Monday, December 1, 2008

Vegetarian (shock!) lunch party

This past weekend a bunch of my very good friends were in town, one of whom is a vegetarian. In the past I've cooked meat with something on the side, but that always seems like a sad compromise. Vegetables are good too! So I settled on a completely vegetarian meal, which, even though two dishes were totally new to me, turned out quite well.

Chickpea and Fava Bean Falafel
with Arabic spices, parsley, and red onion, served with saffron scented cous cous and a tahini dip

(the picture was very dark - this is the best that could be done!)

The falafel was a tricky one! I'd never made it before, and my first tester practically fell apart in the oil. I re-evaluated my mixture and added lots of flour and coated each ball in flour. They were still very delicate, but they, for the most part, came out whole. I didn't have enough oil to truly deep fry them, so I couldn't make true balls, more like pancakes. Which is not inauthentic actually - they are sometimes served that way as well.

Saffron and cous cous go very nicely together! But whole wheat cous cous, which I used, while healthier, does not take on the color quite as nicely.

The dip:

(image courtesy of Lexi)

Roasted Farm-fresh Butternut Squash, Red Onions, and Grape Tomatoes
lightly seasoned with cinnamon and Spanish paptrika and topped with feta cheese

This was yummy, but dried up a bit waiting for the rest of the dishes to finally finish. I needed a touch more seasoning, and a drizzle of olive oil fresh at the end would have been delicious. But I do love the way butternut squash looks on a plate, eighthed and roasted regardless! The red onion was fantastic - so sweet and slowly caramelized, I actually liked it even better than the squash.