Falafel Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

The garbanzo patties are so savory & delicious they can be eaten on their own, alongside a nice rice dish, or a bright vegetable. They pair nicely with hot flavors, like chili/Sriracha, and cream or yogurt sauces. For a gyro, fill a pita with fresh tomato, onion, lettuce, tzatziki, and falafel.

falafel

• 2 cups canned, boiled garbanzo beans, or 1 can, drained
• 1 carrot, grated or minced
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
• 4 – 6 T garbanzo bean flour
• 1/2 tsp each thyme, coriander, cumin
• 1 tsp paprika
• dash pepper, salt

1. Mince or dice vegetables and add to food processor with beans. Add about a teaspoon of water if your device requires liquid.
2. Blend to desired consistency. Bigger pieces of everything will allow you to use less flour, so a mealy mix is actually really good. The blending process is just to crush the beans and to combine the mix, not to liquify. If you find your batter won’t form or stay together in a firm way, add more flour, cornstarch, or similar thickener depending on your budget. (garbanzo bean flour is more expensive than standard flour)
3. Add flour and spices, mix, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
4. Heat a little over an inch of your chosen frying oil, preferably vegetable or sunflower. Form dough into rough golf-ball shape and drop in oil. Or, flatten to make patties if that is preferable. Fry on one side a couple minutes, until fully brown. Flip once to brown, and turn on sides for full coverage.

Tzatziki Sauce
• 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
• 1/3 cucumber
• 1 lemon
• thyme
• dill
• cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine ingredients, adding more or less of whatever you like most or least. You can cut the cucumber to whatever consistency you desire-it can be minced, thrown into a food processor, grated, etc.

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Tuna Melt

tuna melt

• 1 can tuna
• Bread, a roll, or a bagel
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 T minced shallots (or your chosen onion)
• 1 T lemon juice, more depending on taste
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 1/8 tsp or just a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp pepper
• dash salt
• parmesan cheese, parsley
• pickles, onions, muenster cheese, tomato, and/or other toppings/accoutrement

1. Set broiler to low and heat bread. In small bowl, whisk an egg yolk, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and herbs. Whisk or blend until it thickens slightly. It will not be super thick, but that’s okay.

2. Flip bread so that it is softly toasted on both sides. Add tuna and shallots to egg mixture and blend.

3. Remove bread from oven, then spoon tuna mixture on top. Sprinkle with extra shallots and/or parmesan cheese. Broil on high for 2 or 3 minutes, until edges of bread begins to darken. Garnish with dried parsley and serve immediately.

Butternut Squash Burgers (and Fries)

burger

 

Butternut Squash Burger
• 1/2 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
• 1/2 can or 1/2 cup black beans
• 3 T white onion, diced
• 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
• 1 T dried chives
• 1 tsp each: thyme, garlic, sage, chili powder, pepper

1. Peel butternut squash. For these burgers, I just used the top half of a butternut squash and ended up with 7 medium-sized burgers, but you can use more or less. Cut squash into cubes and steam (I use a steamer basket) until soft.

2. In a wide, flat bowl, mash cubes with fork. Add onions and spices, then bread crumbs and continue to mash. Add black beans and lightly stir.

3. Roll into ball and flatten.

4. Sauté in vegetable oil over medium high heat. Burgers are fragile, so allow to sit for a while before flipping, checking, or manipulating. Resist the urge to constantly flip! They are finished when quite dark on both sides.

5. Serve on their own (they are delicious and don’t need dressing up) or as a meat substitute on a bun with onion, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles, other sauces… anything you like :)

French Fries

• 2 – 4 potatoes
• 1/2 cup flour
• 2 T chili powder
• 1 T pepper
• 1 T mixture of thyme, garlic, and fine sea salt
• water and oil

1. Slice edge of potato lengthwise to create a rectangle with round ends. Cut off ends. Slice lengthwise to create about 5 slices. Flip and repeat to make long, thin, squared fries. Slice the ends and edges too.

2. Immerse completely in warm water. Soak for a half hour.

3. Drain and rinse. Dry with kitchen towel, then squeeze with paper towel for complete dryness.

4. Mix flour with spices (whichever spices you like and however much you like) in a gallon-sized storage bag. Add fries, zip closed, and mix to coat completely.

5. Roast at 450 degrees for half hour.

6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Fill a pot or saucepan with a couple inches of vegetable oil and heat over medium high.

7. When water sprinkled into the oil sizzles, it is hot enough. Add potatoes and fry for 5 – 10 minutes until crisp.

8. Season with pepper, sea salt, and spices.

French Onion Soup

onion soup

The time to make onion soup is best dictated by one’s pantry. As the only ‘fresh’ ingredients are cheese and onion, the biggest variable is bread. Rather than making a free choice in favor of soup, I let a stale leftover baguette decide- throw it out, make croutons, or make French onion soup.

I don’t actually measure anything in this recipe…The quantity of each ingredient can and should be regulated according to taste, with the amount of onion vs liquid the most important consideration. The onions will also cook down so you should add more than you think is necessary. Listed quantities come from Julia Child’s recipe, with the flour omitted.

•  5 cups sliced yellow onion
•  at least 3T butter (as much as you’d like)
•  1 tsp sugar
•  1/2 c dry white wine
•  2 quarts beef or vegetable stock
•  1 tsp salt and pepper
•  half a baguette
•  1 c Swiss or Gruyère + muenster cheese

1. Coat cast iron skillet with 1T butter. Add onions and mix around to coat onion in butter. Cover, and allow to cook untouched 15 minutes over medium heat. Check every 15-20 minutes for an hour or more, depending on heat settings. Midway through cooking, fully turn all onions, then sprinkle with sugar and add 2 T butter. Allow to continue to brown, without stirring them. Onions do not want to be your friend, and do not need to dance all the time-best to leave them alone as much as possible. Some crust on the pan (and onions!) is good, but not necessary.

2. In separate pot, heat beef (or vegetable) stock with a touch of dry white wine (you can use red wine instead-its just important that its dry else the fruitiness can be a bit obvious) and pepper.

3. With onions still cooking, deglaze pan with white wine straight from the bottle. Add stock, some pepper, then adjust to taste. The biggest caution here is to watch your wine-since I just pour some from the bottle I’ve found its very easy to end up with onions in wine-flavored water… If that happens, just allow to reduce much longer.s

4. Slice bread and toast under broiler. I use 1 or 2 for each ramekin, but more layers makes for a kind of bread pudding that is exceptionally delicious, so toast however much you like.

5. Ladle soup into ramekins. Cover with one or two slices of toast, darker side down. To layer, allow each slice to soak up liquid before placing another. Sprinkle swiss/gruyere on top, and cover with a slice of muenster cheese. Muenster melts quickly and evenly, making for an awesome gooey surface, and doesn’t have a strong flavor that will overpower your chosen cheese. If you just want to use one cheese for your soup, it should be muenster.

6. Serve with extra piece of bread. Extra ramekins can be saved for a few days, and make a fantastic breakfast.

Poached Tilapia with Beurre Blanc

Tilapia

This recipe is based on Jacques Pépin’s Poached Trout in Vegetable Broth (video here). While there are lots of ingredients and while I list lots of steps it doesn’t take much longer than his presentation. If you don’t make sauce you could easily create this and eat within 20 minutes. Also, I imagine this basic method could make any other type of fish super flavorful and delicate.

The slow, weird, complicated part is the Beurre Blanc, a sauce that has eluded me for some time. I’m not sure if it worked this time because I used Amish butter or if it was due to trial and error… I’m not sure but I do know that even my failed, ultra-melted attempts were still absolutely delicious, so even practice is worthwhile.

This time, the sauce was appropriately creamy, but I didn’t get a good capture because I was too busy eating to care about staging…

Fish
• Tilapia or any fish that wants to be poached
• 1 small white onion, potatoes (as many as you will be serving), a few mushrooms, 1 stalk celery, 1 carrot
• 2 – 3 cups water
• 1 tsp olive oil, butter, or homemade vegetable stock
• 1 large bay leaf
• fresh & dried thyme
• sage
• oregano
• 1/2 – 1 tsp peppercorns
• fine sea salt
• lemon juice and zest
• If serving with roasted vegetables, preheat oven to 425 degrees

1. Squeeze lemon juice onto fish and sprinkle with dried oregano, a dash of sea salt, and pepper.

2. Add enough water to a sauté pan so that the fish will be partially immersed. Boil water, white wine, sliced onion, sliced carrot & celery, small potatoes cut in half or regular potatoes cut into edible pieces, bay leaf, thyme, sage, and a bit of lemon peel. Crush and add peppercorns. Add olive oil or butter if you wish–I went with an ice cube of vegetable stock.

3. Reduce heat to medium, then rest fish upon vegetables and cover pan.

4. Check from time to time: skinned fish will exhibit doneness more obviously than fish with skin. Either way, it should take about 10 minutes.

5. Remove fish from pan and place on a plate with a bowl on top while you make the sauce and roast the potatoes.

6. Remove potatoes from liquid and sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt. Spread out on baking sheet along with asparagus. Roast while making the beurre blanc, about 20 minutes.

Beurre Blanc
• 1/2 c fish stock
• 1/4 c white wine
• 2 T vinegar (white allows it to be blanc- I used red so it looked more like gravy)
• 1 T minced shallots
• 1/2 c – 1 c butter

1. The liquid from the poached fish will serve as the base for this sauce, so strain out the vegetables. Add about 1/2 c liquid back to the pan.

2. Add white wine and boil until the liquid is reduced by about half.

3. Reduce heat to medium and add vinegar, shallots, and 2 T butter.

4. Reduce heat to low and add butter 1 T at a time, whisking continuously until each is absorbed by the liquid. It is important that the butter is cold and that there is continuous movement with a whisk as it can melt very easily, making for a deflated, watery sauce.

5. Remove from heat completely and add the last few pieces of butter, continuing to stir. The final result should be creamy and heavenly.. Pour liberally over both fish and asparagus.

**Anti-waste tip: Save any remaining fish stock to enhance dinner the next day.. I used it for fish tacos, but it would make a very hearty soup, vegetable cooking liquid – – anything, really. Its also useful to save the vegetables for a small batch of vegetable or fish stock, and/or to season & eat as a simple side dish.**

Quick Vegetarian Chili

chili

• 1 onion
• 2 – 3 tomatoes depending on size
• 1 green or red bell pepper
• 2 chili peppers (more/less)
• 1 zucchini
• 1 can black beans
• 2-3c vegetable stock
• dash of salt & pepper
• about 1TB/roughly equal amounts: oregano, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon or cocoa, and old bay seasoning

1. Heat onion and pepper first, then zucchini and other substantive vegetables
2. Turn heat to medium/low and add tomatoes, beans, stock, and spices.
3. Ready when peppers are as soft as you feel is appropriate.

Garnish with avocado and cilantro, serve with tortilla chips.

This can have whatever quantity of whatever foods you wish. It can be a personal recipe, producing enough for you and your freezer or easily expands to feed a group.

Zucchini Carpaccio

zucchini

• All the zucchini
• salt & pepper
• olive oil
• balsamic vinegar
• pecorino, romano, &/or parmesan cheese

1. Peel and slice (as thin as possible) zucchini. Season on both sides with s&p. Drizzle with olive oil.
2. Broil 8 minutes. Remove carefully, arrange in a pretty fan. Drizzle remaining oil from pan, balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with pecorino/parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (we don’t have that in our garden but it was tasty without :) ).

This is from the inspiring Eric Ripert, from his series Avec Eric (which I love endlessly). Here he demonstrates how to make this in a toaster oven: http://bit.ly/1eCXplO

Vegetable Stock

stock

• roughly 1-2 gallons water
• 5 or 6 carrots
• 3 or 4 sliced onions
• 2c sliced or quartered mushrooms
• 2 leeks
• 1c celery leaves
• 1 tomato
• 1-2t thyme, garlic powder, pepper, salt, coriander, sage, and/or your preferred spices

Add all ingredients to stockpot, heat for an hour or two on low/simmer. Strain and use right away for some soup, refrigerating some for use within a week or two. Freeze the rest as ice cubes.

Optional step to concentrate flavor: roast the hearty (carrot, onion, mushroom) veggies or heat/sweat before adding water.

Minimize waste by using the remaining veggies for a soup/dish that day, or make another round of less potent stock.

Ratatouille

ratatouille

1 (or so) each:
• eggplant
• zucchini
• white onion
• red bell pepper
• large tomato (or a few medium)
• Garlic, olive oil, parsley, s&p, fresh Provençal herbs of your choosing

1. Cut eggplant and zucchini into large cubes. In olive oil, cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until eggplant softly browns
2. Remove from heat, set aside. Now heat cubed onion and red pepper in same fashion. Mash and mince 2-3 cloves garlic and add, along with some s&p. Set aside in another bowl.
3. Heat cubed tomato & olive oil
4. In large pot, layer 1/2 of tomato mix, then pepper & onion mixture, then zucchini & eggplant, then rest of tomato. Sprinkle parsley (lots) on top, drizzle olive oil. I put a few sprigs of oregano, lavender, sage, and thyme to infuse. Cover.
5. Leave on medium heat for a while, then remove sprigs and stir. 6. Stir every so often, and eventually remove cover and set to boil. Stir more frequently during this period. Simmer.

It’s done when you feel it’s reached a good consistency. I like mine soupy, so I don’t reduce very long and add a bit more olive oil here and there. If you like less liquid, let it boil longer or squeeze the gel/seeds from the tomato before you begin. If you’d rather make the movie version, look for “confit biyaldi”.

Serve with big chunk of fresh bread, and love your leftovers. :)