Friday, October 31, 2008

Naomi's Favorite Hummus

This is adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe:

2 cups drained canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste), optional
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, or to taste, plus a sprinkling for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed

Put everything in a food processor or blender and puree; add the reserved chickpea liquid or water as needed to allow the machine to produce a smooth puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with cumin or paprika. Goes well with homemade pita chips and raw vegetables.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe feeds 4 as a main course and about 8-10 as a side dish.

1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (you can often find pre-cut butternut squash to save time)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups (about) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.

Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer. You can taste grains of rice throughout to determine when enough stock has been absorbed. If the grain is chewy, continue to add stock until it is soft.

Add cream and Parmesan; stir until heated through. Add squash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Grilled Salmon with Maple Glaze

This is my favorite way to prepare salmon. We use our grill pan but it works just as well to pan-roast the fish.

1 cup maple syrup
1/4 lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger (if you're in a pinch, you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried ginger)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil
4 skinless wild salmon fillets

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine syrup, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and red pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Reduce the glaze by 1/3 or to about 1 cup in volume.

Position oven rack in top 3rd of oven and preheat to 450.

Rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon glaze on top of fish, using a brush to distribute.

In grill pan or regular pan over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover bottom of the pan. Gently lay fish, glaze side down in pan and saute until glaze turns brown, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and flip fish. Brush top of fish with glaze and transfer pan to oven until fish is done, about 4-6 minutes. Brush with any remaining glaze.

This is delicious served over a mixed green salad for a light meal or over rice.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Homemade Granola

After reading an article over at Salon about how cereal is made, we swore off that particular breakfast food. Instead, I've tried to prepare a fresh batch of homemade granola weekly to have around. We love to eat it with milk, over yogurt or with fresh fruit. It is so easy to make and so much fun to customize, I really don't know why I've never made it before now.

Standard Granola Recipe (this makes about 12 cups)

6 cups regular oats (not quick or instant)
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional but I find it makes the granola more clumpy, which I like)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, don't add the above salt)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup (some recipes call for honey instead of maple syrup which also works, but I have found that we like maple syrup better)
1 cup nuts (use any kind you want but, being Southern, I'm partial to pecans)
1 cup dried fruit (some various dried fruits I've used before: cranberries, blueberries, cherries, bananas)

Preheat oven to 325. Mix the oats, wheat germ, cinnamon, salt and nuts together in large bowl. In small bowl melt butter, add the brown sugar and whisk, then whisk in the maple syrup. Add the syrup mix to the oats, stirring until everything is coated.

Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper (you can omit the parchment paper and just butter the pans, but I find doing that requires you to stir the granola more while it is cooking, leading to less clumpy granola). Spread the granola out over the 2 baking sheets. After that, I use my fingers to squeeze the granola into loose clumps. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring only occasionally to keep it from burning.

Remove from oven. The granola may still seem damp when you take it out, but after cooling it will become crunchy. Once it cools, add in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!