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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Leticia

 

 

 

 

Focaccia Recipe

Focaccia Recipe

A post on Instagram, or Facebook, or Twitter floats somewhere in the digital content abyss. Ok, a website is still a digital space, I know, but I hope you get inspired to make this Focaccia Recipe at home. Bread is real. It’s food. It nourishes you. Bread is my escape to reality.

Focaccia Recipe

Focaccia

(Adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nostrat)

 

For the Dough:

2 ½ cups (600g) lukewarm water

½ teaspoon active dry yeast

2 1/2 teaspoons (15grams) honey

5 1/3 cups (800g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

¼ cup (50g) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

Flaky salt for finishing

 

For the Brine:

1 ½ teaspoons (5g) kosher salt

1/3 cup (80g) lukewarm water

 

In a medium bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey to dissolve.

In a very large bowl, whisk flour and salt together to combine and then add yeast mixture and olive oil.

Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated then scrape the sides of the bowl clean and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours until at least doubled in volume.

Focaccia Dough Rise

 

Spread 2-3 tablespoons oil evenly onto a 18 X 13-inches rimmed baking sheet. When dough is ready, use a spatula or your hand to release it from the sides of the bowl and fold it onto itself gently, then pour out onto pan. pour an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over dough and gently spread across. Gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward. The dough will shrink a bit, so repeat stretching once or twice over the course of 30 minutes to ensure dough remains stretched.

Focaccia Dough Strech

 

Dimple the dough by pressing the pads of your first three fingers in at an angle. Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the dough to fill dimples. Proof focaccia for 45 minutes until the dough is light and bubbly.

Thirty minutes into this final proof, adjust rack to center position and preheat the oven to 400˚F. Invert another sturdy baking sheet and place on the rack. Allow to preheat with the oven until very hot, before proceeding with baking.

Sprinkle focaccia with flaky salt. bake for 25 to 30 minutes directly on top of inverted pan until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown when checked with a metal spatula. To finish browning top crust, place focaccia on upper rack and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more.

Remove from oven and brush or douse with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil over the whole surface (don’t worry if the olive pools in pockets, it will absorb as it sits). Let cool for 5 minutes, then release focaccia from pan with metal spatula and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, wrap in parchment paper and keep in an airtight bag or container to preserve texture.

 

 

 

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

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

I’d love to know what you think about this article. Please send an e-mail.

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.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

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See you next time,

Leticia

Ground Meat With Oloves, Tomatoes Pine Nuts

Ground Meat with Olives, Tomatoes & Pine Nuts

This recipe for Ground Meat with Olives, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts is a great new addition to your repertoire. Who doesn’t love meatloaf, hamburger or meatballs? Sauce Bolognese? Steak Tartare? We can keep going when it comes to ground meat, one of the most versatile cuts of beef, and the star of many classics from all over the world.

Stores don’t label where the ground meat comes from, but most ground beefs are a concoction of different cuts like chuck, eye round, sirloin, or brisket. Different amounts of fat are injected to add moisture to the meat. The leaner the ground meat, the dryer. Of course, for some recipes, that’s’ what you want; like for croquettes for example where you want to avoid fat inside the meat. For most other recipes like sauces, hamburgers, meatballs and meatloaf, you might want to choose ground beef with some amount of fat in it.

What you do find in stores is the indication of fat: regular, lean or super lean, varies between 10 to 15 to 20% of fat.

In terms of storage, ground meet has to be used within one day after buying since the meat will turn “gray “on the outside. If this happens, remove the gray part and use the remaining “pinkish” part. Technically speaking you can freeze ground meat. Personally, I don’t like to. I usually plan to buy my meat the day of, or the day before cooking.

This recipe is an easy one. It doesn’t have the iconic reputation of the previous classics mentioned above, but it’s a recipe to make over and over again. It’s ground beef cooked with spices and embellished with chopped garnishes. It takes very little time to prepare and once cooked, it’ll give you many meals. You can pair it with plain rice, or potatoes, or rice and beans, or crack a fried egg on top.

Imagination has no limits when it comes to ground beef.

 

Ground Meat with Olives, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

1 fresh bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb ground meat

2 teaspoons sumac,

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons harissa paste

½ cup chicken or beef stock

7 tablespoons pine nuts

1 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

½ cup chopped parsley

 

Procedure: Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a medium bottomed frying pan for which you have a tight- fitting lid. Add the garlic and cook until it’s just starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes, then add the onion and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the ground beef, season again with salt and pepper, and brown well, another 4 minutes. Add the sumac, cumin, harissa paste and chicken stock. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, until the meat is moist and tender. Before serving, add the pine nuts, tomatoes, olives and parsley. Mix well and enjoy!

 

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

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

I’d love to know what you think about this article. Please send an e-mail.

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.

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.

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Facebook @ChefLeticiaHealthyCooking

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;

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Leticia

 

Oven Roasted Onions

Oven Roasted Onions

What’s better than caramelized onions? Oven Roasted Onions, caramelized with chicken stock, heavy cream and rosemary!

Inspired by an old recipe I pulled from the pages of Saveur Magazine more than 15 years ago, this recipe became a classic in my repertoire. I make this with my eyes closed. And after your first time, you will too. It’s so easy and so delicious, you’ll be cooking again and again!

 

Oven Roasted Onions

Oven Roasted Onions

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

6 large yellow onions, skin on

2 cups beef stock (or chicken)

3 tablespoon extra -virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 rosemary sprigs

½ cup heavy cream

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F. Cut about 1/4-inch off the bottoms and tops of the onions so that they can sit upright when cut in half. Next, slice the onions in half horizontally. Arrange them cut side up in a large baking dish (enough to fit all of the onions).
  • Pour the beef stock over and around the onions, drizzle olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter rosemary over the onions and into the stock in the baking dish.
  • Roast in the oven, basting often with the stock, until the onions are soft when pierced with the tip of a pairing-knife, and the stock has been reduced but not completely dried out. This should take about 1 hour.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the cream over the onions. Return the dish to the oven, and roast again, until pan juices have thickened slightly, and the tops of the onions have browned, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Cook at home! Body Up! Health up! Wise up!

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Leticia

 

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