Much of our collective eating is tied to friends and family. So much so, in fact, in my case, that we say, “See ya next time it’s time to eat!” at the end of family functions. A couple of years ago, two longtime friends invited me to their daughter’s stirring and beautiful bat mitzvah. The ceremony was amazing, but I wasn’t ready for the food that followed! The Middle Eastern fare that graced the tables was fragrant, abundant, and deeply satisfying.
I remembered that experience a few months back when I was out blues dancing in Washington, DC, and a friend asked me to join him for late-night chow down the street at the Amsterdam Falafelshop. I’ve been making my own ever since. What’s not to love about a hearty sandwich on homemade bread, featuring the entire spectrum of gastronomic flavors and textures we’ve grown to love as Americans–oh, and it’s unabashedly Vegan (but when I made it for the family, even my very finicky dad went back for seconds!).
Here are my favorite falafel, pita, and hummus recipes (courtesy of Epicurious.com). The very simple cucumber relish can be found below. The dishes are very spicy hot and garlicky. I found that the sweetness of the cuke and onion complemented them nicely.
1 cucumber, rough chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4-peppercorn blend, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar
Combine all ingredients (vinegar to taste), and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.