Tag Archives: hummus

Verdant.

12 Jun

June 11 2011

Verdant. I just love that word. In case you don’t know, it means:

1.green with vegetation; covered with growing plants or grass: a verdant oasis.

2.of the color green: a verdant lawn.

3.inexperienced; unsophisticated: verdant college freshmen. (source)

In the context of this post I am referring to definitions 1 and 2 (I’ve actually never used it in the context of definition number 3 before). My sister and I like to use verdant in reference to outfits – ie, if one of us is wearing a lot of green, we tell the other that she is looking very verdant today, but I don’t think that is a typical usage.  Winking smile I love all things verdant in the spring – nothing like lots of green after a long winter.

The first verdancy (turns out that’s not a word, but I’m making it one) to which I am referring is my garden – it seems like it has grown SO much this week. We’ve got lettuce that could be harvested, increasingly bigger bean and pea plants, tomatoes that got caged yesterday, and tiny little peppers starting to form! I would say that my garden is a veritable verdant oasis, wouldn’t you?

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I also made a verdant appetizer for the spring dinner party my sister and brother-in-law had last night to celebrate the arrival of their new dining room table: spring green hummus. I had this idea (and I’ll admit, with all the food tv and blogs I take in, it’s probably not entirely mine) to make a dip out of edamame and asparagus, and that’s exactly what I did. It was delicious, easy, and a big hit at the party. I want to make more. Here’s how to make this verdalicious (okay, definitely not a word, but I can’t help myself) delight.

Spring Green Hummus

  • IMG_17211 cup frozen edamame and/or lima beans, thawed (I would have used all edamame, but they didn’t have any at the grocery store on Friday, so I improvised with the lima beans, it turned out fine, so I think one or the other, or any combination would work)
  • 1 heaping cup chopped cooked asparagus (I cooked it a bit more than I would if I was eating it, I wanted it soft for pureeing)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (feel free to try another herb/herbs of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup PC Blue Menu Tzatziki (I think Greek yogurt or sour cream would work just fine though)
  • 1 head garlic, roasted (to roast, spray a sheet of aluminum foil with PAM, cut off the top of a head of garlic, wrap in foil, then bake at 425 for about 30-40 minutes or until tender. Let cool then peel off skin before using)
  • salt and pepper to tasteIMG_1722

Making this stuff is a cinch! Just put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend away. Season to taste with salt and pepper, chill for a bit, and you’re good to go! It’s a slightly chunky dip, I think due to the fact that the beans are not super-soft, but no one seemed to mind.

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I served the dip with fresh veggies and Popchips (several of the partygoers had never had them before, the were big fans. I’m happy to share the love). Check out my snazzy little parsley and chive flower garnish. Fancy, no?

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The dinner party, of course, was lovely (if you know my sister, you would expect no less). The flowers in Mason jars made a simple but elegant centrepiece, and the food was simple and elegant as well. We started with my dip and another appetizer, my sister and brother-in-law looked after the meat and Catherine made her signature spring pasta dish – an asparagus/ricotta/parmesan/olive oil creation. Two other guests brought yummy salads. My plate’s above – a small piece of chicken, salads, and pasta. I had seconds of all but the meat.

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I did my best to use self control, and finished the meal feeling like I had not stuffed myself, and sampled a lot of delicious spring dishes. My real triumph, however, came in the dessert department. My sister made her absolutely delicious (I know because I’ve had it before) shortcake to enjoy with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I had a few crumbs while helping serve, but when it came time for my dessert, I just had the unsweetened berries and a bit of (real) whipped cream. Hello, self control! Not that I couldn’t have the cake, I just chose not to…part of the Shape up for Summer challenge, I guess you could say. Sweet success, especially for a dessert lover like me.

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I left the dinner party by 9, since I had an hour’s drive ahead of me, didn’t want to be home late, and because I wanted to stop at Chapters and use my 25% off coupon! With it, I bought the Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook (so expect to see recipes coming up). And since I skipped out on cake, I didn’t feel at all guilty about treating myself to a light caramel frappucino for the road. Smile…I also had room for a late-night soft serve treat before bed. I know night time eating is not the greatest habit, but I just love my bed time snack, what can I say? And you can’t really argue with a treat as healthy as fruity soft serve.

I hope your Saturday was simply delightful (maybe even verdant)….do you ever use that word, or is it just me?

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Seeing Red (pepper)

13 Feb

My mom is having a get together with some of her friends today, and she asked me to cater…of  course I said yes (very rarely do I turn down the opportunity to make food)! The menu is a mix of sweet and savoury finger foods (full recap to come later). One thing I struggle with if hosting get togethers where I’m in charge of food is how “healthy” I want to go. If it’s a special occasion, I like to splurge….but on the other hand, I don’t want to go overboard, and it’s good to have healthier options. Today’s menu is a mix of both (more splurges though than healthy options) but this is one of the healthier options…I made my own roasted red pepper hummus. Full of flavour (and a nice colour), and pretty easy to make. I love hummus….it’s healthy, and so versatile, easy to throw together, and great for parties or to pack in your lunch (which I plan to do with leftovers…unless there aren’t any 😉 ).

Here’s the rundown on ingredients and what I did…remember, I created this myself without a recipe, so ingredient quantities are approximate.

Roasted red pepper hummus:

2 cloves garlic

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (but reserve a tad of the liquid)

A few leaves fresh basil

A few sprigs fresh parsley

2 jarred roasted red peppers

About 2 tbsp fat free sour cream

A couple of splashes lemon juice

Leftover pre-made hummus (this is by no means necessary…I just had it in the fridge and wanted to get rid of it)

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

About a tsp of Epicure Roasted Red Pepper Dip Mix (again, not an essential…I just had a bit left in the jar and wanted to use it up)

About a tsp of cumin

Here’s what I did:

Put the garlic cloves in a mini food processor. Pulse a few times until finely chopped. Add all remaining ingredients plus just a splash of the liquid from the beans to make things blend easier; blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. I didn’t actually add the cumin until the very end, after I had put the hummus into another container. I felt it was missing something, and I thought cumin would add the perfect smoky background…and I was right…it completed the flavour profile perfectly. This is what the dip looks like when it’s done – nice and smooth, with a slight red colour. Let it chill for a couple hours (or overnight, as I did) to let flavours blend. The chickpeas I used had no added salt so I found I had to add more garlic salt than I typically would.

I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe, but if you can’t find/don’t have roasted red peppers, I think this hummus would still be yummy without them as a plain hummus. With the peppers, it makes just shy of 3 cups.