Our family has vacationed in Michigan for as long as I can remember. What began as a 7 hour drive from St. Louis (all five kids and my parents packed into a conversion van) to a big yellow beach house in Covert, MI has evolved into a convening of couples and families from all over the country in Saugatuck, MI. Our numbers grew with our ages and somewhere along the way we developed a new tradition: each night of the vacation a different couple would be in charge of cooking dinner for the crew. Unfortunately this summer my man was unable to make the journey but I could not wait to take on the dinner myself.
I made an Israeli-style feast and two dishes stood out: a baked green falafel and a roasted jalapeno feta dip. I have broken each recipe down below. Enjoy!
Baked Green Falafel for 6 (adapted from Just A Taste)
2 cans of chickpeas
1 large yellow onion, chopped (or 2 and 1/2 cups chopped)
1 cup parsley, chopped and packed
1 cup cilantro, chopped and packed
4 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of cumin
1/2 teaspoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of flour
In a large blender or food processor, combine 2 cans of drained chickpeas, chopped white onion, garlic, and parsley and cilantro.
Blend on high until the mixture reaches a smoothie consistency. If you’re not using a Vitamix you will likely need to pause several times to stir/continue blending (try not to add liquid as the batter will naturally be very liquid-y).
When things seem fully blended, add in your chili powder, baking powder, cumin, and a 1/2 cup of the flour. Blend again until the consistency is even. Pour into a bowl, stir in the other 1/2 cup of flour evenly, and cover in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the ingredients set. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the falafel batter from the refrigerator. Grease a baking sheet(s) with Pam or a bit of oil and use a melon-baller or 2 tablespoon scoop to plop down the batter in small 1 inch spheres (it’s okay if it spreads a bit – just face it, they aren’t going to look like perfect globes). Make sure to leave a bit of space between each sphere.
Pop into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, flipping the balls about every 15 minutes to ensure that each side browns and flattens. Serve with pita, tahini or hummus, and fresh vegetables.
Roasted Jalapeno Feta Dip (adapted from How Sweet Eats)
1 and 1/2 cups of feta cheese, chopped finely
1/3 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
1 large jalapeno
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
A pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a sheet of foil on a baking tray and place the whole jalapeno on the tray. Wrap 3 cloves of garlic (unpeeled) in foil and place beside the jalapeno. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the jalapeno begins to blacken on the sides. Remove from the oven and let both items cool to room temperature.
Remove the stem from the jalapeno and chop or mince into small bits. Combine chopped feta, jalapeno, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and oil in a small bowl. Squeeze the meat of the roasted garlic from each clove into the bowl. Mix thoroughly and serve with fresh pita or pita chips.