Archive for May, 2014

Making Hummus with Dried Chickpeas

HummusOne of my favorite Lebanese restaurants churns out smooth, creamy hummus that’s unlike anything I’ve been able to make at home. Until now. The secret I’ve found is foregoing the canned chickpeas – you know, the ones that smell like cat food when you open them?

 

In playing around with making hummus from scratch I discovered that I was usually adding extra ingredients – more and more garlic, olive oil, and seasoning to cover up the tin taste of the canned chickpeas. When you make hummus from dried beans there’s no off taste to cover up, the beans are flavorful all by themselves. Making hummus with dried chickpeas doesn’t involve many more steps, just a little more planning. Plus, a bag of dried chickpeas costs a lot less than buying cans!

 

Tips for hummus success:

  • Don’t use flavored olive oil – I tried with with garlic oil and the flavor overpowers the chickpeas
  • Do blend in extra ingredients, like roasted red pepper, once you’ve made your hummus (although the plain variety is the best when you make it from dried beans)
  • Hummus becomes fluffier in texture on day #2
  • Chickpeas cook more evenly in a smaller crockpot but go ahead and use what you have on hand
  • Do double or triple this recipe!

 

Recipe

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas (usually available at the grocers either by the canned beans or in the Mexican food section)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. tahini (in a pinch you can substitute 1 tbsp. peanut butter plus 1/2 tbsp. each more olive oil and more reserved liquid)

1/2 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1-4 tbsp. reserved liquid from the beans

1/2 juice from a fresh lemon

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1-2 tsp. salt (sea salt, preferred)

 

Directions

  1. Place the dried chickpeas in a crockpot and cover with water – about 1″ above the beans. Soak overnight.Soaking chickpeas
  2. Rinse the chickpeas and empty the water from the crockpot. Place the rinsed chickpeas back into the crockpot and cover again with water – about 1″ above the beans. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the beans are tender (it’s okay to overcook the beans a bit). *Add in 1/2 tsp. salt halfway through cooking.
  3. Ready the food processor! Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the extra liquid.Blending Hummus
  4. Put the lid onto the food processor and place the oil into the dispensing funnel (if you have one; alternatively place the olive oil in with the beans before processing) and pulse the beans until they become mushy.Making hummus
  5. Remove the lid and add the tahini and seasonings; blend again. Add salt to taste.
  6. Adjust the consistency of the hummus with the reserved liquid. If you like a smoother consistency by all means add more – if chunky is your style, you’re done.
  7. To serve place the hummus, in a bowl and drizzle with extra olive oil and roasted pumpkin seeds or sprinkle with smoked paprika or cayenne pepper. Last night I just put a big pile of hummus on each kid’s plate.
Lebanese dinner

Lebanese dinner – grilled chicken, hummus, tabbouleh, pitas, cucumbers, and grapes

 

 

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Happy National Chocolate Chip Day! To commemorate the invention of chocolate chip cookies by a creative baker back in the 1930s, May 15th is the day to bake up a batch. But cookies are so 2013. Make muffins instead to pair chocolate chips with something a little healthier – oats.

 Open chocolate chip oatmeal muffins

Recipe

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins

 

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour (or go half whole-wheat, half all purpose or use just all-purpose)

1 cup oats

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg (opt.)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup milk

1 cup mini-chocolate chips

2 tbsp. ground flax seed (opt.)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dried ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
  4. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just softened.
  5. Fill each of the muffin tins up 2/3 full. (You can use muffin papers or generously grease the pan with baking spray.)
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just browned around the edges.

Optional: Add sugar crystals, chopped nuts, or extra mini-chocolate chips on top of the batter before baking.

*Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is.

 

Stacked chocolate chip oatmeal muffins

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Fast French Chocolate Mousse

Close up of French Chocolate Mousse

Once a year my mother would make chocolate mousse. It was usually at Christmas time.

 

Well, it’s not Christmas but for Mother’s Day I thought making mom’s mousse recipe would be a fitting way to celebrate. Right now my mom and dad are living abroad at the moment as medical missionaries so communication is with sporadic emails. For Mother’s Day I’m remembering mom by making her mousse recipe. It’s simple – chocolate, heavy cream, eggs (they’re not cooked). My mom always ordered fresh heavy cream for the milk man. I was able to get mine through a special order from my CSA, Fresh Fork Market.

 

 Chocolate Mousse

 

Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes or less

Servings: About 6

 

Ingredients

6 ozs. semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 1/2 tbsp. water

2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

 

Directions

  1. In a glass measuring cup, melt the chocolate chips with water in the microwave. Whisk until smooth and allow to cool.
  2. In a blender, blend together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cream and blend again for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture into the blender and blend for another minute.
  5. Pour the mousse into 6 glass containers (4-oz. ramekins work well).
  6. Refrigerate overnight and serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

5 Ways to introduce your kids to ramps

RampsRamps are the first sign – and taste – of spring. In appearance ramps look like tulip leaves outfitted with green onion bulbs. And the flavor is a mild to robust garlicly zing with undercurrents of onion.

Now how to get your kids to try leeks … there’s no disguising ramps green color but you can meld the flavor in with other foods that are familiar to your kiddos. Here are a few ways we’ve used them so far, so good.

 

Mixed into shredded lettuce on tacos

Thin sliced ramps can be tossed into shredded iceberg lettuce and then used to top tacos.

 

Sauteed in scrambled eggs

In a skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter and bring it to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of thin-sliced leeks to the butter and saute for 1 minute. Add in whisked eggs and scramble.

 

Stirred into cream cheese as a dip for chips

Purchase a container of whipped cream cheese and mix in chopped ramps along with salt and pepper to taste. Offer this as a dip for your kids with tortilla chips, baby carrots, and/or celery sticks.

 

Blended into sauces

Time to whip out the blender. Use it to mix ramps into spaghetti sauce or other colorful sauces that love garlic.

 

Plain!

I used ramp leaves instead of lettuce on sandwiches.

 

Now it’s your turn: Have you tried ramps? How do you like to serve them?

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Chocolate Coconut Tres Leches

Chocolate coconut tres leches on a plate

Tres Leches translates into three milks cake. With nearly the consistency of a pudding cake, the dense cake batter is designed to soak up a sweetened milk glaze that you pour over it before after baking and before adding the frosting.

 

I first sampled the traditional vanilla tres leches not in Mexico, but La Crosse, Wisconsin of all places. In a tiny Mexican restaurant frequented by college students and foodies our server brightened when we ordered the tres leches. The owner of Iguana’s Mexican Street Cafe made it from scratch and took great pride in serving us a huge slice. I’ve been thinking about making it ever since. That was July.

 

I wanted to amp up the flavor of the cake so of course I thought it needed chocolate. I found a version of Chocolate Rum Cake from Chow that lead me through how to add chocolate to both the cake batter and the tres leches glaze. But I also wanted to temper some of the tres leches glaze, which can become too sweet for my taste, with another ingredient. I found it in coconut milk – a great stand-in for much of the heavy cream and some of the sweetened condensed milk. I just couldn’t stop there. I also added dark cocoa powder into the whipped frosting for a rich dessert that really is more like Cinco Leches – sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, heavy cream, and milk chocolate chips. I usually opt for semi-sweet but this creamy dessert works better with a milky chocolate.

 

Both of the recipes I combined made the tres leches cake as a layer cake. I like it better in a casserole dish – it’s easier to make that way and serves more people. If you want a layered cake go ahead but your cake may not soak up all the tres leches glaze, which was another reason I went with the dish – I didn’t want to lose any of the sauce!

Chocolate Coconut Tres Leches

Recipe

For the cake

¾ cup water

2 tsp. dark cocoa powder (opt. I used black onyx)

½ cup cocoa powder

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 ¼ cups sugar

5 large egg yolks

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)

8 large egg whites

¾ tsp. cream of tartar

 

For the tres leches

4 ounces chocolate (milk chocolate chips work well)

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup evaporated milk

¼ cup heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)

Tres leches ingredients

For the frosting

2 cups heavy cream

1/8 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder

1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)

 

For the garnish

Shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Mini chocolate chips

 

Directions

For the cake

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously coat the inside of a 9” x 13” casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks, oil, and extracts until combined. Whisk dark cocoa powder into the water right in the measuring cup and then whisk into the egg mixture.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the flour until combined. (Lots of whisking!)
  5. In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites, ½ tsp. salt, and the cream of tartar in a bowl until the egg whites become frothy, about 2 minutes. (Yes, you’re essentially making a meringue.) Gradually add the rest of the sugar, ¾ cup, into the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  6. Working in three batches, add 1/3 of the egg whites to the flour-egg yolk mixture and fold together until there are no white streaks. Follow the same procedure with the rest of the egg whites.
  7. Pour the batter into the casserole dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Test to see if the cake is done by putting a toothpick into the center – if it comes out clean take the cake out of the oven. Cool the cake for 10 minutes.

Adding tres leches

For the tres leches glaze

  1. In a large, glass measuring bowl, melt together the chocolate and ¼ cup heavy cream in the microwave on medium-high heat for 90 seconds. Stir until smooth.
  2. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk in coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, extracts.
  4. Pour 1/3 of the tres leches glaze onto the cake. Wait 10 minutes and then pour the next 1/3. Follow the same process with the rest of the glaze.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or, if possible, overnight.

 

For the whipped topping

  1. With a hand-held mixer beat the whipping cream until frothy. Add the coconut milk and powdered sugar to the whipping cream until stiff, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in the extracts and cocoa powder and whip 30 more seconds.
  3. Spread the whipped topping onto the cake using a spatula.
  4. Optional toppings – shredded coconut and mini chocolate chips.
  5. Refrigerate 1 more hour.

 

To serve

  1. On a large plate use chocolate sauce (such as Hershey’s syrup – it’s for the design not the flavor) and make a swirl shape on the plate.
  2. Use the extra tres leches sauce in the pan to do another swirl of sauce.
  3. Cut the cake into square pieces.

 

*Not a coconut fan? The coconut flavor in this recipe is subtle. Nix the coconut extract and the coconut milk in the whipped topping if you don’t like coconut. Keep it in the tres leches and you probably won’t notice it. Or, just go ahead and use all heavy cream instead of any coconut milk.

 

Pieces of chocolate coconut tres leches

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)