Falafel-Crusted Chicken w/ Hummus-Slaw Pitas

Life would be so much easier if I had three sous chefs helping me cook dinner every night.  Is that so much to ask for people?
Last week, Dave and I cooked up a delicious new dinner with our friends  Dave and Betsy.  (I do have to mention that they are actually Dave & Elizabeth just like we are… weird!) They are foodies just like us and we absolutely love trying new things with them (Check out our spectacular meal at Modo Mio).  I was happy to have lots of help in the kitchen- especially since the other Dave was the only one who could find the Falafel mix we needed!  You may have to visit more than one grocery store like we did, just a heads up.
This recipe was so tasty and really different than anything else I’ve tried before.  It could also be easily made and put over a bed of lettuce as a salad or stuffed into a wrap too!

Falafel-Crusted Chicken w/ Hummus-Slaw Pitas​

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2 packages of Chicken Breast Tenders (pre-cut saves time and is inexpensive!)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup falafel mix (We used Casbah brand)
4 whole-wheat pitas, halved
1/4 cup Hummus (I made some homemade real quick first, but you can use store-bought if you want!)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
1 package shredded coleslaw mix
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

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Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a foil-lined backing sheet with cooking spray. Toss the chicken with the olive oil in a large bowl, then add the falafel mix and toss to coat. (It will stick, I promise!) Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, stack the pita halves and wrap them in foil; warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, mix the hummus, lemon zest and juice, Sriracha and 3 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hummus sauce and reserve. Add the coleslaw mix, radishes and parsley to the remaining hummus sauce and toss. Season with salt and pepper.  Add more Hummus, seasoning, or Sriracha to taste.  (This part was Dave’s job so I’m sure a little extra Sriracha slipped in! 😉 )

3.  Stick some slaw, two chicken tenders, and a drizzle of the reserved sauce into a pita and serve warm.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Food Network Magazine
I couldn't believe how evenly the falafel mix coated the chicken without any egg!

I couldn’t believe how evenly the falafel mix coated the chicken without any egg!

Slaw it up!

Slaw it up!

Ready to eat... nom nom

Ready to eat… nom nom

Delish!  We made some simple sauteed zucchini and onion on the side.

Delish! We made some simple sauteed zucchini and onion on the side.

Miss Stelly lookin' pretty as usual

Miss Stelly lookin’ pretty as usual

Zahav, Philadelphia

So, it’s only been about six months since I had my amazing experience at Zahav for restaurant week in Philadelphia.  At first, I was avoiding writing this post because I knew it would just make me want to go back.  Then, when I went to write about it, I realized the only picture I forgot to take was of the most outrageous thing we ordered (you’ll find out soon what that was)… BOO!  But as my monthly dinner with my girlfriends is coming up this week, I decided that it’s been way too long and I just couldn’t keep this one from you any longer.

Let me tell you a little bit about Zahav… it is a beautiful modern Israel restaurant located in Society Hill in Philadelphia.  The chef and owner Michael Solomonov was born in Israel, raised in Pittsburgh, and learned how to cook back in Israel.  He really brings something special to the Philly restaurant scene.

I went to Zahav for restaurant week which was a great idea.  When I go out with my girlfriends, we try to order as many things as possible and share everything.  It’s always so much fun.  Since Zahav is pretty expensive, going for restaurant week was the perfect thing for us to do- we EACH got to pick two starters, one main dish, and one dessert.

In addition to the menu that we got to choose from, Zahav provided us with Salatim (SEVEN different salads), Hummus, and Fresh Laffa.  The laffa is similar to flat bread or Naan but is lighter, fluffier, and pretty much the most delicious thing ever.  I have been craving Laffa bread since discovering it in Israel, and Zahav totally gets it right.  I’d come back to Zahav just to get this part of the meal.  Everything was so good.

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We also ordered a pitcher of their signature drink, Lemonnana which also reminded me of Israel.  The drink was refreshing and sweet- Jim Beam, Muddled Mint, Fresh Lemon, and Verbena.

After some serious decision making and friendly debate, we picked out our order.  Now, you wouldn’t normally have debate when ordering food, right?  Well this debate was over a very interesting item on the menu:  Grilled Duck Hearts.  Before you click away in disgust… remember I mentioned that I messed up and forgot to photograph the most interesting thing we ordered!  The Duck Hearts (prepared with Date Tehina, Crispy Onions, and Stone Fruit).  It doesn’t get more interesting than that.  Ricki convinced Mer and I to try them, and we finally gave in.  We did try them, but I honestly did not like them at all!  Our bravery was rewarded though, with several other amazing dishes that we had shared.  Try not to drool!

Crispy Haloumi
Dates, walnuts, apple

Fried Cauliflower
Labaneh with chive, dill, mint and garlic

Marinated Brussel Sprouts
Whipped feta, babaganoush, sumac

Beef Cheek Pastilla
Braised greens, coffee

Kofte
Ground beef and lamb, cumin, peppers, carrots

Hanger Steak
Eggplant two ways, sesame, pine nuts

Merguez
Ground lamb, figs, shallots, cilantro

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Everything was amazing.  I especially enjoyed the Haloumi and will now be on the lookout for this cheese at other restaurants too.  

As if all of these dishes weren’t enough (We were STUFFED at this point), we each got to pick a dessert.  Ricki, who has been to Zahav several times, had been absolutely raving about the Halvah Mousse, so we ordered that along with the Konafi and Rugelach.  All three were outstanding.  Totally worth the calories, and worth the trip… for sure.  And Ricki was right, the Halvah Mousse was the star. 

Halvah Mousse
Chickpea praline, berries

Konafi
Ricotta, apples, labaneh ice cream

Rugelach
Hazelnut praline, date puree

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I was right about something too…  I am now having some serious cravings for Zahav.  I knew this would happen!  

Zahav actually offers the same type of menu on a daily basis, for $39pp… so you can do this too even though it’s not restaurant week!  Hint, hint… boyfriend.