Sandwich #58–“Semi-Homemade” Falafel

By 300 Sandwiches

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A right of passage before turning 35 is having one good solid health scare to frighten you into eating better, giving up booze and exercising more, even if you already do these things. E had one earlier this year involving breathing issues, but after a few doctor’s visits and medicine, the issue was treated. I had mine this week (stupid lump) and though everyone says “it’s probably nothing,” I’m still waiting to get that confirmed.

You learn a lot about your partner when your significant other becomes your nurse, even if you’re suffering through a minor illness like a stomach bug. You discover if he knows how to read a thermometer, or make soup, or can clean the house on his own without your tedious editing and revising of his work. You learn if your partner is a hypochondriac (“it IS a tumor! I’ll call the best surgeon in town!”) or follows the ‘ignore it and it will go away’ school of thought. E’s approach is “get it checked, panic when it’s a tumor.” He also gives great hugs, he’s a tender listener and he watches without judgement my bipolar turn in moods from freaking out in tears to rebounding into smiles. Most importantly, Mr. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life helps me calm the eff down until I get the results back from my various tests.

My mind has been overcome with fear, panic, worry, sadness, and anxiety since my doctor said, “have you felt this here before?”, but cooking has helped to distract me. The other night, the night before I went in for a biopsy of the worrysome “nothing,” I made falafel. I wanted to make something easy, as we needed to save time and energy to prep for a holiday party we’re throwing this weekend. But because I was a bit mentally and physically tired from my medical adventure, I pulled a Sandra Lee “semi-homemade” approach and used a box of falafel mix from the deli and gave it some zing with homemade cucumber yogurt sauce. One day when I have more time, I’ll repost another “from scratch” version of falafel. And I’m sure, like E has said multiple times, that this thing really is “probably nothing.”

We needed more sauce in this … more hot sauce, more yogurt sauce … more more more!
4 pita halves
1 box falafel mix (I like the Near East brand of mix)
1 tomato, diced
1 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 8oz cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp mint
1 tbsp dill (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Make the falafel as instructed on the box. Then make your yogurt sauce: combine the yogurt, chopped cucumber, mint, dill, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl, and mix. Toast pita. Spread yogurt sauce inside, then stuff lettuce, tomato and two or three falafel patties inside. Scoop a bit more yogurt sauce on top, and serve. Makes enough for four sandwiches.

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