April 17th, 2006

my spinach is going bad!

i have two bags of wilty spinach. it's not slimy or anything, but it's not fresh enough to just saute with olive oil, garlic and salt, which is how i usually eat it. what do you suggest i use it in that won't reveal that it's less than fresh? i don't want to throw it away. i've found some good ideas in the memories, but i was wondering if any of you had something that you always do with your spinach that has somehow been forgotten in the fridge.

middle eastern dishes

Does anyone have suggestions on how to make football-shaped kibbeh? I found a vegetarian recipe (uses TVP) that looks pretty easy to veganize (soyogurt/blended tofu for the eggs), but like many recipes, it seems you press it in a pan, cut into little diamond shapes, and bake. The football recipes involve making a shell of pureed meat and bulghur to wrap around a filling of pine nuts and more meat. I have plenty of TVP, but I'm concerned about it replacing the meat in the football recipes in terms of how savory it will be and whether it'll be the right consistency. It'll have been reconstituted and all, but I'm mostly worried about the taste--plain meat, while bland, still has more flavor than plain TVP. Ideas?

Also, I had some success with falafel from a dry mix, so I'm going to attempt to save money and try making it from scratch. Every time I've tried, it's fallen apart, though most people seem to have this problem (though now I know what consistency is just right for frying). Also, one site suggests forming it into balls/patties, freezing them, and then frying them right from the freezer to keep them from falling apart and/or turning into greasy mush.

With that taken care of, my other concern is the texture of the ingredients. I went to my favorite Lebanese restaurant this weekend, and their falafel is always so smooth and well-blended inside. The chickpeas I have are canned, so they're already cooked, but to get them really smooth I was considering boiling them a bit, get the insides good and mushy. Is this a bad idea? Any other suggestions?