Cooking Without the Cow

I have a dairy allergy. I digest it well enough but it gives me a headache, which is not fun. I do use a little butter, especially in baking, because margarine scares me. Cheese is such a prevalent ingredient in even vegetarian offerings that I have had to experiment with different dishes to come up with some staples that will work for my family. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

St. Patties day (Falafel, No-Bake Cookies)

No, not St. Paddy's Day - that's in March, when those of us who are Irish and those of us who are not join together in celebration of that island nation by cooking and eating a dish (Corned Beef and Cabbage) that the natives never eat in the Emerald Isle but only in America. No one knows why. But it makes people happy.

No, this is what I happened to notice after I'd made some No-Bake (yea!) Chocolate Fudge Cookies due to the extreme heat outside (yes to chocolate, no to the oven) and then decided I wanted falafel for dinner - I had a really dull-looking selection of food!

My teachers always said to vary the shapes and colors of your dishes and here I was looking at a platter of semi-round dark brown chocolate cookies and a platter of semi-round brown falafel patties (I didn't use as much bread crumb as I normally do, so the mixture couldn't hold a ball shape as in the first picture of 'normal' falafel.) with semi-round light brown pita bread (the round bowl of salad greens didn't help much). I looked around for some other color or shape to perk things up and found some baby carrots, which seem to be dominating the falafel in my pic. I'll have to re-take that next time. Dinner was not very attractive but it was tasty, with my light, spicy falafel and oaty, buttery chocolate cookies.  Mmmm.

My Falafel Recipe

1 onion
½ cup parsley
3 cloves garlic
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 jalapeño peppers (optional)
1 cup dry chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder
bread crumbs or shredded pita
oil for frying

Run the first six ingredients in a food processor until smooth (include jalapeños, if using). Add chickpeas and process until nearly smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the spices. Yes, it is supposed to be green. Add as much bread crumb or pita as you need to thicken the mixture enough to hold a ball shape. (I decided not to use as much as that and just made my funny little patties.) Form into golf ball sized rounds and either bake, deep fry or fry in a little bit of oil in a pan until golden brown. Serve in a whole wheat pita with some salad greens and some mediterranean sesame dressing, if you want to be more authentic. At its simplest, this consists of tahini - sesame seed paste - loosened up with a little water, a pinch of chopped garlic and enough lemon juice to make it pourable.

No-Bake Fudge Cookies (Thanks, Johanna)

¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup soy milk
2 cups sugar
½ cup peanut butter
3 cups oats
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the first five ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Add the oats and vanilla and let cool a bit. Drop by teaspoonsful (you can help to shape it with your hand) onto wax paper and cool completely. This recipe works with regular oats, which are better for you since they have nothing removed from them. I tried both and liked quick oats better in these cookies. I normally try subbing out the butter/margarine for applesauce, too. Will update when I remember to do that.


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