight was falafel night! And just to be a little bit more sassy, I decided to try the falafel stuffed in a squash blossom. Mmmm...
This little meal had all kinds of fun elements including zucchini from our neighbors, squash blossoms from our plants that have yet to produce fruit, cauliflower from the Food Co-Op and a whole heck load of spices!
It was spicy and flavorful, a textural dream and pretty to look at too.
For the cauliflower mash:
1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon curry salt (or plain... that will work too)
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
1/4 cup soy milk
Salt and pepper
For the falafel:
4 squash blossoms
1 can chickpeas (or the equivalent if you're starting with dry chickpeas)
1/2 sweet white onion, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon roasted garlic (you can use plain garlic too, it's just stronger)
3 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/3 teaspoon salt
Splash of pepper
3 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup panko breading
For the zucchini:
1/2 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
3/4 cup panko breading
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut your cauliflower into fourths and steam, covered on the stove for about 8-10 minutes, or until barely soft. When barely soft, turn the stove off and let sit.
In a food processor, combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
Put your mix into a bowl and add the panko breading and flour then mix to combine.
Slice your zucchini and simultaneously prepare your squash blossoms by gently pulling the petals apart.
For your squash blossoms and falafel balls: gently 'stuff' the blossoms with a bit of the falafel mix; it won't take much, then close the petals... gently. When they are stuffed, then form the rest of the falafel mix into small balls. Note: it will be 'moist'.
For your zucchini: prepare your panko by combining panko with curry, fennel, salt and pepper. Combine well to make sure the flavor is evenly distributed.
Dip the zucchini rounds in a bowl of water, or just running water from the tap then dredge in the panko, making sure you are pressing the panko into it on both sides. Note: if you're not vegan, you could use egg white but water works just fine :)
For baking: Transfer the squash blossoms, falafel balls and zucchini rounds to a lightly oiled baking pan.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes then check them. If they are sizzling and browning on the bottom side, flip and let cook for another 10 minutes. If, at 10 minutes, it isn't crusty and brown, let it go for another couple minutes.
While your 'goods' are baking, let's go back to your cauliflower. Transfer from the steaming pot into a bowl and add the butter, soy milk, green onions, curry, paprika salt and chili powder. Using a potato masher, lightly mash the cauliflower. Note: you do not want to purify or masserate or pulverize... just mash into a chunky texturized type mix.
Once mashed roughly, transfer to a spoon and mix a little.
Also, chop the parsley garnish at this point.
Check your falafel and zucchini in the oven. When toasty and browned, it's time to remove.
Ok, so all your parts are ready, now it's time to assemble. On a plate, start with a lovely pile of your cauliflower 'mash'. On top of that, place a falafel ball. Top the falafel ball with a zucchini round. On top of that, put another falafel ball and finally, top the tower with one of your gorgeous falafel filled squash blossoms.
Finish the look with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, for color.
Honey was all about this meal! And I must say, I did do two versions: the first version was fried, the second baked, as you see here... I didn't make note of the fried version because our household was unanimous that the baked version was better: same flavor, moisture, texture... minus the oil.
I hope you try and enjoy; it's quite a simple meal and super delicious! Oh, and if you didn't notice, I'm super obsessed with my new camera! The shots are so good I just have to share!