Wonderful Weekend!

It’s so sad that today is Monday again, but Tony and I had a wonderful weekend!  Hannah worked most of the day Saturday and then went out with friends, and yesterday she spent the day with my Mom – so it was as if Tony and I were empty nesters! Not that I didn’t miss my daughter, don’t get me wrong, but Tony and I enjoy each others company so much it was nice to have an “us” weekend! :D

Breakfast yesterday was 1/2 a poppy seed bagel with 1 ounce ham, 1 Pam fried egg and 1 slice of swiss cheese – with green Tabasco! :D

It is so weird – growing up I was the pickiest eater.  The only vegetable I ate was cucumber!  And now I panic when I am low on baby spinach!  When I saw In Praise of Leftovers make falafel, I knew immediately I wanted to try it.  Here’s the kicker though – I’ve never had it before! I’ve wanted to try it, but there is the onion factor.  Anyone who hates onions as much as me and Tony can attest that we avoid certain foods because you never know when you’ll bite into onion!   So below is my adaptation of her recipe:

Makes 22 servings (Each ball:  26 calories, .3 fat, 4.8 carbs, .9 fiber and 1.2 protein)

This made 22 balls, so you’ll have to multiply how many you eat!

Falafel (printer friendly version here)

Ingredients

1/2 cup canned chickpeas
4 tablespoons cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
2 dried red peppers
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons flour

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until it forms a dough. Refrigerate mixture for several hours (you can’t skip this step otherwise they’ll fall apart when frying).
  2. Shape into golf size balls and deep fry at 350 degrees until browned.
  3. Eat in pita with cucumbers and tzatziki sauce.

I used canned chick peas.

I also added two Thai dried chiles - um, too spicy for Tony!

You have to refrigerate the dough for several hours, otherwise they will fall apart when frying.

I weighed the dough ball and decided that each golf ball size portion would be .6 ounces.

Into the deep fryer!

I fried in two batches

The best part is that because our fryer holds the temperature, these were not greasy at all!

The outside was nice and crispy, but the inside was tender – I could definitely taste the cilantro and garlic – I think next time I might add lemon juice and lemon zest to the mix!

My sandwich:  1/2 pita, 2 tablespoons tzatziki sauce, cucumber and 3 falafel.  This was so good!!  I can’t believe I waited so long to try this!

I had bought a ham last weekend and we decided to grill it up last night.  We absolutely love uncooked ham – it takes about 3 hours to grill, but it is totally worth it!  This whole ham was only $7!

While we were driving yesterday running errands, I was reading my May issue of Cooking Light.  They had a recipe for risotto with spring vegetables, so I decided to make my version of risotto.  I have my mother in law to thank for the addition of green apple.  She knows I don’t like onions, so when she made it the last time, she subbed in green apple for the onions – its delicious!!

Biz’s Spring Risotto (printer friendly version here)

Ingredients

2 ounce edamame
2 ounce asparagus
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 cup rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 ounce Parmesan cheese
3 ounce green apple
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Cook edamame from pods in boiling water for 2 minutes. Cool and remove seeds from pods.
  2. Heat olive oil and add carrots – cook for 4 minutes. Add rice and cook 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook for 30 seconds or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
  3. Add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25-30 minutes total).
  4. Stir in edamame and asparagus with the last addition of stock.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in cheese, salt and pepper.

Good risotto starts out with good rice!

start out with the carrots and rice - add the green apple half way through

Add the edamame and asparagus with the last 1/2 cup addition of stock – you don’t want to overcook them.

While Cooking Light’s recipe called for 1 cup (4 ounces) of Parmesan cheese, since we had really good Parmesan cheese, I reduced it to 1 ounce for the whole recipe.  It was so creamy and delicious!

And the grilled ham:

My plate: 4 ounces of ham and 3/4 cup risotto:

It was a beautiful end to a great weekend – we dined outside – beautiful sunset!

And our dog Ed was just wondering what we were going to do with all the leftover ham!

One of the best things I like about summer is that you reconnect with neighbors after the winter!  Case in point – our 3 year old neighbor Charlie – now this is how you eat a fudgecycle!

He’s so cute!!!!!!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!  Come back tomorrow for baked chile rellenos ala Christina!