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Tapas! Tapas! Tapas Tuesday!

August 24, 2010

Over the past few weeks, the ingredients started to filter into my kitchen.  A thoughtful student filled our honey supply, which her father harvested from the hive in her backyard. I have been growing oregano on the porch all summer and have barely touched it. My in-laws left for Maine and gave us a tub of feta to finish. On a trip to Harris Teeter, I impulsively grabbed mascarpone cheese, which is something I have never bought before. Then, on leaving my parents’ house Sunday night, my mom gave me a plate of figs and champagne grapes. We piled pita and garbanzo beans into the pantry, and I realized we needed Tapas Tuesday.

Tonight I worked on three new recipes — falafel, tahini dressing, and dressed figs — and with three new ingredients — tahini, mascarpone, and figs. After a leisurely day, I was up for the challenge. The secret to trying several new recipes at once is to make sure you are actually only cooking one; all others should be assembled or at least routine. It took the last eight years of cooking for me to realize there is no use to trying to be a superhero in the kitchen. The plate of tapas dazzled AAM, but really it was a simple meal to make, and most of the plate made of things I could easily assemble, like store bought hummus, olives, and grapes. The falafel was the true effort, and I shopped around for recipes. I never use just one recipe, as I usually disagree with them. Cooking is about feeling, not being regimented. Using the falafel recipe from the Vegetarian Mother Cookbook, and looking at a few on the internet, I slightly modified the meal for our tastes. Additionally, I opted to bake it, then briefly broil them for a healthier version. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it into the neat falafel balls, but they tasted great!

Below is the shared platter that I made for Tapas Tuesday….Falafel, Tahini Dressing, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Olives with Feta, Oregano Pita Chips, Dressed Figs, and Champagne Grapes.

AAM kept raving about the meal, so even non-veg eaters can enjoy this rather filling feast.


(inspired by the Vegetarian Mother Cookbook)

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1 /2 cup of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup of onion sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 1 tb cumin
  • 1 tb oregano
  • 1 tb tumeric
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  1. In a food processer (I prefer Cuisinart), combine all the ingredients and grind until they are a smooth texture. Let your mixture sit for at least an hour. I went for a run.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 450. Meanwhile, take a handful of the mixture and make it into a ball or oval, and place on a well-oiled baking sheet.
  3. Cook for ten minutes, then flip them over and cook for another ten. I then broiled them for a little bit to give them the crispy texture of fried falafel.

Tahini Dressing

  • 1 tb Tahini (usually found near kosher foods)
  • 1 tb plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tb fresh squeeze lemon


  1. Combine the ingredients, stir well, and serve.

Pita Chips

  • 5 whole wheat pita rounds
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tb of oregano
  1. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees
  2. Cut each pita into eighths.
  3. Gently brush olive oil on both sides of each pita, and lay down on a foiled baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle oregano on each pita, and cook for about 10 minutes, but watch to make sure they don’t burn

Dressed Figs

  • 6 Figs
  • 1 tb honey
  • 1 tb  mascarpone cheese
  1. Slice the figs in half
  2. Dribble honey on them

  3. Top with a little pat of mascarpone.
One Comment leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 5:57 am

    Yummy figs… My fig tree totally bushwacked me this year. They weren’t ripe until at least the 1st week of September last year, and I did a heckuva lot of canning. But in this crazy-weather-year they have been ripening for the past 2 weeks, and I can’t keep up. Our tree smells like a distillery and is full of bees. I think this weekend I need to get going on the pickles and jelly. But, again, Robb won’t eat them either.

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