College Kitchen: Recreating Dinkytown favorites

Forget it, Jake. It’s Dinkytown.

A re-creation of the falafel sandwich from Wally's Falafel and Hummus, one of many favorite dishes from around Dinkytown.

Bridget Bennett

A re-creation of the falafel sandwich from Wally’s Falafel and Hummus, one of many favorite dishes from around Dinkytown.

Alexander Brodsky

Have Dinkytown’s eateries left you penniless? Tricked you into spending $14 on a hamburger you didn’t really need in the first place? Enticed you into getting a “quick bite” after class?

From time to time, we’ve all been overcome by the food options the Dink tempts us with. Don’t let it take your money and hang you out to dry.

You can make any of your favorite dishes from Dinkytown for a fraction of the cost. You’ll also get the satisfaction of making something with your own two hands. Think of these recipes as building your own food canoe.

 

Falafel Sandwich

Inspired by Wally’s Falafel and Hummus

Unless you own your own gyro-meat-spinner-thing, you’ll have to settle for recreating Wally’s falafel, which even the most ardent meat-eaters will agree is equally tasty and filling.

1 pound chickpeas
1 small onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons flour
Vegetable oil or another neutral oil
1 tomato, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
Salt and pepper
Pita bread (for serving)

If you’re using dried chickpeas, you’ll need to soak them in cold water overnight. Canned chickpeas, on the other hand, only need to be drained.

A blender or food processor isn’t necessary, but they make this dish much faster.

Combine the drained chickpeas, onion, garlic and spices into a mixing bowl. Using a fork, thoroughly mash the chickpeas while mixing the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should become a thick paste.

Fill a frying pan with about 1 1/2 inches of oil. The falafel won’t be completely deep fried, but it will be close.

Form the mixture into golf ball-sized spheres; they should keep together well. After a couple of minutes, when the oil is sufficiently hot — 350 degrees if you have a thermometer — place the falafel in the pan. It should sizzle immediately.

Using tongs, flip each falafel after about three minutes. By now, it should be golden brown. After another two minutes, move the falafel to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve either as a sandwich with pita, tomato, lettuce, red onion and tahini sauce, or as a stand-alone dish on top of hummus.

 

Mac n’ cheese pizza

Inspired by Mesa Pizza

Have you ever had a hankering for some late-night Mesa but didn’t want to get barfed on? Here’s your alternative.

Making your own pizza dough is an art form — luckily, most grocery stores stock premade pizza dough that’ll suffice. You can still toss it in the air like an Italian stereotype.

Feel free to substitute in your preferred blend of cheeses.

Pizza dough
1/2 pound macaroni
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the macaroni according to the box’s instructions.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. When entirely melted, gradually add the flour while whisking the mixture. Once all the flour is added, it should form a thick, light brown paste. You’ve just made a “roux,” which is the base for many sauces.

Slowly stir in the milk and shredded cheese. After both are entirely incorporated, add the cooked macaroni.

Roll out your pizza dough according to the package’s directions. Place the macaroni mixture onto the dough, leaving about 1 inch of space around the edges.

Bake the pizza until the crust is golden brown, or about 15 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your crust.

 

Orecchiette

Inspired by Loring Pasta Bar

Orecchiette is Italian for “little ears,” which is as good a reason as any to make this pasta dish. When you realize it only takes 20 minutes and $2 to recreate some of Loring’s food, you’ll realize how much money you could save on sweet dates. Nothing woos prospective dudes/ladies better than a fancy home-cooked meal. Just ask Dr. Date.

1/2 pound orecchiette
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 cup green beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon
1 bunch thyme
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper

Cook the orecchiette according to the package’s instructions. Five minutes before the pasta finishes, add the green beans to the boiling water.

In a skillet, sauté the mushrooms and garlic in butter for about four minutes. Combine with the cooked pasta and green beans. Add the lemon juice and thyme and season with salt and pepper.