Thursday, May 6, 2010

Double Timin' Waffle Iron

Sorry it's been FOREVER. School has been...overwhelming lately...but, new post!

Quick Background:

I work at Maryland's Renaissance Fair (it's in Crownsville, you should come) during the late summer/early fall. There are TONS of food stands, all serving different kinds of food. Everything from those GIANT turkey legs to soup in a bread bowl. Most of it is quite delicious, fattening, and messy. And cheap. This is where I tried my first falafel- one of the booths serves it in a warm, thick pita (not those measly little flat ones) with taziki sauce, tomatoes, and lettuce. DELICIOUS.

Falafel is a middle-eastern chickpea and spiced deep fried ball. It is usually greenish in on the inside, and crispy and crunchy on the outside, kind of like a meatball.

A few months ago, I came across a website (I don't even remember which one anymore) that suggested making them in a waffle iron. Considering my less-than-stellar experience trying to make fried chicken a few months ago, I figured I'd give it a shot.

I had a box of pre-mixed falafel (from the grocery store, about $2.00) and all you HAVE to add is water, but I took it a little further. I made my own taziki sauce (a yogurt based sauce) and diced some tomatoes and chopped some lettuce.

Taziki Sauce:

Make AT LEAST 2 hours in advance. You want everything to meld together.

1- 2 cup container of plain Greek Yogurt (I use Fage- the full-fat kind. It's good for you.) (If you use regular yogurt, strain it first for a few hours so it becomes nice and thick)
1 English Cucumber (the long thin ones that are usually shrink wrapped in plastic)
1 Lemon
1 clove of garlic

Cost of Ingredients:
Fage Yogurt: $5.00 (most expensive, if you can find the store brand, that will probably be OK but this stuff is AMAZING)
Cucumber: $2.00
Dill: $1.50
Lemon: $0.57
Garlic: $0.15 (I've had the garlic on hand for awhile, so it's probably cheaper than that)

Vegetable peeler
Cutting Board
Small mixing bowl
Mixing Spoon

What to do:
1. Peel the cucumber and cut it in half. Cut each half lengthwise. Use the fork to grate all of the seeds out by pulling it towards the end. Chop the cucumber up into small pieces.
2. Put the chopped cucumber into the strainer and sprinkle with salt, then let sit for at least 30 minutes to dry off
3. Open the yogurt, pour off any of the liquid that's formed on the top, then pour the rest into the mixing bowl. (Watch out for the waxed paper that sits on top- take that off first.) Mix the yogurt up, set aside.
4. Chop a small section of the dill. You want about a handful. (I have small hands). Enough to taste good, but not too much to be overpowering. Put the dill in with the yogurt and stir.
5. Juice the lemon, add the juice to the yogurt and stir.
6. Dry off the cucumber with a paper towel. Add to the yogurt and stir.
7. TA-DA! You have taziki sauce! But, you have to put it in the fridge so all of the ingredients get friendly for a bit.


Prepare and hour in advance.

1 box falafel mix. Mine made 2 cups of falafel (I don't remember the brand name, but there are lots of different kinds)
2 Eggs
1 1/4 cup water

Cost of Ingredients:
Falafel Mix (It was a few months ago when I bought it, but it wasn't anymore than $3.00)
Eggs: $0.50
Water: FREE! (well, you do pay for it, but that depends on your water bills)

Mixing Bowl
Measuring Cup
Waffle Iron & Cooking Spray (unless your iron is non-stick)

1. Mix the Falafel mix, water and eggs.
2. Let sit for 1 hour so the water and eggs absorb.

I went and played on the Wii for an hour. (This is my favorite kind of "cooking")

Side Items:
1 tomato
1 head of lettuce
1 package of pita bread (I use the thick kind, not the 1993 popular stuff-yourself kind)

Ingredient Cost:
Tomato: I just bought 1 smallish tomato- serving for 2: $0.77
Lettuce: $1.89
Pita Bread: $3.00

3. It's been an hour. Fire up the waffle iron!
4. While the waffle iron heats up, chop the lettuce (well, some of the lettuce, enough for you and your family to eat)
5. Slice the tomato into bite-sized pieces

6. Waffle Iron's ready! Spray with cooking spray (my waffle iron was my mom's and she had it for about 20 years so it's non-stick properties are as sticky as fresh bubble gum)
7. Pour about 1/3 cup of Falafel Mix on the center of the iron. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
8. Check on it- does it look ready? Everyone's waffle irons are different.
9. If it's ready, take it out, and put more mix on there.
10. Repeat until all of the mix is used up!

Time to eat!
Take the taziki sauce out of the fridge.
Serve it all together!

Fun Fact:
Taziki sauce and leftover pitas make THE BEST midnight snack OF ALL TIME!

The sauce will keep well in the fridge in a sealed container!