Like Enya’s song And Winter Came – After a mild January where both daffodils and tulips were appearing – an Arctic Vortex beared down on our coast snapping us back into reality. It’s still Winter! It snowed for a few days and this corner of Canada isn’t prepared for such conditions. The city practically shuts down. I do love the snow; the peaceful quiet it brings. We walked one night, late, at 10:30pm under the street lamps and falling snow. Magic.
I like to plan a weeks worth of meals so that when I go shopping I don’t buy unnecessary extras (aka, cookies lol). This saves me time and money. For one of my vegetarian meals (I’ve been making several a week), I thought I’d try Falafel. My best friend in South America who is 1/2 Lebanese used to make them for us at Christmas. I made mine with fresh Tzatziki (greek yogurt with herbs, garlic and cucumber) and served them with warm Pitas and sliced vegetables. I hope you’ll give them a try.
You Will Need:
In a food processor blend up the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro into a thick paste. I divided the ingredient in half and did this in two batches since my food processor couldn’t handle this entire recipe all at once. You’ll also notice there is no liquid added, which makes it rather hard to blend. Keep at it and don’t add water no matter what! Adding water will likely result in falafel that won’t hold together during the frying process.
Once you’ve blended everything into a paste spoon it into a large bowl and add the salt, baking powder, flour and pepper. Stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours. If you’re short on time, can place it in the freezer for an hour instead. But don’t skip this rest period, because it will result in falafel that falls apart when fried.
I didn’t want to deep fry my Falafel although most recipes say to. You can roll your falafel into balls, I flattened them a bit (like a burger) because I find they fried faster when you can just flip them on each side.
In a large, heavy skillet on high heat, add some oil (I used coconut because it holds at high heat). Once the oil is hot, add the falafel in batches and allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping them over once they’re browned. Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels, to remove excess oil.
- 1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/2 English cucumber, seeded and grated (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (not dried dill)
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of freshly-ground black pepper
- Stir all ingredients together until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 days.
We stuffed the pita with spinach, a few falafel, topped with Tzatziki, tomatoes and cucumber. These taste delicious and hold up really well when re-heated. They made a great packed lunch for work.
Valentine’s Day fell on my day off. It was nice to have breakfast together and exchange gifts in the daytime. I bought Seth a cigar (voted the best cigar of the year), a cigar cutter, lighter then went to Pottery Barn and had one of our wedding photos framed. Seth got me 24 long stemmed roses, a huge haul of LUSH bath bombs and some of my favourite chocolate brittle from Purdy’s. We’d received tickets to the Opera for our wedding and decided to wait until Valentine’s Day to make them part of our date. We had an early candlelit dinner at La Terraza while the rained poured non stop. After a delicious lobster Carbonara and a glass of prosecco, it was off to La Boheme at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
The day after Valentine’s Day they were expecting a huge dump of snow on the local mountains so we purchased online tickets to go tubing up at Cypress. About an hour drive from our home, it was raining hard when we left home. The truck wound up the road to the Ski area and as soon as we reached the snow line, the big drops of rain that had pummelled the windshield burst into fluffy flakes sprinkling all around us like a snow globe. The tall evergreens heavy with snow reminded me of Whoville from Dr. Seusses How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I hadn’t gone tubing since I was a child growing up in Ontario, nor had I worn a snowsuit for that matter. Something about sliding down a hill however brought out the child in us. We didn’t stop smiling all afternoon as time after another we either headed down the hill alone or together laughing harder than we had in a while, sipping Fireball whisky to keep us warm. After a couple of hours of snow angels and lots of funny video footage, we headed over to the Crazy Raven Pub for a well earned burger and fries. A hockey game played on the flat screens, people dressed in ski and snowboarding gear while the snow outside never stopped falling.
You know you’re old when you spend the afternoon tubing and get home so tired you’re in bed by 9pm. But that’s what we did! Being a kid is exhausting haha.. The good thing about going to bed so early however is that we were wide awake early Saturday morning. By 2pm we’d gone out for breakfast, picked up some groceries and I “re-did” the entire house. By re-did I mean: I get into moods (I am a Cancerian so my moods change with every moon phase). I have to change the energy in my home or I start feeling stuck, anxious or depressed. I empty every surface and dust and rearrange things, put things away, pull things out and create a theme. Next week I’m hosting my annual Hygge Sunday. I like to invite a small group of friends, cook up a cozy comfort meal and just catch up. No cel. phones allowed and mainly the house is lit with candles. I’ve already got the menu planned and with the Hygge theme I created cozy corners in the home, brining in nature with plants and potted herbs, lots of candles, a neutral colour scheme to create a calm ambience and books and our own photography for our guests to enjoy.
I think I’ll run myself a warm LUSH bath. I’m making Chinese for dinner tonight: beef broccoli and fried rice then we might catch up on one of our shows. I’ve been enjoying the HORN on Netflix, a show about the search and rescue team on the Matterhorn in Switzerland. I also want to catch up on the Oscar nominated movies I haven’t watched yet so that could be something good for a Saturday night.
Stay warm friends.