Monthly Archives: April 2012

Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup Two Ways

Wowee–already week 13 of the Food Matters Project!  This week we made Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup, chosen by Adrienne from Adrienne Eats.  I made mine two ways–chunky and pureed.  Click here to see what the other members of the project made!

After a week spent away on a business trip, it was fantastic to come home in time for the weekend to get back into my normal swing of things.  There is something very calming and reassuring about the weekly FMP recipe.  I know that no matter what else is going on, I am going to take part of my weekend to make something new.  What a great thing to add to my routine.  This soup was simple yet elegant, and captured two of my favorite things about spring:  leeks and asparagus.

This soup combines the creaminess of white beans and potatoes with the brightness of asparagus and leeks.  Bittman offers up a couple of suggestions for the final makeup of the dish–chunky or pureed.  I decided to make it two ways, one with the soup slightly mashed for creaminess but the asparagus intact and one with the soup pureed completely.  I loved both and may have even enjoyed the pureed soup better but my dining companion declared the pureed soup to be a bit too “baby-foody” for his taste.  To each his own, I guess!

One thing to keep in mind with the preparation of this dish is to wash the leeks thoroughly.  This won’t be as big of an issue if you are using wild leeks but this (now) city girl had to buy a gigantic leek from the grocery store and clean it well.  The best way I have found to clean leeks is to slice the white and light green part thinly and plunge in a bowl of cold water, swishing and then draining several times.

As a finishing touch, I chopped up a few asparagus spears and used them as garnish.

Roasted asparagus and white bean soup

Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 leeks, well-rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 c cooked or canned white beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, bean cooking liquid, or water, plus more as needed
  • about 1.5 lb of asparagus, peeled if thick
  • One 2-oz piece Parmesan cheese
Makes 4 servings
  1. Heat oven to 450. Put 2 tbsp of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened a bit and beginning to color, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add 1/2 cup of the broth, and stir to loosen the bits of vegetable that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the potatoes, about half the beans, and the stock. Bring to a boil, the lower the heat so that the mixture bubbles steadily. Cover partially and cook, stirring infrequently, until the potatoes are disintegrating, 20 to 30 minutes; add more liquid as necessary so the mixture remains soupy.
  3. Meanwhile (or ahead of time), put the asparagus in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp oil, and sprinkle with salt. Roast, turning the spears once or twice, just until the thick part of the stalks can be pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool a bit. Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to shave slices from the piece of cheese.
  4. When the soup is ready, mash the potatoes and beans a bit. Chop the asparagus and add it to the pot along with the remaining beans to warm through. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve each bowl with some shaved cheese on top.
Pureed Asparagus and White Bean Soup: After you add the chopped roasted asparagus in Step 4, carefully puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender or with an immersion blender; or simply mash with a potato masher. If you prefer, puree only the beans and broth and add the chopped asparagus before serving.

Maple Syrup Kettle Corn

I was chatting with my mom today and she was telling me about something very cool she is part of–the Decolonizing Diet Project, an academic research project with 25 participants.  The DDP is being conducted through the School of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University in Marquette—for one year all volunteers have signed up to replace a percentage of their normal diet for Great Lakes indigenous foods that the region’s original inhabitants would have eaten prior to European colonization. How cool is that?  The year started in March and mom is learning all about what plants are edible in the woods surrounding her house in the Upper Peninsula as well as in the surrounding areas of the U.P.  They have foraged for leeks, spring beauties, cattail, and many other interesting foods that grow naturally in the area.  I think it is a wonderful project and I am very proud of my mom for taking part in such a life changing initiative.  Go mom!  If you are interested, check out this great article:  http://www.foundmichigan.org/wp/2012/05/03/decolonizing-diet-project/

I am also so very happy that one of the results of this project is that my mom is sharing some of her recipes with me.  She described her maple syrup kettle corn to me with such gusto today that by the time we were off of the phone I was heating up maple syrup and readying my corn to pop!  Growing up we tapped all of the maple trees lining our property and painstakingly boiled the sap down (it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup–liquid gold).  One of my favorite memories is standing by the barrel stove made just for the job, stirring and stirring until finally you could dip your spoon in and there was some viscosity and sweetness.  That first taste was so incredible.  Unfortunately, the hot weather in March this year created unfavorable conditions for tapping the trees so my mom and brother didn’t make any syrup this year.  Luckily I had some Michigan maple syrup and whipped up a batch of this amazing treat.  Warning:  this is ADDICTIVE.

Decolonizing Diet Project  Maple Syrup Kettle Corn

  • Maple Syrup
  • Popcorn kernels (I used a variety of yellow corn and mushroom corn for the shape)
  • Raw pecans (I used raw cashews because that’s what I had on hand)
  • Sea salt flakes

Mom says to pop the popcorn on the stove with some oil.  I accidentally burned my batch so I ended up using the airpopper for speed.  I’m sure it is even better with the stovetop method so make it that way if you have a few minutes and some patience.

Spray a large sheet pan with some olive oil and set a side.  Glug some syrup into a pan and heat to a boil.  Turn to low and simmer for about 5 minutes until it is starting to thicken somewhat.  Add a generous pinch of salt.  Pop the corn and sprinkle nuts on the corn.  Drizzle the syrup over the corn and nuts, stirring to coat.  Spread out onto the oiled baking sheet and let sit for a few minutes so the syrup begins to harden.  Good luck not eating it while it is still gooey and warm–it is too good to resist!

French Yogurt Cake

When life gives you lemons, make french yogurt cake!

Some 30,000 feet up in the air earlier this week I came across this gorgeous recipe in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit.  It was described as a “healthier pound cake with a bit more going on (thanks to yogurt and lemon zest).”  I was so worried I was going to forget to make this that I wrote it down in my recipe notepad, dog-eared the magazine page, and put it on my Outlook calendar as a final reminder.  I knew it would be a keeper.  This is one of those recipes I’m sure to make many more times–hope you give it a try.  The prep time is 10 minutes–you can’t go wrong!  The cake turned out moist, beautifully yellow on the inside and browned on the outside, bright-tasting with a hint of salt to enhance the sweet, and so fragrant.  Like a big burst of sunshine on an otherwise dreary day.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 8 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Dust with flour; tap out excess.
  2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Using your fingers, rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50–55 minutes.
  5. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Easy-Peasy Homemade Bread

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” –Robert Browning

This week’s Food Matter’s Project has all of us project participants baking bread.  I very nearly skipped it this week due to an unreasonable fear of failure surrounding bread baking. Glad I didn’t!  The host this week is Melissa and she has a beautiful blog, The Fauxmartha. Melissa’s bread looks amazing–I wish I could have called her for tech support during my bread baking today!  And click here to see how the other project participants fared.

I have had few successes with bread baking without quite understanding why.  Although this endeavor wasn’t a complete success, the minimal effort proved well worth it and although my baguettes looked more like little beached whales spread out on baking pans, they tasted wonderfully.  This process took so little time–and was well worth the effort!  When the bread came out of the oven I could scarcely wait ten seconds before tearing into a loaf and slathering it with butter.  Baking bread today was the best thing about my already quite good day.  Eating fresh-from-the-oven bread in your own home is truly one of life’s most beautiful moments.  As I enjoyed nearly an entire mini-baguette bit by bit, I was thinking of one of my favorite poems:

Vision–May Theilgaard Watts

To-day there have been lovely things I never saw before; Sunlight through a jar of marmalade; A blue gate; A rainbow In soapsuds on dishwater; Candlelight on butter; The crinkled smile of a little girl Who had new shoes with tassels; A chickadee on a thornapple; Empurpled mud under a willow, Where white geese slept; White ruffled curtains sifting moonlight On the scrubbed kitchen floor; The under side of a white-oak leaf; Ruts in the road at sunset; An egg yolk in a blue bowl.

My love kissed my eyes last night.

I thought the author could have included the aroma and taste of freshly baked bread in this poem because it is a lovely thing.

I made my bread with King Arthur unbleached white flour because I was planning on giving some away and wasn’t sure that the whole wheat would be as well-received.  Everything seemed to be going exceptionally well (considering past failures) until it came time to slash the bread before popping into the oven.  My beautiful logs of dough flattened in a millisecond, reminding me of some doughy rubenesque sunbathers.  I was pretty heartbroken but much relieved when they came out and still tasted delicious!  At least I have somewhere to start from and something to improve on. Any suggestions on how to prevent this from happening again?

Homemade Baguettes recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s Mostly Whole Wheat Baguettes, The Food Matters Cookbook, yields 2 large or 4 small baguettes

  • 3 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • oil for greasing pan, optional
  • 1/4 c. sesame or poppy seeds, optional
  1. In a food processor, combine the flours, salt, sugar, and yeast. (You can mix the dough by hand, but it will take longer; use a big bowl and a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula.) With the machine running, pour about 1 1/2 cups water through the feed tube. Process until the dough forms a ball, adding one tablespoon more water at a time until it becomes smooth. You want a pretty wet but well-defined ball. The whole process should take 30 to 60 seconds. If the dough becomes too wet, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time and process briefly. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, at least one hour.
  2. Lightly flour your work surface and hands and knead the dough a few times. For small baguettes, divide the dough into 4 pieces, for larger ones, make 2. Roll each piece of dough into a log of any length that will fit into your oven. If you plan to bake the loaves on a sheet pan, lightly grease it with oil and transfer the loaves to the pan. Cover with a towel and let rise until the loaves are puffed to almost twice their original size, 30 minutes or so. Heat the oven (with a pizza stone if you have one) to 400° while you let the baguettes rise.
  3. When you’re ready to bake, slash the top of each loaf a few times with a razor blade or sharp knife. If you are topping the baguettes with seeds, brush each loaf with a little water and sprinkle them on. If you are using a pizza stone, gently transfer the loaves to the stone with a floured rimless baking sheet, lightly floured plank of wood, or flexible cutting board. Turn the heat down to 375° and bake until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature is  at least 210° (it can be a little lower if you plan to reheat the bread again later) or the loaves sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove, spray with a bit of water if you would like a shinier crust, and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Fruit and Nut Balls

I mentioned in a recent post that I was trying to find new alternatives for sweets that use little or no refined sugar.  These little nuggets of goodness will make you feel so much better about snacking!  I found and adapted a recipe from the Whole Living Detox Plan.  Don’t let that scare you–these are worth a try and are a great pick me up.

These fruit and nut balls take about 10 minutes to whip up and I imagine they would be a great “cooking” project if you have little ones–they can help you to make the crumbles into balls and roll the balls in sesame seeds or coconut.

This recipe is extremely versatile.  I used dates, prunes, raisins, and figs for the fruit.  For the nuts/seeds I used walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax seed, and pumpkin seed.  Next time I will try with just dates and walnuts or almonds because I love the combination so much.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds
  • 1 TBSP nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew).
  • Cinnamon
  • Course Salt
  • 1/3 cup raw sesame seeds or unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse dried fruit; transfer to a bowl.
  2. Pulse nuts and seeds until finely chopped.  Add 1 tablespoon of peanut, cashew, or almond butter to the food processer.  Add the chopped fruit, a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Pulse to combine.
  3. Grab small handfuls–about 2-3 tablespoons.  Form 1-inch balls; roll each ball in sesame seeds or in shredded unsweetened coconut.  Refrigerate in an airtight container to harden slightly.  Can also be kept on counter.

“No Work” Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Not too long ago I was raving about how I could waltz over to the bakery and buy a ball of pizza dough for $3 and make quick and cheap homemade pizza.  This week’s Food Matters Project recipe choice got me to take it a step further and make my own pizza dough.  The host this week for the Food Matters Project is Niki–check out her blog, Salt and Pepper to see what she did for this week’s recipe.  To see the other Food Matters Project participants’ recipes and ideas, head over here.

Growing up, I primarily had homemade pizza.  My mom would make the dough and press it into a couple of sheet pans, topping it with tomato sauce and cheese.  I can still remember the distinct taste of that pizza and remember hoping I didn’t get a corner–too much crust!  The real pizza treat when I was a kid was Pizza Hut.  In 5th and 6th grade our school participated in Book It!, a five month reading incentive program.  The deal was that you had to read five books each month.  For every month you successfully completed, the teacher would give you a sticker to put on your awesome Book It! pin.  I took Book It! very seriously–it was a BIG DEAL to me because we never had money to go out to eat.  With my pin filled out, I would go to Pizza Hut and get my free pan pizza.  I’m sure that one of the main objectives of the program was not just to get kids to read more but to get kids into the door to get their pan pizza and then have mom or dad pick up a pizza to bring home for dinner.  Not my family!  We would walk in and leave with my free pan pizza and I remember how excited I was about it all, smiling about what I earned while it warmed up my lap the whole way home.

Somewhere along the way, I figured out that wood fired pizzas and homemade pizzas were the real deal.  So I was excited about this week’s FMP recipe.  A chance to get back to my roots and make my own pizza dough!  Making the dough was easy-peasy-pumpkin-pie.  Just mix together a few ingredients and cover for 6-12 hours.

I made the pizza in my usual way, in cast iron skillets.  This dough recipe made enough for two thick-crust pizzas.  My only reservation was the stickiness of it.  Compared to the dough I get from the bakery, this was much more sticky and even stuck to one of the pans pretty badly.  I had to add extra oil to the other pan and that pizza released nicely.

I pulled together several toppings for the pizzas and had them ready to go.  Fresh mozzarella, a shredded Italian blend of cheeses, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, prosciutto, and some homemade tomato sauce.

I topped one pizza with spinach, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onion, and pine nuts and the other with prosciutto, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, and mushrooms.  The pizza took much longer to cook than when I normally make it–perhaps I had too much dough in each pan.  The result was crispier toppings but it all still turned out just fine.  The dough was very different.  I have had whole wheat dough before but this had a different, tangier taste to it due to the fermentation (hence the 6-12 hour rise time).  I would make this again, perhaps using a 2/3 white to wheat ratio instead to lighten things up a bit.

No-Work mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
  1. Combine the flours, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in 1 and 1/2 cups water.  The dough should be relatively sticky and wet, like biscuit batter.  If not, add a little more water.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and put it in a warm spot.  Let the dough sit for at least 6 or up to 12 hours.  (The longer it ferments, the more complex the flavor.)
  3. When you’re ready, heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Generously oil a baking sheet or large ovenproof skillet.  Dust your hands with a little white flour and fold the dough over in the bowl a few times.  It will be sticky, but resist the urge to use too much flour; dust your hands again only when absolutely necessary and use a light, gentle touch.  If you’re making small pizzas, divide the dough in half or quarters.  Gently press the dough into the skillet or onto the baking sheet; it’s not important that the pizzas be perfectly round, but you do want to be careful not to tear the dough.
  4. Brush or drizzle the top of the pizza or pizzas with 2 tablespoons of oil, cover, and let sit while you get the toppings together, but no more than 60 minutes or so.

NOTE:  Although Bittman cautions in his recipe to resist the urge to use much flour, I found that when I left the first pizza with as little flour as possible, it stuck to the pan and to my fingers, making it difficult to spread out in the skillet.  It also made it extremely difficult to remove from the pan and a chunk of the crust stayed in the pan.  With the second crust, I used flour until it was manageable and the crust slid out of the pan just fine and was easier to press into the pan.  I also used a bit more oil to oil the pan with the second pizza, which surely helped.

Some Cheesy Grits For Y’All

How y’all doing?  My recent cruise through the southeastern United States last week has inspired me to revisit grits.  When I was in high school I somehow found out about grits and diligently ate them every morning for breakfast day after blessed day.  Not a whole lot has changed…except now I am an oatmeal or oatbran type of gal.  It’s been years, I mean YEARS since I had grits until that fateful moment at the Compass Rose breakfast buffet last week.  Welcome home, Aura.

Seems like grits is making a comeback in the pages of food magazines (or else I just overlooked them before).  I saw mention of grits in two magazines on the roadtrip.  One was grits with cheddar and shrimp.  The other was grits with a poached egg.  Cravings kicked in…last night I picked up a box of grits and went the savory route.  I found a recipe on Food & Wine for Cheese Grits…a recipe that the contributor swears has inspired three marriage proposals.  Start lining up, boys!  A dish that will make your momma proud.  My take on the grits was made with extra sharp cheddar cheese and vegetable broth.  I served it with some kale, diced red bell pepper, and a poached egg.

Cheddar Grits (adapted from Food & Wine)

  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup of quick grits
  • 4 ounces of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.  Add the garlic and slowly stir in the grits.  Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender, 5 to 10 minutes (if you use old-fashioned grits it will take about 20 minutes).  Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter and cream.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Chocolate Wafers With Ginger, Fennel, and Sea Salt

Despite having a long-standing love of Easter (I love, love, love decorating eggs and putting together Easter baskets) this year’s gift of a basket full of candy has turned me off a little.  I have eaten all of my Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, my Cadbury Egg, and my Ferrero Rocher tray.  Oh my…well, let’s just say I am looking forwarding to moving past the last few days of shoving piece after piece of candy down the hatch.  It’s not me at my finest.

I’m on a search for some healthier sweets to make to wean myself off of the junky sweets wagon.  I pulled out a print-out I had…something I had seen on the Today show some time ago and wow…glad I did!  I always have thin crisps in my pantry for snacking.  I love topping them with thin slices of cucumber in the summer for a quick and cool snack but they are a great vehicle for so many things.  I had never thought about using them for a dessert.  These chocolate wafers have so many of the things I love in a sweet.  Dark chocolate?  Check.  Crystallized ginger?  Check.  Sea salt?  Check.  Candied fennel seeds?  Really?  Really.  It was a strange but great addition.

These were really quick and easy to make.  I highly recommend adding this to your snack repertoire.  Grabbing one of these beats grabbing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg any day.

Chocolate Wafers With Ginger, Fennel, and Sea Salt

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 to 75 percent cacao), chopped (I had 60% cacao so just used that)
  • 16 wafer-thin crispbreads, such as Finn Crisp (I used Kavli Crispy Thin)
  • 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
  • Sea salt flakes

Preparation:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is melted and coats the seeds, about 15 seconds.  Scrape the candied fennel seeds onto a plate and let cool.  Crumble any clumps to separate the seeds.
  2. Put the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts until almost melted.  Stir the chocolate until completely melted and an instant-read thermometer inserted in it registers 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Note:  you can heat chocolate on the stove also using double boiler method or bowl over pot of hot water.
  3. Working very quickly, dip a crispbread in the chocolate and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate in a very thin layer so it completely coats the crispbread.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with some of the fennel seeds, ginger, and sea salt.  Repeat with the remaining crispbreads, chocolate, and toppings.  Refrigerate the chocolate-covered crispbreads until just set, about 5 minutes.

Make Ahead:  The chocolate-covered crispbreads can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Salmon with Rhubarb-Cucumber Salsa

This week’s Food Matters recipe was Fish Nuggets Braised in Rhubarb Sauce.  It was chosen by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. For everyone else’s take, read through the comments on the Food Matters Project site.  I didn’t have time to make a dish earlier in the day so was going to give up on it altogether, especially since the recipe did not sound in any way appetizing to me!  Also, I typically try to cook the project meals during the day so I can take photos with natural light so I was also a little bummed that I missed that window of time today.

Late tonight I pulled out a salmon filet and started piecing together a meal…crispy salmon with pan-seared brussel sprouts.  A quick scan of my fridge pulled up cucumber, radish, mango…the makings of a nice cool salsa to top the fish.  I have two rhubarb plants in my yard and right before dinner was finishing up, I decided to run out and grab a stalk so I ‘qualified’ for this week’s Food Matter’s Meal.  It had the two main components:  fish and rhubarb sauce–bingo!  The photo stinks but the dinner was delish–the rhubarb had a nice tang to it, cooled by the cucumber.  The salsa complemented the fish well and it was a dish I’d make again.

My recipe for dinner:

Salmon:  Rub the salmon filet with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Broil for 5 minutes on each side until crispy on outside and tender but cooked on inside.  Drizzle with lemon-tahini sauce and top with a couple of spoonfuls of cucumber-rhubarb salsa.

Lemon-Tahini Sauce (my standby sauce for fish):  Mix a tablespoonful of tahini with a squeeze of lemon, some salt, and enough hot water to thin to a drizzling consistency.

Rhubarb-Cucumber Salsa:  Dice cucumber, radish, avocado, mango, and rhubarb.  Mix with a squeeze of lime juice, a dot of honey, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Lentil Hummus

Ever since trying the hot hummus from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, I have been in the mood for hummus with veggies.  I came across this lentil hummus in Martha Stewart Living this month and had to try it.  I’m so glad I did–it does the trick when you want hummus but is different enough that you don’t feel like you are just eating the same hummus over and over again.

Whole Living Lentil Hummus

Ingredients

    • 1 cup brown or green lentils
    • 1/4 cup cashew butter
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
    • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Cholula
    • Coarse salt
    • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
    • 4 pocketless whole-wheat pitas, toasted or grilled and cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, and reduce heat. Cover with a round of parchment, and gently simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Lentils can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)
  2. Place cashew butter, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and process until combined. Add lentils, and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. With motor running, add 2 teaspoons oil, and process until incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, and chill if desired. Drizzle with remaining oil, garnish with parsley, and serve with pitas.