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Falafels and Grape Leaves!

Posted Jul 07 2010 12:00am

How are you doing in all this heat? This is the hot topic question now, it's what everyone is talking about and I am certainly one of those people considering temperatures are topping 100 degrees for the past 2 days.  I got up at 5:20 am this morning and went for a run with Danny to BEAT THIS HEAT! I knew it wasn't happening if I didn't get up and just go. Surprisingly it wasn't too bad, there was a breeze.

Yesterday I went to kickboxing at NYSC and did some stretching when I got home and then that was it for the day. I hung around my apartment and cleaned and organized. I try to organize and clean out twice a year. I boughto make more room in my closet. (Huggable hangers are super thin hangers.) I got mine through , but you can get them at The Container Store, Target, Crate and Barrel and I'm sure other places. I swear I could fit 1/3 more shirts and tops in my closest. 
Another thing I have done so far this summer is bought pop top storage containers by Oxo Good Grips. I bought 2 variety packs, of 10 each at Crate and Barrel. They were an investment but they make everything look so much nicer and SO organized. It's also super easy to bake with because there is no mess. I also labeled everything with a label maker but I took this picture before I did that. Even with 20 containers I could still use more. I started putting everything in it, chocolate chips, flour, rice, sugar, chickpeas, I went a bit crazy.

Since I had so much time yesterday there was no way I could get out of making dinner. I had grape leaves in my fridge since last week from my Aunt Millie, I knew it was time I did something with those. 

I've never made grape leaves ever, so I had to figure out how to make them. I read that you need to boil them. I wanted to go with a Greek-ish meal so I decided to go with falafels in grape leaves. Funny because Gina the   Fitnessista was doing the same thing yesterday. I had a recipe I had used before but I decided to go with the one she was using. I had a slight challenge because currently I have no food processor. I tried to use my KitchenAid (Does anyone else use their processor every single day?? )
I had to make some changes to the recipe because I didn't have all of the ingredients, but it worked out, even if they did fall apart.

I ended up just using a potato masher to mix together, which is why it was crumbly.

Adapted from Canyon Ranch Recipe

Ingredients (to make about 8 falafels, serves 2-3 people)
- 1 1/2 cups dry chickpeas (or one big can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced 
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds (ground to break into smaller pieces, not into flour - I use coffee grinder)
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Soak chickpeas overnight or for 4 hours (or for as long as you can). Drain water and add new water to pot. Cook on stovetop until chickpeas are soft. 
2. Ground sunflower seeds in coffee grinder and set aside (if you have vitamix you can do it all in there.) 
3. Combine all parsley, olive oil, soy sauce, chickpeas, water, cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin and salt in food processor and pulse to combine. 
4. Add spelt flour, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and mix until just combined. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes-1 hour. 
5. Use a 1/4 cup measure to form into 2 ounce patties.
6. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to sauce pan and heat on a medium flame. Brown falafels on both sides about 3-5 minutes, each side.
let sit in boiled water for 8 minutes

Grape Leaves
Boil water in a pot. When water comes to a rolling boil add leaves, one at a time. Shut off flame and let leaves sit in water for 8 minutes. Remove from water and rinse off in cool water to stop cooking. Set out on paper towels to dry. Add filling and fold in opposite sides and roll.

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
4-5 fresh basil leaves1 garlic clove, minced

Combine in a bowl and mix well.

*There are many different mixtures you can add to grape leaves, rice, chicken, beef, pork, but I just went with the falafels and the yogurt dipping sauce.

Stay cool in this heat! See you tomorrow! I'm off to buy a new food processor. 

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