This Week in Yum: Wrap It Up

It’s no secret that I am in love with burritos. So, whenever I have the opportunity to include some type of wrapped deliciousness into my meal, I’m game. While burritos are my number one love, I really enjoy wraps of all forms. When looking back on the past few weeks of meals I’ve created, I realized that there have been quite a few versions of wraps – some more traditional than others, but all of them take on that tuck and roll form.

First up was using collard greens as a replacement wrapper. I’ve only ever thought of collard greens in a slow cooked format to be served with black eyed peas, but I’m happy to report collards are in fact a perfect wrapping vehicle. For this particular version, I sauteed some typical “burrito” fillers, and steamed the big collard green leaves for about 20 seconds. It was so incredibly easy that I can’t wait to get my hands on some more collard greens to try a different filling.

I’ve made “egg rolls” before, but went with either a traditional Asian theme, or a Southwestern twist. This time I was trying to use up some falafel mix I had in the pantry, and figured I would give falafel egg rolls a try. I don’t know how I thought of it (I haven’t found a recipe for it yet), but am glad I followed through on this one. All I did was prepare the falfel according to the package, except instead of shaping them into balls I formed them more like logs so they’d fit in the wrappers. I filled each wrapper with a tablespoon of hummus (supremely spicy, of course), some diced red onion, and one of the falafel logs. Baked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, and I had perfection. It was so easy I didn’t think it warranted a full written recipe, but you really should make these. I’m excited to have some leftover egg roll wrappers, and I can’t wait to use them!

I also made a more traditional wrap this past weekend after my last long run before the Chicago marathon – chimichangas! I had seen online the idea of making baked chimichangas, and decided to give them a try (because I LOVE the fried version). Again, you can really put whatever you want in them (I used onion, pepper, poblano, tomato, corn, and black beans), and roll that up in a burrito sized tortilla. Then, you just need to bake them at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, sprinkle on some cheese, and cook them another 3-5 until the cheese is melted and they’re crispy. So easy. So delicious.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned with all these wrapped up foods, though, is the importance of patience. I can’t tell you how many times I burnt my tongue or the roof of my mouth – to the point where it hurt for days. Matter of fact, I’m still nursing my post-chimichanga burn, which is almost a week old! But that’s okay – it was worth the deliciousness.

Anyone else obsessed with wraps? 
Have any fun wrap recipes I should try? 

Fa la la la la…fel

No, this post isn’t about Christmas or winter. Though it was snowing Friday morning, April 1st. Get yourself in check, Mother Nature!

Anyway, the first time I had falafel was while working in my dad’s office at Rutgers University the summer before my senior year of college. My dad, the purveyor of hidden deliciousness, brought me to a little restaurant across from the Middlesex County Courthouse; G&P Lebanese Pastry & Fast Foods. I immediately fell in love, and have been meaning to try my own for awhile.

Thankfully, the recipe I wound up using didn’t require me to deep-fry the falafel. As we all know, I haven’t yet mastered the whole hot oil and frying thing just yet. I’m still trying though – I wont’ give up! Aside from the fact that hot oil isn’t my friend in the kitchen, this baked version also means they’re at least slightly healthier. The recipe comes from The Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook, which is seriously right up my alley. All of the recipes are quick, easy, and best of all, cheap. The falafels were no different, though I did have some trouble locating the tahini, but I didn’t give up and eventually found it in ShopRite (we really need to find a better grocery store).

I think these bad boys would be great on a bed of lettuce, as a Middle Eastern burger, or just how we had them – in a pita with lettuce, hummus, feta, and hot sauce. Yum!

Falafel via Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook
– makes about 8 patties –

1/2 medium red potato (I wound up throwing in a whole small red potato)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp paprika (I did a full tsp)
1 Tbsp parsley (I omitted)

Optional ingredients:
Whole wheat pita
Feta cheese
shredded lettuce, tomato, and onion
Tsiziki sauce
Hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cut the potato into 1-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a pot of water (enough to fully cover potatoes), and boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
3. While the potato cooks,  heat the oil in a small skillet and slowly sauté onion until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, mash the beans, potato, and lemon juice. Add the onion, garlic, tahini, paprika, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste; stir to combine. The mixture will have a consistency similar to cookie dough.
5.  Lightly oil a baking sheet with vegetable oil/spray. Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet, forming 3-inch pancakes. Place in the oven and bake for 15-minutes.