Last week, WCM was down to the dregs in the pantry - I had reached the point when all that was laying around was rice, peanut butter, and tuna (well, and loads of frozen oatmeal banana chocolate chip cookie dough and 5 kinds of homemade ice cream). A dinner this makes not. AND I had zero time to shop. My weekly menu went something like this:
Monday night - take out Thai
Tuesday night - tacos from my local taqueria and a bottle of chardonnay from the corner store.
Wednesday night - I don't remember, but vaguely recall the last bits of three different kinds of pasta mixed together with some butter and a can of black beans....and the rest of that bottle of chardonnay.
Thursday and Friday - who knows.
So last night, I fiiiinally got to menu plan and grocery shop. I felt quite relieved that I would spend the rest of the week eating "real" food. One of the things at the top of my list - pealafel! Pealafel is the invention of the beautiful and spunky Aarti Sequeira. For anyone living under a rock, Aarti ran a blog for a long time and posted fabulous cooking videos. She then joined the cast of The Next Food Network Star. And she was AMAZING (she won)! The Muses were definitely backing Aarti during that competition - she is so real and radiant, and it seems as though she's the kind of person that would easily slip into your friend group and come over for brunch (which would be great because I bet she'd bring something delicious to brunch). Not only that, but she's brilliant when it comes to infusing Indian flavors into modern American food. Pea-lafel, for example. This dish is the same basic concept as falafel, except it is made with peas and edamame instead of chickpeas. So delicious and fresh! I love to load plain ole pita bread with pealafel, tomatoes, cucumbers and tatziki.
PS, Dear Food Network, this photo is awful. Common people, really. The whole point of your company is to make food appetizing.
Pealafel - recipe loosely based off of Aarti's on Food Network
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed and drained
1 shallot, peeled and chop roughly
1 clove garlic, peeled
Handful of fresh mint leaves, plus another handful for yogurt sauce
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Squirt of horseradish sauce (optional)
1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour; regular flour is a fine substitute)
Canola oil for frying
1 cup plain yogurt
In small skillet, toast the fenugreek, fennel and coriander seeds for a couple of minutes until they’re fragrant and slightly darker. Don’t walk away from the pan! They’ll burn! Remove from pan into a small bowl and allow to cool. Meanwhile, make yogurt sauce: Mix yogurt with finely chopped mint leaves and a generous pinch of salt. Chill in the fridge. Throw seeds into a coffee/spice grinder and powder.
Throw peas, spices, shallot, garlic, mint, extra virgin olive oil, salt into a food processor. Whizz it up, and if it isn’t grinding well, then pour up to 1/4 cup of water and puree until smooth. It won’t get completely smooth, because of the edamame, but process until as smooth as possible.
Scrape into a big bowl. Add horseradish sauce (optional) and flour. Mix.
Pour enough oil into a nonstick skillet so that it’s 1/8″ thick. Heat over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, shape mixture into a small pattie in your hands, then gently drop into oil. Fry until the bottom is dark caramel brown (about 2 minutes), then carefully flip over. Brown other side, then remove from the pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
Serve in a pita bread pocket with some fresh veggies and a spoonful of the yogurt sauce.