Falafel - Chickpea Fritters

Falafel is a staple street food in Middle Eastern countries and throughout Europe. A good falafel is made by stuffing a big pita with fried chickpea fritters, seasoned with warm spices like, cumin, paprika and coriander. These crispy fritters are then topped with salads made from fresh chopped tomato, onions and cucumber as well as a parsley and bulgar wheat salad called tabouleh. A falafel is then finished off with a drizzle of tahini (sesame seed paste) and dollop of greek yogurt tzadziki. If your lucky, some places will top the whole thing off with French fries.

This sandwich is inexpensive to make, has all of the food groups, is vegetarian and bursting with fresh flavors and textures.

Middle Eastern Falafel - Chickpea Fritters

  • 16 oz. Canned Chickpeas, drained
  • ½ Onion, minced
  • 1tsp. Cumin
  • 1tsp. Coriander
  • 1tsp. Paprika
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ C Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ C Parsley, chopped
  • ¼ C Vegetable Oil
  • Place the first 8 ingredients into a quart sized freezer bag, seal tightly and smash with hands to combine. You can also pulse the all of the ingredients in a food processor until combined. Form 4-8 equal sized balls and then press into patty. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil starts to smoke lightly, carefully add the patties to the pan. Fry the patties on one side for 2 minutes and then turn, continue to cook the other side until golden brown. Drain the falafel well on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

    You can serve you falafel on pita bread or any middle easter or greek flat bread. Top your falafel with chopped tomato, cucumber, pickles, greek yogurt, hummus, tabouleh, tahini and even french fries.

    Crispy Summer Squash Pancakes

    Crispy Summer Squash Pancakes

  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 5 C Yellow Squash or Zucchini, small dice
  • 1/2 C Onion, small dice
  • 1/2 C Red Bell Pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt and Pepper
  • 1.25 C Saltine Crackers, crushed or Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 C Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 C Cornmeal or Polenta
  • 1/4 C Oil
  • Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, when it smokes, place the squash, onion and bell pepper into the pan. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with squash with salt/pepper then place the mixture into a sieve, strainer or colander. Place the sieve into a bowl, and let this drain for 1 hour in the fridge. The goal is to drain as much of the liquid from the veggies as possible while cooling it down.

    Place the squash mixture into a bowl and smash together with the crushed crackers, eggs, cheese and chili flakes, until a chunky batter forms. Place this mixture into the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up. Remove the squash from the freezer, drain off any water that has come to the top.

    Place a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add the oil to the pan. Form the pancakes by scooping 1/4 C of the mixture, form a patty and lightly dredge in the cornmeal. The batter will be loose, so don't worry about making a mess or that your pancakes are not perfectly shaped. When the oil smokes very lightly, carefully place the pancakes into the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes once and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pancakes from the pan and place on paper towels to drain well.

    Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. You can also cool/freeze these for later use. Just place them into the oven or toaster oven at 400 F or until crispy. I like to serve these with chicken and fish for a dinner or lunch and fried eggs for breakfast.

    Ricotta Gnocchi with Peas

    Ricotta Gnocchi with Peas

  • 2.5 C Flour
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 lb. Russet Potato, baked and cooled
  • ½ C Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Egg
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 C Green Peas, fresh or canned
  • ½ C Cream
  • ¼ C Fresh Herbs, chopped
  • Remove the skin from the cooled potato and shred finely on a grater. Place 1 cup of flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Place the potato, ricotta and egg in the well and start to mix. Lightly knead the dough on the floured surface adding a small amount of flour until it is light and does not stick to the surface. Cut off a small portion of the dough, roll into a snake, then cut the snake into small 3/4-inch portions and place on a sheet tray and freeze for 10 minutes.

    Pre heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan, then add the peas and toss for 3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer.

    Boil the gnocchi in salted water until they float to the top, about 90 seconds.

    Add the gnocchi to the sauce and cook until the sauce is thick then toss in the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.

    Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

    Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 1 C Milk
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar
  • 2 C Flour
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 6 tbsp. Butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • Pre heat the oven to 450 F. Mix the milk and vinegar in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to create buttermilk. Place the flour, salt, soda, powder into another bowl and whisk well. Place the butter into the dry ingredients, quickly smash the bits of butter into the flour using your fingers or a fork. Once you have pea sized pieces of butter in the flour mixture, slowly mix in the buttermilk mixture and stir until a dry dough forms.

    Place the dough onto a floured surface and lightly pat out into a 1 inch square, cut in half, stack on top of the first piece and pat down into another 1 inch square. Make sure you are very gentle with the dough. Repeat this 2 more times create the flakey texture.

    Pat the dough out into a 1 inch circle. Use a 2 inch floured cookie cutter or floured glass to cut out the biscuits, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

    Now Get Crackin'! Chef Egg

    New Years Black Eyed Peas

    New Years Black Eyed Peas

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 oz. Bacon or Smoked Turkey, sliced (Optional)
  • 1 Onion, small dice
  • 3 cans Black Eyed Peas, canned, rinsed
  • 1 qt. Chicken Stock, unsalted
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Tabasco or Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1/3 C Fresh Parsley
  • Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, when it smokes, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon then add the onion and cook until the soft. Add the bacon, peas, stock and bay leaf then simmer on low heat, covered for 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, pepper and Tabasco to taste. Cook for another 10 minutes and then garnish with herbs.

    Carrot and Apple Slaw

    Carrot and Apple Slaw

  • 3 Apples, shredded
  • 3-4 Carrots, shredded
  • 3/4 C Raisons
  • 1/3 C Pepitas or Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, sub almonds or sunflower seeds
  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar, sub honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
  • Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and toss to combine. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container until service.

    Kale with Bacon and Apples

    Kale with Bacon and Apples

  • 1 Large Bunch of Kale, remove ribs and rough chop
  • 4 Strips of bacon, sliced thin
  • 2 Apples, chopped
  • 3/4 C Water
  • 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Salt and Pepper
  • Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crispy. Remove the bacon and half of the bacon fat. Add the kale to the pot and toss, then add the apples, bacon, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss everything together, add the water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the greens sit for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the lid, toss the greens and season further with salt and pepper to taste.

    How to Bake A Pumpkin

    How to Bake A Pumpkin

    You can use this technique for baking whole pumpkin and any type of squash type veggies. You can use the pumpkin in smoothies, cakes, pies, pancakes, breads, puddings, baked gratins, soufles and pretty much anything else you can think of.

    1. Clean the outside of a "Sugar" or "Pie" pumpkin. Jack O Lanterns will not taste very good.

    2. Cut the stalk at the top of the pumpkin.

    3. With a heavy knife, slice the pumpkin width wise through the middle.

    4. Scoop out all of the pumpkin goo and seeds from the inside. Make sure to scrape the sides and get it super clean.

    5. Place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, cover very tightly with foil and bake at 350 F for 75 minutes.

    6. Remove the pumpkins from the oven and let them sit for 30 minutes.

    7. Remove the foil, cool completely and scoop the pumpkin from the skin.

    8. Smash or puree the pumpkin using a potato smasher, food processor, hand blender or blender.

    9. Place the pumpkin in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze for later use.

    Now Get Crackin'!

    Chef Egg

    Sautéed Spinach with Cranberries and Walnuts

    Sautéed Spinach with Cranberries and Walnuts

  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/3 C Walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 C Dried Cranberries or Raisons
  • 8 oz. Spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1/3 C Apple Cider, Veggie Stock or Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt and Pepper, just a pinch of each
  • Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil to the pan. Place the walnuts and cranberries to pan and toss for one minute. Add the spinach and liquid o the pan and toss until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve ASAP.

    Tabbouleh Salad

    Tabbouleh Salad

  • 2 C Bulgar Wheat, cooked and cooled
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1/3 C Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Mint, chopped
  • 2 Lemons, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil, optional
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Place all ingredients into a bowl and toss to combine.

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