Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
The difference in taste between homemade hummus and store-bought hummus is astronomical. Homemade hummus is is so much more delicious and you can cater it exactly to your tastes (I like a little extra lemon juice and salt and a little less tahini). Plus, most people don't realize how ridiculously easy it is to make homemade hummus, and lots of it! Below is my recipe for roasted red pepper hummus but feel free to leave out the roasted red peppers or add in anything else that you prefer - olives, spices etc.

1 15 oz. can of chick peas
2 roasted red peppers
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 gloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Peel garlic cloves and allow to cook in the oil until fragrant, about five minutes. Put the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until you reach the desired consistency then add the oil and garlic and process again. Refrigerate for thirty minutes and use as a dip, dressing or spread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Edamame Walnut Dumplings with Soy Glazed Mushrooms

Edamame Walnut Dumplings
with Soy Glazed Mushrooms
My college roommate and I have always been very enthusiastic about dining out. However, one fundamental difference always existed in our preferences. She always craved Thai food and I just never wanted to go to a Thai restaurant. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy Thai food, because I always enjoyed it whenever I ate it, I just never had cravings for asian cuisine (unless its the occasional spicy tuna roll). Well, lately I have had a change of heart and am on a definitive asian cooking kick. Plus, filling wonton wrappers didn't sound like a bad time at all.

25-30 wonton wrappers
1 cup shelled edamame
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth, divided
3 cloves garlic
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt and pepper

Let me preface these directions by saying you WILL have dumplings left over. Just store them in the fridge in an airtight container and enjoy a gourmet lunch the next day!

In a food processor, combine edamame, walnuts, chives, 1/4 cup vegetable broth and 2 cloves garlic and process until the mixture is homogenous. Taste, season with salt and pepper and process again. On a baking sheet, lay out the wonton wrappers. Fill a small bowl with warm water, dip your finger in it and trace the outline of each wonton wrapper. Using a teaspoon, place a small dollop of the edamame mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. Fold over the wonton into a triangle shape and press down the edges so they are sealed very tightly. Next, dab some water on the center of the wonton and fold over each of the corners so the dumpling is in the shape of a pentagon.

Place the dumplings in a steamer basket coated with cooking spray over boiling water and steam covered for five minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small skillet heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Put the sliced mushrooms in the pan and do not stir for a few minutes so that they can brown and won't get spongy. Mince the garlic and add to the pan. Then add the soy sauce, some salt and pepper and toss in any extra loose edamame beans for color. Stir lightly until edamame beans are heated through.

Heat up the remaining vegetable broth in the microwave. Distribute the heated broth equally into four bowls. There should not be too much broth just a small amount to place the dumplings so they don't stick. Fill each bowl with dumplings, top with the mushroom mixture and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Caramelized Fig and Goat Cheese Crostata

Caramelized Fig and Goat Cheese Crostata

I love being able to whip something up without any advanced preparation for a recipe. I had not planned on lifting a finger to cook at all today. However, when my dad came home with a delicious carton of huge fresh figs from the farm stand the recipe wheels in my brain started turning. I popped a few into my mouth post dinner and resigned to the couch to read my book...

The figs kept calling my name. I headed back into the kitchen to see what I could come up with. Luckily, there was another frozen pie crust from when I made the Heirloom Tomato Tart, and I knew I could count on the refrigerator to house some creamy goat cheese. Voila! I had the makings of a delicious dessert.

1 9 inch frozen rolled pie crust
5-6 fresh figs, sliced
3 ounces goat cheese
2 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven the 375 degrees fahrenheit. Once the pie crust has defrosted, unroll onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Place the goat cheese and cream cheese in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on medium high power for thirty seconds. Mix in the chopped dried cranberries and cinnamon and stir to combine. Using a spoon or small spatula spread the goat cheese mixture onto the pie crust leaving about a 3/4 inch crust on the outside. Top with and even layer of sliced figs. Next, gently fold over the pie crust so that it makes a free-form crust around the filling. If the crust cracks at all make sure to press it together with your fingers. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg along the crust. This will make the crust brown nicely. Finally sprinkle the dark brown sugar evenly over the figs.

Bake for 15 minutes then turn the oven on broil and allow to bake for another three minutes. This will allow the brown sugar to caramelize on top of the figs and form a delicious brulée-like topping. I love the sweet and tart flavor combination of this crostata. Figs are some of the sweetest fruit and the goat cheese adds a nice tangy contrast. The creaminess of the goat cheese also plays will with the crunch of the brown sugar on top. Slice into six pieces and enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lemony White Bean and Arugula Salad

Lemony White Bean and Arugula Salad

I sometimes find it hard to restrain myself when making a salad. My motto is usually the more the merrier, throwing anything and everything into the salad bowl and often using more than one dressing. I've never been one for that generic side salad with a few sorry tomatoes and a soggy crouton to boot. No, I've never been fond of that. However, this is a salad that perfectly balances three easy ingredients with a light dressing so simple its silly.

I came upon this recipe at a free dinner hosted by the Italian Language and Culture Club at school. (Lucky me to have best friends as the ILCC co-presidents). I was struck by the sheer simplicity of the dish and of course by how delicious it was. I have since made it several times for friends and family, each time getting very positive reviews. This salad also found huge fans in BOTH of my parents, (mom a vegan and dad decidedly carnivorous) which was certainly a feat. Its time for this dish to get some publicity.

7 oz. bag of arugula
3 15 oz. cans cannellini beans
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Did I mention this whole recipe only has 7 ingredients? 4 of which you probably already have in your pantry. Guess what? The rest is easy too. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the bottom of a large bowl. Top with arugula and onion. Slice the onion as thin as you possibly can. In a small bowl place the olive oil and the juice of the lemon and a healthy pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and stir with a large spoon until all of the arugula is evenly coated. This salad is best if it has a chance to sit for a half hour or so, so that the arugula can wilt a little under the dressing. Serve as a side dish along some grilled fish or maybe an heirloom tomato tart. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart
Admittedly, consistency has not been a strong point these past few months. What can I say? I let senioritis get the best of me (lack of digital camera is a stale excuse). Let me make it up to you. How about a savory tomato tart to make the best of this summers bounty?

Every summer tomatoes flood the farm stands and this summer in particular I have taken to eating whole tomatoes just on their own - sliced and sprinkled with some kosher salt. Yum. But with my visiting aunt and uncle hounding me about the lack of blog activity I figured it was a perfect opportunity to get back on the wagon. Delicious Hamptons tomatoes, some gruyere cheese and flaky (store-bought) pie crust? Sign me up!

1 refrigerated pie crust
2/3 cups grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 shallot, sliced
3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons grated pecorino-romano cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and place an oven rack in the middle. Make sure the pie crust is thawed and roll it out into a 9 inch pie plate or springform pan coated in cooking spray. Layer the bottom of the pie crust with the gruyere cheese, chopped olives and sliced shallot. Arrange half of the tomato slices in an overlapping layer on top. Combine the flour and thyme and sprinkle on the tomatoes. Top with remaining tomato slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lastly combine the milk, grated pecorino-romano and eggs and whisk. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the eggs have set. Place the tart on a cooking rack for twenty minutes and sprinkle with dried basil. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade
These crab cakes were not just any crab cakes, but my first foray into shellfish cooking! How about that! My family sometimes gets stuck in a dinner rut and having volunteered to cook dinner, I wanted to make something that I knew neither of my parents would have ever done themselves. Crab cakes can be dry, bready, crumbly messes sometimes but I made it my mission to come up with a crab cake that was true to its name and made almost entirely of crab meat. I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light magazine and it proved to be very delicious. The spicy remoulade almost makes the dish. Almost. It is the perfect briny accompaniment to these yummy little crab cakes. It may look like there are a lot of ingredients but this recipe is pretty quick to make considering all you have to do is mix the ingredients in a bowl. You can do that, right?

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large egg
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 pound lump crabmeat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup canola-based mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

To prepare crab cakes, combine the first eight ingredients and stir until the mixture is homogenous. Add the panko and crab, tossing gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes.

After the crab mixture has chilled, fill a 1/3 measuring cup with the crab mixture. Invert onto a cutting board and gently pat into a patty. Repeat these two steps with the remaining crab mixture, forming eight crab cakes. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fahrenheit. Next, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add four crab cakes to the pan and cook for four minutes on each side or until the bottoms are golden brown and the crab cake is heated through. Remove the cakes from the pan with a thin spatula and keep warm in the oven. Wipe the skillet dry with a paper towel. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan and cook the rest of the crab cakes the same way.

To prepare the spicy rémoulade, combine the 1/4 cup mayonnaise, shallots, capers, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Dollop over the crab cakes and enjoy!

                        Monday, January 2, 2012

                        Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

                        Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
                        Homemade marshmallows have been on my culinary agenda for quite some time now. Especially around the holidays when it seems like all anyone can talk about are the endless amounts of Christmas cookies that sit on the kitchen counter for weeks. I felt like it was really my duty to mix up the ordinary dessert spread for the season. It was finally time for marshmallows to take center stage among other more ordinary holiday treats. Although it may seem like the directions are long, these are deceptively easy to whip up and make perfectly seasonal gifts when wrapped up.

                        Cooking spray
                        2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
                        2 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
                        3/4 cup cold water, divided
                        2 cups granulated sugar, divided
                        2/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
                        1 tablespoon vanilla extract
                        1/4 teaspoon salt
                        2 large egg whites
                        2/3 cup powdered sugar
                        3 tablespoons cornstarch

                        Heat a nonstick skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot place the flaked sweetened coconut in it and allow to toast for several minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the coconut is lightly browned all over and fragrant it is toasted properly. While the coconut is toasting, line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with plastic wrap and coat the plastic wrap with cooking spray. Spread toasted coconut in an even layer in bottom of pan and set aside.

                        Next, sprinkle the gelatin over the half cup of cold water in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining quarter cup of water, 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook, without stirring, over medium-high heat for about fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in softened gelatin.

                        While the sugar mixture cooks, beat the vanilla, salt, and egg whites at with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining quarter cup of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour in gelatin and sugar mixture, beating until very thick, about 5 minutes. At this point the mixture should resemble marshmallow fluff. Spread the marshmallow mixture over the toasted coconut in the baking dish. Coat 1 side of another sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray. Place plastic wrap, coated side down, over the marshmallow mixture. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least eight hours.

                        Sprinkle powdered sugar and cornstarch in an even layer over a cutting board. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap from the marshmallows and invert the baking dish onto the cutting board. Using a very sharp non-serrated knife, cut marshmallows into squares and enjoy!