Sweet Potato Falafel Salad

FullSizeRenderOn Sunday we visited the Japanese cherry blossom park at the Amsterdamse bos. It’s one of those things I look forward to every spring. The weather was just perfect that day! Sunny and warm. People brought their picnics and were chilling on the grass. It’s a beautiful place around this time of the year and very close to Amsterdam.

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I had been craving falafel and I made this one by adding mashed roasted sweet potato to the chickpea mixture. It adds a slight sweetness to it. I served them over a very simple salad with baby Swiss chard, Kalamata olives, cucumber and feta. It’s healthy, easy to make and filling.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the sweet potato falafel:

1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight

1 bunch of parsley

1 cup of mashed roasted sweet potato

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of celery salt

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of salt

For the salad:

1 cucumber, core removed and thinly sliced

100grs of crumbled feta

100gr of Kalamata olives, sliced

100grs of baby Swiss chard or any leafy greens of your choice

Garden cress (optional)

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of olive oil

¼ cup of white vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of mustard

Salt

Extra:

Olive oil for pan-frying the falafel

 

To make the sweet potato falafel, soak the dried chickpeas in enough water overnight. For the sweet potato, you can roast it the night before, mash it and keep it in the fridge. Roast 1 medium sweet potato at 180C/350F for 1 hour.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and place all of the ingredients for the falafel in the food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined and there are not big chunks, but not too fine that it becomes a puree. You want it to still have some texture.

Then grab some of the mixture and form it into a ball using the palm of your hands. I grabbed about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture. It makes about 25 small balls.

Once all the falafels are assembled, pour about 1/3 of a cup of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the falafel in batches until lightly browned. This will take about 5 minutes per batch. Just be careful not to press on them too much while turning them so that they don’t break apart.

To make the dressing just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, close it and shake it until it emulsifies.

In a large bowl, mix the sliced cucumber, crumbled feta, Kalamata olives, baby Swiss chard and garden cress. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Divide the salad among 3 plates and then add the falafel. Enjoy!

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Papa Rellena (Potato stuffed with Beef)

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This is a very popular Peruvian dish which can be easily made in any country. Traditionally it has a bit of Peruvian chili paste (Aji panca) but you can also use any hot sauce or skip it all together. I’m out of Peruvian chili paste at the moment so I just used Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper sauce. I also coated them in panko, because I find that you don’t get a nice even color with just flour. Plus panko adds crunchiness, so I am all for it. This is one of my childhood favorites and my mom still makes it when I visit her.

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This recipe makes about 7 stuffed potatoes.

Ingredients:

For the potato mash:

1 ½ kilos of potatoes, use starchy potatoes like Russet (or how it is called here: kruimige)

Salt

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the beef filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

300grs of minced beef

1 tablespoon of Aji panca, or any hot sauce

¼ cup of tomato puree

50gr of pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup of raisins, chopped

2 boiled eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Pinch of sugar

Salt

Pepper

For the salsa criolla:

2 red onions, chopped

2 bird’s eye chili, chopped

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Juice of ½ lime

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Extras:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups of vegetable oil for pan-frying

 

Boil the potatoes until tender. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps. Then cover it and start making the filling.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and minced beef. Cook until the beef starts to get brown. Then add the garlic and hot sauce, cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, olives, raisins, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring, or until the beef is cooked through. Then turn off the heat and add the coriander.

Place the eggs in a saucepan, add boiling water and let them cook for 8 minutes. Peel off the shells and chop them. Add them to the meat mixture and mix well.

Take about 1 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the beef filling in the middle and them shape it into a sort of football. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the stuffed potatoes are done, have the coating ready. Coat each potato in the egg, then flour, then egg again and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potatoes in batches. I like to do only 2 at a time because they get golden quite fast. And you need to be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since the are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them right away with the salsa criolla.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Panzanella with Tomato & Kalamata Ciabatta

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Panzanella has been on my to-make list for a long time. I finally made it yesterday along with the bread that goes in it.  I used a tomato & kalamata ciabatta recipe that I found on Food&Wine. I slightly adapted it to fit what I had in my kitchen. The best part of making bread is the smell that fills out the house. Luckily, I made the full recipe for the ciabatta which makes 2 loaves and I only needed half a loaf for the salad. Why? Because half a loaf disappeared into my belly as soon as it came out of the oven and another big chunk of it disappeared into my husband’s belly as soon as he came back from work. I toasted the bread in a pan with olive oil so it would still remain a bit crunchy as I ate it. I added some edible flowers for an extra pop of color.

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The recipe for the ciabatta makes 2 loaves and the recipe for the salad serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the ciabatta:

5 tablespoons of olive oil

2 red onions, chopped

4 tablespoons of tomato puree

7 cherry tomatoes, seeds removed and quartered

80gr of pitted Kalamata olives, quartered

Salt

Pepper

3 packets of dry yeast (7grs each)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 ¾ cups of warm water

2 ½ cups pf all-purpose flower

¾ cup semolina

For the salad:

½ a loaf of the tomato and kalamata ciabatta

7 tablespoons of olive oil

100gr of feta, chopped or crumbled

½ cucumber, thinly sliced

150grs of heirloom tomatoes, quartered or chopped depending on their sizes

1 bunch of asparagus

½ red onion, thinly sliced

Edible flowers (optional)

Salt

Pepper

For the dressing:

¼ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the ciabatta:

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and cook over medium heat until they caramelized a bit. This will take about 8 minutes. Then add the tomato puree and cook for 4 minutes. Add the olives and tomatoes. Mix well. Finally add some salt and pepper. Let it cool down.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the yeast, sugar and water. Let it stand for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, flour and semolina.

Mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment for about 6 minutes until the dough starts to pull from the edges.  Then add the cooled kalamata and tomato mixture. Mix first with a spatula and then for 1 extra minute on low speed just until it’s mixed in. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it stand in a warm place for 1 ½ hours until it doubles in volume.

Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. It will be very soft and sticky. Divide the dough into 2 even pieces and shape each piece into a loaf of about 20cm long. Place the loaves on a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until they are lightly browned. Transfer them to a rack and allow them to cool down. You should have a piece while it is still warm, I had half a loaf.

To make the dressing:

Just place all of the ingredients in a jar, cover it with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Set aside.

To make the salad:

Chop half of a ciabatta loaf into cubes. Pour 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the ciabatta and cook until it becomes crispy. Stir from time to time. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer it to a plate and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Sauté the asparagus until crisp-tender. The time will depend on their thickness. Since I got very young ones, I didn’t have to trim them. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and asparagus. Add the ciabatta and dressing. Mix well. Serve immediately. You can decorate it with some edible flowers.