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the haas machine: Falafel Salad

Monday, January 21, 2013

Falafel Salad

When I was in college, I had the opportunity to go to Greece for a J-term study abroad. I've always loved traveling, but being able to take a course (Greek Mythology & Ancient Art), call it college credit, & travel? Now that's what I'm talking about! The trip was, without a doubt, one of my very favorite jaunts I've ever taken. I was able to meet some incredible people that I am still connected to, I was able to experience a breathtakingly beautiful culture, & of course, I was able to feast upon authentic Greek cuisine.

Nearly every evening, we dined like kings & queens. We had dessert at every single meal. We sipped Greek coffee & splurged on Coca Lights (um, Diet Coke). We ate gyros like they were peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Amazing doesn't begin to describe the trip, let alone the food that we consumed.

So when John & I got married, my first choice for a honeymoon was Greece. He had never been overseas before, & with all the raving that I had done over this country, he agreed that he needed to experience it. 

We were able to stay in Greece for about 2 weeks & this trip topped even my first. We went after we were married for about 5 months, so life had slowed down a bit. Plus, it was February & if you're from Wisconsin, you just know what I'm talking about... what a perfect time to travel! John & I had a blast, getting lost in places where 99% of the people only spoke Greek (I think it was coincedence), trying to work our way around massive cities (Athens), learning where to get the good Greek food, & trying to fit in with their  s l o w  way of doing nearly everything.

The first restaurant we ate at, we were borderline upset with our server. I remember he came to bring us our food, & then left. That was literally the last time we saw him. We had no water refills, he didn't ask us how the food was, nor if we wanted more. And dessert? It wasn't even offered. This was quite the different trip from when I went in college, but I learned that this was way more accurate. See, the first trip I took, they totally catered to us American students. They knew we would slam down glasses of water like we were in a contest. They knew if we didn't have portions the size of our faces, we would be grumpy. They just seemed to know us very accurately, which was kinda freaky.

So on our honeymoon, we really learned how to unwind in a really profound way. After we got used to this pace, man did we live it up! We would sit at a cafe near a seaside for hours & just stare at the water, people watch, & sip a Coca Light or coffee. It was incredible. I had never been so relaxed or satisfied in my life. This pace just felt right (previous to our honeymoon, I had sold my house in Duluth, John bought our house & got busy fixing it up before I moved down, I had been working 60+ hours a week, I moved to La Crosse, & oh yeah, we got married). Talk about a different pace of life.

So Greek food is really special to us. Sometimes when we're making something Greece-inspired, it just takes me back to the warmth & smell of the sea (we visited Athens, but mostly stayed in a town called Nafplio) & the overall contentment that we had with life. So here's a little special salad that I made on my birthday. I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Greece (on my first trip) & I guess I just needed to re-live that memory.
 John & I exploring the wonders of Athens
 A typical Greek hotel breakfast (note the Fage!)
 Nafplio, Greece
 Gyros & a Greek salad
Apples with honey & cinnamon

Oh, when can we go back to Greece? In the meantime, I guess we'll just have to feast upon some of our favorite Greek foods & visit Gracie's as much as we possibly can. What food from other countries inspires you to cook?

Falafel Salad
Ingredients for salad
falafel mix (I chose to buy a mix that I found in the natural section at Woodmans, but you can definitely make your own)
Romane lettuce, chopped
1 cucumber (with skin on), chopped
cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced

Ingredients for dressing
(makes a little more than 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive, safflower, or grapeseed)
2 tbsp lemon juice or 1 small lemon
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Make the falafel according to the package or directions you find. In a mason jar or any jar with a lid, add all of the dressing ingredients. Shake until combined. To assemble the salad, add the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, & onion to a plate. Place a few falafels on top & drizzle with the dressing. The dressing will serve 4 people, so if you have more guests, double the recipe. Falafels are best eaten the same day, but if you happen to have leftovers, store them in the fridge for no more than 1 additional day.

Recipe adapted from flourishingfoodie.com

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At February 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM , Blogger Shannon Anderson said...

This is SO good! We're having it tonight for the 3rd time in 2 weeks! Yum!

At February 13, 2013 at 5:19 PM , Blogger Gillian said...

We love it too- & anything Greek-like for that matter. So glad you like it!


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