Archive for the ‘Middle Eastern’ Category

With the rush of every-day life it can be difficult to think of new recipes, and although the internet can be very helpful, I find sometimes it prevents me from being truly creative with my own cooking. I love the practicality of being able to be creative on the spot with what ever ingredients are available in the refrigerator and on the shelf. Lately, I haven’t had as much time or opportunities for creativity as I’m cooking for myself only most of the time, as one meal will last me days and days. Today, however, I had the chance to try something new, and it was delicious and fun as well!


Ingredients: 4 servings (as a meal), appetizer for 8+


-6 large carrots, cut into thin sticks (quarters or eighths)
-2 Tbsp canola oil
-2 tsp cumin
-2 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper


-1 generous cup dried chickpeas, boiled and soaked overnight; then skins removed (if you’re crazy like me, but I’m sure it’s not necessary – you can also use canned chickpeas I’m sure)
-1 head roasted garlic (400F oven roasted for 40 minutes wrapped in tin foil)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp cumin
-2 tsp paprika
-1 tsp (or to taste) hot pepper flakes
-juice of 1 lemon
-2 Tbsp warm water
-2 tsp dried parsley flakes
-1 Tbsp tahini
-1-2 Tbsp olive oil


To make the carrots, preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the carrots and place in a bowl with all the seasoning and the oil. Toss until evenly covered and then lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer, with no carrots touching (it’s the key to perfect roasted veggies!). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown. Serve with hummus if you like!

To make the hummus, soak the chickpeas or use canned, and roast the garlic. Then combine chickpeas, garlic, water and tahini in a food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Then add remaining ingredients, and process for another 1-2 minutes. Place in serving bowl.

I envision the carrots and hummus would be great as a finger food for a dinner party: just have tooth picks on hand and enjoy!


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When I lived in Toronto, falafel was a stable in my life.  For a mere $4 and 3 minutes of time, you would get an incredibly delicious sandwich, dripping with sauce, that was entirely satisfying.  It is not quite the same here in Halifax, here in the land of donair, where falafels are suspicious things more often microwaved(!) than not.


To fill the falafel void in my life, my roommate and I would buy just-add-water falafel mix.  It was surprisingly delicious, and far better than any falafel you could buy in Halifax.  Our love of this falafel mix continued until December when our grocery store decided to discontinue supplying the item (we may have been the only people in Halifax buying falafel mix).  As I cook vegetarian this month, chickpeas (the base of falafels) and I are becoming increasingly good friends, so I decided to try my own hand at falafel making.


I used the recipe from rebar — it was surprisingly easy to make, and tasty too (and likely much healthier than the falafel mix we had been using, where the recipe recommends deep-frying falafel by floating them in oil…)   The resulting falafels were a bit heavier than I am used to, but full of flavour and perfect for leftover lunches.  I cut the recipe in two, although used a higher proportion of spices.  The final falafels served with creamy tzaziki and crisp vegetables were a delicious supper!


(6 servings, or about 20-24 falafel)




¼ cup bulgur

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, finely minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon tumeric

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayette

½ teaspoon red chile flakes

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

3 cups canned chick peas (about 1 ½ cans)

2 generous tablespoons tahini

½ bunch parsley chopped




Tzaziki sauce

Cucumber, chopped

Tomato, chopped

Lettuce, shredded

Red Onion, minced



Heat oil in a skillet.  Cook onion until translucent.  Add garlic and spices and sauté 5 more minutes.  In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse to blend.  Season to taste, cover and refridgerate for at least an hour.


Shape the falafel mix into discs about 1-2 inches in diameter.  Pan fry in oil until golden brown.


To serve, spread a few teaspoons of tzaziki onto a tortilla.  Place 2-3 falafel onto the tortilla, along with the red onion, cucumber, tomato, and lettuce.  Roll up and enjoy!


–       Catherine




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