December 8, 2011
I have become obsessed with Mediterranean Wraps for lunch, so I thought I would try making my own hummus since the pre-made stuff can get expensive. Plus I heard homemade tastes better (doesn’t it always?) Well, they were right. Especially if you start with raw chick peas and soak them for a couple of days. Homemade tastes better and you can make a batch faster than you can say pita bread.
You can change up the flavor of the hummus by adding roasted red peppers, like I did here, sun-dried tomatoes, olives or even lots of extra garlic and lemon.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1/2 cup tahini
- juice from 1 squeezed lemon
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon + 1/8-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 roasted bell pepper
- olive oil
2. Wash the chickpeas several times, until the water is transparent. Soak them in clean water over night with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Then, wash it, and soak again in tap water for a few more hours. The grains should absorb most of the water and almost double their volume.
3. Wash the chickpeas well and put them in a large pot. Cover with water, add the rest baking soda, a bay leaf and NO salt. Cook until the grains are very easily smashed when pressed between two fingers. It should take around 1-1.5 hours, during which it is advised to switch the water once again, and remove the peels and foam which float over the cooking water. When done, sieve the grains and keep the cooking water.
4. Put the chickpeas into a food processor and grind well. Leave it to chill a little while before you continue.
5. Add the tahini and the rest of the ingredients and go on with the food processor until you get the desired texture. If the hummus is too thick, add some of the cooking water. It should be thinner than the actual desired texture.
Serve with some good olive oil and chopped parsley.
December 7, 2011
At second glance, I questioned if Paula Deen got her her hot little hands on the original recipe. I mean, vegetable oil for frying and 11 TABLESPOONS of butter?!? Since when did Paula start fixing tofu???
After I got over the amount of oil and butter in the recipe, I realized it looked like a great dish with a lot of yummy flavors, so I may as well give it a shot. I tweaked it a bit with the addition of green bell pepper, decreased the amount of serranos (I mean, eight?!? I guess Bobby Flay got his hands on this, too) and I lessened the amount of butter, reflected below. I just can’t consciously tell people to put 11 tablespoons of butter in their food.
It turned out to be an extremely flavorful dish that I will definitely make again. I hope you enjoy it just as much as we did!
Black Pepper Tofu
- 1 3/4 lbs firm tofu
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 stick of butter
- 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
- 12 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
- 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 tsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 16 small and thin green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments
- I green bell pepper, julienned
Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 x 1 inch, then add to the hot oil. (You’ll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don’t stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.
Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the black pepper.
Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions and green bell pepper. Serve hot, with Jasmine rice.
November 30, 2011
Not only is spaghetti squash super good for you, it’s super delicious! I’ve always heard of baking this winter melon and using a fork to fluff out the spaghetti-like interior to use as a base for marinara, or anything you’d put on top of pasta, but quite frankly, I was a little bit skeptical. Until last night.
I now have a new favorite winter staple! It’s so easy to prepare, tastes delicious (think really al-dente pasta) and is loaded with nutrients. The topping for the “spaghetti” really made it shine and I will definitely be experimenting with this versatile fruit again in the near future!
Mediterranean Style Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons evoo
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used two Roma tomatoes)
- 1 red bell pepper, choppped
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and red bell pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
- Remove vegetable mixture from heat and add feta and olives.
- Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in two serving bowls. Top with the vegetable mixture. Serve warm.