Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cryptic chickpeas.

Puzzlehunt is coming up this weekend! The ninth overall and the third for our team. With any luck we can break 13th place this time around. I think Brett just might be our secret weapon.

But just in case he isn't, Chris and I spent an inordinate amount of time in our travels a couple of weeks ago working on cryptic crosswords. (Dorkiest honeymoon ever! But hey, we had long flights.) I started thinking about what it takes to make a good puzzle, and I'm more relieved than ever that we're the kind of team looking to break the top ten rather than the kind of team who really stands a chance at winning. Putting a hunt together must be brutal.

In other news, Jess and I are talking about organizing some kind of falafel-making attempt. I've tried twice and never produced anything half as good as I can buy for $3. Any pointers from the experienced? (And no, "Shell out the $3" doesn't count.)


Anonymous Michael Kaplan said...

Nothing to suggest on falafel, but as long as you are on a middle east food quest here is a stuffed grape leaves recipe that does a wonderful job....

Much better than any falafel I have ever had, at least! Back when I could still cook this was one of my favorite things to make (I even have a cool juicer for the lemons if you were interested, since I can't use it anymore. Let me know!)

-1 cup rice (I use basmathi, some use Jasmine)
-1 cup finely chopped onions
-1 pound ground beef or lamb
-1 teaspoon parsley
-2 teaspoons dill weed
-1 teaspoon mint
-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon tumeric
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 jar preserved grape leaves
-the juice from 5-8 lemons

Mix the rice, onions, parsley, dill weed, mint, the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, tumeric, oregano and salt in a large mixing bowl. When the mixture is well blended, mix in the ground beef or lamb. Drain the juice from the jar of grape leaves and place them on a plate for wrapping. Arrange the leaves in layers in a pot and pour in the juice from the lemons. Add enough water to bring the juice level to just below the top of the leaves. Cook on Med-High heat for 35-45 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Hmm...the grape leaves sound good, but I don't think they could replace falafel for me. Unfortunately, I don't have any good suggestions though...I've tried making them from scratch, and paying the $3 is always better.

7:43 PM  

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