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Falafels, Baba Ganoush, Tzatziki



I love Mediterranean food and honestly, who wouldn't.  So, making Hummus and Pita Bread got me a little carried away.  I had everything to make Falafels and I only needed to get the egg plant for Baba Ganoush, so why not. Egg plant is pretty cheap during this time of year anyway.
Honey was skeptical since he insists that he's not huge on egg plant, and yet, he ate my Egg Plant Parmigiana I made 2 months ago, and he liked this too.  I will say that Baba Ganoush tastes better the next day or even up to 5 days after.
I almost forgot; I also made Tzatziki to go with the Falafels, and even though I went a little to far with the garlic, it was awesome!
This would be an awesome spread for a small party; especially, if there are vegetarians. Tell me this doesn't sound and look good?!?!

FALAFELS
servings: 4

1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
Salt
Pepper
Oil for frying

Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Omit this step if using canned beans. Drain chickpeas, and place in pan with fresh water, and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then let simmer on low for about an hour. Drain and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
In a food processor combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour. You want the result to be a thick paste.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.
Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes).

TIP:  Test fry one ball, and if it begins to fall apart, add more floor to mixture.

Adapted from About.com - How to Make Falafels

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TZATZIKI SAUCE

2 cup plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
1 cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.
Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Adapted from Foodnetwork.com - Tzatziki Recipe: Ina Garten
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BABA GANOUSH
servings: 8

3 medium-sized eggplants
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon chile powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
a half bunch picked flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance.  Remove from oven and let cool.
Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth.
Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary

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