Monthly Archives: December 2015

Homemade Falafel and Veggie Naan-wich

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I grew up in a very white-bread meat and potatoes kind of family. I became a vegetarian when I was 16 years old. A couple of my newer high school friends were vegetarian and it just amazed me to realize that I did not have to eat meat. One day I bit into a chicken patty, looked at it and considered what I was doing, spit it out, and never looked back. That was 17 years ago.

Now it definitely wasn’t easy. I had no idea what I was doing for the first few years. I stopped eating meat but my family had no idea what to do with me. They kept cooking the same food and I just subsisted on side dishes. I developed a lot of bad habits this way; they have been hard to break over the years.

Falafel is one of those delights I had never had until a few years ago. Oh, what I was missing. It is truly one of the best foods to eat in the world. This recipe is definitely the best one I have made so far. I bit into it and I was just like “oh, shit.” It’s that good.

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Falafel Ingredients

This makes enough for 12 falafel patties

16 ounces (1 pound) of dried chickpeas. Soak overnight in water. Drain and pat dry.

1 large handful of parsley

1 small handful of cilantro

1 large shallot or two small shallots

1 handful pecans

5 cloves garlic

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of salt and pepper

1 egg

3-4 tablespoons milled flax seed (can use flour if you don’t have this)

Plain or Panko bread crumbs to coat before cooking, do not mix into the batter

Grape seed or avocado oil for cooking

Naan-wich Ingredients

Magic Green Sauce

1-2 jalepenos based on your spice preference- discard stems

4 cloves garlic

1 large handful each parsley and cilantro

1 avocado

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of one lime

1 large pinch salt

1/2 cup pistachios (shelled)

Sandwich ingredients

Garlic Naan

Hummus. Here in Dayton I like DLM brand hummus. Your favorite kind will do.

Shredded carrots

Peppadew peppers (found in the cheese and olive bar section of most grocery stores)

Spinach

Pickled red onions. To pickle a red onion chop it into thin strips. On the stove bring to a boil equal parts Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, and water with about a tablespoon of sugar. When boiling place onions into liquid and turn off the heat. When at room temperature place into a jar and in the fridge, or may use immediately.

Instructions

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To make the falafel “dough” place all ingredients in food processor. I like to place the garlic and shallots in first to ensure they get chopped up nice and fine. Add in the rest of the ingredients, saving the egg for last. When it comes time for the egg, add about 1/4 of the yolk and egg. Do not add the whole egg or it will make your mixture much too runny. If you are vegan, egg can be omitted.

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Place your falafel mix into the fridge to chill for  1-2 hours. This is a good time to get your green sauce made. Again- easy as pie- because it involves throwing everything into the food processor. The jalepenos and garlic should be first so they get nicely processed. I found the consistency for this to be somewhere between a dressing and a hummus. Not runny but not spreadable withy a knife, either- somewhere in between. This will make plenty to store the rest in a jar for later.

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Okay! Time to cook the falafel. I used a cast iron skillet for this. I find it gets me a really nice crust when I need it. Get your oil heating on medium heat. Form your falfel into small patties and coat lightly with breadcrumbs on each side. This will help them get crispier in the pan. Cook each side for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. They stick together well and are pretty easy to flip.

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After you flip them, heat up your naan. I just turn the broiler on and heat each side right on the rails for 1 minute each side. Get your falafel patties and put your wich together. I start with a layer of hummus, a layer of magic green sauce, carrots, peppadew peppers, pickled red onions, spinach, falafel, and top with a little more green sauce.  I am not kidding, these are so good and so addicting- you will love them!!!

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*** Falafel recipe adapted from the minimalist baker: http://minimalistbaker.com/easy-vegan-falafel

*** Naan-wich and green sauce recipe adapted from Pinch Of Yum: http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-falafel-veggie-naan-wich

Both of these are great sites- check them out!

Loss

We lose patients. As doctors, we lose patients every day. Sometimes those losses are expected, and we have had time to prepare the patient, their loved ones, and ourselves for that inevitable moment when that last breath is heavily sighed. Those are the best of times- when we can say our goodbyes and provide a little bit of comfort to those whose lives are ending. I am so thankful that I am able to do this for my patients and their families; it is the greatest honor of my job.

And sometimes we lose patients quickly. Death swoops in with a chaotic fury. There is no time for family and loved ones to prepare for this. It hits them immediately like a freight train. In these times I want so much to be not a doctor, but just a human being, and it is very hard to maintain the distance that is needed to preserve the duties of my job.  The distance that allows us to look you in the eye and tell you that person you loved the very best is gone forever.  Our tears and our grief will not help you in that moment, our job is to keep it together for as long as possible so that you can fall apart, and we will help to catch you. How many times have I crouched in the hall, the stairwell, the darkened corner and finally let free those tears?

We carry our patients and our experiences with us for our entire careers. Every physician will be able to tell you the exact story of the first patient that died under their care.  And that same day, every physician took a moment for themselves, put a smile onto their face and went into the room of their next patient. Because we have many other patients and families relying on us.  But when we go to bed at night and wake up the next morning, and the morning after that, we will still be thinking of those patients that we lost. Their names, their memories, their stories will be etched in our minds forever. They will inform every decision we make for the rest of our careers. We will continue to tell our patients’ stories, and they will never be forgotten.

 

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