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Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

March 16 2014 071 Edited Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

This one I was not sure I was going to share. See that chunky texture? That’s not hummus. Or at least hummus the way I like it, all smooth and creamy and beautiful.

My homemade hummus took on a consistency similar to natural peanut butter. Creamy, but not creamy like Jif. And even though Jif peanut butter is filled with ingredients that are not peanuts, that smooth dollop of delicious looks as good as it tastes.

So after this, my second hummus attempt, (my first was of the zucchini Parmesan variety), I planted myself firmly in the buy camp of the DIY or buy hummus debate. (There is no real debate. Thriving on controversy is simply one of my character flaws.)

Then I sat down to catch up on my blog-reading and came across seemingly all the hummus resources one could ever need.

March 16 2014 081 Edited Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

It started with a post on In Jennie’s Kitchen which led me to a chickpea cooking technique for smooth hummus. Somewhere along the line I ran into a Smitten Kitchen post about peeling the chickpeas, which I actually thought about when making my hummus but then promptly abandoned. I barely take the time to frost a cake, much less peel chickpeas.

So what did I learn? The consensus seems to be to boil your own chickpeas instead of using the canned variety like written in the recipe below. You can adapt what I wrote by using 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas in lieu of 1, 15 ounce can. Here are your resources:

Or, you can just chuck the whole idea all together and make sun-dried tomato dip. Do what makes you happy. Enjoy!

March 16 2014 070 Edited Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • 1, 15-oz can chickpeas
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup water (and more as needed)
  1. Puree the chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor until it starts to get smooth, about four minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa, olive oil, tahini, cayenne pepper to the food processor and continue to process until the mixture starts to smooth out. The mixture may start to clump at this point, so add water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
I typically find I can get 2 tablespoons of lemon juice from one medium lemon. You do not have to use olive oil in the recipe. I added it to help smooth out the hummus, but using just water would be fine too.


Banana Rum Cake

March 2014 118 Edited Banana Rum Cake

My calendar indicates the season is officially spring! The days are filled with light, the trees are studded with blooms, and the temperature has warmed by what feels like a whopping one degree.

I am a warm weather gal, and this wait for spring-like temperatures is trying my patience. I am also a very impatient gal, so I will let you draw your own conclusions about how I am handling this weather-related nonsense.

Fortunately, I have sense enough to realize that colder-than-normal temperatures as the biggest thing I have to complain about means I am actually doing quite well.

March 2014 091 Edited Banana Rum Cake

I have a kitchen stocked with ingredients I can bake with. It is not yet so warm that I do not want to think about the oven, much less turn it on (here’s looking at you, July). And I actually look forward to spring cleaning.

I started in the kitchen, turning to this recipe to use up a small bunch of quickly ripening bananas. The subtle flavor is delivered via a dense crumb that I can best describe as nearing a custard-like bread pudding.

It’s the next best way to get a banana rum fix this side of cocktails on the beach. Enjoy!

March 2014 099 Edited Banana Rum Cake

Banana Rum Cake
  • ¾ cup walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup rum
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 (medium to large) ripe bananas
  • confectioner’s sugar, for sprinkling
  1. In a skillet over low to medium heat, toast the walnuts (or pecans) until slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the self-rising flour, sugar. lemon zest and salt.
  3. Next add the melted butter, rum, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients.
  4. Cut the bananas into slices and add three bananas worth of slices to the batter, folding to incorporate.
  5. Pour the batter into an 8-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom and then lightly greased.
  6. Arrange the remaining banana slices across the top of the cake, pushing them in just slightly to be level with the top of the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Before serving, sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar. The sugar will melt a bit if sprinkled over a warm cake, but that is okay.


Irish Potato Soup

March 16 2014 024 Edited Irish Potato Soup

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! March 17 used to mean I embarked on an often unsuccessful quest to find something green to wear.  Over time, the quest shifted from green clothes to green beer. Today it has evolved into a search for a recipe with Irish in the title, which often involves potatoes. Last year it was Irish Mash. This year it is Irish Potato Soup.

Potato soup sounds about as exciting as my St. Patrick’s of Days Past. Imagine my pleasant surprise when this soup turned out to be magically delicious. (Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself).

I think it is the sour cream that makes this potato soup so much more enjoyable than others – which use whole milk as their base - I have tried. I can not say, given my love for mashed potatoes whipped with sour cream and my inability to eat a baked potato without a healthy dollop of the stuff, why I never thought of such a substitution before.

The most complicated thing about making this Irish potato soup is the bouquet garni. Fortunately, that is not complicated at all. A bouquet garni is simply one bay leaf, four sprigs of parsley, and four sprigs of thyme held together with a piece of string.

March 16 2014 009 Edited Irish Potato Soup

You don’t even need to peel the potatoes if you do not feel like it. I typically do not peel mine, if only because my mom always said the skin is the healthy part of the potato. Too bad we can’t say the same of a fried chicken.

In fact, the simplicity of this soup extends beyond the ingredients to the tools required to make it. I dropped the lid – which subsequently shattered – of my food processor this week, and I do not own a blender of any sort. I was not sure how I was going to make this soup smooth, but it turns out the potatoes and celery and onion are so tender after simmering for an hour, a fork would be sufficient to mash them all together.

I ended up using my hand mixer, which was perhaps not the most practical option, but it worked. Some bright green chives popped up in my tiny garden over the past week (come on spring!), so I topped my soup with those. Because bacon is the answer to anything, I think crumbling a piece of bacon over the top would be just as fine.

I’m off to find something green to wear. Enjoy!

March 16 2014 008 Edited Irish Potato Soup

Irish Potato Soup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled if desired and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bouquet garni (see Notes)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Optional: chives
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic followed by the onion, celery, and potatoes. Stir occasionally and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the broth, cayenne pepper and bouquet garni.
  4. Reduce heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for one hour.
  5. Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor or blender to make smooth.
  6. If you removed the soup to process, return it to the pot it was cooked in. Stir in the sour cream until completely incorporated.
  7. Garnish with sour cream and chives, if desired, and serve warm.
A bouquet garni is simply one bay leaf, 4 sprigs of parsley, and 4 sprigs of thyme tied together with a piece of string. Vegetables can vary in size, so a large potato to me may be a medium potato to you. For this soup, my medium onion yielded 1 cup and my potatoes yield 4 heaping cups.