Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Middle Eastern crisis

Okay, so maybe I should have had Madeleine Albright negotiate between me and my falafels, but I really thought I had this one in the bag!

I hadn't cooked ALL week. No joke. In fact, if someone introduces me to a piece of pizza at this moment I might just slit my throat (after I vomit profusely).

But all week, during the pizza deliveries, I was fantasizing about the amazing Middle Eastern feast I was going to create on the weekend.

The menu?

Falafels with home-made pitas

I researched dozens of recipes, compared them all, asked my lovely Iraqi friend where I could find grape leaves (she even gave me tips on the dolmas), and was PSYCHED to experiment.

But I must admit I was super cocky. Generally, (well, at least 65% of the time) my experiments work out.  So I chose Saturday night (company night, of course!) to test my hypothesis that I could whip up an authentic Middle Eastern meal.

Of course, as I'm sure you can all guess, I failed MISERABLY!

I'm not even going to post the recipes I used (as a favour to you all!), but I will detail what went wrong.

1) I didn't have time to make my own pitas. Although, mind you, this was probably a blessing in disguise. For those of you living in Canada, my fave storebought pitas are Grandma Ozery's pitas They are as close to authentic fluffy Middle Eastern pitas as you can get (unfortunately not sphere-shaped as they sell them fresh at the shuk in Israel! Mmmm....salivating....)

2) Actually, this should be number one....I SHOULD have begged my lovely Iraqi friend to take me under her wing and teach me. I was far too cocky.

3) The falafel recipe called for the falafels to be baked rather than fried. I mean, COME ON, if you're going to eat falafels, you might as well eat them fried! As my husband put it, my falafels tasted like: "dried balls of hummus." Ouch. (Yet true.)

4) The tabouleh was TOO dry. It needed more olive oil and more seasoning. And a greater ratio of parsley to bulgur. Sigh....

5) Last, but definitely not least. Although the dolmas turned out all right, I made a so-called Turkish version (pile on the raisins, cinnamon, etc.). Too sweet to keep up.

6) The tahini (storebought) was uber-nutty. Not at all like the tahini used to adorn Israeli falafels.

So there is my embarassing confession of causing my own, pathetic, Middle Eastern crisis.

On the other hand, I DID get some ROCKING shoes from my husband for Valentines Day! ;)

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