Hummus

humus (1 of 1)

Timothy van Poucke, photographer

And you are all thinking: Oh no, not another hummus recipe on a cooking blog!!!! I know, I know…..  No I am not posting this hummus recipe by default. Never mind that I have loads of papers to grade and couldn’t think of anything else to make for lunch that was quick and nutritious.  I am posting this recipe because this hummus is delicious and quickly made, has a light taste, it’s loaded with protein and makes a perfect sandwich, snack or part of a salad. Although I really like tahini in general this humus is tahiniless, since I don’t like the heaviness that it creates in this otherwise fresh summery dish. Chickpeas are creamy enough on their own, specially combined with olive oil.

Hummus

1 can of chickpeas (2 cups cooked chickpeas)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste

1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
1 tbs. cumin seeds
2 tbs. olive oil extra
1/2 chili pepper finely chopped
cilantro
black olives
paprika powder
extra olive oil

-purée the chick peas, olive oil, lemon juice, one clove of garlic chopped and salt with a hand blender until creamy, stir in the chopped black olives and some of the chopped cilantro leaves
-in a heavy frying pan heat the  2 tbs. olive oil and add the cumin, chili pepper and other piece of garlic chopped.
-stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant
-place the chickpea purée in a serving bowl and drizzle with the olive oil cumin mixture
-sprinkle the hummus generously with powdered paprika
-sprinkle the roasted pine nuts on top
-drizzle with a bit more olive oil and possibly a bit more lemon juice
-garnish with cilantro, parsley or chives (I didn’t have any today)

 

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Peas!

pea spread (1 of 1)

Photography: Tim van Poucke

 

Don’t you just love the feeling of being able to whip-up some elegant looking dish in less than 10 minutes and wow everyone around you and most of all yourself? Well, this Green Pea Tapenade will do that for you!
It has been a long and wonderfully hot weekend filled with activities. This hot weekend has really lent itself to light food with minimal cooking time and fresh tastes and colors. Stuff that you can just eat in the garden while drinking a glass of wine with friends or finishing that book which you only have time to read on the weekends. In our family’s case that would be food which lends itself to being made while major busyness is taking place around the house, like painting the house, helping out with homework, making summer plans, talking to your BFF for hours on the phone, grading papers etc….At about 11 today I thought of making this tapenade. I realized that I had almost finished a bag of raw fresh peas all on my own, since every time I passed by the refrigerator I would stick my hands in a bag filled with peas which I would greedily eat while doing something else. That is, eat the ones that wouldn’t fall on the floor to be eaten by the dog in the process of me putting them in my mouth while multi tasking and doing god knows what at the same time.  I figured I’d better think of something to do with the rest of the peas to avoid getting extremely bloated by eating an excess of raw peas as well as to prepare something to eat that others beside myself could appreciate and enjoy. This recipe is very easy and can be eaten in a much more elegant way than I ate those raw peas while roaming around the house. It can be used as a tapenade, on a sandwich, pizza or as a part of a salad platter and please accompany it with a glass of sparkling white wine! Feel free to use frozen peas if you don’t have fresh ones, although in that case you may get less of the nutty crispy taste and a more of a humus like texture.

Green Pea Tapenade

2 cups of fresh (or frozen) green peas
sea salt
olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
black pepper
finely sliced spring onions

-blanch the peas in boiling water for about 2 minutes
-drain the peas and put them in a bowl
-drizzle with good quality olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste
-blend with the hand blender (it doesn’t need to be totally puree)
-drizzle with lemon juice
-stir in the chopped spring onions
-adjust the salt and sprinkle with pepper if you like

pea spread bowl (1 of 1)

Photography: Tim van Poucke

pea spread with anna (1 of 1)

Anna enjoying her Green Pea Tapenade/ Photography: Tim van Poucke

 

Cheezy Tofu

Eat with bread or cracker, or as filling for some veggies, or as a filling for dates, or in salads delicious mixed with seasonal tomatoes and basil!

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Among non vegetarians tofu often gets a bad wrap. I can understand why if you look at it from the perspective of the “normal” western taste. Westerners in general are not so enthusiastic about bland tastes, we like strong flavors and extremes: fat, sweet and salty. But due its modest and bland character, tofu is a very agreeable and willing to comply with the idiosyncrasies of our western taste. We can fit tofu into many different costumes and the “cheezy” costume is one that can be approached in several different ways. Why create the illusion of cheese? Well, one reason could be a desire to not eat animal products due to one or all of the many reasons out there: animal welfare, environment, allergy to dairy, avoidance of saturated fats, etc…. while at the same time having a cultural attachment to the texture, taste and feel of cheese; recognizing the need to eat foods which are not only good for us, but also fit with our traditional sense of what food means in a cultural and social context. To me part of the magic of cooking involves the fun of playing with wholesome traditional ingredients to achieve a desired taste and feeling which would make dishes fit into our own personal concept of what an enjoyable eating experience is, while maintaining personal and environmental good health.
To make dishes that excite you, you must learn to understand your characters(ingredients), and see their potential role in the drama of your cooking.Tofu may seem like a nondescript bystander, but why not see it as a white canvas, with all its possibilities?

1 package of tofu
2 tbs. olive oil
sea salt
1 tsp of miso or vitamix
1/4 pine nuts
extra olive oil

-crumble the tofu with your hands and then puree it with the hand blender
-add 2 tbs olive oil and salt and blend well
-add miso or vitamix, blend
-add the pine nuts, leaving a tbs for later
-blend again, but just for a second as to not to puree the pine nuts too much
-place mixture in a ceramic ovenproof dish, or in another oven dish
-drizzle the extra olive oil on top(about 1 tbs)
-put in the oven at 200*F for about 10 minutes, looking at it regularly so that it doesn’t burn.
-the last 2 minutes of baking sprinkle the left over pine nuts on top