Friday, June 16, 2017

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus




The genius of this recipe is in the preparation of the chickpeas. Soaking and cooking the chickpeas with baking soda changes the acidity, and allows for a pillowy bean that purees away in to a silky dip or spread. It's truly magical.

I definitely did not come up with this one on my own- it is greatly inspired by Chef Solomonov of Zahav in Philly.

Don't be afraid to make this in a bigger batch- say triple, and then portion and freeze it. The originator might disagree, correctly explaining that hummus is best served fresh and never refrigerated. However, we all live in reality, where time is precious and frozen staples can be your ticket to healthy eating during the busy work week. So I give you permission.

The variations are endless here- we like to try to change it up every time we make a batch. Take out the roasted red peppers and add cilantro or basil. Or roasted garlic. Try a healthy pinch of berbere spice blend for a Ethiopian flavor. Or curry powder for an interesting kick. Keep it simple, or play with complexity, it's all good.



Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Inspired by Chef Solomonov's recipe Hummus Tehina

Ingredients
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 tsp. baking soda, divided
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup tahini, best quality you can find
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 roasted red peppers, about 1 cup chopped
Garnishes: a drizzle of olive oil and sesame seeds or z'atar

Directions

Soak chickpeas along with 1 teaspoon of baking soda overnight in plenty of water in a large bowl. Drain and rinse. Place in a medium pot with the remaining teaspoon of baking soda and water to cover the chickpeas by a few inches. Bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until very very soft, about an hour. You want them softer than normal- basically until they have no bite left to them. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a blender, combine remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth, letting the blender run for almost a minute, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add water as needed so that it is blending easily.

Place chickpeas and tahini sauce in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. This may take a few minutes. Again, add water as necessary to reach the right consistency. Taste and adjust with additional salt and pepper. Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and sesame seeds (and chive blossoms if they are in season!)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cracklin' Cauliflower


Guys, this one is good. Like eat an entire head of cauliflower good.

The spices almost create a breading which toasts up while the inside gets tender. The key is a longer roasting time in the oven with fairly frequent stirs.


My favorite uses are with some sort of Asian noodles (think peanut ginger sauce) or next to falafel, as we will enjoying them tonight. Or as a snack to pop in your mouth every 5 minutes as you struggle to pound out a blog post with the sun shining outside.

Cracklin' Cauliflower
Serves 2-3

Ingredients

1 medium head of cauliflower (4 cups florets)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic granules
a few grinds of black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tbs. coconut or grapeseed oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop cauliflower head into small florets and place in a large bowl. Toss with turmeric through nutritional yeast. Drizzle with oil and toss again to coat.

Spread on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet so that each floret has some wiggle room. This will ensure a crisping effect.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until all florets are a golden brown and very tender.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dabbling in Naturally Dyed Eggs


I've spied many gorgeous shots of naturally dyed Easter eggs over the past few years, and today I decided to give a go. Unfortunately, I didn't exactly plan for the project, so I had to work with the ingredients I had on hand.

Using this Martha Steward article as a jumping off point, I read through the instructions and raided my fridge and pantry. I came up with a plump red radish, a large red onion, several yellow onions, and a jar of turmeric. In an ideal world I would have had red cabbage too, but alas, no dice.

Important to note: I also lacked white eggs. I had farm fresh eggs, which meant most were varying levels of brown. I picked the lightest four and marched on.


I wanted to try both the cold dip and hot boil methods, so I hard-boiled two eggs and kept two fresh.

Here are the steps I followed:

Combine 4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Split in to two small pots.

To one pot, I added the peels of a red and yellow onion (the first few layers) as well as a chopped radish. This was my red/purple pot.

To the other pot, I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. This was my yellow/gold pot.

Bring each to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, so that liquid is now saturated with color.

Add one fresh egg to each pot, and continue to cook for 30 minutes, rotating eggs every 5 minutes or so if they are not covered by liquid (mine were not).

Turn off heat, remove eggs to two separate mugs and strain liquid over each. For some reason, I had much more yellow dye than purple, so I was only able to add a hard boiled egg to the yellow mug. Let sit for an additional hour.


Remove eggs, gently wipe with a towel, and let dry. Voila! Mine were far from perfect- particularly the hot boil ones, but that made them kind of interesting too. The speckling reminded me to the bird eggs you find in a nest.

Next year, I am going to plan ahead, start with whiter eggs, experiment with some different colors (red cabbage is suppose to turn them blue) and maybe stick with the cold dip method for more even coverage. I'd probably start with more liquid too- do a double batch, instead of being so stingy.

Overall, a fun project, if you aren't too attached to perfect results. I think it would be really interesting to do with school age kids who could hypothesize about about the colors (some are surprising) and experiment on their own.

Relax. Eat Well.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Avocado Egg Salad



To be honest, egg salad was never a food I enjoyed much, I think mostly because of it's reputation towards spoilage due to the thick mayonnaise that surrounds it. But somehow my interest was piqued when I came across the idea of replacing the mayo with mashed avocado. I love the combination of egg and avocado- a few slices almost always grace my breakfast bowls. So I gave it a go, and now I am hooked.



The egg salad stores well and is the perfect snack or light meal with a few cucumber slices or on a bed of spinach. Of course, it pairs with toasty bread beautifully as well, if you are more inclined to sandwich structures.

It took me awhile to perfect my hardboiled egg, but I think I have finally figured out the tricks. The first is to use eggs that are not fresh from the coop- ideally a week or two old. The second (and I think most important) is to use an ice bath after the eggs have cooked. I am not one for finicky cooking techniques such as ice baths, but this step is non-negotiable in this recipe. It results in shells that peel off effortlessly and makes the process a breeze.

Avocado Egg Salad
Serves 2-3

Ingredients
3 eggs

1 avocado
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 scallions, minced

1 cucumber

Directions

Place eggs in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water, cover and bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a bowl of ice cold water. Drain eggs and transfer to ice bath for another 15 minutes before peeling. Chop roughly.

Mash avocado, with mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and toss with chopped eggs and minced scallions. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

To serve, spread on to sliced cucumber, or if preferred, toasted bread. Sprinkle with an extra garnish of paprika.

Relax. Eat Well.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Cashew Coconut Fudge



Just in time for Valentine's Day, I present you with Cashew Coconut Fudge- the perfect blend of salty, sweet and delicious.

Some people assume that clean eating means you have to give up on your favorite foods. Not exactly. It is all about finding new ways to appreciate the flavors and textures you love, from ingredients you feel good about. Here is one great example. 



If you have 10 minutes to kill, I recommend giving this one a try. 

Cashew Coconut Fudge
Recipe inspired by Detoxinista
Serves 12

Ingredients

1 cup cashew butter
⅓ cup unrefined coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Place cashew butter, coconut oil and maple syrup in food processor and blend until smooth. Add cocoa powder, salt and vanilla and continue to process until well blended. Batter will be loose.

Pour fudge batter in to a parchment paper-lined small baking pan and spread smooth. Place in freezer for 45 minutes. Remove from freezer and slice into 12 squares.

Store fudge in freezer for optimal texture- these will get very soft at room temperature.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rosemary Roasted Rainbow Carrots



There are a precious few local ingredients that remain on the shelves (or in the cellars) in the depths of January, but carrots are one of them. I made an effort to find some rainbow carrots recently, for their vibrant hues and visual appeal. Bonus: varied colors offer a wider spectrum of antioxidants on one plate. Perfect for this heavy-hitting cold season.



Remember my post about preserving the herb harvest? In this recipe, I used whole frozen rosemary, simply stripped from the stalk and chopped. It is as good as fresh!

In my opinion, the best way to prepare your winter roots in roasting, however, I caution you against super high oven temperatures. The rich sugar content of the vegetables can easily burn. The trick is to get a nice browning, without burning the outside before the middle is cooked. My preferred temperature is 375 with the convection fan running.



Rosemary Roasted Rainbow Carrots
Serves 2

Ingredients

1 lb. rainbow carrots (about 6 medium)
1 tbs. grapeseed oil
1 tbs. honey
1 tbs. rosemary
1/4- 1/2 tsp. salt


Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Scrub carrots well and cut lengthwise into 4-6 long sticks. Place in a large bowl and toss with oil, honey, rosemary and salt.

Spread on to a large parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes, rotate pan and continue to cook another 10 minutes, until tender and beginning to brown on the edges.

Relax. Eat Well.