Archive for July, 2013

Caprese Hummus

Caprese salads always remind me of the beach.

A few years back, my mom and I went on a day trip to Ocean City. We stayed later than we thought and decided to eat dinner on the boardwalk before returning home. Problem was, we didn’t have a lot money on us and all the cheap food was pizza and fries. As greasy boardwalk food does not agree with my stomach (remember, we did have to drive home) I thought I was SOL.

Luckily, a little cafe had just opened that year. Not only did they have air conditioning, but they also had caprese salad topped with shrimp! I had never heard of caprese salad (yes, apparently I live under a rock) and thought it was the best light-dinner-idea ever. Since then, my mom and I visit our little cafe every year for our tomatoey goodness 🙂

Since caprese salads use more of an assembling process than an actually recipe, I decided to try making it in a dip form.

Note: I realize true hummus is made with chickpeas. However, I cannot stand the taste of chickpeas, no matter how much I try to disguise the taste. Seriously, they (along with greasy foods) make me feel nauseous for some reason. So instead, I always sub in cannellini beans. Feel free to use chickpeas though if you have no aversion to them 🙂

Caprese Hummus

Caprese Hummus

Ingredients:

1 15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced and divided

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (or more, to taste)

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

2 tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling

salt and pepper

Directions:

Blend cannellini beans, 1/4 cup of the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Add in the rest of the tomatoes by pulsing a few times. If desired, drizzle more olive oil on top of dip before serving.

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Cucumber Salsa

Well folks, today is day 6 of blazing heat along the East Coast. Such a pleasant change from the last few weeks of torrential downpour. My poor garden. It doesn’t know if its demise was the result of drowning or excessive heat 😦

Anyway, the heat. Normally, I love it. This time though, its a little too much for a little too long. Unfortunately, I do not have easy access to a pool. I did have access to this cucumber salsa however. And nothing is as cool as a cucumber.

Sorry. I know that’s corny. But how often can I say “cool as a cucumber”?

This salsa does contain some heat though. If you’re not a fan, leave out the jalapeño pepper.

Here’s a fun fact though: hot peppers are actually good to eat on hot days. Why? The pepper’s heat causes you to sweat. And when you sweat, evaporation soon follows. During evaporation, high-energy molecules change state, leaving behind the molecules with less energy. Less energy = less heat. Thus, we have a cooling down process.

See? I did learn something in Physics last semester 🙂

Cucumber Salsa

Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients:

3 medium tomatoes, diced

2 cucumbers, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 shallot, chopped

1/3 cup plain, whole milk yogurt

2 tbsp wasabi

1 tbsp jalapeño pepper

1 tbsp mustard with horseradish

1 tbsp horseradish

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Bean and Rice Casserole (Or Burrito-Filling)

I knew when I made this casserole that I was going to have trouble getting my brother to eat it. Particularly because it contains onions, mushrooms, beans, and tomatoes. And because it’s considered a casserole. I don’t know, but the word “casserole” just makes food sound bland to me.

Don’t ask why. It just does.

So anyway, as my brother entered the room, I saw him wrinkle his nose and look at the food in disgust. Luckily, I thought of the perfect counter-response before he could even open his mouth; I told him that the meal was just the insides of a burrito that I was too lazy to wrap in a tortilla. I didn’t really lie to him cause I’m pretty sure it’s true (I’ve never had a burrito before). Fortunately, my brother never had one either and just went with it. I think the word “burrito” just sounds more manly and fun. Way more manly and fun than “casserole” anyway.

The lesson here? If you have a picky eater, try to change their perception of the food. In this case it worked and my brother went back for thirds!

Bean and Rice Casserole (Or Burrito-Filling)

Bean and Rice Casserole (Or Burrito-Filling)  

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed, sliced, and cubed

1 14oz can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup organic frozen corn

1 tbsp dried cilantro

1 tbsp dried parsley

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1 cup arborio rice

chicken broth

salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup cheese (I used 365’s Organic Fiesta Blend)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a pot. Add in onions and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add in mushrooms, beans, tomatoes (with juice), corn, cilantro, parsley, cumin, and chili powder. Stir, cooking for 5 minutes. With a spoon, press mixture against the sides of the pot, making a well in the center. Pour rice into well and add chicken broth until rice is just covered, about 1 cup. Lower heat to a simmer. (Note: it’s ok if some juices or food fall into the well). As the rice absorbs the broth, keep adding more until the broth just covers the rice. Do this for 35 minutes while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Afterwards, mix all the contents of the pot together. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper. (If the rice is not entirely done, don’t panic- it’ll continue to cook in the oven). Spray a large baking dish with cooking oil. Transfer the rice into the dish (I used a ladle to do this) and top mixture with cheese. Bake for 12 minutes. Serve with a ladle. Alternatively, spoon onto a tortilla and eat as a burrito.

Blueberry Salad

I’ll admit it, I’ve never been a great lover of blueberries.

Until recently.

Honestly, I think I held a grudge against them after my mom used them to replace chocolate chips in my pancakes and muffins when I was little. Since them, I generally avoided them unless I was offered some. When I started playing around with my red, white and blue baked oatmeal though, I had a few and, what do ya know, I now fancy them.

Coincidentally, new neighbors moved in down the street earlier this year and own a huge blueberry patch in their front lawn. Previous owners either neglected the berries charged people to pick them. These people, however, are my new favorite people because they invited my whole street to come to their house last Saturday and pick as many blueberries as we wanted FOR FREE.

And free is so me.

Screw the heat, I was out there for a good 2 hours with my dad (who plopped the berries into his mouth rather than the bucket) and then went back again later by myself to double our amount. In total, we got 8 cartons of fresh, non-sprayed blueberries. Score!

And you know you come into a complete circle when you voluntarily decide to make blueberry pancakes and muffins with them 🙂

Not to mention, a lot of this…

Blueberry Salad

Blueberry Salad 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup raw almonds

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

2 cups fresh organic blueberries

8 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup frozen corn

2 tbsp grated goat cheese

Directions: 

Roast almonds in a 325 degree oven for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over a bowl containing blueberries. Let sit for 10 minutes. Place spinach in your salad serving bowl. Top and toss with almonds, blueberries and balsamic dressing, corn, and goat cheese.