Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Perfectly Pink Roasted Beet Hummus

Brilliantly pink. Ultra creamy. With that deliciously earthy flavor that only comes from beets and a slight smokiness from the addition of cumin. How in the world did I not think of this sooner?!?!?

This recipe will make a party-sized batch. Feel free to reduce it...or just plan to consume large quantities of hummus over the next couple of weeks! It's a real hardship, I know...

3 medium-sized beets
3 C cooked garbanzo beans (I start with could also use canned)
1/3 C tahini
1 or 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely grated
zest and juice from 1 lemon
1/2 - 1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste
1/4 C plus 1 TBSP olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place your beets on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with about 1 TBSP of olive oil, and fold up the foil to make a nice secure packet around your beets. Roast the beets in their foil packet for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. When they have cooled, gently use your fingers to slide off the skins. Quarter the beets and toss them into your food processor with the cooked garbanzos, the tahini, the grated garlic, the lemon juice and zest, the cumin, and several nice pinches of sea salt. Turn your food processor on and let it do it's thing while you slowly drizzle in 1/4 C of olive oil. Stop the food processor, scrape down the sides, and taste for seasoning. Adjust your salt, cumin, garlic, and tahini levels to suit your taste and process a little longer. Use your best judgement with the oil and if it seems like you need more to get a nice creamy consistency, add more.

Dip into it with chips and veggie sticks, scoop it onto a big green salad, spoon it on pita, spread it on crackers topped with thinly sliced veggies...ohhhh the possibilities are endless!

(See the pretty pink hummus in the back there? Topped with cucumber? SO GOOD! Also, those crackers in front with goat cheese, sliced peach, and balsamic? Not so bad either!)

NOTE: If you are waiting around while your beets are roasting, consider using that time to pop each and every one of your garbanzos out of their skins. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that this made the smoothest and creamiest hummus...but figured that only a crazy person would intentionally put herself through that variety of torture. Well, I had time to kill while my beets were roasting and figured I would give it a shot. The verdict: I felt ridiculous while I was doing it and it was definitely time consuming AND Chris made fun of me a whole lot BUT holy crap this is the creamiest hummus I have ever made!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aloo Gobhi (Potato and Cauliflower Curry)

After many failed attempts to make North Indian food, this one finally turned out brilliantly! This is courtesy of the blog "Sanjha Chulha" ("Common Oven"), at - with a few adjustments.

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces, making 2 cups of cauliflower florets
2 tbs vegetable/canola oil
1 large onion, cut into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped into small pieces
potatoes, chopped into small pieces - about 2 or so cups total (I used about 8 small red ones)
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala (I love MTR brand)
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tbs butter
1 tbs peeled and finely grated ginger

1. Wash the cauliflower by swishing it around in a bowl full of cold salted water. This adds a little bit of salt before you begin frying.
2. Heat the oil in frying pan and add the onion, garlic and potatoes and fry untill the color of onions is deep yellow and its translucent (approx. 10 min.)
3. Add the cauliflower and fry till the onions are now brown (approx. 3-4 min.)
4. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and garam masala, stir and fry. (approx. 5 min)
5. Mix well.
6. Add the butter and mix, add 6-7 tbs cold water and simmer. (approx. 5-10 min. but it depends, so keep checking till the potatoes are done. if they're taking a while, cover the pan and let it hang out for a few minutes).
7. Stir in the ginger and cook for a minute or two.
8. Serve with rice or roti (flatbread - the naan you can buy at trader joe's is pretty tasty!)

Cilantro Pesto

A summertime favorite...equally delicious when mixed into a bowl of pasta, slathered on some grilled veggies, or thinned with water/oil/vinegar and drizzled on a garden salad. This recipe is straight out of Mama Steinhauser's repertoire...

2 C packed cilantro (thin stems are ok)
1 clove garlic, squashed or finely grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C olive oil/canola oil/peanut oil
4 TBS unsalted peanuts

In the bowl of a food processor, combine your cilantro, garlic, salt, about half of the oil, and about half of the peanuts. Turn the food processor on and let it run until well blended, slowly drizzling in the rest of the oil as you go. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and run the food processor for another couple of seconds. Add in the remainder of the peanuts and pulse 7-10 times or until the peanuts are broken up a bit.

One batch will make about a cup of pesto. It will last in the fridge for a week or so but if you plan to store it longer it keeps great in the freezer! Just pour it into an 8 oz mason jar, stir it and tap it a bit on the counter to get out any air bubbles, top it off with about a 1/2 tsp of olive oil (to keep the color from changing) and pop it in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge the day before you plan to use it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beet (or other) Greens with Caramelized Onions

Pretty much exactly how it sounds. Slightly sweet and delicious.

2 onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bundle dark leafy greens (I used beet greens, but am sure it would also work with kale or other greens), washed and cut into ribbons.
a handful of chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat a small amount of oil in a wide saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and stir fairly constantly until they begin to turn golden brown (about 5-10 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring fairly constantly, until they're very brown and smell sweet and delicious. Add the garlic; cook for about 1 minute. Add the greens and cook just until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss in walnuts if using.

Kale, Kalamata Olive, & Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad

Salty and crunchy. Matt: "Mmmm. This has a great mouthfeel." (We've been watching lots of Master Chef in our downtime).

A few handfuls of whole wheat pasta - I used fusilli
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small summer squash (I used golden zucchini - so pretty!), sliced into half-moons
A few handfuls of kale, stripped off the stems and sliced into thin ribbons
Good-quality feta, packed in water (this is important - the water goes into the dressing! I used this amazing Bulgarian sheep's milk feta I found at Whole Foods. Creamy, not too salty, and not too expensive - all my favorite things).
5 sundried tomatoes (the kind packed in oil), coarsely chopped
3-4 tablespoons coarsely chopped kalamata olives, plus some olive juice from the jar.
3-4 eggs
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions until it's al dente.

To hardboil the eggs: put them in a small pan, cover them with water, bring to a boil, then turn it off and leave it for about 9 minutes. When they're done, take off the shells and slice them.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a wide saute pan. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Then, toss in the summer squash. Cook until it's just beginning to soften - you want it to still have a bit of a crunch, and it'll continue cooking even after you take it off the heat.

When the pasta is done, run some cold water over it to cool it down. Then, put it in a big bowl. Stir in the squash and garlic (once it's cooled a bit), the kale, the olives, the sundried tomatoes, and the eggs. Crumble the feta on top and stir. Pour in some of the water from the feta, then add a few tablespoons of olive juice. Drizzle on some olive oil, then add black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (you probably won't need any additional salt). Stir everything together. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lemony Minted Watermelon Salad

Simple but brilliant. This is all I want to eat now that it's consistently 95 plus and humid here in Delaware.

1/2 medium sized watermelon
juice from 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
a nice fistful of mint leaves
1-2 tsp sugar, optional

Carefully remove and discard the rind from your watermelon and cut the fruit into into bite sized pieces. Chop your mint into nice thin ribbons. In a large bowl, combine the melon with the mint, the lemon juice, just a drizzle of olive oil and a little pinch of sea salt. Gently mix until the mint is evenly distributed. Taste test. If your melon is nice and sweet on its own, skip the sugar. If your melon isn't as sweet as it ought to be, add just the tiniest sprinkle of sugar to give it a boost. Mix again and serve immediately.

Ok, go make this now. For real. You can thank me later!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spicy Coconut Spinach

Easy-peasy and absolutely delicious South Indian-style spinach. Takes 10 minutes to throw together and is sweet, spicy, and savory all at the same time. From 101cookbooks, with adjustments.

1 shallot, minced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 big handfuls spinach
4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted (you can toast the coconut by putting it into a pan, with no oil, then gently heating it until it starts to turn light brown and smells delicious)

Heat the oil in a big pan. Once it's nice and hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start popping all over the place (BE CAREFUL! they're hot!), add the cumin seeds and stir so they don't burn. Cook for about 20 seconds, then sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and cook for another 10 seconds or so. Add the garlic and shallot and saute for about 1 minute, or until it starts to turn translucent. Then, add the spinach and sprinkle on the salt. Cook just until it wilts but is still bright green. Sprinkle on the coconut before serving.