Friday, December 14, 2012

Hummus... my new favorite addiction

I don't know why it took me so long that making your own hummus at home is so much better than store-bought... I can add what I want flavor-wise, and I know exactly what's going in it, so I don't have to worry about weird preservatives or a ton of sodium....

Here are two recent versions I have made and loved- I had a can of pumpkin hanging around and added it to the first one, thinking I would get pumpkin flavor. I didn't. BUT I did get a lovely fall color and a great creamy texture. Also, when I make these recipes, I like to let the processor run until the hummus has almost a whipped texture, I love the velvety mouthfeel and it makes it seem like I'm eating something luxurious instead of a healthy snack ;)

Hummus #1 Lemon Rosemary Pumpkin

1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 small clove of garlic, smashed. (this may sound like not enough- but raw garlic is potent, and it will get stronger as time goes by...)
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
Cumin to taste
2-3 tbsp lemon juice (start with 2)

Toss everything but the EVOO and S&P into the food processor and just let it go for a minute. Then slowly add in the EVOO a tablespoon at a time until you get your desired consistency. I try to keep it to a minimum, and the pumpkin really helps with the texture, so I think I only used 2-3 tablespoons here. Taste and then adjust the cumin, rosemary, and S&P as needed. You may also want a tad more lemon juice to brighten it up- if you really want a good punch of lemon, try tossing in some grated lemon peel.

Hummus #2- Curry Pumpkin

About 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, smashed and lighted roasted in a saute pan
1 tbsp honey
1 15 oz can chickpeas
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
Toasted curry powder, start with about 1/2 tsp and up as needed (and yes, toasted- trust me, it's totally worth it)
S&P to taste
Cayenne pepper (optional- I would start with about 1/8 tsp)

I roasted the garlic in this recipe to get the garlic flavor while keeping it from being overwhelming. It gave it a great flavor and it smelled a-ma-zing...

Just like last time, toss everything in a food processor except the EVOO, let it run for a bit and then gradually add the olive oil as needed.
Taste and then play with the seasoning- you may also want extra honey. I toasted some pine nuts and put them on top with a swirl of EVOO. So. Good.

Once you've started playing with different combinations, you will get more familiar with what types of flavors you like and then- just start throwing them in the food processor! Hummus is pretty forgiving, you can really have fun trying all kinds of new things. I made a pumpkin version of the standard hummus as well- chickpeas, tahini, lemon, pumpkin, dill, salt, EVOO. Bright, simple, delicious. Hmm... I may have to go whip some up now....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Super Easy Tasty Healthy Stir Fry and a Quick Asian Cucumber Salad

Ok, so it turns out that the secret to a super tasty and healthy stir fry is... coconut oil. There. I've said it. The secret is out. 

I used to make a stir fry that I really loved (and still do...) but it had brown sugar and a ton of soy sauce in it. Basically, a huge dose of sodium and sugar that was just unnecessary. So, during my recent experience with the Reset, I started using coconut oil in my stir fry. I also switched out my low-sodium soy sauce for Bragg's Liquid Aminos. Don't let the Amino part freak you out- it tastes just like soy sauce. This recipe is from the reset and it is incredibly simple. I eat it by the ginormous bowlful with a small scoop of brown rice or quinoa.  Yum. 

Step 1: Gather ye veggies. Many, many veggies. I particularly love baby squash of any sort in this recipe because they get all sweet and caramelized....


Step 2: Heat your oil. I use approx 1 tsp of sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp of coconut oil for the panful of veggies you will see below. As for pan choice, I have used both a wok and my beloved Bialetti Aeternum pans and they're both great. You want to use a fairly high heat here so the veggies get brown but stay somewhat crisp. The best pan is one that allows for searing- your standard nonstick pans will not get the good caramelization we are going for here.  

**This would also be a good time for a little shredded ginger and a smashed clove of garlic once the oil is hot. Let that cook for about 30 seconds and then move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Pile in the veggies! Remember, they shrink during cooking, so don't be afraid...  At this point, I usually do one good go-round of salt, but not too much, since the Bragg's will add saltiness as well. Depending on what veggies you are using, you may want to stagger them. Carrots, broccoli, onions, etc would go in first followed by squash and peppers, with leafy greens hitting the pan last. Mix to coat the veggies in the oil.

Once things are very close to done, let things get good and hot and then hit the pan with 2 go 'rounds of Aminos to deglaze the pan and get all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir the veggies so they're coated and then let everything caramelize a bit. Move things around after a minute or two to make sure all veggies get a shot at browned goodness.

This is sadly not the browned version- I got too excited and ate it without taking a final pic...

Serve with a little brown rice or quinoa and you're good to go! I also like having a bowl of this with a little cucumber salad (these amounts serve 2... or one if you're super hungry... or burn the stir fry):

Quick Asian Cucumber Salad:

1 English cucumber, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
splash of mirin
splash rice wine
salt to taste
toasted sesame seeds

Toss everything together, stir, pop in the fridge to get all happy while you make the stir fry. The acidity is a nice combo with the salty stir fry. I love it with a ton of the sesame seeds- they really make a difference- and toasted seeds are much better than plain, if you're thinking of just using plain. I found a giant shaker of toasted seeds for $6 at an Asian specialty shop. Best $6 I spent that day...