Monthly Archives: July 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips

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This post should be called “When Food Bloggers Match and Buy Sesame Tahini.”

Because that’s exactly what happened today, before hummus making went down. No, we did not plan to both wear blue button-up shirts with a white tank top underneath, tucked into shorts. I guess that’s just what happens when you start food blogging together.

We went to our quaint “supermarket” to buy some sesame tahini (in our matching outfits, yes), because that’s the only ingredient we didn’t have to make hummus. Pretty good, right? Almost a straight-out-of-your-pantry recipe, but not quite. Although it could have been, because two cans of tahini mysteriously appeared in Georgia’s kitchen. After spending almost $8 on a new can. Oops.

But back to cooking! We decided we’d share something savory with you, just in case you were starting to think we could only make dessert or other sugar-related things. Truth is, we are pretty well-rounded food bloggers!

To accompany the hummus, we also made some homemade pita chips. Semi-homemade, actually… Who has time/wants to bake pita in the summer? Really, packaged pita bread is fine. And it’s super-easy to make pita chips with it.
Just cut the pita into small triangles. The best way to do this is to cut the bread in thirds and then make triangles out of the slices. Feel free to eat the scraps of pita that don’t make the cut. No pun intended. Brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange the slices on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
After they’re nice and crisp, try and resist eating until you’re done making hummus.

The hummus recipe is adapted from epicurious.com. I found it a couple years ago and have used it ever since. Of course, now that we’re food blogging, we should probably be more creative with our recipes, so we made some changes to it. For now, we’re mostly adapting. But watch out world, I’m sure we’ll be making up some of our own recipes real soon.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (makes about 2 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15.5 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup well-stirred sesame tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
2-4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped

  1. Spread pine nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in oven heated to 350 for 5-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Alternatively, heat in a skillet over moderate heat until lightly browned, tossing frequently. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a garlic press or on a cutting board, mince garlic and salt to a paste.
  3. In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic paste, tahini, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Scrape sides down until hummus is smooth. Add salt to taste and add more water if hummus is too thick. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. In a clean food processor (or, just use the dirty one-nobody will know!), pureé the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, and red pepper.
  5. Transfer hummus back to the food processor and combine with the red pepper-parsley oil. Divide hummus between several small dishes (they’re cuter–but feel free to use a large bowl) and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve with pita chips and vegetables.


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Whimsical Spiced Apple Pie

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Pie is prettier with flowers next to it. Don't eat the flowers though.

You didn’t think we were just going to post a pie crust recipe without actually putting up pictures of the pie we made, did you? You did? Pshhh. Clearly we have a ways to go before you truly know us, my friends.

Anyway. Apple pie. It’s an American classic, or so they say. I’d been meaning to make it for a while… so long that the original Granny Smiths I had bought to make the pie with went all funny-looking and brown and new ones had to be purchased. And after an unfortunate incident last Thanksgiving with a pumpkin pie and some extremely soggy puff pastry, I wanted nothing short of perfection for this pie.  Thankfully, with the help of my FPIC (Food Partner In Crime) Caty, an apple pie was eventually produced, and it was delicious. I won’t go too into detail about the roadblocks that occurred as we baked, but they included a) Me breaking the cardinal rule of cooking and not reading the whole pie crust recipe before I tried to make it (sorry Caty… it still tasted good) b) a lengthy hunt in my basket of spices for the nutmeg and c) artsy sculpting with excess dough. I think it’s my calling, food sculpture… I took great pride in my Harry Potter marzipan creations (posted below).

Maybe it would be a good idea to shut up now and give you the pie recipe. It is from The Best Recipe, a lovely cookbook compiled from Cook’s Illustrated magazine recipes. I highly recommend it; it also houses the best scone recipe I have ever encountered. But I digress. Without any further ado, ladies and gents, I give you apple pie!

Apple Pie
2 recipes of the pie dough below
8 medium apples (Granny Smith, McIntosh, Honeycrisp or a mixture of the three)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white table sugar
1 + 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten lightly

  1. Prepare and shape dough into two disks, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 min
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  3. Roll one dough disk on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Place in pie pan and lightly mold to sides. Refrigerate while preparing fruit.
  4. Peel, core, and cut apples into half-inch slices and toss with 3/4 cup sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt, and spices. Plop into the chilled pie shell, juices and all, and mound slightly in the middle.
  5. Roll out second dough disk and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges (and, if you’re anything like us, use the extra dough to put your initials and other miscellany on the pie.) Use fork to seal, or flute edging. Cut four slits on dough top, and refrigerate if dough is very soft.
  6. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  7. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
  8. Transfer pie to wire rack. The book says wait four hours for it to cool before you eat it. I say fat chance.
  9. Eat plain, a la mode, or with Tabasco. Except I was kidding about the Tabasco part.

Ambrosia...


The Only Pie Dough Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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I’m serious about this: Food & Wine’s All-Butter Pie Dough is the only recipe for pie dough you will ever need. It’s made with only four ingredients (flour, salt, butter, and water), or three, if all you can find in your fridge is salted butter and are too lazy to go out and buy unsalted. I’ve used this recipe to make pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, apple pie (photos and a post from Georgia coming soon!), and even quiche.

The recipe is really simple: basically, throw everything in a food processor than refrigerate. It’s pretty tough to mess up. If you’re like some of us food bloggers (who will remain nameless) and don’t read the recipe before you start, putting all the ingredients in the food processor at once will not make the pie any less delicious. And it doesn’t even matter if the only plastic you have to wrap the dough in are two zip-top snack bags, or if you decide to freeze it for ten minutes instead of refrigerating for thirty (did we mention how impatient we can be?). I guarantee you, even if you don’t follow the recipe exactly, it will still taste delicious. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with pie crust containing a whole stick of butter, can you?

By the way…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGIA!!!

Harry Potter Treats? Oh Yes, We Did

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We love having an excuse to cook or eat. Birthdays, movies, weddings (especially royal weddings!)… they all provide for a great excuse for food.

So for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, we just had to whip up some Potter-related treats.

It was sort of a spontaneous, last-minute idea, so unfortunately, unusual treats like chocolate frogs did not make the cut. I’m not even sure where I would even begin to search for a frog chocolate mold.

We decided to keep it simple and make pumpkin pasties and licorice wands. There’s actually a surprising amount of Harry Potter recipes on the Internet (here and here), and even a Harry Potter cookbook!

For pumpkin pasties,we followed the recipe from harrypotterrecipes.net. Pumpkin pasties are basically tiny pumpkin pies, folded in half. Super-convenient, if you’re planning on sharing with your muggle (um… magic, sorry!) friends. Dusted with cinnamon, they’re probably the most satisfying treat you can have at 2:30 in the morning, after the most intense Potter ever made.

For licorice wands, we used what we had available: Twizzlers, milk chocolate, and rainbow sprinkles. Although they didn’t look as good as others with black licorice and white chocolate, they were still yummy. To make licorice wands, simply dip the tops of Twizzlers into melted chocolate and dip in sprinkles, then refrigerate until hard. To get the chocolate to form a hard shell and make sure it doesn’t melt, be sure to temper the chocolate. It’s surprisingly really easy: just melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a pot over simmering water until it’s 100-115 degrees, then remove from heat. Once the chocolate is around 95 degrees, stir in the remaining 1/3 chocolate.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of the treats, but we did get to document Georgia’s Harry Potter marzipan creations.
Note: Expired marzipan is only good for decorating. Not for eating. Actually, marzipan is never good for eating.

Yer a wizard, Harry

Blueberry-Ginger Crisp

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A few days ago, I found myself with five cups of freshly-picked blueberries.

What on earth is a girl to do with that many berries? Of course, I could have eaten them all. By myself. I adore fruit.

But what’s so fun about that? My other option, of course, was to bake something. I scoured the Internet, several cookbooks and old Food & Wine magazines (am I the only seventeen year old who reads that?) for something I could whip up with the bounty of blueberries sitting on my kitchen counter. Nothing sounded right. I could have made muffins, but for some reason, I’m the only person in my family who ends up eating them. Maybe it’s because you have to eat the whole thing. It’s not acceptable to slice off half a muffin. It is acceptable, however, to cut slivers of quick bread when it’s sitting on the counter. Somehow that usually gets eaten…

Most recipes I found involved peaches.  Peaches are one of my favorite fruits, but I’m kind of a peach snob. See, I usually only eat them when I’ve gone peach picking. They’re just never the same when you buy them from the grocery store.

So, after much search, I decided to create my own blueberry dessert. My mom told me to use up the crystallized ginger that’s been sitting in our kitchen cabinet since the fall. At first I was skeptical. Blueberries and ginger? Really? I had never heard of such a combination. But a quick check of The Flavor Bible (basically my Bible), I was assured that blueberries and ginger do, in fact, go together.

The result? A blueberry-ginger crisp. Surprisingly delicious, and a fantastic way to use up surplus blueberries.

Blueberry-Ginger Crisp
Filling:
5-6 cups blueberries
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
Cinnamon, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Topping:
1 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350o and grease or butter a baking dish.
  2. For filling: Mix cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over blueberries in a large bowl; toss to coat. Add lemon juice and toss together. Spread blueberries in a baking dish.
  3. For topping: Mix together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and almonds. Add butter, stir until incorporated. Sprinkle topping evenly over blueberries.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown.
    Serve warm or at room temperature, but don’t forget to serve with a scoop (or two… or three…) of vanilla ice cream. For added fanciness, sprinkle some cinnamon on the ice cream. Yum.

           


Minted Strawberry Lemonade: Our First Endeavor

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