Peanut Butter Hummus

We have our first houseguest this weekend!  It’s my dear friend Diego, spending some quality time with us before the wedding.  Which is officially less than a month away.  Holy crap.

Let’s not think about that, even though I think I’ve been pretty calm through the whole process.  Luke’s friends ask if I’ve turned into bridezilla yet.  I pretend I’m not offended.  Me, bridezilla, seriously?  Have they met me?  I am the most laid-back wedding planner ever.  We had our 4-6 week pre-wedding meeting at our venue earlier this week, and we finished the usual 2 hour meeting in one.  That’s how relaxed I am.

I feel like telling you about how un-stressed I am makes me sound more stressed.  But I swear I’m not.  Things are good.

Things are running as smooth as this hummus.  Things are as easy as making this hummus.  Things are as tasty as this hummus?  Ok, maybe that one didn’t work.  But things, and this hummus, are good.  The peanut butter taste is very subtle, and works amazingly well with the earthiness of the chickpeas.  Also, anything containing smoked paprika is automatically delicious.

I used chunky peanut butter from Trader Joe’s, where Diego and I will be heading today.  Huzzah!

Peanut Butter Hummus

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes about 2 cups

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 heaping Tbsp natural peanut butter, nothing with added sugar

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp smoked paprika

Shell chickpeas if you wish.  This will make your hummus creamier, though it does take time.  Add chickpeas to your food processor and process until finely ground. Add peanut butter and mix until combined. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil through the top. You may need to add more to meet your desired consistency. Add salt, pepper and paprika and mix.

Garnish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika if desired and serve with veggies and pita chips.



Minted Pea Hummus

My new card reader finally arrived in the mail yesterday.  At first I was ecstatic, until I hooked it up to my computer and stared at the rows and rows of photos I needed to go through.  Moving them onto my computer was ridiculous.  By the time I was done, I couldn’t even see my desktop background anymore.

Maybe I shouldn’t take so many photos?  But I can’t help it.  Do you guys think there are too many photos on the blog?  I always take a lot of shots to make sure that I at least get a few good ones, since looking at them directly on the camera only gives me a sense of what the lighting of the shot is like.

Perhaps I am too attached to my photos and I feel bad moving them to the trash can after I worked so hard to take them.  *Sigh* Such is life as a food blogger.

I guess I wanted a break from “traditional” hummus (hummus is technically supposed to be made from chickpeas) and broke out of the mold with peas.  Peas are one of my favorite vegetables (and Luke’s least favorite…go figure) so I’m trying to eat them without incorporating them into a meal that would make him scoff.

It’s not easy being green…it’s delicious!

This “hummus” is a cool and refreshing snack (after it’s done time in the fridge) thanks to the combination of peas and mint.  Thanks for the mint Mom!  So if you’re looking for an alternative to traditional hummus, (for other chickpea haters, who don’t hate peas) this would be a great substitute.

Minted Pea Hummus

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Makes about 2 cups

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups shelled peas, fresh or frozen

3/4 cup water

2 Tbsp tahini

3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint (spearmint)

2 Tbsp sour cream

½ tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the peas and the water, cover and bring to a boil. Let this cook 5 minutes, then drain the peas and onions.

Put the peas and onions into the bowl of a food processor and add all the remaining ingredients. Pulse until you have a rough purée. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Spiced Hummus with Honey

Something terrible happened to me yesterday, and I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to cope.

Chickpea skins!

One of my contact lenses ripped in half…while still resting upon my eyeball.  I got one half out immediately, but the other took some extreme wrangling, leaving me with a very angry looking right eye.

Of course I have glasses.  They’re actually a stronger (so better?) prescription than my contacts, but boy do I hate wearing them.  I didn’t notice changes in my vision until 7th grade, and only got glasses to see the board from the back of class.  By my freshman year of college, I needed to wear them all the time, but adjusting to a life with glasses was hard for me, so I opted for contacts.

And they’re great.  Until they fall apart while still attached to your cornea.  Oh, and remember your next shipment isn’t coming in until the end of the month…when you thought you’d be needed more.  So yeah, I guess it’s my glasses and me for 2 weeks.  I don’t know if I can survive.

Some primo snack food will make me feel better.  I’ve been scouring the Internet for new hummus recipes, and after trying this one from the same website, I knew this one was worth a shot.  Honey in hummus?  Weird, but good.  Good weird if you will.

Definitely a nice break from the normal garlic-lemon flavored hummus.  Try it for yourself and see!

Spiced Hummus with Honey

Adapted from Cara’s Cravings

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Two 15oz cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed (and peeled)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
1/2 tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil
fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Combine first three ingredient in a food processor and whip until combined.  Add all other ingredients except for cilantro or parsley and process until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator, and serve cold or at room temperature.

Thai Pumpkin Peanut Hummus

Even though it’s pouring, today’s gonna be a good day.  How can I be so sure you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  Today Luke and I have another cake tasting!  Yippee!!!

I know, I know, didn’t we settle the cake business like a month ago?  Yes and no.  Yes, we put down a deposit at a particular bakery, but on a second perusal of their menu, we realized there was wayyy too much cake that we didn’t taste the first time around.

And if we’re going to order a wedding cake, I best be able to taste any flavor I’m even remotely interested in, just to make sure I’m, I mean we, are getting exactly what we want.  So bring on the cake!

Which is a great segway into hummus.  But this isn’t just any hummus.  This is probably one of the most amazing hummuses (?) I have ever tasted.  The name might sound strange, but the complexity of the flavors is incredible.  Pumpkin, peanut butter and scallions might seem like weird ingredients for hummus, but trust me, it works.  It works so well I never want to eat a different kind of hummus again.  Well, almost never.

Needless to say, this has definitely become my go-to hummus recipe.

Thai Peanut Pumpkin Hummus

Adapted from Cara’s Cravings

Makes about 2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and peeled (last step optional but so worth it)
1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp ground ginger
2 large scallions, chopped
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

 Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Add water 1 Tbsp at a time if the hummus looks too thick.  Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro if desired and store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  The hummus will keep for up to three weeks.

Classic Hummus

My grandma sends me crossword puzzles from the newspaper every week, and this time she drew this on the envelope.  It’s the Chinese character for love, isn’t that adorable?  Thanks Nana!

Unlike my affinity for bread pudding, I can pinpoint the start of my love for hummus.  I was in high school, and looking to branch out to new protein sources in one of those teenage phases where decisions about diets change weekly.  Thankfully, this one stuck.

The first hummus recipe I ever tried to make on my own never mentioned the word tahini, and contained entirely too much cumin.  It sucked.  A Lebanese friend of mine was gracious enough to step in and keep me from ever making that awful recipe again by providing me with a new one.

Which I dutifully recorded on an index card, then copied into this charming little Totoro notebook.  This is where I keep all the recipes given to me by other people, until they become digitized here that is.

I’ve made this hummus so often that now, I don’t even need the notebook anymore, because it’s all stored in my brain capsule.

I love this recipe because it’s so simple, yet so delicious.  Sometimes I like to add roasted red peppers or substitute roasted garlic for the fresh, but the base is always the same, and always scrumptious, even without the extra flavors.

In other news, Luke and I are headed to CT this weekend for his first ever high school reunion.  This should be interesting…

Classic Hummus

Makes about 2 cups

Two 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed*

¼ cup tahini

½ cup water

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tsp salt

roasted red peppers (optional)

 In a blender or food processor, whip tahini and water together.  Add in all other ingredients and puree until creamy.  If too thick, add extra lemon juice to thin it out.  Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.  The hummus will keep for up to two weeks.

*you can peel the skins off the chickpeas to make the hummus creamier.  It’s time consuming, but if you like your hummus super creamy, you might think it worthwhile.

Chive Parsley Pesto

It’s Wednesday already, and you know what that means.  Hop Day with Izzy!  Don’t you wish you were sprawled out like this bunny?!!  During the mini-heat wave last week, Izzy was stretched out a lot, probably trying to keep cool in our un-air-conditioned apartment.  She was cool, and I got some fantastic photos; win win.

Luke thinks we should dress her up somehow for Easter.  How does one make their bunny festive for such an occasion?  I mean, she’s already a bunny.  When I googled “dress up rabbit for Easter” I mostly got images of cats and dogs with bunny ears on.  Maybe she’s already as dressed up as she can be.

With April just around the corner, I decided to go in a very green direction with the last of my chives.  Not feeling another chive-y dinner, I decided to go with something that would preserve that chive flavor for later.

Oh pesto.  So vibrant and tasty on just about everything, and so versatile.  This version features chives and parsley and is currently being stored in my freezer in mini tupperwares for a rainy day.

On a side note, my dear friend KA is coming to visit today!!!  I’m so excited to share my kitchen with her and cook up some memories.

Chive Parsley Pesto

Adapted from Swallowing the Seasons

Makes about 1 cup

4 cups chives, minced

1 cup parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until all ingredients are finely chopped and well incorporated, pausing once or twice to scrape the sides of the bowl and test for desired consistency.  Add a drizzle or two more olive oil if it is too thick for you. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Store in the fridge, or transfer to Tupperware for freezing.  You can also freeze pesto in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a ziploc or tupperware once it is fully frozen.

Apple Cider Bundt Cake

Enter the year of the dragon.  Last year was the year of the rabbit.  I’m glad we managed to get Izzy during that time frame.  Luke is a dragon, so now you all know.  And I’m a snake…which is the next year to come, just in case you were wondering.

During the celebration of western New Year, I made this cake with my mom.  Before going down to CT I had some egg yolks to use up for whatever reason, so I decided to make pastry cream.  Caramel pastry cream to be exact.

I brought it along for the journey with the explicit purpose of pairing it with an apple cake.  I originally had hopes for a caramel apple layer cake, but my mom didn’t have round cake pans.  I was crestfallen, but determined to use that pastry cream nonetheless.

Since she did have a bundt pan, we decided on an apple cider bundt cake.  We had after all, just visited the local orchard/market and had picked up a fresh half gallon.

This cake is down right tasty, with or without the pastry cream.  It also ended up being breakfast the next morning, I love how bundt cakes are versatile like that.

Apple Cider Bundt Cake

Adapted from Pixelated Crumb

2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup apple cider, heated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan, or spray with cooking spray.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each, then add the vanilla extract.  Beat until incorporated.

Add in ¼ of the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Next, add in 1/3 of the buttermilk.  Continue to alternate adding the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beat until smooth.

Slowly add in heated apple cider.  Mix until just combined.  Wipe down sides of the bowl, then transfer batter to the prepared bundt pan.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool in pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.  Invert cake and let cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.

Caramel Pastry Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Spread the ½ cup sugar in an even layer in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat without stirring until the sugar begins to melt around the edges.  Using a heatproof spatula, slowly drag the liquefied sugar to the center and stir gently until all the sugar is melted.  Continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the caramel turns dark amber in color and begins to foam a bit.  Remove from heat and gradually stir in the milk.

The caramel will bubble up vigorously, then the bubbling will subside.  If the caramel seizes into a hardened mass, (like mine did) whisk the mixture over low heat until most of the caramel is dissolved.  Don’t worry about any small chunks; they’ll dissolve later.

Sift the flour into the caramel mixture, then whisk to break up any clumps.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in a small amount of the hot thickened caramel mixture.  Scrape the yolk mixture into the saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, and cook until thickened to the consistency of mayonnaise.  Press the pastry cream through a mesh strainer set over a large bowl, then whisk in vanilla and salt.  Let cool completely.  Cover remaining pastry cream and store in the fridge.