Mar 132012
 

Just one week back from our Christmas vacation, we decided to include the ingredients for this delightful dish in our grocery shopping list. Above, is what we came up with. Below, you will find the recipe.

We first ate  hummus as an appetizer at the Shishkabas restaurant in Oklahoma City on NW 32. It was interesting but we never thought of it again.  I think the reason is that, we were the only two people in the restaurant for the entire evening. Some young people would walk in and head on to another part of the restaurant where the DJ had some loud music going on and on and on. The food was not disappointing but the ambiance certainly was.

Shish Kabob Restaurant & Hookah Bar on Urbanspoon

Then while on vacation, we stopped off at the Nandoes Restaurant, The Greens in Dubai.  The Hummus came as an appetizer, a delicious dip made of  toasted sesame seeds and olive oil goodness. You see Hummus is really a paste made of chickpeas also called garbanzo beans, tahini and olive oil and is eaten as a spread over warm pita bread. Adding a hint of pepper makes it irresistible . Nandoes uses their own brand of Peri Peri to garnish the hummus. We simply could not have enough. Scrumplicious!

 

If you happen to be at Village Market in Nairobi, Kenya visit the Turkish restaurant called Sea World for your bowl of Hummus. This is served with what appears to be chapati  a good substitute for pita bread. With it comes pickled beats on a lettuce bedding. Delicious!

For our own home cooked version we found a great Hummus recipe  .

One 16 oz can of chick peas. Save liquid

¼ cup liquid from can of chick peas.

3-5 Tb sp lemon juice

1 ½ Tb sp Tahini ( sesame seed paste)

2 cloves garlic crushed

½ tsp salt

2 Tb Sp olive oil

Dash of Cayenne pepper (optional ) for those who like a little bit of spicy

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse on low for 3-5 minutes until thoroughly mixed.
  2. To serve pour Hummus in a bowl. Make a well with spoon and ad 1-2 Tb Sp olive oil, garnish with cayenne pepper. (See 1st picture above).
  3. Serve with fresh, warm pita bread.

Next time we made Hummus we decided to use  chick peas/garbanzo beans made from scratch. Pre- cook chick peas per bag instruction. Here you see that I bagged the extra chick peas for another meal.

Use the same amount of peas, but add water 1/2 cup water to thin out the texture. The texture differs, but the taste is awesome.

p.s as we are now Hummus converts for life! 

If you don’t like the idea of making your own Hummus look for it in your grocery stores. You will be surprised to find that it comes in many different versions.

My next challenge will be to make the Lentil Hummus featured in the March 2012  issue of Martha Stewart Living on page 75.

You may also enjoy this incredible funny blog on Hummus. The author says you should eat Hummus and give chick peas a chance! ( Hummus 101)

Feb 152012
 

I have been dreaming of chocolate night and day. For some reason I have been in a chocolate mood this month. I am not sure why, maybe it’s because of all this Valentine’s talk and my desire to know if store-bought chocolate is better than home made chocolate.  After checking out a box of Russel Stover’s Assorted Fine Chocolate, I was even more enthusiastic about improving on my chocolate truffle making skills.

It’s the day after Valentine’s and chocolate is still on my mind. To keep me going in this crazy Wintry weather and to have a reason to stay indoors where it is warm and cozy, I have been reading a fantastic book on Chocolate. The book Chocolate Chocolate, is written by the Park sisters who after the passing of their father, found solace in their childhood dreams and in chocolate.

Frances and Ginger Park decided to open a luxurious chocolate boutique in Washington D.C called….. you guessed it. Chocolate Chocolate. Their book talks about their story: Two sisters, tons of treats and the little shop that could. Read the book! If you love chocolate, you’ll will love their book.

Feb 112012
 

Chocolate Truffles - for Valentine's Day!

Where would we be without love? God is love and He loves us unconditionally.

We are in February and Love is everywhere . February 14th is the biggest day for LOVE.  As the clock ticks by, every second, someone, somewhere falls in love. Romance and soft music fill the air. It’s time to tell the ones you know that you love them.

To celebrate, here are some ideas. No baking necessary. Just your creativity and a little bit of time. Hope you have as much fun as we did.

Treat #1 .  Make these very easy Chocolate Truffle treats and share.

You can definitely make truffles in many different ways.  I used only half the quantities in the recipe below and used the remaining chocolate to make two extra eye catching chocolate treats.

Inspired by this recipe.  Two Ingredients Only: Chocolate and Cream Cheese.

  • 1 1/4  pkg of Baker’s Semi Sweet Chocolate ( 10 squares).
  • ½  pkg cream cheese.
  1. Melt 4 of the chocolate squares and save 6.
  2. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy.
  3. Stir in melted chocolate and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Shape into balls and place each on a tray lined with wax paper.
  5. Melt the remaining 6 squares of chocolate.
  6. Dip the balls into melted chocolate and place on wax paper.
  7. Pour desired toppings like shredded coconut, ground almonds or drizzle icing for decorative effect.
  8. Refrigerate again until firm.

These truffles have a “creamy soft on the inside” delightful surprise.

Treat #2 :  You could simply add shredded coconut and crushed almonds into the remaining  dark chocolate. To make the red truffles, use white chocolate (almond bark).  Color with red food coloring,  roll into balls, coat with coconut  or almonds and chill.  No extra coating necessary.

Treat #3 : I used  triple double Oreo cookies and dipped them in the remaining dark chocolate. I added white chocolate to make the white Oreo cookie  treats.  Color some icing sugar with red food coloring and dot your treats over as you like. Decorating allows you to make a  stunning statement.

Another idea for Valentine’s are these treats, that the  Happy Baker  calls “Speed Dating Quickies”,  in her book on page 93.

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup milk

**** I used ½ cup brown and 1/2 cup white sugar****

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

4 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup flaked coconut

***** I would love to add these two ingredients next time :  ½ cup raisins  and ¼ cup nuts for different  flavor in every bite*****

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring sugars, butter and milk to boil over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat; add vanilla.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips, mix until melted. Add oats and coconut; combine.
  4. Drop mixture by tablespoon onto lined cookie sheet.
  5. Refrigerate. Chocolate will firm up and be ready to eat.

To make exciting gifts out of  your treats, visit a local craft shop like Hobby Lobby and get beautiful packaging.

Package your treats to share as gifts. Your family and friends will love them.

Happy Valentine’s everyone.

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