View Selection Here

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

California's Proposition 2 regarding Animal Welfare

My reaction to Proposition 2 in California was one of immediate annoyance. I saw it as a ridiculous 'feel-good' way of improving animal husbandry that will actually, in the long run, benefit the same factory farms most people would like to see eliminated. Additionally, the small farmer who is already raising animals the 'right way' doesn't benefit from this prop at all. Right now, he or she has a powerful marketing claim that is used to differentiate small farm meat from factory farm meat. Even before the rules and regs resulting from prop 2 are implemented in full, huge meat producers will have all the 'feel-good' marketing in place making it even harder to distinguish between factory farm meat and local, small and humanely raised meat. Coupled with this further blurring of the apparent differences between these processes, consumers WILL pay more! Why not just start paying more now and buy your meat from local, sustainable and humane operations in your state. Your purchase there is so much more effective than the warm and fuzzy feeling you got when you pressed the YES! button next to Prop 2 in the voting booth. You've changed so little with your vote thanks to your tunnel vision.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Making a Sourdough Bread Starter

A starter is a soupy mix of flour, water and yeast that sits in room temperature for 3 - 4 days fermenting and also attracting any wild yeasts and bacteria present the air. These yeasts and bacteria effectively "sour" the starter. Once the starter is a little bubbly and is pleasantly fragrant, smells a little like beer and bread, the starter is refrigerated and is the key ingredient to sourdough bread. Equal parts of flour and water are added to the starter as portions are used in baking, helping to sustain the starter for months if not years.


Texas-Style Barbecue Beef Brisket

Tipping my hat to Cook's Illustrated, I demonstrate their version of this Texas classic using only a Weber kettle grill. This often unsung and often disparaged cut of beef is full of flavor and can be sufficiently tender if cooked properly. Similar cuts that are equally sniffed at by the "steakhouse" crowd include hanger steak, butcher's cut (now popularized as a flatiron steak) and flank steak. Rolled and stuffed flank steak has helped lift the flank from the ranks of the unsung, but it is fundamentally a "cheap" cut of beef.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Videos for Fall 2008

I'm back from my long stay in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and I'm ready to rev up the video camera. I am still very consumed by the demands of my company, Local Pastures, but I plan to squeeze in a video from time to time. Hopefully weekly. I look forward to your frequent visits.

Basic Sourdough Bread Rolls

Recipe

In KitchenAid (or other brand) mixer bowl, combine,

2.5 cups (375 gr) all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon of instant yeast
2 teaspoons of table salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup room temp. water
3/4 cup sourdough starter (use any starter you wish. Video of making a starter available on this blog)

Mix with paddle until dough gathers together. Add water or flour by the tablespoon if dough is too dry or too wet respectively

Once gathered, remove paddle, scraping off all dough, and replace with dough hook.
Knead with dough hook on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured suface. Sprinkle top of dough with a little flour to absorb any surface moisture. Knead until dough is silky smooth or smooth as a baby's bottom. The dough may already be sufficiently kneaded, so don't knead any more than you have to by hand.

Place in a container and cover with dish towel or container cover. DON'T LOCK DOWN LID!

Allow to rise for two hours or until dough is doubled in size.
Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.

Turn dough onto floured surface and form into long log, approximately 24 inches long and 2.5 inches wide and high.

Using a pastry scraper, cut dough into 16 equal pieces.

Place dough balls onto a foil-lined baking sheet with coarse corn meal sprinked on top of it.

Bake in oven at 400 degrees for approximately 15 - 20 minutes. If making a double batch, place one sheet in the top third of the oven and one on a rack in the bottom third of the oven. After 10 minutes, reverse sheets top to bottom and front to back for even baking.

When golden brown, remove sheets and place on cooling racks. Allow bread to cool. Enjoy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Potato Chips

I grew up hearing about the evils of potato chips. My father and some in the media vilified this uniquely American snack food for all of its empty calories. The exercise revolution was just under way and an obesity problem was not yet even on the horizon. It is unclear to me what, exactly, triggered all this invective towards potato chips and not, for instance, Oreos or Tang. Years have passed and literally hundreds of new products compete with potato chips. Gone are the days when potato chips were so ubiquitous that one company, Charles Chips of Eastern Pennsylvania, used to deliver them to your home in nifty metal cans!

Now I have two daughters who are impulsive about their demand for snack foods, but don´t actually like them that much. The other day I bought them 1 small bag each of Lays Classic Potato Chips here in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They can´t eat plaintains all the time, after all. (We are spending 7 weeks here learning the language and culture of Mom´s homeland.)

As a matter of course these days, I absentmindedly read the nutritional information on the empty bag as well as the ingredient list. I was shocked! Did you know that potato chips only contain potatoes, oil and salt? Lays apparently ignores consumers´ demand for hydrogenated oils, monosodium glutamate, dextrose, artificial color, sodium acetate and numerous other delicious ingredients that are apparently required to make just about every other snack cracker or chip on the market. Do you realize what this all means? As far as snack foods go, the All-American Potato Chip is the most wholesome product out there.

How did this happen? I thought potato chips made you fat, gave you zits, caused indigestion and eventually killed all those who ate them on any regular basis. Perhaps in the past potato chips were fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil, ie: dreaded trans-fats, but then again every refridgerator in America contained at least a pound of neon yellow margarine, ie: dreaded trans-fats.

We are a health obsessed nation that doesn´t eat very well. We always look for a demon in our foods to exorcise and then we rely on nutritionists and free-lance journalists to play the role of Father Damien, shouting "The Power of Our Collective Spirit Compels You,", "The Power of Our Collective Spirit Compels You,", "The Power of Our Collective Spirit Compels You,". Then the demon sets up shop in the marketing departments of the big food companies and tells them to brag about his demise. And exactly what have they bragged about over the past 25 years! Their food has no fat, no sugar, no carbohydrate or 25 grams of protein! You would think that all we humans have any right to consume are glass after glass of Shaklee´s protein shakes.

Yes, we finally identified what I do believe is a bad product, trans-fats, but the 40+ yr path we took to eliminating hydrogenated vegetable oils from our diet laid to waste just about every natural ingredient we had consumed since the beginning of time; protein, carbohydrates and most importantly to this discussion, animal fat.

Most people I speak to still assume that animal fats are by definition trans-fats. They were so indoctrinated into the notion that margarine was the perfect substitute for butter and crisco for lard that when the margarine and crisco were vilified for containing trans-fats people assumed this vilification applied to the animal fats they replaced 40 years ago. Animal fats just can´t get a break except from the late Dr. Atkins.

Go ahead and eat your potato chips and enjoy them. However, also take the advice of Michael Pollan, the great food writer and educator, who recommends that we shop only on the perimeter of supermarkets where all the whole foods are sold. In those middle aisles is where one will find all those packaged products with bright shiny labels laying claim to our nation´s recent dietary conquests. These same products in very small print on the back of the package will have ingredient lists full of formerly, currently and eventually vilified products. No one really knows if these ingredients could kill you or rats in concentrations one million times that of normal consumption. If you´re worried, ignore those products and snack on the only whole food available in the snack aisle, potato chips.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Maduros

It´s becoming clear that platanos make up a big part of a Dominican´s diet and mine. It seems everything I like is made from platanos. Maduros, tostones, mangu and mofongo. Add to that the guineos, and it´s pretty much all about bananas. Anyway, I made a short, low quality video of making maduros for you before I had my coffee. I fry up a dozen of these a day for Emilia and Lina. They can´t get enough of them. Maduros have become their one and only staple in their diet.

The video only shows part of the process. I´m just using a camera that has a 1 minute limit on video. I don´t have editing software, so I´m working on perfecting the 1 minute, single take cooking video.

video


And a Photo Montage




Saturday, June 21, 2008

Los Guineos (Small Plantains/Bananas in the Dominican Republic)

The smaller cousin of plantains, the green guineo is peeled and boiled whole and eaten as a starchy side dish with fried pork. When green, plantains or platanos are peeled, sliced width-wise, fried, removed from oil, flattened with the bottom of a glass and then re-fried until golden and soft all the way through. Plantains are more available in the States now, but the small guineo is still scarce.

When the small guineo turns yellow, it becomes sweet and is eaten like a typical banana would be eaten. It´s a different experience, though. Unlike the "American" banana, the yellow guinea has a skin as thin as a peach. Probably one of the reasons you don´t see these - they´re too easily bruised. The fruit is half the size, but inside looks a lot like a banana. Though similar in flavor, the texture of the small yellow guineo is silky smooth like a homemade pudding. That same texture also makes the boiled green guineos such a wonderful experience, too. So when you visit the Dominican Republic, seek out these little guineos, green and yellow, and be sure to include them in your daily dining rituals.


guineo yellow green banana plaintain

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The East-West Divide on Organic and Natural Meat

After reading "The United States of Arugula", a history of what made the U.S. a gourmet nation and speaking to friends in Eugene, Oregon recently, I have concluded that the Western United States is light years ahead of the East Coast when it comes to organic products, in particular organic and natural meats. I plan to write another article about the differences between organic and natural meats, but for the purposes of this article I will use the term natural as a catch-all phrase for organic, natural, grass-fed, free range, and/or hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat.

Why is it that after each food scare, most recently the recall of 180 million pounds of beef from a slaughterhouse in California, the renewed clamor about going "organic" or back to the "old-fashioned" ways of farming rises to, at best, a distant thunder. And then subsides! Why are so many people willing to risk their health on a product that even under the best of circumstances shouldn't make up the large portion of our diet that it does? And finally, why do residents in West Coast outposts like Eugene OR, Seattle WA and San Francisco CA and all localities between them seem to embrace natural meats so much so that natural meat can be found in corner stores at relatively reasonable prices? It's time that the East Coast, mainly Boston to DC also known as the Northeast corridor, gets its act together. This will require producers, middlemen, retail outlets and consumers to create a supply chain as distinct, entrenched and seamless as that of conventional meat. Eventually, the East Coast's demand for, consumption of and dedication to natural meat will rival that of the West Coast's.

There will be three phases of this trend or movement; Economies of scale phase, Trickle-down phase and the Protest of the Proletariat phase. In the Economies of Scale phase, the educated and affluent will be targeted. They already make up the majority of natural meat consumers, but they are still a largely untapped market. Right now the net is cast so wide with many small producers and literally millions of advocates. Unfortunately, most of these advocates can't afford to buy enough natural meat and most of the producers have no scale to lower prices nor an integrated system to get their products to the necessary number of retail outlets. This catch-22 can only be overcome by increasing demand from the segment of consumers with the most money to spare. As they demand more product and pay the associated premium for that product, producers will start producing more and eventually reduce their costs as they create economies of scale.

However, even when the price of natural meats becomes competitive, many "resisters" will continue to believe that the meat is too costly, too snobby or too earthy-crunchy. This won't last long, though. In the Trickle-Down phase, many consumers in the upper-middle and middle classes will determine that they are missing out on something special. Whether it's keeping up with the Jones' or simply becoming more aware of the benefits of natural meat, this group will add more money and muscle to the supply chain. People will choose to eat less meat so they can afford better meat or they will simply sacrifice elsewhere in order to make natural meat a regular part of their diet. At this point, somewhere between 50 - 75 % of the population will become net natural meat consumers. In other words, they will make natural meat 51% or more of the total meat they consumer. This trend will eventually meet with resistance by those who are only willing to buy meat at the lowest possible price. This is true regardless of quality or even if the price differential is just pennies per pound.

Fortunately, the cries of injustice will break down this final barrier. Meat, regardless of quality, is considered a staple of the American diet. When 150 million Americans start eating organic and natural meats on a regular basis and the media coverage of the benefits of these meats over conventionally produced meats becomes omnipresent, the other 80 million Americans will begin to cry foul, shouting "Food Injustice!"

"Food Justice" has become quite a buzz phrase over the past 20 years. According to Bryant Terry, the founder of the youth-based, not-for profit B-Healthy,food justice assumes access to healthy food is a human right and enforcing this right requires organized responses that are locally driven and owned. Perhaps I’m naïve, but once the word gets out that half of our population is eating inferior and possibly toxic meat while the rest of us stay healthier and live longer, capitalism will do all the heavy lifting from that point on. Intervention from within and without by a laundry list of activist groups to end this injustice won’t be necessary.

This article assumes that everyone, at some point, will become net natural meat consumers in the United States and perhaps 100% natural meat consumers. This may seem "pie-in-the-sky", but meat is a staple of the American diet and access to it is considered a birthright. Something so important to the American way of life should be of the highest quality. Right now consumers confuse specific breeds and USDA quality grades with quality. Breeds offer marginally different flavors and grades offer degrees of tenderness, juiciness and flavor as well. But what about the quality or healthfulness of the fat itself? What about residual traces of hormones and antibiotics in meat? What about the treatment of the animal, the environment and the farmer for that matter during the lifecycle of one head of livestock? None of these questions are answered when you buy Certified Angus Prime Beef. Organic answers some of these questions and a new formalized certification for natural meat may answer even more. I hope you want to know those answers as you begin your journey from conventional meat to natural meat.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why Do Chain Restaurants Persist?

The other night a friend and I were eating sushi at a local Media restaurant, Margaret Kuo's on State Street. We had a lot of time on our hands to talk as is typical when you sit at any bar, sushi or otherwise, and our discussion turned to chain restaurants. My friend was particularly perplexed why people would wait two hours to eat at a P.F. Changs instead of some quality Chinese restaurants in the immediate area. P.F. Chang's is trendy and has a nice atmosphere, for sure, but what is the allure of an eating establishment that has no real connection to the area, doesn't compete on price except with other chain restaurants of its caliber and requires long waits on weekend nights? Naturally, I started to think about Wal-Mart and Home Depot and what those stores mean to shoppers and the communities they serve.

Communities resisted the entrance of these Big Box stores vehemently when there appeared the possibility that civic resistance could stem the tide of these "local small business" wreckers. In the end, though, we have all accepted their presence and only squawk occasionally about their treatment and pay of workers. These stores are where we all shop now for hammers, blankets, convenience food, music, toiletries and lumber among other things. And yes, small businesses did close, but for good reason. They couldn't compete on price and selection. This argument doesn't apply, however to chain restaurants.

Chain restaurants like Friday's, Appleby's, Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's and others aren't considered fast food restaurants, but their business model isn't much different. In fact, they have standardized the formula for success so much that once the SYSCO semi pulls away from one, it backs up into the next one 100 meters away in the same shopping center. Ironically, no one protested the entrance of these restaurants over the past 25 or so years. They embraced them with enthusiasm and outright worship. This even though they put many local, good restaurants out of business, but not for the obvious reason; price. Let's face it, these restaurants are no bargain. Additionally, they tend to overfeed you, an unfortunate selling point, and serve food that only appears to be gourmet or 'home-cooked' when, in fact, it's assembled with most of the same ingredients you'd find at cheap hotels and institutions such as schools, hospitals and company cafeterias.

I think the American people have been duped. The same protesters that tried to block Wal-Mart and Home Depot from setting up shop in their communities happily dine at these pseudo-fancy restaurants and measure success by the amount of food they heap on a plate. Unlimited bread sticks, soup and salad anyone? While at the same time the local restaurants which have only improved over the past 25 years as the overall demand for better food has increased, struggle, then wilt, then die. It is our duty to patronize these fine restaurants. By doing so we are supporting our neighbors and communities and not paying any more to do so. Low Prices Always is irresistible to the consumer particularly when the products we purchase are so mundane to our lives. Necessities, if you will. This even goes for food as we seek bargains at supermarkets.

But dining out is a totally different experience for us. For many, it's a special occasion, a treat, a luxury. That's why the big chains don't compete on price. They have dedicated most of their revenue to marketing, location selection, interior decorating and some gimmicky theme. This is duplicated 100's of times, producing economies of scale that bring in big corporate profits. Good for them, but they are killing those local business so many of you cried for when those businesses were pharmacies, hardware stores and lumber yards. No one seems to care if it's the local Italian, Chinese, Mexican or Continental restaurant that goes out of business even though many offer better food, often at a better price and with a personal touch that can't be duplicated by large chains. Taking this to an extreme, have you ever felt special ordering a Big Mac and fries and a McDonalds? I doubt it.

So before you go wait for two hours at P.F. Chang's spending even more money at the bar out of boredom, consider a local eatery. At best, the big chains should be one of many restaurants you choose from when making dinner plans. If you want to save your downtowns, main streets or local neighborhoods, find a new BYOB that's received good reviews from friends and the media and spend your 'two-hour wait' beer money on a couple good bottles of wine, call a couple friends and have a meaningful, intimate dinner for four at your very own community's very own restaurant.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Apple Pie




Recipe Ingredients

Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 sticks / 1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and refridgerated
2 T sugar
1 t salt
ice cold water

Process all dry ingredients until mixed
Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Just remember, less is more.
Drizzle into feed tube 1 T of cold water and pulse.
Continue this step until dough begins to gather together and pack along the outside of the processor bowl.
Dump dough onto counter top and divide in two. Smear sections of the dough with the heal of your hand until all dough has been smeared. This creates ribbons of butter throughout the dough and results in flaky crust.
Wrap each half of dough in plastic, flatten into a disc and refridgerate.

Filling

Peel 7 apples and cut all four sides away from core. Discard core.
Slice each chunk into this pieces. The thinner the slice, the more likely the apples will soften as fast or faster than the crust cooks. Don't get carried away, though. 1/8" slices will work fine. Just avoid 1/4" or fatter.
Place in bowl and mix with apples,
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 t vanilla
2 t cinnamon (In video I say 1T, but I think cutting this down to 2t is better. A subjective decision, though. Go with what you like.)
Juice of 1 lemon.
Toss thoroughly.

Remove dough from refridgerator and unwrap.
Place dough on floured surface and flour a rolling pin.
Roll out 1 dough into a circle approx 1/8" thick. Halfway through the rolling, flip over dough to minimize risk of dough sticking to countertop.
Drape dough over 9" pie plate and trim away excess.
Prick bottom of dough several times with fork.
Pour apple mixture into dough-lined pie plate. Apples can mound up higher than top of pie plate, but don't try to pack in too many. The apples will shrink so you don't want too few apples.
Roll out second dough and lay over apples. Crimp top and bottom crusts together.
Cut steam vents into top of dough. Feel free to be decorative when doing this.
Bake pie in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 1 hour.
When you can really smell a delicious apple pie throughout your house and the crust is a beautiful golden brown, the pie is done.
Allow to cool and serve plain or with your favorite vanilla icecream. Garnish with a mint leaf. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moussaka



Moussaka just out of the oven. Smells as good as it looks!



Recipe (differs in proportions from recipe in video)

Ingredients

3 # eggplant
1 # ground lamb
3 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T tomato paste dissolved in,
1/2 cup white wine or 1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped canned whole tomatoes
1 T dried oregano
salt

Bechemel sauce
8T (1/2 cup, 1/4 #) butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups whole or 2% milk
2 egg yolks (optional)
2 oz kasseri cheese or other gratable mild greek cheese (optional)

Instructions

Trim ends off eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside in a colander for 1 hour to leech out bitter juices.

Meanwhile,

Heat olive oil in large saute pan and saute onions until softened.
Break up ground lamb into pan and brown, periodically breaking apart large chunks with back of wooden or metal spoon.
Add garlic and stir into meat.
Add tomato paste/wine mixture and saute for 5 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, lower heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Meat mixture should be quite sticky and dry at this point.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Clean out pan.

Rinse eggplant and layout on paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels and press out as much water as possible.
Add 1/4 cup olive oil into pan over medium high heat.
Saute eggplant slices until golden brown on each side, adding oil as necessary. Remove from pan to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Instructions for bechemel sauce

Heat butter in heavy bottom sauce pan large enough to hold 2 qts of sauce.
Once butter is melted, add flour to make a roux, stirring continuously until flour begins to brown or you can smell the flour cooking. If you want darker bechemel, feel free to brown the flour more to make a darker roux, but this optional.

Pour milk in slowly and stir continuously until all the milk is in pot and the roux is completely dissolved in mixture.

Bring sauce to a slow boil, stirring all the while. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer and stir bechemel until desired thickness is achieved.

Remove from heat and mix 1/4 cup of sauce into the two egg yolks and grated cheese. This will temper the yolks, preventing them from curdling when poured into the rest of the bechemel.

Add tempered yolk/cheese mixture back to sauce in pot and stir constantly with a whisk until cool. Or after mixing, transfer sauce from pot to bowl.

You want to be able to pour the sauce, but you don't want it runny. A consistency similar to runny pudding is a good rule of thumb.

Assembling the dish.

Place alternating layers of eggplant and ground meat into a 8" x 8" dish coated with non-stick spray.
The first and last layer should be the eggplant. This recipe should give you enough for three layers of eggplant and two layers of ground meat.
After finished, pour as much bechemel sauce over the dish as you can without letting it overflow.

Place dish on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. I always judge the doneness of these dishes by smell. Once I can smell the moussaka, I know it is very close to being done. The top will be browned and there will be bubbling along the sides and in the corners.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes and serve directly out of dish with a good crusty bread. Use the bread to mop up you plate.

Credit Card Company Perpetuates French Food Myth

There's a new ad on television and the total premise rests on the misguided notion that fine (read French) dining means tiny portions and patrons leaving the restaurant hungry. The couple in this particular credit card ad looks down at their plates, look up at each other and then run out to a convenience store of all places to load up on a bunch of snack foods. Apparently, it’s just as easy to buy a bag of potato chips with your credit card as it is to pay for a $300 French dinner.

When I dine at a fancy French restaurant, such as Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia, I barely can sample the desserts that are wheeled out on a cart and included with the prix fixé meal in unlimited amounts. The appetizers and entrées at lunch, no less, are exquisitely prepared and presented dishes that taste like they were delivered direct from Paris.

True, you don't get a mountain of pasta or rice with a slab of beef or overcooked boneless chicken breast. Is our goal, though, to feel full from a distended stomach full of carbos? That isn't worth even the price tag at Friday's or McDonald’s for that matter. Why turn a special occasion into another day at the trough no different than any dinner you can prepare blindfolded at home? One goes out to eat, I hope, to enjoy a nice meal, service, atmosphere and company.

Of course, there is always the question of money. Yes, fine dining is an expensive endeavor. For those who can afford it, there is no excuse not to take advantage of it. For those who are a little less flush with cash, I have a few suggestions.

First of all, you can limit dining out so the fewer times you do dine out you can splurge more. Second, learn how to cook a few special meals. Staying at home to eat will become a more enticing option and learning how to cook will also make you a more discriminating restaurant patron. Knowledge is power. Finally, with a little research and word of mouth you can substitute fine for authentic and seek out small ethnic restaurants. You may sacrifice atmosphere and location, but many of the traditional dishes at these restaurants have become the foundation of so many other tony restaurants ‘downtown’.

I don’t begrudge the credit card companies trying to drum up business by getting you to use your plastic more. I just don’t think there is any need for them to perpetuate myths. We must eat for sustenance, but we also eat for pleasure. Discover the true pleasures of eating well and check all of your preconceived notions with your coat and start rediscovering great food.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pork Ragu with Juniper Berries





Recipe to Follow. Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to get this posted asap. It's been a while. Look for more soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Traditional Hummus Tahini & Spicy Hummus Tahini

Here it is, folks. I didn't leave out the tahini this time. I also made a spicy version with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Check it out.



Recipe for Traditional Hummus Tahini

1 can of chickpeas or equivalent weight of rehydrated dry chick peas
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of 1/2 of lemon or more depending on your taste
1 tablespoon tahini - use more or less depending on taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and begin to process. Pour a thin stream of olive oil into feed tube until ingredients begin to blend. Turn off processor and scrape down sides. At this point you can add more oil, citrus or plain water to bring the hummus tahini to the consistency you desire. I used water, but feel free to experiment. After desired consistency is achieved, add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Chipotle Hummus (Tahini)

Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c olive oil
1 can chipotles in adobo sauce

Process all of the above ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Remove all from processing bowl except for approximately 1 heaping teaspoon.

Follow directions for traditional hummus above. Be sure to scrape down sides of bowl a couple of times while processing. 30 seconds to 1 minute of processing should be sufficient. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a shallow dish garnished with chopped cilantro and spicy olive oil.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Homemade Soft Caramel



Ingredients: 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1/2 cup sugar, 2T butter. Stir all in cool pan being careful not to spash mix up on the sides of pan. Bring to boil over med heat and wait until temp hits 248. DO NOT STIR OR SWIRL after initial mixing. Pour into greased mold. Allow to cool, invert mold to release caramel. With a large chef's knife, cut caramel into appropriately sized pieces.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hummus Tahini

I've been harassed so much about my hummus and its lack of tahini (sesame paste) that I am going to shoot another 'hummus' video. I assure you that this version will contain the ingredient whose absence from my first video created such a groundswell of protest.