Dinner for Two

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Dinner for Two

            The past couple of weeks I have been working on my own homemade bread dough. This little adventure started from a visit to a friends house after a yoga session in the park. The guests were hungry and wanted to make some hummus so what better to dip in your hummus but pita bread. I have made pita bread a bunch of times before so a quick search on the net and a recipe was found.  With in the next few days I found myself craving some more pita and hummus, so I decided to make a whole dinner based around the homemade pita and hummus.

 

The menu: Homemade pita, homemade falafel, homemade hummus, and homemade tzatziki sauce. We also had a garden fresh salad of cucumbers and radishes. The time it takes to make all of these individual ingredients for dinner is relatively small but the pleasure in knowing you actually hand made it all is so fulfilling.

 

The Recipes:

Pita Bread

The Bread Bible

By: Rose Levy Beranbaum

Pg 224-227

Ingredients:

Unbleached all purpose flour 3 cups plus a scant ¼ cup

Salt 2 teaspoons

Instant yeast 2 teaspoons

Olive oil 2 tablespoons

Water at room temperature 1 ¼ cup

Hand method:

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except scant ¼ cup of the flour. With a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until all flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together
  • Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto the counter and scrap the dough onto it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding as little of the reserved flour as possible. Use a bench scrapper to scrap the dough and gather it together as you knead it. At this point it will be very sticky. Cover it with a inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 5 to 20 minutes. (This rest will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.)
  • Knead the dough for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it is soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary.
  • Cut the dough into 8-12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter top, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  • Roll each disk into a circle a little under a ¼ inch thick. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before baking.
  • Preheat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Lightly grease the surface and cook pitas one at a time. Cook for about 20 seconds, then turn the dough and continue cooking for 1 minute or until big bubbles appear. Turn the dough again and cook until the dough balloons. If the dough begins to brown, lower the heat. The entire cooking time for each pita should be about 3 minutes.

 

I did make these on the stovetop because of my extremely small oven. I also find that it is just more fun to use a griddle. I also made these a day ahead of time and kept them in the fridge. The cooked pitas freeze very well and the dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. The longer the dough is refrigerated the better the flavors will develop.

Baked falafel

Garbanzo beans cooked and drained 1 ½ cups

Red onion small 1

Garlic cloves 2-3

Parsley ¼ cup chopped

Lemon juice 1 teaspoon

Olive oil 1 tablespoon

Coriander ground 1 teaspoon

Cumin ground 1 teaspoon

Red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon

Whole wheat flour 2 tablespoon

Baking powder 1 teaspoon

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and slightly flatten. Place onto an oiled baking pan.
  • Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it’s baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).

 

Falafel has been a long time favorite treat of mine. It is almost like a veggie burger but lighter. The combination of the cucumber sauce and the veggies added to the pita makes for a great light dinner. I know for a fact that the ingredients freeze well, which makes this recipe a snap to make ahead of time or as a go to meal when you are running short on time.

 

If you are trying to watch the amount of wheat that you are consuming you can omit the pitas from this menu and make a salad out of all of the fixings and even leave the wheat flour out of the falafel to make this recipe a celiac friendly dish.

I have the tzatziki sauce and the hummus recipes posted on my food blog, www.foodaddict101.wordpress.com

Eat well; your body will appreciate it.

Pete Nielson

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