Falafel is not something that I often make at home. It’s not that it’s particularly difficult but it does require a bit of frying and that is not something I do on an ordinary Tuesday. But that’s the beauty of date night – the food isn’t ordinary.
The food itself is often the indicator that this night is special. That and the fact that I’ll clear the table, set it and perhaps apply my red lipstick before dinner. It should feel special. Setting aside the time to connect with my husband is incredibly important and the evening should reflect that.
Which is not to say that you need to be standing at the stove all day. This recipe is a perfect example of special food with not a lot of effort. Most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand. Perhaps a quick trip to the grocery store is needed to load up on all the fresh herbs this recipe requires but beyond that you’ll mostly be tucking into your pantry and freezer.
The green peas, not traditional in a falafel recipe, lend a nod to early summer along with a bright fresh flavor and a stunning chartreuse color that I love. If fresh peas are in season feel free to use those instead. Cook them quickly in boiling water then submerge them in ice cold water to stop the cooking. Depending on your peas you may have to adjust the amount of flour which is why I’ve given a range here.
If the evening allows, take this meal outside. It’s the sort that sits beautifully on a giant platter with an assortment of puffy pita and piles of whatever happen to be in your crisper to tuck into the pita along with the falafel. But really, the tart yogurt laced with a flurry of fragrant herbs is really all that is needed to top the falafel. Everything else is just a bonus.
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (parsley, mint, chives)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 large onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
3 cups flavorless oil (such as canola) for frying
Thinly sliced red onion, cucumber, cilantro, mint, pita bread, chopped tomatoes, herb yogurt sauce
Herb Yogurt Sauce
1 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Chef 1: First things first, pour two glasses of Chardonnay.
Chef 2: In the bowl of a food processor combine the peas, chickpeas, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, herbs, garlic, and onion. Pulse until finely chopped but not pureéd. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add the baking powder and flour and process until well combined. It will be quite sticky but holds together.
Chef 1: In a medium saucepan add the oil and heat until 375°.
Using two spoons scoop roughly 1 tablespoon of the falafel batter and use the other spoon to slide it off into the oil. Fry until deep golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Chef 2: Prepare the yogurt sauce by stirring together the yogurt, herbs, lemon, garlic and salt.
Chef 1 & 2: Serve the falafel with the yogurt sauce. Enjoy.
*This post was created in partnership with Chateau St. Jean. We both believe that a proper pizza is best served with a glass of wine. This one in particular, with its robust smoky flavors and an abundance of creamy ricotta pairs beautifully with their Pinot Noir. Be sure to check out their site to get all of our date night recipes and wine pairings.
Do you have that one meal that you always crave? The one that when asked what would be your last meal you respond with the same answer again and again. For me that is a cheese burger. Not just any cheese burger, it has a soft bun crisped with butter, perfectly salted meat that doesn’t overwhelm the thickly sliced jewel toned tomato and the lettuce that shatters as you bite into it. There are tangy pickles and a sharp sauce that really holds it all together. Gabe’s answer is always pizza.
Marriage is all about compromise right? So when we’re driving around town in between baseball practices needing a quick dinner sometimes it’s pizza and sometimes it’s burgers. Honestly though, I mostly win.
Which is why I’m making pizza for date night because that sweet man of mine will sacrifice his love of pizza for my constant cravings for a cheese burger. But not today babe, today is all about you and this pizza. Which quite honestly isn’t a huge sacrifice on my part because I’m a huge fan of this particular pizza but let’s just continue to pretend that I’m making a concerted effort here.
First we want to roast the bacon and asparagus together so they both get a bit of a head start which in the end will make them roasty and charred in all the right places. We’re taming the smokiness with creamy ricotta and mozzarella and utilizing a trick I learned from our favorite pizza spot here in Seattle, Delancey, by tossing thinly sliced garlic all over dough. The pizza is finished with a flurry of shaved Parmesan. On the side I like a simple green salad with a tart vinaigrette.
If the weather is on your side this a great pizza for grilling.
1 small bundle fresh asparagus, woody ends removed
Salt and pepper
4 strips bacon
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
3 ounces whole milk ricotta
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 425°F
Chef 1: Add the asparagus and bacon to a sheet tray. Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to the asparagus. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and the asparagus is tender and caramelized in parts.
Chef 2: Roll or stretch out the pizza to a 10 to 12-inch round. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with a bit of flour or cornmeal. Drizzle the dough with olive oil then scatter the garlic slices, mozzarella, and ricotta.
Chef 1: Once cool break up the bacon pieces then add the bacon and asparagus to the pizza.
Chef 2: Slide the pizza into the oven and bake until the crust is golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.
Finish with Parmesan.
Chef 1 and 2: Enjoy with a glass or two of Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir.