Here’s the thing about Houston: I love it. I really do.
Driving 59 South to Chinatown, enjoying a concert at Miller Outdoor Theatre, even catching a whiff of the pungent smell perpetually dominating the intersection of Main Street and University. It’s just so familiar to me.
Most of all, though, I love Houston for the amazing people I met there during college. Two weekends ago, I had the opportunity to visit Houston and stay with my college roommates. The trip may or may not have been designed around seeing the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn – Part 2 with my friend (and four-year roommate, woohoo!) Liz. Perchance I’ve also seen every other Twilight Saga movie with her. I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind everybody that there is no judging on this website. None whatsoever.
A couple of days before I journeyed to H-town, I received this text from Liz: “Would you be interested in making baked falafel with me on wednesday?” Um. Who wouldn’t? Seriously. Who turns down a text like that? Not I.
That’s how, later on that week, I found myself making baked falafel with Liz and Rachel (another lovely roomie). Chickpeas, onions, cilantro, salt, pepper, and herbs went into a food processor, and out emerged . . . magic. Mmm. The falafel batter was so delicious. We immediately shaped the batter into falafel patties and popped them on the tray to bake.
Although we initially experienced a little trouble getting the falafel to firm up, after increasing the oven temperature a bit, our patience finally paid off and resulted in some mega tasty baked falafel. Later, after perusing the recipe again, I found out that our error lay in using canned instead of dry chickpeas, which the lovely Kate remarked would result in “sad falafel pancakes.” Whoops. I still think ours were pretty happy (in our tummies!).
Now then. What’s up with this falafel dip?? Well, the next morning, as Liz and I were lamenting the long-devoured falafel, we also discussed the amazingness of the falafel batter. And then. Liz said the words “falafel dip.” As in, the batter doesn’t really need to be baked/fried/cooked in any way, does it? NO. It really doesn’t.
When I arrived home, I could not get the concept out of my brain. Falafel . . . as a dip. Really, it’s like a super souped-up hummus. But, really, really souped-up. I played around with the recipe a bit, adding lime juice for a bit of tartness, and sautéing the onions after my first batch came out really spicy from the onion (I baked it for lunch – no falafel getting trashed here). I also tried out paprika instead of cumin, and replaced all of the parsley (my arch nemesis) with cilantro. I really think you should eat this. Like, probably, NOW.
Baked Falafel (Adapted from cookieandkate)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chickpeas (canned is fine)
- 1/3 cup chopped onion, sautéed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pita chips, for dipping
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor (if you don’t have one, a blender will do).
- Dip some pita chips in, and enjoy!