Chai Apple Cake + Lemon Ginger Frosting

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 If you are needing a little indulgence, this cake will do the trick.  Originally, I wanted this cake to be a bread but after making 3 different test breads (because each wasn't just right) it seemed like the bread was telling me it wanted to be cake.  It would also be good as cupcakes.  I like cupcakes.  

Chai Apple Cake

1 cup milk

2 chai tea bags

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons cardamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 stick butter. softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons white vinegar, separated

2 apples, peeled, cored, diced

Lemon Ginger Frosting

1 stick butter, softened

grated zest of one lemon

grated fresh ginger of about 1 inch root

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two cake pans, 8 or 9 inch rounds and set aside.

For cake, Heat milk until hot but not boiling and brew a strong tea using both chai tea bags, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let stand 5 minutes.  It is now chai flavored buttermilk.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.   Set aside.  In another bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs 1 teaspoon vinegar and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and chai butter milk.  Lastly add apples.  Pour evenly into prepared baking rounds.  Bake about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cake to cool 10 minutes in pans and then turn out to cool completely.

In the mean time, make the Frosting.

For Frosting, with an electric hand or stand mixer, combine all ingredients.

Frost the cake.

Curry Falafel + Pickled Onions

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If you live in nyc then you must already know and love the cheap vegetarian delight known as the falafel sandwich.  I know I do.  I decided to make falafels for dinner the other night using my new food processor and while delicious, standing over a pot of hot frying oil I did ask myself 'why am I going to all this trouble when I can just pop down the street and get a tasty one for 3 dollars?'     

I don't know why.  But I did go through the trouble and they were great.  

(I got a little lazy and purchased an already made tzatziki sauce from whole foods.  Poor decision.  Next time I'll make my own with plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill, salt, pepper and cucumbers.  Silly me.)  

Curry Falafels

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tin chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup fresh parsley

2 tablespoons curry powder

s + p

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup flour

Oil for frying

Pickled Red Onions

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 red onion, thinly sliced

For Serving:  shredded cabbage, lettuce, diced tomatoes, tzatziki, hot sauce, hummus, pickled jalapenos and pita bread are all great

For the Falafel:  In a food processor, coarsely chop garlic and onion.  Mix in chickpeas, parsley, curry, lemon, pepper flakes, s + p and baking powder.  Add flour.  (The flour is going to help hold the mixture together.  If during frying the balls start to flake off or come apart then you will need to add more flour.)

Heat 2 inches of oil in a pot to 350 degrees and remember to BE CAREFUL (it's hot).

Form falafel mixture into ping pong sized balls.  Gently place them in oil and fry about 8 minutes until crispy and dark brown.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.  

For pickled onion, In a small bowl, stir vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved.  Add onion and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.