Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: and -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Monday, November 14, 2011


When I was a young whipper-snapper of a hipster, and I was always hanging out in Seattle, there was a place called Aladdin's on The Ave in the University of Washington District. (Now, if you're not a local, you won't know that The Ave is actually officially called University Way, not University Avenue.   It's anyone's best guess why it's called The Ave.)  Aladdin's had really great Mediterranean food, and my go-to was falafel sandwiches with tzatziki.  So good. Mmmmm.

Going even farther back, into the misty, water-colored memory windmills of my mind, when I was a kid in Sweden, our mom had a recipe which she occasionally made, and at the time we referred to this recipe as "√§rtbullar" (or pea-balls) from an authentic Mediterranean recipe of chickpeas.  I'm not sure if the recipe just called them √§rtbullar or if we just were too ignorant to call it Falafel.

So anyway, here I am in the years of my adulthood, and I have always liked these little deep-fried fritters of chickpea goodness.  They could be eaten by themselves as a sort of vegan chicken-nugget if you were inclined, or as I like them, stuffed into a pita pocket with any combination of the following ingredients: lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, hummus, sauteed spinach and bell peppers, Kalamata olives, sliced cucumbers, and tzatziki.  (Recipes for tzatziki can be found online, and I might eventually write one up.)  If you don't have the time or ingredients for some of the other accoutrement, (a-COO-tray-mon)  dip them in ranch-dressing for a satisfying snack.


1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans as they are often called), drained
1 egg

2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp cracked coriander seed (or ground if you prefer less texture)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

2-4 tbsp flour

Alternate between pulsing high speed processing in a food mixer until a coarse, pasty consistency has been reached.

If necessary, add additional flour, one spoon at a time, until the mixture is thickened up enough to scoop into a spoon.

Preheat about 1/4 inch deep of olive oil in a small skillet at medium heat, until a water drop splatters.

Scoop spoonfuls of the falafel batter into the hot oil, and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. (A melon baller or ice-cream scoop works well.)  Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown, making sure they don't burn.  Lower heat if necessary and wait a few minutes. 

Serve as suggested above.

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