Roasted Garlic Hummus

Along with the vegan cashew cheese and numerous smoothies I am now able to make with my Ninja, I can now make hummus. It may seem a little ridiculous that I’m as excited about it as I am crushed chickpea dip, but I haven’t been able to make my own since I left for school over two years ago. I have bought too many over-priced containers of hummus that were less than satisfying but now I can make my own and control the flavor balance and texture (slightly chunky is better than silky smooth, sorry not sorry). So anticipate seeing a bunch more hummus recipes to come in the near future.

Hummus 1

Roasted garlic hummus is basically traditional hummus but slightly better. All you do is replace the raw garlic that would traditionally go into hummus with almost double or triple that amount of roasted garlic. Roasting the garlic mellows out the flavor, so you need to add more to keep the integrity of the flavor.

Before we get too deep, you’ll need roasted garlic for this recipe. To roast garlic, go google it.

Actually it’s way easier than you think. All you need to do is cut the tops off of a head or two of garlic and cover with olive oil, wrap in foil, and place in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, checking on it at the 30-, 45-, and 60-minute marks. Allow to cool and then remove the cloves from the skin and keep in the fridge for unto 3 days, or use immediately in this hummus.

Hummus 3

Let’s get to that hummus recipe:

What you need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • juice of 1 half lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • up to 1/4 cup of filtered water
  • paprika for topping

What you do

  • Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process on medium until hummus is smooth. Add a little more water or olive oil if the hummus needs more moisture.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of paprika and drizzle of olive oil on top.
  • This will keep for about four days in the refrigerator, after that be careful because chickpeas can turn on you and wreak havoc on your insides. No one wants that.

Hummus 4

This is such an easy recipe to throw together for a party and it’s cheap. You can impress your vegetarian friends and your omnivorous friends will think it’s good too. Do yourself a favor and try it out this week.

Fried Rice

Rice is cheap and easy to make. It’s a great foundation for meals, and can be flavored to match whatever type of cuisine you’re in the mood for.

Frying leftover rice is one of my favorite ways to eat rice. You can add tons of veggies and tofu (or meat if you’re into that kind of thing), and turn it into a meal, or you can leave it simple and serve alongside a main dish.

I find that the best way to make fried rice is to use leftover cooked rice. I normally make rice to go with a stir fry or seasoned beans, and then fry it up the next day for lunch or a side dish. I normally eyeball all of this, so this is less of a recipe and more of recommendation for where to start on your own fried rice journey.

Fried Rice AWhat you need for one serving:

  • About 1 cup of cooked rice
  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup each of diced carrots, frozen peas, and frozen corn
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) each of minced ginger and garlic

What you do:

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil and a couple of drops of sesame oil to flavor it.
  • Once the oil is heated, sauté the diced carrots until they begin to soften.
  • Once the carrots are softened, add the rice to the pan and heat. Break up any clumps of rice that may have formed.
  • Add the frozen peas and corn to the heated rice.
  • While the peas and carrots come to temperature, beat the egg, soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger together.
  • Make a well in the center of the rice and pour the egg into the pan. Work quickly to incorporate the egg throughout the rice. Once incorporated, allow to cook for another minutes.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy immediately.

You can add whatever other veggies that you like to this mix. I personally love to add sliced mushrooms, diced onion, bell pepper, and broccoli florets. I normally start sautéing these in the oil before the carrots go in so that they get more time to cook.

Best of luck in your fried rice journey. It may become your go-to easy meal, and for that I will not apologize.

Spicy Tofu

I have tried to make this recipe three different ways three different times and have not actually found a way to make taste how I want.

But that isn’t stopping me from sharing it with you. I will also take this time to rave about tofu, so take it for what it is.

_MG_1175.jpg

I went vegetarian in February for Lent and had a couple of slips during the spring, but I’ve been all in since the end of May. During this time I totally have bought into the tofu love that’s so typical of vegetarians.

Don’t blame me. IT IS GOOD.

One of the best ways to make tofu that can go into stir fries or salads or even just to eat on it’s own is by frying it in a small amount of vegetable oil for about 6 minutes on both sides on medium heat and then lightly salting it. You can do this with any size of pieces. I normally start all tofu recipes by frying it, especially if it’s going to be topped with a sauce. This method of preparation makes a crisp outside layer and keeps the inside nice and soft.

For this spicy tofu “recipe” I mix sriracha (my actual boyfriend, sorry boys) with soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, a little bit of honey, and a tiny bit of minced garlic and ginger.

I whisk this all together in a bowl while I fry up some tofu. If I want to feel fancy I cut the tofu block into half long-ways and then slice them into little rectangles (like in these pictures) or if I have zero regard for how photogenic it turns out I dice the tofu into cubes that are about 3/4 inch.

Once the tofu is ready I reduce the heat to low and pour the sauce over it, moving the tofu around to make sure all the pieces are coated on both sides. Once they’ve been equally covered (we can talk about tofu equality at another point in time), remove from the heat and serve immediately.

unnamedYou can adjust the ratios of the ingredients to satisfy your personal preferences, adding diced onion or whatever else you think would taste good.

This pairs well with fried rice. Speaking of which, watch out for my next post about how to make fried rice.

 

Garlic Herb “Cheese”

This summer was a really great time of self-discovery and growth. I also bought a Ninja blender system. Now I can finally make a bunch of recipes that call for a blender or food processor and not feel like a foodie sham. I’ve also basically had a smoothie every day since it was delivered.

One of the things I had been dying to try was cashew cheeses, which requires a decent high-powered blender. I wanted to try cashew cheese sauces and spreads and feed them to myself and my friends. And that’s how we ended up here.

I miss snacking on cheese a lot, but I know that it’s way better for my health to minimize the dairy intake, so this was my attempt at making a garlic-herbed cheese (Boursin-style).

_MG_1142

I combined two recipes to make the final product, and I think it worked out really well. This was the main one that I followed, the ratios of the nuts to herbs was what I needed, but then I added some inspiration from this other recipe.

I wish I had paid better attention to my own ratios of herbs, but I can tell you I used one cup of cashews (soaked in water over night), the juice of one lemon, about 1/2 of a tablespoon minced garlic, and a heck of a lot of nutritional yeast. I also used a combination of  fresh minced basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley. A healthy amount of salt and black pepper rounded the cheese out.

I processed the nuts and lemon juice on their own and then folded the rest of the ingredients in, as to not break the herbs down too far.

Once everything was combined it was placed into a cheese cloth in a strainer over a bowl and was refrigerated overnight.

_MG_1136

I served this wonderful cheese with some crackers, but it would be delicious on crusty bread or even in a veggie sandwich. I used some of the left overs to make a creamy mushroom pasta sauce, it was reminiscent of alfredo sauce, without the heavy after-meal sluggishness.

This might not fool anyone into thinking it’s actually cheese, but that’s okay. It tastes really good, and is a great way to use some of the plentiful fresh herbs of summer. Even if you are a regular cheese-eater, I highly recommend that you give this one a try.

Oven Fries

Homemade french fries are one of those things that seem way harder to make than they actually are. This recipe is pretty straight forward, and is a staple that you should master as you expand your cooking skills.

From start to finish this recipe takes about an hour, including preparation. That’s about enough time to make a main dish to serve these with. But you don’t have to serve these with anything, sometimes I just eat these with a little ketchup.

_MG_1131

So let’s get to it.

What you need:

  • 1 potato (or more)
  • canola oil (or other high-smoke point oil)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

What to do:

  • Wash and trim potato to remove any dirt or unsightly eyes, if you like peal the potatoes, or leave the skin on for a more “rustic” feel.
  • Slice the potato into fries, keeping them uniform and the width no less than 1/4 inch.
  • Place sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover with cool water. Let rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Once the oven is preheated and the potatoes have soaked, drain off the starchy water and pat the potatoes dry with a clean tea towel or paper towels. Dry out the bowl.
  • Put the potato slices back into the bowl and add about 1 tablespoon of oil per potato.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika into the bowl and toss to coat.
  • Line a baking sheet with tin foil and coat foil with the oil.
  • Move potatoes to the sheet in a single layer. Cover with a single layer of foil and place in the oven.
  • After ten minutes remove the foil and put the potatoes back in the oven.
  • Allow fries to cook uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring half way through (this will vary depending on the thickness of your fries and your oven).
  • Remove from the oven, transferring to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately.

_MG_1125

My favorite thing about fries is that they can be eaten with almost any dipping sauce or used as a base for chili cheese fries. When you make fries this way, it’s actually cheaper than buying the frozen fries, and you get to control how much salt you’re eating.

My last comment will be that these aren’t “healthy” per se, potatoes require a lot of salt and there’s a lot of carbs. But making your own fries from scratch can be incredibly rewarding (and you might impress some people along the way).

Black Bean Burgers

Every once in a while you find a recipe that is pure gold. And this one is just that. I found this recipe on a blog called Hot for Food. They do youtube videos of various recipes, but they also have their website that has a ton of vegan recipes. And everything looks so good. And what I have made so far is VERY delicious.

Although I’m not vegan, I am a vegetarian and have been trying to minimize my dairy consumption. I guess I’m kind of dabbling in veganism, so be on the lookout for more vegan recipes in the near future.

Anyway, as the summer draws to a close, there are a few more barbecues to head to, and certainly there will a few more times to grill out and it’s always great to have a black bean burger recipe that makes even the omnivores want to skip the beef. That’s why you need to try this recipe now.

_MG_1118I’m not going to re-write this recipe because it’s perfect the way it is(and it’s not my recipe to post), so go here to make your own. I followed this recipe the first time I had them, but this last time I skipped the barbecue sauce from the last step. It can kick the burgers up a notch if you don’t want a lot of toppings, but I like topping so I keep the patty simple.

This burger is great for three main reasons: the caramelized onion, the seasonings, and the balance between the black beans and the veggie “beef” crumbles. The onions both help bind and flavor the mixture, the seasonings can take to patty to super spicy or keep it at the base level (depending on how heavy handed you tend to be), and the combination of the beans and veggie crumbles provide a perfect texture. This burger doesn’t pretend to be beef, and that’s totally okay. But it really is the best vegan burger around. _MG_1131

These freeze pretty well. Wrap them uncooked in freezer paper and pop them in the freezer for unto a month. When you’re ready to have them, let them defrost in the fridge for about 12 hours, and then cook per usual. If you go for the frozen route, it is a good idea to use some barbecue sauce to add a little moisture back in.

If you make a batch (makes about 8) of these once a month, you’ll never go back to Morningstar or Boca patties. You’ll get more bang for your buck once you realize how great these are.

Skillet Cheesy Bean Dip

After about 11 months without my cast iron skillet, I was reunited with the best thing that happened to me (food wise). So I had to break it back in somehow. What better than something cheesy?

Plus I love dipping things out of the skillet when there are friends around the table. There’s something so intimate about eating together and eating directly out of the serving dish. It almost feels like you’re breaking the rules, but when you get to make the rules (wait, when did I get old enough to do that) it doesn’t really matter, does it? Anyway, dips bring people together.

_MG_1108

This recipe is one to keep around for a while. It’s cheesy and creamy and around yummy. It’s pretty easy to put together, so you can impress your friends without a lot of effort.

I heavily adapted this recipe from Heartbeet Kitchen.To be honest, the plan was to follow the recipe exactly, but after two trips to the store and the realization I forgot a few ingredients I decided to use stuff I had on hand.

_MG_1110

It turned out great! I wished for more of the bubbling cheese on the top, but I’m still pleased with the outcome. So here’s how it happened:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can  great northern beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup cooked Quorn chikn tenders, cooked with salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 can Rotel

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees, grease cast iron skillet with canola oil
  • Blend 3/4 of beans with the cream cheese, garlic, cumin, and half of the cheeses in a food processor until smooth
  • Fold in cooked chickn, corn, and 1/2 of the can of Rotel to the bean mixture
  • Spread mixture in the skillet
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese, Rotel, beans, and diced red pepper on top
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes
  • Serve immediately with corn or pita chips

_MG_1113

This is really way too good. Share with a friend so that you don’t accidentally eat all of this yourself.

 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Baking in the summer seams near impossible most days, but when the payoff is something moist and delicious, you can’t complain too much.

I received a couple of large zucchini last week and immediately knew I had to make zucchini bread with at least one of them. So I did.

ZucchiniBread1

I mostly followed this recipe, except I subbed melted coconut oil (not hot, just liquified), cacoa powder instead of the cocoa powder and I skipped on the instant coffee, it’s just not necessary when the cinnamon is there. It kind of turned this into a “superfood” deal, but honestly there was so much refined sugar and flour that it’s still basically a cake.

The bread is moist and soft and stays that way for several days, even when sliced. Plus this recipe is great because it makes two loaves, so you can give one away. AND the chocolate flavor really adds some novelty, so it’s not the same old zuke bread that you’ve been making for years.

ZucchiniBread2Since this is a basic quick bread, it was less than 20 minutes of active prep time, and 10 of those were shredding the zucchini by hand. If you have a food processor that can do the shredding, let it to the work.

There is, however, a good amount (or bad maybe) of down time with this one. The first half is an hour or more that you need to let the zucchini drain, you’ll end up with about a cup of water if you wait long enough. You can also squeeze the water out by wrapping the shredded zucchini in a cheese cloth and wringing it out.

The second half of the waiting is the baking, which can take up to one hour and 20 minutes. Yeah, it’s a lot, but it’s worth it. If you just cannot wait, you can go ahead and make this in muffin tins and it’ll be about 20-30 minutes in the oven at the same temp.

ZucchiniBread3

This stuff is so good, I ate a whole loaf on my own in just three days (it would have been one if I had less restraint). So I highly recommend trying this recipe out if you have more zucchini than you know what to do with.