Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chipotle Hummus

Hummus is inexpensive to make and it seems silly to me, now that I have an awesome food processor, to buy little containers of it for almost $4 when I can make a greater quantity for so much less at home. This is our favorite flavor right now.

Chipotle Hummus
 1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained but save juice to thin hummus
1/4 cup roasted tahini 
1 chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Place chickpeas, tahini, chipotle pepper, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt cumin, coriander, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. While pureeing, add enough chickpea juice to reach desired consistency. 

Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Making Vegetables Interesting Again

I have to admit that although I love vegetables, I don't often do anything very exciting with them. Typically they are steamed, and by steamed I mean microwaved, and served with spray butter. BORING! In the summer they are spruced up a little when they are grilled and occasionally roasted. 

The reason for this, I believe, is that by the time I've made a main dish I'm usually done being creative and cooking. It's all to easy to pull out that bag of frozen vegetables and pop them in the microwave. 

As the days have warmed up, I find myself fantasizing about all the yummy vegetables to be purchased at the farmers market and wondering how I might jazz up our vegetables. When I came across this recipe for Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetables from Giada De Laurentiis, I had to give it a try. Although the boys would only eat a red pepper strip out of it, Rich and I loved it. I'm sure it will be even better when fresh, local produce is available.

Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Vegetables 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons halved pitted small black olives, such as kalamata
  • 2 tablespoons halved pitted green olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt for seasoning, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, ends trimmed and discarded, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 yellow summer squash, ends trimmed and discarded, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a medium skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the warm vegetables to the oil mixture and toss until coated. 

Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

**We had this with fish and garlic pasta. It was also delicious mixed in with the pasta.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Banana Muffins

I find it amusing that my boys refuse to eat bananas but love banana bread, banana cake and banana muffins. In fact, they regularly request them and we often have over-ripe bananas in the fruit bowl for this very purpose.

This is my favorite banana muffin recipe. Adding ground flaxseed gives them a healthy kick. They also freeze and travel beautifully.

Banana Muffins

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup *buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 egg whites
Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

*Optional: replace with milk, rice or soy milk and add 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 350º. Lightly spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. 

Mix together the brown rice flour mix, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients.

Whisk together the bananas, milk, oil, egg whites and lemon juice. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake on the middle rack for 24 minutes or until done.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

These are the best cinnamon rolls in the world! I'm not kidding. They are not gigantic with an inch of frosting but instead can be eaten in a couple of bites. I'm not sure where the recipe originated, but it has been in my family for at least four generations. I remember eating them whenever we would go to my grandma's house. They were always ready and waiting in containers on the counter. I've watched my mom make them countless times for different occasions or even just as a special treat. They were always a birthday request and remind me of my childhood and family. Now they are a favorite of my children.

When you make these cinnamon rolls, it is an absolute must to eat them warm out of the oven with freshly added frosting and nuts on top. (Okay, you can omit the nuts or even the frosting if you're Rich, but I think that's all crazy talk.) They almost melt in your mouth. 

Now I make them gluten free and they are just as amazing. Break out your rolling pin and give them a try. Plan ahead because they need to be started the night before.

Cinnamon Rolls
1 package Active Dry Yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
1/2 cup warm water (110º)
4 cups Domata All Purpose Flour (For those that aren't GF just use regular flour.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup heated milk
1-2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
powdered sugar frosting (recipe below)
walnuts, ground

In a small bowl, stir yeast in warm water until dissolved. In separate bowl mix Domata flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Cut in 1 cup of butter with pastry blender until pea-sized crumbs are formed. In a large bowl beat eggs. To eggs gradually add hot milk. Cool to luke warm and add yeast. Add flour mixture and stir. Dough will be really soft. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Divide dough into quarters. Roll 1/4 at a time into a thin rectangle (18 X 10). Butter dough (2-4 tablespoons) and top with sugar and cinnamon. (We like a lot of cinnamon. Less is still tasty.)

Sprinkle on a little water then roll up.

Cut roll into 12 pieces and place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet (cut side down). Gently flatten each roll with the palm of your hand and bake immediately at 400º for 12 minutes.

Top with powdered sugar frosting and nuts.

Melt together 1/2 cup milk and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and enough powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.