One of the reasons I keep a food blog is because I just honestly LUUUV them. I use them almost exclusively these days, though I do love to sit and pour through a new cookbook or issue of Lucky Peach, ignoring the world around me, reading each page thoroughly, as if reading a novel. But for daily inspiration and reference, I typically trust the same 4 sources:
I do fall down the blog hole often as well, especially thanks to the Tumblr. And of course, I love my fellow RVA bloggers (my most oft-visited being Tim Vidra Eats, even though he’s a Phillies fan,) but these are really the main four for me; each of the four offers page after page of culinary brilliance. I’m not overstating here.
After getting sweet potatoes in my latest Horse and Buggy delivery, I wandered over to 101 Cookbooks, where I found such a piece of brilliance: Sweet Potato Falafel. WHAT WHAT WHAT!?! I love both of those things so much. Also, importantly, it’s an oven-baked falafel recipe, which is essential for our easy-on-the-cholesterol lifestyle.
Of the recipe, Heidi Swanson had this to say,
These aren’t your typical falafel, nor were they intended to be, just keep that in mind before you write in. These falafel are made with a mashed sweet potato and chickpea flour base, accented with a generous punch of spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro. If you’re looking for that crunchy, fried, falafel experience, this isn’t it. But these are delicious in their own way. And the sesame seed sprinkle gives each one a little bit of crunch. The next time around I might actually give each falafel a dunk in some sort of egg bath, and then in the seeds for a bit more crunch and coverage. At Leon they are served as a mezze along with chopped tomatoes, pickles, and aioli.
I was actually quite satisfied with the level of crunch on these falafel, as I’m already used to baking mine rather than frying them, but I can see how people might have different expectations. I will say that, while I didn’t find them appealing as leftovers (there’s really no easy way to recrisp them,) Lily Byrd found them quite enjoyable for a couple of days afterwards. She was crazy about them; like, I’m going to have to make a batch and keep them on hand regularly to keep up with demand. Crazy.
Sweet Potato Falafel
2 medium sweet potatoes, baked at 425 until cooked through (about an hour,) peeled & cooled
1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large handful parsley, chopped and squeezed of excess water
salt and pepper, to taste
1 squeeze of lemon and glug of olive oil
2 sesames seeds (reserve some for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 375. Line a sheet tray with parchment and coat with olive oil.
Combine all ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Wet or oil your hands and create small balls of the mixture. Flatten slightly to form patties. The original recipe uses more of a scoop-n-plop approach and refers to something called a “falafel scoop” (wouldn’t turn this down as a gift, fyi. I have a soft spot for uni-taskers.) I’m not sure where my preference for falafel patties (as opposed to balls or torpedos) developed, but it remains to this day.
Space falafel units evenly across the prepared sheet tray, and give each a few sesame seeds on top. If someone’s watching, make a thin line of seeds, point to it, and say, “Sesame Street.” Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each one. Bake for about 10 minutes, and then check for doneness. Once the falafel develop a bit of color on the bottom, flip them, and allow the other side to get golden, brown, and sort of crunchy, another 10-15 minutes.
And what’s falafel without dippy?? LESS SATISFYING.
Tahini Yogurt Dippy
1 cup 0% Greek Yogurt (I use the Fage.)
1/4 cup Tahini
squeeze of lemon, glug of oil, salt, and pepper
We enjoyed ours with a very light, fresh tabouli and feta-basil flat beans, recipes for another day.