Right now I’m in semi-vacation mode and loving it! My boss at the Beckett Project is taking a much needed post-first-volume-production vacation and the other one, my good friend M., is stuck at an editing conference in Wisconsin, so the office is closed for the week, meaning I’m only working 1 in-office job at the moment (plus my freelance work). Hooray! (That took a lot of explaining…sheesh.) So what am I doing in my new-found freedom? Well, I’ve written, read a few books of poetry, am in the process of obsessively cleaning my apartment (scrubbed my bathroom floor by hand–so clean and so rewarding!), and have gone swimming both yesterday and today. My goal is to go every day this week, upping my normal swims from 3x per week to 5x. I’m exhausted already, but I feel amazing, like I’m really accomplishing something physical. Oh, and I picked back up working on French translations. No, I’m not busy at all. (smile)

I have had a little time to cook, thankfully! Tonight I fried up one of VeganDad’s bratwursts with garlicky kale and mashed taters to celebrate Bloomsday–it’s no grilled mutton kidneys, but it’ll do. If I hadn’t decided to lay off on the alcohol for a day or two, I definitely would have had a bit of whiskey to top it off. Joyce would have approved.

The other day, though, I made Heidi/Leon Restaurant’s Baked Sweet Potato Falafel. Oh my goodness it’s delicious. It’s a bit time consuming, but worth the wait, plus they reheat fabulously well. She’s right, they aren’t “falafeley,” not in taste or texture, but I’m hooked on their sweet, crispy, filling nature. And gluten-free folks, no worries, they are totally gluten-free! I personally hate cilantro, so I subbed parsley for the cilantro and I think they turned out lovely. I served them over a scoop of tabbouleh (which I’ll admit, came from a box–my mother gave it to me at least two years ago and I figured it was time to use it, I mean, you do have to add tomato and lemon juice…) and I think this is my new favorite light summer meal. It’s filling enough for me to be happy post-swim, but light enough for me to not feel icky in this hot, humid, swelteringness called Atlanta.

Sweet Potato Falafel

from 101 Cookbooks

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 c chickpea flour
a splash of olive oil
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender – 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel. (You could skip this step if you own a microwave. Just poke holes in the potatoes with a fork and cook for 7 minutes at full power. Flip and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until tender.)

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground coriander, parsley, lemon juice and chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).

Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafelly looking things and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Makes about 16 falafel, enough for 4 – 6.

Serve over tabbouleh.