Hummus

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I recently had a life-changing experience in the realm of Mediterranean food. There is a lovely gem of a restaurant in our neighborhood called The Olive Tree and Robert and I had never given it a chance up until a few months ago. I’ve always been a bit underwhelmed by the Greek food I’ve made and/or ordered at restaurants. That is, until we decided to try something different for a quick weeknight dinner. I ordered the chicken shwarama with hummus, Robert got the spicy chicken and mushroom dinner, and the rest is delicious history. I now frequently crave their hummus and pita bread after a long day at work. More so, I dare say, than pizza (!?!). The Olive Tree has made a Mediterranean convert out of me and I am not ashamed to admit it.

I decided to make a homemade version of hummus myself and was quite pleased with the outcome. While I still am forever loyal to our beloved Olive Tree, this hummus is a budget-friendly and delicious alternative. It’s also a healthy snack for this weekend’s Super Bowl.  I have to admit, though, that I don’t follow NFL football at all, but I enjoy the social aspect of the game. 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Looking for other appetizer ideas for Sunday’s big game? Here are a few of my favorites:

Cajun-roasted shrimp

Baked jalapeno poppers

Buffalo chicken dip

Baked garlic fries

Hummus

Printable Version

Yield: About 2 1/2 cups hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tahini, stirred well
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1.Put the chickpeas, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Pulse for 15 to 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse for another 15 to 20 seconds. Add the lemon juice, tahini, and water. Pulse for about 20 seconds longer. Scrape down the bowl; and, with the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Serve with pita bread, vegetables, or eat straight from the bowl.

Source: Alton Brown 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

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I’m back! After the whirlwind that was the holidays, I sort of put food on the back burner (pun intended). We’ve had a lot of fun things going on after we rang in the New Year and most recently spent a skiing weekend in Maryland with friends. Unfortunately, Robert got sick with the flu and we had to cut the trip short (insert PSA for flu shots here). The poor guy is currently parked on the couch and on the mend. To help make things a little better for him, I decided to make a cream of mushroom soup. A lot of the recipes I found called for a variety of mushrooms, but I felt like keeping things basic and went with only the crimini. The extra addition of sage and thyme give the soup a delicious depth and it’s a perfect meal for a cold, snowy day.

I’ve experimented with making my own versions of cream soups and what I have learned is that, if you are using an immersion blender to puree the soup, always do so before adding in the cream/milk part. Otherwise you’ll end up with a frothy liquid that resembles a bad latte; unless you like mushroom lattes, in which case- blend away.

Happy Monday, everyone!

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I also included a few snapshots from our skiing weekend before the plague hit.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

Printable version

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1lb crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup lowfat milk
  • Olive oil

Directions

1. Heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the mushrooms and onions and sauté until softened and the onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté for about a minute longer.

2. Add in the seasonings and stir. Carefully pour in the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure nothing sticks. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add in the cream and milk and heat until hot. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Use Real Butter