theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Falafel March 26, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 10:15 pm
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This has been a draft for a while but we’ve finally made falafel! I made it tonight for my parent and kid sister, Moo Moo. I made the big error of mixing up the amounts for cayenne vs. chili powder so it turned out more spicy than it should have. I must admit to feeling pretty bad; mom and Moo Moo aren’t huge fans of spicy food. My dad is and both JEM and I are, but it was a bit rough regardless of ones level of spice love. Lesson of the night: pay attention to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons of dried)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1 teaspoon of chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of flour

Steps:

1. In a blender or food processor: put garlic, onion, and parsley.

2. Blend until smooth. Place in a mixing bowl.

3. Put drained chickpeas in blender or processor until they look like bread crumbs (~10 pulses). Place chickpea crumbles into the bowl with the onion/parsley/garlic mush.

Tip: Don’t pulse too much or it will turn into a paste which is awesome for humus, but not for falafel.

4. Add the rest of the ingredients except the flour to the bowl with the crumbles and mush and mix well.

5. Add the flour bit by bit until the mixture isn’t wet and can stay together when you try to make it into a ball.

6. Place the mixture in the fridge for about half an hour. This will remove any extra moisture and will help the falafel keep their shape when you put them together.

7. Pre-heat oven to 350*

8. With a teaspoon, scoop out some of the mixture. You can make them round balls or disks.

Normally we do balls, but tonight I tried disks and actually like them better when you make a sandwich.

9. . Bake  for 25-30 minutes, until they are golden brown.

I flip mine over after about 17 minutes.

Generally when baking this won’t become firm like the falafel you think of from a mediterranean restaurant. A bit mushier but definitely just as yummy.

Frying them will get you closer to the consistency that you expect.  I have once or twice but it seemed a) not the safest, b) time-consuming, and c) unhealthy so I started baking. But for those of you who have want to try it: Heat ~3″ of oil  in a deep wok or pot ( vegetable or peanut) to 375*, test 1 ball (if it falls apart add more flour). Cook up to 6 at a time a few minutes on each side or until golden brown.

This will go fantastic over a garden salad or as a sandwich. We serve them with pita bread, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and a tzatziki sauce.

We make our own tzatziki and are slowly refining it. It’s good, but can definitely be better.

In a bowl add:  3 cups plain Greek yogurt, 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped cucumber, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of chopped dill (if you enjoy dill), 1 teaspoon of salt (that’s at most–it’s better to under salt than to over salt). Mix and serve.

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New Posts Coming Soon March 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — theboxexperiment @ 11:49 am

Things have been hectic in the house for the past 2 weeks which inadvertently caused a lack of posting on my part. Now I’m on spring break and enjoying my time painting the house and reading but also spending as little time watching tv, fiddling with my phone, being on the internet as possible. Posts will start again soon–most likely tomorrow. A box is coming tonight and I have several recipes in the queue that I want to share!

 

Balsamic Roasted Carrots March 6, 2011

Filed under: Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 6:31 pm
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These make a nice side, if and only if you enjoy balsamic. JEM really dislikes balsamic but as a good sport he tried them…and still didn’t like them. I used 1 of the monster carrots from this weeks box and it made more than enough for two people, so I’m stuck eating double the carrot but definitely enjoying them.

Ingredients

  • 1 monster carrot (or several normal sized ones)
  • 2 tbls balsamic vinegar
  • EVOO: 2 tbls + enough to coat the carrots pre-roasting, divided
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt to taste

Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425*.
  2. Peel and slice the carrot into 2 inch sticks.
  3. Drizzle EVOO over the carrots.
  4. Sea salt to taste.
  5. Roast in oven for about 20 mins.
  6. While the carrots are roasting: combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon and garlic. Whisk together in a small bowl.
  7. When carrots are done, remove from oven and pour vinaigrette over carrots, make sure to coat evenly.
  8. Enjoy.

 

Soy Ginger Green Beans

Filed under: Dinner,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 6:27 pm
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This is another fantastic side that we started making in Chinatown. The first time we made them, they were awesome but all later attempts came out less than awesome. We finally attempted again tonight and they turned out pretty fantastic. Easy to make and very yummy–what’s not to love?

Ingredients

  • green beans
  • 2 tbls soy sauce
  • 1 tbls EVOO
  • 1 tbls of ginger (or less if you’re not a fan of ginger)
  • 1 tsp of garlic

Steps

  1. Trim the ends of the green beans.
  2. Mince the ginger.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. In a skillet, heat the olive oil.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic. Saute for a few mins.
  6. Add the green beans and soy sauce.
  7. Cook to taste (I prefer them al dente, JEM likes them a bit over done)
  8. Enjoy

 

Indian Potatoes March 5, 2011

This recipe was adopted from “5 Spices, 50 Dishes,” by Ruta Kahate; a fantastic Indian cookbook. These could go well as either a side for dinner or as breakfast potatoes. You can make them 2 different ways, first as smashed potatoes and second quartered and crispy.

Ingredients

  • ~2 1/4 lbs of potatoes (either russet or red), boiled (and peeled if you prefer crispy potatoes)
  • 6 tbls of canola oil (we use less generally, probably around 4 tbls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps coriander (or, if you have them 3 tbls coriander seeds, coarsely crushed)
  • if you really are craving spicy potatoes: 2 medium Serrano chiles, cut lengthwise in quarters (we’ve never done this)

Steps for Smashed (steps by JEM)

  1. Dice the boiled potatoes.
  2. In a large pot on high heat add oil (4 tbls) and cumin seeds.
  3. When the pan gets hot add the potatoes.
  4. Add all the other spices.
  5. Stir to coat/combine.
  6. Cook for about 5 mins, stirring continuously (this will help continue breaking down potatoes so they are smashed without the act of smashing).
  7. Enjoy

Steps for Crispy Potatoes (from the cookbook)

  1. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into quarters. Then cut them crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Heat the oil (6 tbls) in a large work over high heat.
  3. When the oil begins to smoke, add the cumin seeds. This will cause sputtering so be careful!
  4. After the seeds stop sputtering, add the chiles (optional)
  5. When they are well toasted, add the turmeric and briefly stir.
  6. Add the potatoes and salt.
  7. Toss well, cover, and leave on medium-high heat until the potatoes are slightly toasted, about 4 mins.
  8. Uncover and add the coriander seeds and toss well again.
  9. Continue to heat uncovered, tossing occasionally until the potatoes are crusty and well browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  10. Serve warm.
  11. Enjoy
 

Box # 5 March 3, 2011

Filed under: Box — theboxexperiment @ 1:51 pm
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Same story as last week: we need to get better at actually eating the veggies and fruit that we have delivered. From last week we still have 3 onions (that are ENORMOUS, btw), 1 pear, some apples, broccoli, and the sweet potatoes. Perhaps we’ll take a break next week and get all caught up with the produce.

In this week’s box:

  • Red Potatoes (2) (CA)
  • Carrots (2) (PA)
  • Yellow Squash (1) (FL)
  • Ruby Red Grapefruit (1) (CA)
  • Mango (1) (SA)
  • Bananas (1) (SA)
  • Red Peppers (2) (MEX)
  • White Mushrooms (1) (PA)
  • Butter Lettuce (1) (CA)
  • What we swapped out: Broccoli (GA), Navel Oranges (CA), Gala Apples (CA)

I opened the box last night and there were 3 of the largest carrots I’ve ever seen: twice the length of my hand and ~2-3 inches in diameter. This comes after last week where we received monster onions. I’m placing a lot of trust that these veggies are coming from farms that grow food naturally…but it’s hard to believe when I look at the size of the carrots and onions. I’ve also talked about wanting to eat more locally grown food. If you look at where all the veggies come from, you’ll notice very few of them are local to the DC/MD/VA area. PA is pretty close so that’s 2 veggies. I acknowledge that growing season is definitely not here yet (but we’ll be soon). But I have a hard time believing there are zero farms in the area that don’t have red potatoes and squash. I understand that as long as I live in DC I can’t buy grapefruit, bananas, mangos, and oranges locally. I don’t mind buying citrus-y fruits (and really love them), but it would be awesome if they were somewhere closer than MEX and SA…perhaps stateside like FL or GA. The experiment will continue until we are firmly in the middle of the growing season, if the box items are still coming from far away places we might switch it up.