A Whole Lotta Falafel: Day 5
Since the falafel melded so well into one traditional American dish, this morning we got adventurous and added it to a tried-and-true breakfast classic: oatmeal.
Just about anything can complement the beautiful, blank canvas that is plain oatmeal, and call us crazy, but we were betting falafel is an exception to this rule. After cooking up the oatmeal, we added cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, some plain premade falafel and figs. After a few cautious bites, it was clear the payoff was worth the risk.
For lunch, we tried falafel tacos. (In gambling parlance, this sort of maneuver is known as "letting it ride.") After crumbling some falafel, we mixed it with black beans, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Rather than a tortilla, we went with pita as a "shell," topping the mixture with lettuce, tomato, cheese and Greek yogurt (rather than sour cream) and went to town. The result was so-so; falafel proved a little too dry to entirely work as a ground-beef substitute.
But it came close enough that we decided to give it another shot for dinner in the form of a falafel black bean burger. We mashed up black beans and falafel with about a quarter-teaspoon of olive oil, formed it into a patty and then cooked it in a hot, oiled skillet. With melted cheese on top, the burger sure looked like a hunky piece of meat, and after a few bites, the texture, if not the flavor, held up. The unrinsed canned beans added the juiciness the falafel cried out for, and at a ratio of two parts beans to one part falafel, it had the tenderness and look of any burger. Served with roasted sweet-potato fries dusted with paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg, this might well have been our favorite dish so far.