Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

Here's a simple way to dress up plain ol' green beans. I'm also going to try it with brussels sprouts and broccoli.  And I'm betting the technique of sauteeing and then zapping with a little vinegar will make perfectly wilted cabbage also.

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
Makes 4-6 servings. 
Adapted from Southern Living.

1 pound haricots verts (tiny green beans), trimmed (I cheated and used a package of frozen French-cut green beans, cooked according to package directions.)

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium shallots, halved lengthwise and peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge beans into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain.

Melt butter and brown sugar with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shallots, and sauté 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add vinegar, and sauté 10 minutes or until shallots are golden brown and tender.

Increase heat to medium-high; add green beans, and sauté 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Turkey Sandwich Ideas

If you were smart, you set aside just a little of that Thanksgiving turkey so you have a sandwich for lunch at work today or tomorrow.  But even if you didn't, these ideas are great ways to kick up a plain old turkey sandwich. Thanks to Food Network magazine for the inspiration...

Turkey Honey Avocado BLT

Here are the critical ingredients (besides the turkey of course):
  • Good-quality toasted baguette
  • Arugula (love the bite...)
  • Red onion
  • Tomato
  • Avocado salsa (2 avocados, 2 T olive oil, 1T lime juice, 2 T diced red onion, 1/4 c quartered grape tomatoes, 2 T minced cilantro, 1 minced jalapeno, salt and pepper
  • Honey
  • Bacon
  • and the piece de resistance: Bacon aioli (1 egg yolk, 1 T dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 T Sriracha, 1 T rice wine vinegar, and salt.  Pulse all in a food processor.  Whisk bacon drippings with enough olive oil to make 3/4 cup.  With the processor motor running, add the drippings/oil mixture until smooth.)
Spanish Turkey Sandwich

Love this one.  In addition to turkey, you need:
  • Ciabatta roll
  • Aioli ( 1 egg yolk, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T water, 1 t dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Pulse in food processor until combine.  With motor running, blend in 1/2 c olive oil until smooth.)
  • Pepper-almond relish (Combine 1/4 c chopped toasted Marcona almonds, 1 c chopped roasted red peppers, 4 t olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.)
  • Manchego cheese
Wild Wally Sandwich

This one is Cobb-salad-ish.  On a soft baguette and with roast turkey, add:
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Mayo
  • Hot sauce
  • Blue cheese
Get it?  Got it....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Vegetable Soup with Dressing Dumplings

Hopefully, about all that's left of the Thanksgiving bird is the carcass. And you probably have a spoonful of dressing left. Here's a delicious weekend dinner that uses both...

Turkey Vegetable Soup with Dressing Dumplings
Makes 8 servings.

Carcass from one 12-14 pound roasted turkey, picked clean, plus 2 cups shredded cooked turkey meat (divided use)
2 large onions, 1 quartered and 1 chopped (divided use)
4 peeled carrots, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced (divided use)
4 stalks celery, 2 coarsely chopped and 2 sliced (divided use)
6 garlic cloves, 4 smashed and 2 chopped (divided use)
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons flour, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups leftover dressing
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Put the turkey carcass, quartered onions, coarsely chopped carrots and celery, smashed garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to just cover, about 2 quarts. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour.

Remove from the heat and strain the solids from the broth. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve; you should have about 10 to 12 cups broth.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper together until smooth. Add the leftover dressing and mix until well-combined; cover and reserve.

Wipe the stockpot clean with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and celery, thyme and reserved broth and bring to a simmer; cook until vegetables are just soft, about 10 minutes.

Roll level tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into balls with wet hands (see Note) and drop into the simmering soup; cook until dumplings float, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently stir in the turkey meat and corn and season with salt and pepper, then simmer until heated through. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Note: Moistness of dressing can vary; if the dumpling dough is too soft to roll, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is firm enough to hold its shape while rolling.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Cobb Sandwich

Here's a great way to use up some of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Turkey Cobb Sandwich
Makes one sandwich.

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
Bread (sourdough, sandwich roll or even whole-grain. Toast it if you'd like.)
3 slices bacon
1 small avocado, sliced
2 slices tomato
1 egg (hardboiled and sliced if you're packing ahead, fried if you're eating immediately after construction)
4 slices turkey

Blend the mayo and blue cheese. (This is your dressing.) Spread it on your bread and stack remaining ingredients.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Curried Turkey, Spinach and Cashew Salad

Sure you can make a sandwich with your turkey leftovers.  And I'll post a great recipe tomorrow.  But why not shake things up and make a salad?  This one sounds yummy.

Curried Turkey, Spinach and Cashew Salad
Makes 4 servings.
From Cooking Light magazine.

1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey (light and dark meat)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted, salted cashews
1/2 cup golden raisins (Personal preference, but I'd probably leave these out.)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add spinach and remaining ingredients; toss well to combine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Sticky-Bun Pumpkin Muffins

Just because you and yours will be sitting down to an enormous meal sometime tomorrow doen't mean you should skimp on breakfast.  It's the holidays, dang it.

The typical Turkey Day pantry includes all the ingredients in this recipe.  It's what would result if sticky pecan rolls and pumpkin bread had a love child.  And it's the perfect beginning to your food marathon.

Sticky-Bun Pumpkin Muffins
From Southern Living.
Makes 2 dozen muffins.
(Note: I halved the recipe and it worked quite well.  Don't worry about the leftover half-can of pumpkin.  Toss it with pasta and sage or stir into your favorite butternut squash soup recipe.)

2 cups pecan halves and pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (I just used a pinch each of ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg)
 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Stir together melted butter and next two ingredients. Spoon one rounded teaspoonful butter mixture into each cup of two well-greased 12-cup muffin pans, and top each with one rounded tablespoonful pecans.

Stir together flour and next four ingredients in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pumpkin, next two ingredients, and 2/3 cup water; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Place an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan on lower oven rack to catch any overflow.

Bake at 350° on middle oven rack for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Invert pan immediately to remove muffins, and arrange muffins on a wire rack. Spoon any topping remaining in muffin cups over muffins. Let cool 5 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Green Bean Casserole Tips

Many of us will have the ubiquitous green bean casserole on our Dukey Day tables later this week.  Years ago, I deconstructed and reconstructed a gussied-up version that is worth the effort. But there's nothing wrong with the version concocted mostly from canned ingredients.   Especially if you "tamper" with it and use one or more of these tips and add-ins.

  • Instead of soup, try prepared (refrigerated preferably) Alfredo sauce.
  • How about a few more non-souped up mushrooms?  Add canned or sauteed fresh mushrooms.  And go as exotic as you'd like.
  • Sliced water chestnuts are another nice addition.
  • Everything's better with Ranch.  Stir in a tablespoon of Ranch dressing mix before baking.
  • I don't like my fried onions getting soggy, so I don't mix any into the casserole itself, instead reserving  them for the topping.  However, slivered almonds keep their crunch...stir them in.
  • Speaking of topping, why not add a little Parmesan cheese on top? Or pecans?  Or panko?  You get the idea.
  • And since oven space is always at a premium, you can always prepare the casserole in a slow cooker.  You'll want to cook on high for 2-3 hours. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed potatoes are a staple on most people's Turkey Day tables.  (Along with sweet potatoes and dressing of course...what a carb fest!)  But why not take those spuds and make this casserole?  A special dish for a special day...

Mashed Potato Casserole
Makes 8 servings.
From Cooking Light magazine.

1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 3/4 cup (6 ounces)
1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place potatoes, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

Place a food mill over a large bowl, and place potato mixture in food mill. Press mixture through food mill into bowl. (Blogger's note: You can also use a ricer...my favorite techniques for mashed potatoes.) Stir in reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cream cheese.

Spoon potato mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Preheat broiler.

Combine Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over top of potatoes. Broil 4 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with onions.
Hint:  You can assemble this the day before and bake shortly before serving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cocktail of the Week: Gingersnap

Here's a bracing cocktail that puts many of the flavors of pumpkin pie in a glass.  It's wonderfully refreshing...and if you love it, why not repeat it at Christmas time?  After all, it has the flavors of a gingerbread man also.

Makes one cocktail.
From Rachael Ray.

1 ounce ginger liqueur (i.e. Domaine de Canton)
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon agave syrup (or 1 tablespoon simple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch each of ground clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

Put this one in your repertoire for the holidays.  Easy to make and full of flavor, it will be a hit at any of your upcoming gatherings.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip
Makes about 4 cups.
From Southern Living.

1 (2.1 ounce) package fully cooked bacon slices (or just cook up about 12 strips of bacon until extra crispy)
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

2 cups (8 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sliced fresh chives
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Garnishes: cooked, crumbled bacon; sliced fresh chives; freshly cracked pepper

Microwave bacon according to package directions until crisp; drain on paper towels. Cool 10 minutes; crumble. Stir together bacon and next 4 ingredients. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours before serving. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crispy, warm waffle fries or good-quality sturdy potato chips. Store leftovers in refrigerator up to 7 days.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Make-Ahead Giblet Gravy

The very best thing I did in helping prepare last year's Thanksgiving feast was deciding to make the gravy ahead of time. Why wait for the turkey to come out of the oven and throw things together at the last minute? (And it's a moot point at my family's gathering...the turkey is a smoked turkey breast. No drippings available.)

Inspired by an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, here's what I came up with:

Make-Ahead Giblet Gravy
Makes about 3 cups.

Ahead of time, bake two turkey thighs (readily available at your grocery store) at 350° until done, about 50 minutes. (I seasoned mine with a little thyme, sage, salt and garlic pepper.) Set aside to cool. Scrape the drippings from the bottom of the pan and save to use as the base for the gravy. Save the thighs also. You'll take the skin off and chop them up to be your "giblets."

When you're ready to make the gravy, heat the drippings in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add one onion, finely chopped, and cook in the drippings until just translucent. Add three tablespoons flour and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. (This makes the roux that will thicken the gravy.)

Add your liquid (I used a good-quality turkey stock I found at the grocery, but you could use chicken stock, wither homemade or canned), about three cups. Whisk over medium-high heat until thickened to gravy consistency, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the chopped turkey dark meat and voila. (This year, I'm gilding the lily by adding a few chopped cooked chicken livers for some TRUE giblet flavor.)

Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to reheat for the big meal.

You'll love it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tips of the Trade

More cooking tips from Food Network personalities as compiled in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine.

  • Treat recipes as a guideline, not the Bible.  Replace ingredients you don't care for with similar ingredients you like.  If you like thyme and not tarragon (that's me!), use thyme.
  • If you're using raw onions in a salad or salsa, rinse the diced onions under cold running water, then blot dry.  You'll get rid of the sulfurous gas that can mess up the recipe.
  • If you slice garlic instead of mincing it, it's less likely to burn when you saute it.
  • Keep a bottle of REALLY good olive oil on hand.  It's a great "finisher" on pizza, mozzarella, pasta, fish, meat and vegetables.
  • Save a leftover Parmesan rind and use it as an additional layer of flavor when cooking soup.  Throw it in and then fish it out before serving.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Gravy 101

Thanks to Martha (yes, THAT Martha) and her magazine, here's a primer on your gravy for Turkey Day. (My text, not hers.)

  • Your pan drippings are the foundation of a good gravy. Baste the bird often, adding 1/2 cup dry white wine 30 minutes into roasting.  Watch the pan and add more liquid if necessary to make sure the fats and juices aren't burning.
  • You need some stock.  While the turkey is cooking, combine 1 turkey neck, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1/4 onion, 10 peppercorns, and a bundle of herbs (parsley, rosemary and a bay leaf) in a  large saucepan.  Add 8 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about an hour.  Strain and discard solids.  Let cool.
  • When the bird is done, transfer to a platter and let rest.  Reserve the pan and drippings and continue.... 
  • Slurry it up.  Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1 cup stock.  Shake, shake, shake.
  • Pour the pan drippings into a fat separator and let it do its thing. You want one cup of fat-free drippings.
  • Deglaze the roasting pan, setting it across two burners and pour in 1/2 cup dry white wine.  Bring to a boil and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.
  • Into the roasting pan, whisk the slurry and remaining stock.  Add defatted pan juice and bring to a boil.  Cook until thickened, about 12 minutes.
  • Strain the gravy and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. 
  • Makes a little less than two cups...lots of effort, for not much product, but is SOOOO worth it.  After all, there's only one Thanksgiving a year.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken and Kale Casserole

Yesterday, I proselytized on behalf of that healthiest of winter greens....kale. 

Today, I submit the proof.  A delicious cheesy casserole that is the perfect autumnal comfort food.

Chicken and Kale Casserole
Makes 8 servings.
From Everyday Food.

3/4 pound large pasta shells
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches kale (about 1 1/2 pounds), stems and ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 container (48 ounces) part-skim ricotta
Splash of lemon juice
3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta shells. Drain and return to the pot.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until onion is beginning to soften, about four minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds.  Add the kale, cover and let cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the vegetable mixture to the pot with the pasta.

Stir in the chicken, ricotta, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13 baking dish.  Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.  Bake until the casserole is heated through and the top is golden, about 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Kale?

So you're in the grocery store looking for something seasonal.  Yeah, there's winter squash.  Sweet potatoes.  And apples are yummy.  But what about greens?  How about that dark green leafy stuff that looks like overgrown parsley?  It's kale and here's why it's good for you and what to do with it...

  • It's quite nutrient-dense.  High in all the goodies--anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as fiber and calcium.
  • Buy the darkest colored bunches you can find and store in a plastic bag in the coldest section of your fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Before cooking, you're going to want to trim out the center tough ribs. 
  • Then, use it in an Italian soup like minestrone.  Pair it with potatoes, white beans, cheesy pasta, or sausage.
  • And you can always keep it simple and saute it with some garlic, a splash of white wine (or white wine vinegar) and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
  • Still not convinced?  Come back tomorrow for a delicious recipe that got the seal of approval in my kitchen. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tips of the Trade...

Here are a few (unrelated I'll admit) kitchen tips I've run across lately...

  • If you're like me and the other half, you love BLT's.  (For us, more often than not, it's just BT's.)  But this is NOT the time to buy a tomato at the grocery store.  With our Texas farmers done for this year, I refuse to buy the inspid poseurs that present themselves from the hothouse.  But here's a hint that allows you to approach the same flavor.  Mix some chopped cherry tomatoes in some mayonnaise; spread that on some bread and add the lettuce and bacon.  Not the same, but maybe enough to keep you happy until next summer.
  • I'm betting egg casseroles are in your holiday brunch plans.  But who has room for those big casseroles to sit in the fridge overnight at this time of year?  They're already brimming over with food, party fixings and leftovers.  Instead, pour the ingredients into a pitcher.  Takes up less room and you can easily pour into your baking dish the next morning.
  • Are shrimp a go-to cocktail buffet option for you?  Me too.  But how do you keep them cold?  not ice, you end up with the little suckers swimming in the Arctic.  How about frozen lemon slices?  Cold and flavorful all at once.
Always on the look out for new tips.  Have any to share?  Post them in the comment below.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Apple Crumb Coffee Cakes

Yes, October was Apple Month.  But apples are still in season....and still delicious.

These tasty treats were a hit at last week's staff meeting at my office.  Earned me some brownie points....

Apple Crumb Coffee Cakes
From Food & Wine magazine.
Makes 18 muffins.

To make the streusel:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350°. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form. Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.

To make the crumb cakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced

Line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with vegetable oil cooking spray. In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the diced apple and beat just until incorporated.

Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top. Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Pumpkin and turkey are both staple ingredients this time of year.  But rather than waiting until the end of November and roasting a bird and baking a pie separately, why not combine the two in this yummy and simple chili?  The pumpkin adds a complexity of flavor both earthy and sweet. 

Now this recipe is not going to replace my traditional recipe, but I'm definitely glad to add it to my repertoire.

Pumpkin Turkey Chili
Makes 5-6 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell peppers, and garlic until tender.  Stir in the ground turkey and cook until evenly browned.  Mix in tomatoes and pumpkin. Season with remaining ingredients.  Cover and set on low and cook for 4 to 5 hours.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

More Cooking Tips....

...courtesy of the team of chefs at The Food Network.

  • To season meat and fish more evenly before cooking, sprinkle from higher above...like it's snowing.
  • Accroding to the Barefoot Contessa, you'll get better results if you leave your butter and eggs out at room temperature overnight.
  • You're not done after you cut the corn off the cob.  Use the back of the kinfe to scrape the cob again and extract the juice.  The "milk" will add flavor and body to your corn dish.
  • Here are Iron Chef Michael Symon's flavor boosters of choice: acidity, salt and horseradish.
  • A basic one that too many of us forget: read a recipe entirely and thoroughly before you start cooking.
  • Don't use oil in the water while you boil pasta.   You might think it will keep the pasta from sticking, but it will do is keep the sauce from sticking to the pasta.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hummus Two Ways

Tried a couple of new recipes for our Halloween shindig the other night, including a couple of variations on traditional hummus.  And the experience taught me a valuable lesson.  I will never buy prepared hummus at the ridiculous prices that you pay at the market.  Instead, I will keep a can of chickpeas on hand and, with a few other pantry ingredients that I'll keep on hand, whip up a batch at will.

Now, these recipes as published in Food Network Magazine, would make a VAT of hummus.  Even after I hlaved them there was too much.  So, unless you're feeing a Mediterranean army, use these versions that I have cut down even further.

That said, these are fun to set out side by side and compare.

Buffalo Wing Hummus
(Makes a little over 2 cups.)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Reserve 1/2 cup liquid.)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons cayenne hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
Generous pinch of kosher salt

Place all ingredients, including 1/4 cup reserved liquid, in a food processor.  Puree until smooth and creamy.  Add additional reserved juice if necessary to achieve right consistency.

(I also think this would be good garnished with a generous sprinkling of blue cheese....)

Pizza Hummus
(Makes a little over 2 cups.)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (Reserve 1/2 cup liquid.)
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Generous pinch of kosher salt

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the tomato paste, oregano and basil and cook until toasted, aout 2 minutes.  Transfer mixture to a food processor. (I'll admit that, in a rush to get things ready for the party, I skipped this step and threw everything into the food processor at once.) Add other ingredients, including 1/4 cup reserved liquid, in a food processor. Puree until smooth and creamy. Add additional reserved juice if necessary to achieve right consistency.