Falafel Recipe

Twin Fritters: Falafel in Israel, Acarajé in Brazil

As a Jewish girl born and raised in Brazil, I can’t help but compare, cherish—and cook Falafel, one of the most iconic foods of Israel, to Acarajés, one of the most iconic foods of Brazil. They are first-degree cousins! Better yet, they are twins. Twin Fritters! Well, non-identical of course. One lives in Israel, one lives in Brazil.

Twin Fritters Falafel and Acaraje
A young Baiana frying Acarajés in there sweets of Bahia, Brazil.

 

Falafel is made with raw chickpeas; Acarajé is made with raw black-eyed beans.

They are both soaked in water for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator but never cooked. The beans will cook when they fry but not before then. In fact, if you cook the beans or use cooked canned beans—for both, the batter will simply melt away in the oil and you end up with a disaster. But don’t worry, once the beans are soaked and pureed in the food processor, they fry beautifully, and they hold quite well.

Twin Fritters

For both Falafel and Acarajé, the beans are pureed with raw onions.

In Brazil, we season the Acarajé with salt, pepper, cayenne, and a bit of paprika.

In Israel, we season the falafel with salt, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander—and fresh herbs, very important—giving that bright green color and fresh taste to the batter. Sesame seeds and garlic also go in the falafel mixture.

When seasoning, I encourage you to try lots of combinations and know that these little twin fitters can stand up to lots of hot seasoning.

In Israel, falafels are rolled and shaped into a walnut-size ball and stuffed in pita bread along with hummus, Israeli chopped salad, and Tzatziki sauce made with yogurt and/or sour cream and dill.

Acarajé looks like a big meatball and there is no bread around it. The acarajé is a vessel for the stuffing. When fried, the baianas split them in half with a serrated knife and ask what kind of filling you would like. The options are chopped salad, very similar to the Israeli chopped salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, although in Brazil you’ll see bell-pepper as well;

Vatapá (a mixture of fish, shrimp, peanuts, cashews, bread, coconut, and palm oil)

Vatapa Twin Fritters
Vatapá

 

or Caruru (made with okra, dried shrimps, coconut, cashews, and peanuts).

Caruru
Caruru

 

Falafel is fried in canola or vegetable oil. Acarajé is fried in palm oil (iconic foods), yielding that reddish-orange vibrant color on the fritter.

Acarajes
Acarajés frying in palm oil.

 

You can find the recipe for Acarajé in my cookbook The Brazilian Kitchen (e-mail me if you’d like more info).

To the Twin Fritters, Lechaim (in Hebrew) and Saúde (in Portuguese)!

 

This recipe for Falafel is adapted from Adeena Sussman’s cookbook Sababa.

You might also like other recipes from Sababa’s cookbook and other Israeli dishes on my website.

Eggplant and Tomato Galette

Short Ribs with  Eggplant, Silan and Nigela Seeds 

Tahini Caramel Tart

 

Falafel

Makes about 24 falafel balls

 

Ingredients:

2/3 cups dried chickpeas

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

½ onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves

½ small jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Canola or Vegetable Oil for Frying

 

Prepare the Chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a bowl, cover with 4 inches of water and soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, place them in the bowl of a food processor, and process until they’re pulverized into large crumb-like pieces, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the parsley and cilantro to the processor with the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and 2 tablespoons of water and pulse until a unified and bright green mixture is formed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary, 20 to 30 seconds (add an extra tablespoon of water if necessary).

In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds. Just before frying the falafel, add the spices to the food processor and pulse until incorporated, 10-15 pulses.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until it reads 350˚F on a candy thermometer, or a small piece of white bread begins to sizzle and brown immediately when dropped into the oil.  Set a colander over a bowl or line a plate with paper towels. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, shape the falafel into balls the size of small walnuts. Fry in batches, making sure not to over crowd the skillet or let the oil temperature drop below about 340˚F, until deep golden, 1-2 minutes but no more. Serve hot, seasoning with more salt if desired.

 

 

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You can find more about my work on ChefLeticia.com;

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook.

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The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube. And of course, tell your friends about it.

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See you next time,

Leticia

 

 

 

 

Gabriela Isman

Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream

From Buenos Aires to São Paulo to Singapore to Connecticut, Gaby Baumatz is making the most spiked (and delicious!) ice cream ever.

 

Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream

 

 

When the government announced plans to lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, Gaby Baumatz searched for comfort in the kitchen.

“My grandmother used to make ice cream, and I was trying to replicate it a few years ago. I decided to try it again, just for fun”, said Baumatz.

As the pandemic extended beyond our predictions, she continued to experiment in the kitchen and decided to embark upon a new venture devoted to the production of a new style of ice cream rarely seen before: alcohol-based ice cream.  Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream was born.

But before launching a business, a lot had to happen. She reached out to an ice cream expert based in her hometown, Buenos Aires, and learned the ins and outs of ice cream science.

“Once I had the chemistry information, it became easier to understand what I was doing in the kitchen”.

Alchimista Ice Cream
A close up in the science of Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream

 

Her family was astonished by the delicious tastes of alcohol-infused ice cream and jumped in. Her kids, Julia, Sami, and Tomas all came on board to help, especially because everyone was home.

Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream
A family ice cream affair!

 

The vote was unanimous: “Let’s start an ice cream business!” The plan gradually started to evolve. From her home kitchen, she started to produce a small inventory of ice cream. As social distancing was required, Baumatz started to host outdoor ice cream tasting events. “People love it! She says, with a smile on her face.

Spiked Lemon Mousse is prepared with a subtle addition of Cointreau

 

Tasting Events

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to an ice cream tasting? While this kind of event is barely an American practice, it should become one. I was there, mesmerized by the colors and flavors of the collection, hosted by Gaby Baumtaz herself. First, it’s a social gathering, and in times like these, we all need a really good excuse—like ice cream— to meet. Second, the tasting is conducted in great fashion, not too different than a wine tasting; pen and paper, everyone taking notes and comparing tastes. Third, I ended buying two containers that didn’t last more than three days in my house.

Gaby Baumatz was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After a degree in architecture, she met her now-husband Adrian Isman and the couple have three children, now young adults. By courtesy of Mr. Isman’s job, the family became world travelers, moving first to Brazil, then to Singapore, to Brazil again, and then to Connecticut, where the family arrived in 2017 and is currently established.

 

Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream
Hazelnut Cream infused with Baileys

 

“With all this world experience, I feel like ice cream is a continuation of my creativity. From home designer to ice cream maker”, Baumatz jokes. This ice cream is the apex between flavor, texture, package, and image. “I look for a strong flavor, powerful colors, and ice cream with a personality made with fresh ingredients and excellent quality. It’s a very unique product.”

Another Day, Another Ice Cream

Indeed. Alchimista Spiked Iced Cream presents 12 flavors (more to come!). Different flavors present different opportunities to indulge. The Paloma for example, is a Tequila-infused grapefruit sorbet, very much like a palate cleanser. The Chocolate Truffle is a perfect dessert. The Hazelnut Cream is the perfect snack. There will be a chocolate sorbet for those who are lactose intolerant. Baumatz uses two different bases for the recipes: milk-based (chocolate, hazelnut) and water-based (sorbets, grapefruit, lemons, etc). All ingredients are indicated on the label.

As the tastings grew into frequent events, Baumatz rented a commercial kitchen in Mamaroneck for production. She bought Italian gelato machines and keeps them in a special ice cream freezer. Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream delivers all over New York state. For Connecticut customers, a curb pick can be arranged.

You can find more info about Alchimista Spiked Ice Cream:

www.myalchimista.com

Instagram: alchimista_icecream

Email: [email protected]

 

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook.

I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz.

The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube.

And of course, tell your friends about it.

Share this recipe with friends who will enjoy food;

For updates on my food adventures, subscribe to my newsletter, which you can find on my web site www.chefleticia.com

I’d love to connect with you on social media:

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Facebook

Twitter

See you next time!

Leticia

 

Silky Green Pasta Julia Turshen

Silky Green Pasta

Here’s a Silky Green Pasta to add to your cooking repertoire! We’ve all seen pasta made with vegetables become a different color. Variations on pasta, and gnocchi for that matter, come in many colors and flavors: beet, spinach, and carrots result in attractive pasta dishes, flavored and colored by the addition of these vegetables to the dough.

This green pasta, adapted from Simply Julia, the newest cookbook by Julia Turshen, is so intense in flavor and color, that any pasta becomes deeply enrobed in this velvety sauce with exquisite taste. Let’s be honest here, cooking pasta and dressing it with a green sauce is a lot less work than injecting vegetables inside the dough. It’s all in the sauce!

Simply Julia

In the book, Julia tells the story of Llubav, an artist and mother who makes this recipe often on weeknights. It doesn’t require any chopping at all, and the sauce itself is so delicious, it can and should be used in other combinations, like risotto, or boiled potatoes. To honor the artist, she named the recipe Llubav ‘s Green Spaghetti. The name of the recipe is irresistible: Llubav. Is it Russian, Hebrew, or Croatian? As I made the recipe a few times for my family, we gradually ignored its original title and started calling it Silky Green Pasta. (Hope Llubav and Julia will be ok with this!)

Feel free to use the pasta of your preference. I used Orecchiette and it came out amazing. Once you’ve got your sauce and pasta cooked, you can prepare everything ahead of time and assemble it just before serving.

Julia’s work deserves much attention. Not only her cookbooks are an excellent source of delicious recipes (I have cooked many from her previous books) but Julia also has a big voice advocating for women, equity, and LBGTQ. She is the founder of Equity at the Table (EATT), an inclusive digital directory of women/non-binary individuals in food, and the host of keep Calm and Cook on.

Julia Turshen

I love following her videos on Instagram and her scrap notes (also seen on Instagram) reminds me of life before social media. Before computers. Before technology invaded our lives. A world in which a pan and paper still mattered. Coincidence or not, Julia’s recipes also remind me of that world, with the advantage of being practical, modern, simple, and delicious.

 

Silky Green Pasta

Inspired by Julia Turshen’s cookbook Simply Julia

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

kosher salt

1 lb pasta, preferably whole-wheat spaghetti or whatever pasta you like

5 oz baby fresh spinach

6 large leaves fresh kale (any type), tough stems discarded, torn into large pieces

1 large handful of fresh basil leaves (about 12 large leaves)

1 garlic clove, peeled

½ cup (50g) crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for serving

3 tablespoons cream cheese

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

Set a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, place the spinach, kale, basil, garlic, feta cheese, cream cheese, and olive oil in a blender and add 1 cup (250ml) of the boiling salted water from the pasta pot. Puree until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper (it might need very little salt, depending on how salty your water is).

Drain the pasta in a colander and then return it to the now-empty pot. Add the green sauce and stir well to combine.

Serve immediately with extra crumbled feta cheese on top. Or if you’re like me, why not some Parmesan?

 

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook.

I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube.

And of course, tell your friends about it.

Share this recipe with friends who will enjoy!

For updates on my food adventures, subscribe to my newsletter, which you can find on my web site www.chefleticia.com

I’d love to connect with you on social media:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

A Pie from the Sky: Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

In praise of summer, this Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart is the dessert of now!

it’s a pie in the sky, adapted from Nick Malgieri’s cookbook Bake! (Kyle Books 2010)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Makes a 10-inch or 8 to 10 servings

The dough is enough for 2 tarts

Cookie Dough Tart Crust

¼ cup (52g) slivered almonds

¾ cup (108g) confection sugar

2 ½ cups (405g) all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Almond Crumb Topping

1 ¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65g) organic sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

1 lb (454g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confection sugar (more for garnish)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved (or quartered if large)

 

  • Prepare the Dough:Combine the almonds and confection sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse well. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse until the dough form a a ball.
  • Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, or at least 1 minute. You can prepare the dough u to 5 days ahead.
  • Bring the dough to room temperature at least 20 minutes before handling. Flour the surface and dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a round disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
  • Warp the dough on the rolling pin, lift it onto the tart pan, and unwrap. Fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away the excess.
  • Plate the tart pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes before blind baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a parchment paper and fill with dry beans. Bake until the crust is dry and looking set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tart to bake until the crust is evenly lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool the crust on a rack.
  • Prepare the Almond Crumb:In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds and butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes then use your fingers to break the mixture into ¼ – to – 1/2-inch crumbs. Spread the crumbs onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven until deep golden brown.
  • Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the confection sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the Tart:Spread half of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, dust the top with confection sugar.
  • Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base to a platter and serve.

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