Falafel with Beet & Potato Mash

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A couple of weeks ago we were doing errands around the city center and we got very hungry. A falafel place which we both like was not very far, so we decided to stop there for lunch. It has been ages since we had falafels and it reminded me of how much I like them. Since the holidays are approaching, I thought they would make a good vegetarian dish to serve. To make them a bit more festive, I served them with a beet and potato mash.

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This recipe makes 25 falafels.

Ingredients:

For the mash:

800gr of potatoes for mash like Russets

3 roasted beets, peeled and chopped

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt

For the falafel:

1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of coriander

½ teaspoon of onion powder

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of lemon pepper

1 tablespoon of harissa or more to taste

1 ½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of cumin or more to taste

7 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

Extras:

1 ½ cups of vegetable oil

2 cups of panko

 

The night before, place the chickpeas in a large bowl with plenty of cold water and let them soak overnight.

To make the mash, first roast the beets until tender. I just wrapped each one in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and roasted them for 1.5 hours at 180C/350F. Then peel them and chop them.

Boil the potatoes until tender. Then peel them.

Place the cooked potatoes and beets in the food processor. Add salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Pulse until it is very smooth. You can leave it like this or if you want it extra smooth you can pass it through a sieve.

Drain the soaked chickpeas and place them in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients for the falafels. Pulse until everything is well combined; just make sure not to puree it. You still want to keep some texture. Transfer the mixture into a bowl.

Place the panko on a separate plate.

Start making balls with the falafel mixture, about the size of 1 tablespoon. Coat each ball in the panko and then flatten it. Repeat for the remaining mixture.

Pour the oil into a large pan over medium heat. Have a large plate lined with paper towels ready.

Pan-fry the falafels until golden on both sides. Place them on the prepared plate to soak up some of the oil.

Serve the falafels with the potato and beet mash, and the sauce of your choice.

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Sweet Potato Rolls Stuffed with Chinese BBQ Chicken

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This is something you can do with the leftovers from the holidays. I used rotisserie chicken and I mixed it with some Chinese BBQ sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. But you can use leftover turkey or pork instead or just keep them vegetarian.

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This recipe makes 28 small rolls, I made half on a cast iron skillet and half on an oven dish.

For the dough:

7 grs of dry yeast

½ cup of cream, lukewarm

¼ cup of milk

½ cup of mashed sweet potatoes (I roasted them until tender)

3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

2 eggs

For the filling:

2 ½ cups of chopped rotisserie chicken, leftover turkey or pork

2 tablespoons of Chinese BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce

Extras:

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)

 

Place the lukewarm cream and yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer and let it sit for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes have passed, add the remaining ingredients for the dough to the bowl with the yeast.

Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment.  You can also knead it by hand.

Then remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured working area, it will be very sticky so flour your hands as well. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Place all of the ingredients for the filling in a pan over medium heat and just stir until the chicken is evenly coated. I like to mix it in a pan because the Chinese BBQ sauce is quite sticky and hard to mix unless it’s warm. Set it aside

Once the hour has passed, lightly oil the cast iron skillet or oven dish in which you are going to bake the rolls.

Place the dough in your floured working area. Punch it and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Grab one piece and slice it into 14 pieces. Make each piece into a ball, flatten it and stuff it with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Close the edges by pinching them together and form a ball again. Place the bun on the prepared skillet, repeat for the rest of the dough.

Cut a big piece of plastic wrap and brush it with some vegetable oil. Then cover the rolls with it and let them rest for 1 hour in a warm place.

About 10 to 15 minutes before the second rise is done, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Remove the plastic wrap from the skillet and brush the buns with the egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy!

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Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Harissa Butter, Feta & Pomegranate

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This is a very easy to make side dish for the holidays. The harissa butter adds a bit of heat that goes well with the sweetness of the butternut squash.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash, sliced in half

1 tablespoon of butter

1 teaspoon of harissa or more to taste

2 tablespoons of Parmesan

2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Salt

Extras:

½ cup of pomegranate seeds

100grs of crumbled feta

Micro arugula for decoration

Handful of arugula

Olive oil

White vinegar

Salt

Pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.

Place the butternut squash in a roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Add ½ cup of water and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake until very tender. Mine took about 1 hour but the time will depend on the size of your squash.

Once the butternut squash is tender, spoon out all of the flesh into a bowl but leave some attached to the edges of one half so that it holds its shape for the second bake.

Turn up the heat to 230C/440F.

Melt the butter in a pan with the harissa. Place the butternut squash flesh, harissa butter, Parmesan, breadcrumbs and salt in the food processor and pulse until smooth.

Stuff the reserved butternut half with the butternut puree. Place it on a oven tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.

To serve, mix the arugula with a splash of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Place the butternut squash in the middle of a large plate. Place the arugula salad all around the squash. Top it with the crumbled feta, pomegranate and micro arugula. Serve right away.

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Duck Breast Salad with Orange – Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

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I love duck breast and it’s something I don’t eat very often. Usually I have to go to a butcher to get it because regular supermarkets here don’t carry it unless it’s the holiday season. That time of the year has come and when I saw it at the supermarket, I couldn’t resist. This is a salad you can have as a first course or main, perfect for the holidays. And it doesn’t require a lot of time which is very handy if you want to host a dinner.

This recipe serves 2. If you would like it as a main course, I find it nicer to get 1 duck breast per person.

Ingredients:         

For the vinaigrette:

½ cup of fresh orange juice

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of poppy seeds

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

For the duck:

1 duck breast, about 225grs.

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

1/3 cup of dried cranberries

2 apples, thinly sliced (I used one Royal Gala and one Granny Smith)

1 persimmon, thinly sliced

40grs of baby kale

75grs of arugula

 

To make the vinaigrette, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Taste for salt and set it aside. Just re-shake it right before serving.

To cook the duck breast, first preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Trim any excess skin that is just hanging off the meat. Using a sharp knife, score the fat of the breast in a criss-cross pattern.  Season it with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or oven-proof pan over medium heat. Place the duck breast with the skin side down and let the fat render off for 4 minutes. Then sear the meat side for 1 minute.  Finally turn the breast fat side down again and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. This will give you a medium to medium rare duck breast depending on the size of it. Once the breast is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

To plate up, mix the arugula with the baby kale and divide it among 2 plates. Add the cranberries, apples and persimmon.  Then add the sliced duck breast and serve with the dressing on the side.

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