Toasted Sesame Oil Hummus

I know that no one actually needs a recipe for hummus,  much less two recipes for hummus (+ another two for “very think chickpea soups”) on one blog. But, about a month ago, I had a hummus revelation so I feel compelled to share.

Four of us had stumbled into a restaurant after a day of trekking around Boston with a large bag of persimmons in tow (thanks persimmon carrying friends!). When we finally got seated 45 minutes later, it was well past ten, and I was ready to go all cookie-monster on those persimmons. The only thing restraining me was the sure knowledge that a cookie-monster-like attack on a bag of persimmons in a crowded restaurant would end in certain and swift removal before I got anymore food.

Fortunately, we were presented with a plate full of hummus while we “looked at the menu” (read: demanded they bring us our pre-selected orders immediately). And, though anything would have tasted good at that moment, the hummus really seemed like something special.

After a bit of debate, we decided that the restaurant had substituted sesame oil for tahini. It was genius. As I have mentioned before, I dislike tahini in my hummus. I think it weighs it down and overpowers the chickpeas. The sesame oil embraces the fact that sesame and chickpeas go well together while creating something lighter and smokier all at once.

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When I tried making it at home, it was as good as I remembered, even with judgement unclouded by hunger.

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Red Cabbage, Pinto Bean, and Tahini Slaw

Have you been sitting around wishing you had more recipes for mayonnaise-less cole slaw? Alternatively, have you been thinking that everything would be better if it was socially acceptable to eat a big Tupperware full of cole slaw for lunch? No? I’m the only person around holding both those thoughts in her head at once? Weird.

Here’s why it’s worth spending your spare time pondering both of those questions: If you could magically get rid of the mayonnaise in cole slaw, you could, I would argue, have the perfect lunch time salad. After all, cabbage holds up to dressing over the long-term, better than almost anything else. If you want it to taste like cole saw, you practically have to let it sit in its dressing for a while (maybe even a week). If that dressing were actually healthy, and not just mayonnaise-filled goop, you would be well on your way to a guilt free lunch you could make on Sunday  night and dump into your Tupperware on the way out the door every morning. If you added some beans for protein, it might even be perfect.

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I have been tinkering with this salad for three summers now. The cabbage has gotten progressively more thinly sliced, although not obsessively so. It has lost the cheese I once put in it, which also makes this a vegan lunch! I think it is now the right balance of creamy, crunchy, and filling to make a great lunch, but it also would not be out of place as a side at a barbecue. It is also, notably, incredibly easy to make. Just slice your cabbage, drain your beans, chop your parsley, whisk together some tahini and lemon juice, and you are in business. It’s so simple that, with my initial quandaries answered, I have spent all week debating why it took me so long to get the formula exactly right.

Red Cabbage, Pinto Bean, and Tahini Slaw

– 1 small red cabbage

– 1 can pinto beans (You could probably sub chickpeas, but I think that pinto beans have a nicely creamy texture to match the dressing.)

– 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (or more to taste)

– 1/4 cup tahini

– 1/4 cup lemon juice

– Salt to taste

* Drain and rinse pinto beans.

* Finely slice cabbage.

* Whisk together tahini and lemon juice.

* In large bowl mix together beans, cabbage, parsley, and tahini-lemon juice combination. Salt to taste.

I find that if I’m going to eat this over the course of a week for a lunch, it perks up a bit if I sprinkle a little extra olive oil, lemon juice, and salt on it right before I eat it.

Easy Meal for One: Roast Celeriac and Egg “Salad” (Also Paris)

I mentioned that Noah and I went to Paris a few posts ago and then proceeded to tell you all about what it was like to be 15 in Paris. I was 15 quite a while ago. France was not yet on the Euro. I didn’t drink wine or coffee. It was, needless to say, a different experience. So, let me tell you a little about Paris this time.

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First, things to know about this trip: It rained the first five days we were there. We broke three umbrellas. Also, Noah had the flu. We got to know the French pharmacy system VERY WELL. We have a favorite french pharmacy. It’s on the Rue de Martyrs. We are now the proud owners of a celsius thermometer. And, we now know that French cough syrup is caramel flavored. (This raises some questions for me about why American cough syrup is cherry flavored.)

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The foggy-grayness of Paris in March, the rain, and Noah’s illness didn’t stop it from being a wonderful trip, if not quite the trip we had planned. It did, however, require us to drink quite a bit of vin chaud to stay warm. (If you are in Paris looking for Vin Chaud, may I suggest L’Eclair on Rue Cler. That’s where the photos below are from.)


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We went to the art museums; we reflected on French history. We played keep or renovate with every room in Versailles. We learned that if you do great things for France you can still be buried next to Marie and Pierre Curie. We wandered around the Maghrebian quarter with advice from this Saveur article and found our way to a  Tunisian Jewish bakery, Nani, where they summoned an English speaking baker to translate for us. We came away with delicious balls of pistachio paste.

When Noah got his taste back, we picked a favorite French pastry, the etoile noisette. We ate many picnics of cheese and French salads while huddling under umbrellas. Our friend Asheesh came to visit and introduced us to my new favorite coffee shop in the world: KB Coffee on the Rue de Martyrs. I’m sure this is sacrilegious, but it turns out I want to be drinking Australian coffee in Paris.

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We came back with rose flavored sugar and a Bottle of Suze. I’m sure there will be more posts inspired by our trip. Among other things, I have big plans to take a stab at making buckwheat crepes.

Today, however, I have a salad inspired by Celeriac Remoulade, which we picked up from a fromagerie and ate on the steps of a church one day. I love celeriac, but even in Paris I could not get behind mayonnaise-based salads. So, this is my way of eating celeriac with egg and oil and mustard. It’s also, I would argue, a great easy meal for one. It takes a little prep, but the kind of prep you can do on a Sunday afternoon in order to have easy food for the rest of the week.

I like to roast a bunch of vegetables and hard boil a bunch of eggs once a week. If you do that, you have the base of a million combinations that you can throw together for lunch or dinner when things get busier. Celeriac is not in my usual roast vegetable rotation, which is a shame. It can be a pain to peel, but I think it’s worth the effort. Just chop off the gnarly ends and attack with a peeler. There will be some tough spots that you will have to cut around, but if you don’t worry about losing a little bit of the root it’s not that time consuming. Once you have the roots peeled, it’s good to start by slicing them in half because every so often there are hidden cracks filled with dirt inside. Cut any of those out too. Rinse the root and then chop it into small cubes. Throw the cubes on a tray and toss them with a drizzle of olive. Put that tray along with trays of anything else you are roasting (today I roasted some peppers) in the oven. Then you can go about doing whatever else you are doing while they roast for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Maybe look in on your vegetables once or twice and give them a shake or a stir. Store them in the fridge for use through out the week.

While you’re at it you can boil some eggs. For years, I couldn’t remember how to hard boil an egg and had to look it up every time. There is lots of advice on the internet. But, basically this is what you do:

1. Place eggs in pot.

2. Cover with cold water so there is at least an inch of water covering the eggs.

3. Bring water to a boil.

4. Turn water off.

5. Let stand 12 minutes.

6. Drain eggs and rinse in cold water.

Ok, here’s how to make the salad.

Roast Celeriac and Egg Salad (for one) 

– 1 heaping cup roast celeriac

– 1 hardboiled egg

– 2 teaspoons capers

– 2 small cloves of garlic

– Juice of 1/2 a lemon

– 1 tsp mustard

– Ground pepper

* I usually roast about three celeriac bulbs. This will, however, give you more celeriac than you need. 1 cup roast celeriac is probably 1-2 bulbs depending on how big they are. To roast: peel, chop into cubes, toss with olive oil and salt until cubes are lightly coated. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

* Smash 2 garlic cloves into the bottom of a bowl.

* Peel and roughly chop one hardboiled egg and add to bowl.

* Add 2 teaspoons capers and 1 cup roasted celeriac to bowl.

* Stir together mustard and juice of half a lemon.

* Drizzle mustard/lemon mixture over celeriac and egg and toss to coat.

* Add ground pepper to taste.

There is, I think, no way to get a good photograph of a salad made of beige things tossed with mustard, but I promise you this tastes delicious and somehow elegant. I’m including the photo so you know what it’s supposed to look like, not because I think it will win any beauty contests.

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Chickpea Soup with Broccoli (or an extremely smooth hummus)

If it seems like this blog is fast becoming a list of things you can do with broccoli intermingled with the occasional cake, all I can say is, I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure, when I look back on this year that is one of the ways I will remember it. I will think of stalks of broccoli chopped into a salad or dunked in hummus eaten in hotel rooms or on a bench outside an archive somewhere in America. And, I will remember the cakes I cooked in New Haven as I tried to reestablish my presence in the kitchen.

Today though, I have a recipe that unites those two instincts. It’s both an easy lunch and a recipe that let’s you make your kitchen smell good. It turns out that when you winterize hummus and broccoli you get something much steamier, pun intended. This soup is a little boozy, velvety in texture, and seems like it deserves to be eaten with enough care to require utensils. I found it in the February issue of Bon Appetite on my flight to California and I ripped it out immediately. Since I got home last Sunday, I have eaten it every day for lunch.

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One more thing about this recipe: I know that when people write lists of 10 ways to be a successful food blogger, picking a fight with Smitten Kitchen is not at the top of any of them. But, if, like me, you recently learned that you have to peel your chickpeas to make ethereally smooth hummus and thought, “Well, I guess I’ll never have that,” I have your answer. I have been slyly dunking crackers into my refrigerated pot of  this soup all week. Seriously, it turns out that cooking your chickpeas in wine and broth makes for a dreamy, creamy hummus.  It may not be “ethereal” but is extremely smooth. You will notice that when you puree the soup at the end of this recipe you add water to get it to the consistency you want. I see no reason why, if you wanted to skip the soup phase of this recipe, you couldn’t just skip adding water to the puree and go straight for the hummus. That said, it’s gross out. Make soup.

Chickpea Soup (Adapted from Bon Appetite, February 2013) 

– 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– 2 yellow onions

– 4 garlic cloves

– 1 sprig thyme 

– 1 cup dry white wine (The Bon Appetite recipe calls for only 1/2 a cup; I thought that looked off when I added it to the pot and was happy I doubled it.) 

– 4 cups chicken broth. (Bon Appetite also called for vegetable broth, which I’m sure would be fine.)

– 1 bunch of broccoli

– Red pepper flakes

– Salt to taste

* Soak the chickpeas. (I always quick soak my beans because, you know, I don’t plan ahead. Also, I don’t see any argument for doing the longer soak.  To quick soak your chickpeas add your dry chickpeas to a pot, cover them in water, bring to a boil, let the beans boil for three minutes, and then turn off the heat and cover for an hour. After an hour, drain the beans. Then you’re ready to go.)

* Roughly chop the onions and smash the garlic.

* Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add onions, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook until onions are soft and starting to brown, stirring often. This took me about ten minutes.

* Add chickpeas to pot and toss with onion-garlic mixture thoroughly.

* Add wine to pot and turn up heat so it boils quickly. Boil for about 2 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. (I always have trouble telling if a liquid is reduced by half. Here, I don’t think it matters that you get this exactly right.)

* Add broth and bring to boil.

* Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chickpeas are very soft, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

* Puree soup with immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Add water as you go to get it to the thickness you want. (Or don’t add water and go straight for hummus.)

* When you’re ready to eat, cut your broccoli into florets and steam quickly, until tender (about 4 minutes). Serve garnished with broccoli, olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes.

And I’m Back…

I presented you with lumpy breakfast cookies and then disappeared. I know. I don’t know what happened to the last two months. There was the election. My mom had a birthday. I made these:

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They are a version of the poached vegetables from PlentyThey were pretty good, but I think I prefer my vegetables roasted so I didn’t post about them. I also made this cake, which I can’t recommend highly enough–especially if you double the recipe, bake it in three cake pans, and stack the layers with orange marmalade in between and butter cream frosting on the outside. That’s a birthday cake.

I forgot to take pictures of the finished product, but I did capture these lovely egg shells about halfway through the project.

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After the birthday, I finished up in Boston. There was Thanksgiving. I made this pumpkin chiffon pie:

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It was delicious. Maybe someday I’ll remember what I did and write about it here. As you can see, however, it is surrounded by our to-do lists, which might tell you something about why it was not written about this year.

Then I had a birthday, which involved an amazing trip here. Last year, for my birthday I baked four brand new cakes. This year I made two trusted standbys. Here’s one:

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It’s really just this cake with candied oranges (and apparently a stray lemon seed) instead of strawberries and orange juice in the syrup.

Then I went into a sugar coma and spent the rest of December alternating between eating too much sugar and too much raw broccoli, both of which made my stomach hurt. Somewhere in there I managed to make five different kinds of pickles and write a conference paper but those are stories for a different day.

One night, after Noah and I had spent too long at a holiday house party and thus had skipped dinner hours and eaten too  many cookies, I also made a dish that Shauna at Gluten Free Girl described in a recent post.  I saw the words “avocado” and “fish sauce” and knew I had to make it. The dish is roasted broccoli with an asian-flavored avocado dip. It was the perfect late night snack, but when I tried make it again today the avocado was too hard to mash. It was still edible though so I decided to deconstruct the dish into a salad. I’m glad I did. This salad is perfect for a day when you are looking to eat large quantities of broccoli but also want to be a little more gentle with your stomach.

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Roast Broccoli and Avocado Salad (for one, but easily scaled up):

– 1/2 small head of broccoli cut in to florets

– Olive oil, salt, and furikake for roasting

– 1/2 an avocado

– 3 scallions

– 1 tsp rice vinegar

– 1/2 tsp fish sauce

– Red peper flakes

* Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

* Toss broccoli with a good splash of olive oil, sprinkle of salt, and sprinkle of furikake and spread on baking sheet. (You can pick up furikake at most asian grocery stores, but you can also skip it if you don’t have it on hand.)

* Roast until the broccoli is crisp at the tips (about 20 minutes, but be sure to toss it once while roasting).

* Cut avocado in to small chunks and slice scallions into rounds.

* Toss broccoli, avocado, and scallions with fish sauce, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Enjoy!

Garlicky Habanero-Lemon Hummus

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Being in my mid-late twenties means there are lots of weddings to go to and lots of people suggesting that maybe it’s time I start thinking about getting married myself. Generally, I feel a bit young for that, but when I’m using my blender for something that would clearly do better in a food processor sometimes I wonder if it’s time to cash in my relationship for a lot of new kitchen supplies. Most recently, I have thought about this while while making hummus.

I know that really no one needs a recipe for hummus so think of this post more as a plug for you to make your own hummus. I have long thought that people who make their own hummus–like my mother, for example–are kind of wasting their time. After all, there are lots of perfectly acceptable, even delicious, hummuses to be bought for not very much money. But, about a month ago I was running late for a potluck and threw a can of chickpeas into the blender with some olive oil, garlic, and a habanero pepper and suddenly I was obsessed. I’ve been making it weekly since.

The thing about making your own hummus is you really can make it whatever you want. I recommend blending some chickpeas and olive oil together and tasting it before you decide what you want to add. It tastes elemental and full of possibility. You don’t have to settle for hummus that is too oily or that includes tahini (as most store bought hummus does and which I don’t love) if you don’t want to. You can make it garlicky, spicy and sour to degrees that most people would find unacceptable.

Sure, it’s kind of a pain to make without a food processor. Not complicated, just loud. You have to hover over your blender with a spoon, pushing the chickpeas down and blending till your sick of the noise and pretty sure that, even if you are ready to register for a food processor, your boyfriend has now decided that spending a life with this kind of noise is not worth it.

But at the end of all the grinding, you have hummus for a week. You can eat it every day for lunch and congratulate yourself for having what you want instead of what everyone else does.

Garlicky Habanero-Lemon Hummus 

(If you really want hummus for a week, I would double this recipe.) 

– 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

– 4 smallish cloves garlic

– 6 tablespoons olive oil

– 1/2 lemon

– 1/4 habanero pepper

– Salt to taste

* Blend chickpeas and olive oil until they form a smooth paste. (If you are doing it in a blender, you’ll probably have to push the chickpeas down with a spoon periodically in order to get them all to blend.)

* Add garlic, salt, and habanero and blend.

* Add lemon and blend until hummus is the texture you want and/or you’ve grown sick of the grinding noise.

 

Asian-Style Quinoa Patties with Miso-Mayonnaise Dressing

The summer I was 18, I moved to Seattle to work on a voter registration campaign with six friends. We lived in a three bedroom apartment in the U district. Our only pieces of furniture were our seven air mattresses, a folding camp chair, and a desk we scrounged up off the side-walk. We also hung some maps on the wall, which I’m sure made us look more than a little suspicious–not that anyone was looking.

For some reason, we decided that we needed to cook and eat every dinner together for an entire summer. We paired up in twos–each pair got responsibility for a night–and designed giant weekly grocery lists for things you could cook in very large pots.  This is not the pathway to either domestic harmony or good cooking. That may be one of the most valuable lessons I learned the year I was 18.

Almost no dishes stand out from the pots of spaghetti and beans that we ate that summer (although there was a pasta with sausage and peppers that I would happily eat again any day of the week), but I do remember my first encounter with quinoa.

It didn’t go well. One friend described it as looking like tiny, unrolled condoms–an image that is so accurate it is forever in my mind when I eat quinoa. More importantly, it tasted boring and kind of bitter.

Subsequent encounters with quinoa did not change my first impression. This was probably because it kept showing up at cafeterias, brown bag lunches, or picnics–basically whenever people are trying to feed large quantities of people–and it was always mixed with some sort of dried fruit or canned beans and feta.

But here’s the thing, quinoa kept showing up in these settings for the same reason we ate it during my summer in Seattle. You can easily make a lot of it.

I’ve been making quinoa lately not because I need to feed seven, but because I can make a lot of it on Sunday and eat it for lunch for the rest of the week. One of the best things about making quinoa for a week of lunches is it can change forms as the week goes on. For example, quinoa patties have become one of my favorite things.

Basically any bowl of leftover quinoa can be mixed with eggs, some binding agent (I like almond flour for a gluten-free patty, others use bread crumbs), a leafy green or a bunch of herbs, and baked or pan fried into a delicious and highly portable lunch.

I’ve made a lot of quinoa with pesto over the last year and it always transforms beautifully into patties. This week, I decided to try this recipe for Japanese quinoa from Chocolate and Zucchini. I ate it with hardboiled eggs for the first part of the week and then switched over to turning it into asian style quinoa patties at the end of the week.

Usually I eat my quinoa patties straight or on top of a bed of vegetables, but, since this was Asian style quinoa, I decided to dress them with a quick miso-mayonaise dressing. It made the whole lunch seem a little decadent, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing on a Wednesday.

Asian-Style Quinoa Patties with Miso Mayonnaise: 

Note: Since this is a recipe for leftovers, I’m doing it for one patty, but you can scale it up easily for as much quinoa as you have leftover. If you scale it up enough it becomes worth baking the patties, but for lunch for one I find it easier to pan fry. 

For Patty:

– 2/3 cup leftover quinoa from Chocolate and Zucchini recipe.

– 1 egg.

– 1/4-1/3 cup almond meal.

– Oil.

For Miso Mayonnaise Dressing:

– 2: 1 ratio of mayonnaise and miso paste.

– Splash of vinegar.

– Chili powder to taste.

* Mix all patty ingredients together in a bowl.

* Heat oil in pan.

* Press quinoa mixture down into patty in pan. Cook until crisp and brown on one side and then flip.

* In the meantime mix together miso, mayonnaise, chili powder and vinegar.

* Serve finished patty on bed of vegetables (I used tomatoes one day and leftover green beans the next) with miso-mayonnaise.