Saturday, March 30, 2013

Falafel spices up the gathering

I got a falafel lesson from a wonderful family with ties to Egypt. They prepare it yearly for a Good Friday viewing of “The Passion of the Christ.” For all these years I’d thought falafel was grain, but mixture is prepared from seasoned, ground fava beans, scooped into a little press and plopped into oil. The piping hot little guys got tucked into thin pita pockets spread with tahini paste. Accents included carrots and guacamole and blue corn chips and salsa. All this amazing flavor and hospitality preceded this family’s annual ritual of inviting young people over to view this emotional movie. The gathering put people in the mood for observing the Easter weekend.

Chips and yolks
Someone gave me the rest of her bag of potato chips so she wouldn’t eat them all. I kept them in the pantry while I considered how to re-invent them. I crushed them into dust and fried an egg on top and bottom. It was a low-budget potato “panko” that came out gourmet.

Too salty? What about diabetics?
I recently asked readers to share their thoughts on dining out and receiving food that’s too salty. Just a few got back to me with their agreement, but Mark Hanlon of Trinity Hearing and Balance Center asked me another question:
“Where can diabetics go to eat out?”
Got me. Readers, what have you experienced from our local fare? E-mail me at the address below with “Diabetic” in the subject line if you have some tips.
Meanwhile, here’s a recipe I found with that topic in mind. If you had plenty of Easter eggs, try this no-egg option from
“Healthy & Hearty Diabetic Cooking.” It’s the cookbook of the Canadian Diabetes Association, copyrighted in 1993. I got it off my Mom’s shelf.

No-Egg Salad
1 can, about 15 ounces, chick peas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup cider vinegar dressing
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ teaspoon curry powder or  more to taste
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process, pulsing on and off, until coarsely chopped (or mash by hand). Do not overprocess; a coarse mixture is more like a real egg salad.

Cider Vinegar Dressing
1 cup cider vinegar
3 eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons margarine
Artificial sweetener equivalent to ½ cup sugar (optional)
In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the vinegar, eggs, flour, salt, pepper and 2 cups water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened, about 6 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in the margarine and artificial sweetener. Whisk until smooth. Pour into clean jars. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 months.

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