Wednesday, August 15 –
Last week’s dinner was a little painful, mostly because I was frying food and it felt like it was 90* outside. Ugh. But the dinner and the company more than made up for the torture in the kitchen. It was BestestEverFiance, Bestie Extraordinaire (who brought ciders and pita to share), and LittleLamb (one of my friends that I’ve known the longest that should get a huge kick out of that name).
I started this off by mixing the lamb with the onion and spices, letting it sit while I mixed the falafel mixture. Then I mixed the tzatziki mixture and put it in the fridge to stay cold. Once everything was prepped, I started frying the falafels. I chopped the chickpeas with a pastry cutter, so there were bigger chunks of chickpeas in the patties. But I tasted them as they were done frying and they still tasted like the falafel I was hoping to have. Bestie Extraordinaire helped to make a tomato/basil salad and formed the meat patties for me. The lamb patties went into the same pan that I cooked the falafel in. We toasted some pita in the oven and then brought everything outside to serve on the picnic table we have to enjoy the nice weather.
The falafel was perfectly browned, nicely seasoned, and had great flavor. They disappeared really, really quickly. The kefta were ok, in my opinion, but didn’t knock my socks off. I’ve definitely done better work with lamb before. I would have wanted more seasoning in them and a bbq flavor instead, if I made them again. The tzatziki was cold and delicious on everything we ate. The tomato/basil salad was a perfect addition to break up the fried flavors. And pita is always a good decision.
Kefta (Middle Eastern spiced meatballs)
- Ground lamb or beef, or a mixture of the two — 2 pounds
- Onion, minced — 1
- Fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped — 1/2 bunch
- Ground cumin — 1 tablespoon
- Cinnamon — 2 teaspoons
- Allspice (optional) — 1 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper — to season
- Oil — 1/4 cup
Place the ground beef or lamb, onion, herbs, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl and knead together well. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle and make the meat easier to handle.
Form the meat mixture into balls, patties or ovals the size of a small egg.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium flame and, working in batches, sauté the meatballs until browned on all sides and cooked through. Browned meatballs can also be finished in a 350ºF oven.
Serve as is or in pita bread as a sandwich with tzatziki sauce.
- Keftedes (Greece): add some breadcrumbs and a little red wine to the meat mixture.
- Köfte (Turkey): add some breadcrumbs and form the meat into a sausage shape on skewers. Oil the meat well and grill over hot coals.
- Before frying, you can roll the kefta in some flour and shake off the extra to help them brown.
- Experiment with different seasonings–coriander, cayenne, sesame seeds.
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and mashed with fork
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 small unpeeled red potato, shredded
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup canola oil for frying
Combine chickpeas, 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, red potato, red onion, garlic, egg, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cilantro, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
Form mixture into 2-inch patties. Place 1/4 cup panko crumbs in a shallow bowl. Gently press patties into the crumbs to coat.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry patties in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Set patties aside.
- 8 ounces plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 3 cloves pressed garlic