Southwest Black Bean “Hummus”

Southwest Black Bean Hummus

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients

  • 500ml/14 oz canned black beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped loosely
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, loosely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2-4 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions


Drain and rinse beans. Place beans, garlic, cilantro, cumin and lime juice in food processor. Blend until a loose mix has formed. Add olive oil and salt, and blend for several minutes or until smooth. Serve with veggies, pitas, or taco chips.

And now for the details…

Hummus enthusiasts may be horrified at the name used for the non-chickpea concoction that is this recipe… I mean, can it truly be called hummus when it contains no chickpeas? Well, probably not, technically, since according to my interweb searching, the English translation for the word hummus is… chickpeas. Ha! Whoops.

But.. don’t hate me… I’m not the biggest fan of chickpeas. They have a slightly grainy texture, even when mushed down into hummus, and that’s just not my cup of tea. Using black beans instead of chickpeas results in a different texture; I find the texture is silkier, smoother. And since we’re going so far off-base with the main ingredient of this hummus, we’re going to go even further by changing the flavour profile by adding in some southwestern tastes.

To get started, drain and rinse the beans under some cold water, then add them to your food processor or blender. Don’t have a food processor or blender to use? There are options: you could use a potato masher, or a mortar/pestle, but if you are going to go with a manual version, finely chop both the cilantro and garlic before you add them.

Next, add the rest of the ingredients to the blender/food processor. Only add about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to start, we’ll reserve the rest of the oil in case the mix is a little too dry and need more liquid to blend properly.

Give the blender a couple pulses to start breaking up the beans and to get a little mixing action happening. Then, open the food processor/blender up, scrape down anything that’s collected at the top, back into the mix, and repeat until you stop getting loose bits fling up to the top of the food processor/blender.

Once the loose bits are back in the mix, blend the hell out of it until you get a nice, smooth texture. I blended mine for about five minutes straight. You could do more or less, depending on what kind of texture you want out of the hummus once it’s done. Now is also the time we will check in to determine if more oil is needed. If you do try to blend this, and it’s not quite “sticking” or become dip-like, you probably need a tad more oil to blend and bind everything together.

Once you’ve blended it down to your dip texture of choice, scrape out of the food processor/blender and serve! Anything you want to save for later keeps quite well in a sealed food storage container in the fridge for about a week.

For serving, you could go the healthy route and serve it with veggies, but my favourite thing to eat it with is taco chips!!!

Happy eating.

Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad (with Vegetarian Option)

Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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A Caesar salad using brussel sprouts. Ingredients marked as optional if you are making this a vegetarian recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (approximately) brussel sprouts, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, shredded
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
  • 4 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, grated
  • 3 slices of prosciutto (optional)
  • (if have omitted anchovy paste and Worcestershire: 1 tsp capers, with brine, smashed into paste)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps parmesan flakes, for garnish

Directions

Slice the brussel sprouts thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife. Either in a blender, or a bowl with a whisk, mix the shredded garlic, anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, and lemon juice (and capers, if you’re going vegetarian). Whisk/blend until fully mixed, then slowly add the olive oil, mixing well as you add. Finally, mix in the parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the sprouts with the dressing and set aside for 5-15 minutes. On a grill set to 350ºF/175ºC, or on a pan set to medium heat, cook the prosciutto pieces for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, let cool, then cut into small pieces. Add the prosciutto to the salad and toss. Top with parmesan flakes and fresh ground pepper. Serve.

And now for the details…

In my last post, we had a juicy burger… this post is the accompaniment to that burger. What goes really well with burgers? Coleslaw. But I didn’t feel like coleslaw at the time, and I had brussel sprouts that needed to be used, so instead, the brussel sprout Caesar was born!

The texture in this salad is more similar to coleslaw, but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite keep as one, as we unfortunately found out. The next day, the brussel sprouts had that limp, almost soggy texture that lettuce gets when it’s sat in salad dressing for too long. Not my favourite. So eat this salad on the same day to avoid that!

We start out with prepping the brussel sprouts. Mine were a little forlorn by the time I pulled them out of the fridge to use, so I needed to trim the ends and remove some of the exterior leaves that had gone a bit yellow. I used a sharp knife to get the brussels nice and thin. If you have one, you could use a mandolin. There’s always the option to use a food processor too, but I find the slice on those is much thicker, and not the texture I was going for.

Next we make the salad dressing. Mix the anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, lemon juice and garlic cloves. If you’re making this salad vegetarian, skip the anchovy paste and Worcestershire, and instead add 1 teaspoon of capers with some of the brine, mashed into a paste. Whisk all the ingredients together until fully mixed. Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients to a blender and blend them together.

Once the ingredients have been well mixed, start slowly adding the olive oil, whisking constantly, to allow the dressing to become a homogeneous mix. The mustard acts as an emulsifier here, so it will help to ensure that the oil doesn’t start separating from the rest of the ingredients once the dressing sits.

Finally, we add the shredded parmesan cheese. If you ware whisking, give this a pretty vigorous mix to help break apart the parmesan a bit to get a slightly creamier texture to the dressing.

Wait until you have mixed in the cheese to add your salt and pepper, since the cheese, anchovy paste, and Worcestershire (or capers) are quite salty, so we want to wait until now to do a taste test, then add salt and pepper to your taste preferences, mixing well. Then, we add the dressing to the brussel sprouts.

Mix thoroughly, then set aside for 5-15 minutes to give the brussels some “soak time” in the dressing. While we are waiting, we can cook the prosciutto (obviously you’re going to skip this step if you’re going vegetarian). I cooked the prosciutto on the grill at medium heat (~350ºF/175ºC), since it was already going to cook the burgers, but you can use a pan on the stove heated to medium heat, and cook the prosciutto for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat, then let the pieces cool, and cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle them and the parmesan flakes over the salad.

Give the salad one last toss, top with some more fresh ground pepper, then serve.

Happy eating.

Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted Garlic Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 6 bulbs garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1 Tbsps butter
  • 1/2 shallot or 1/4 small onion, minced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4-5 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsps brandy
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pinch of dried tarragon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, crushed into large pieces

Directions


Preheat oven to 350ºC/175ºF Set garlic bulbs in aluminum foil or dish with a cover, drizzle with the olive oil. Place in oven and cook for approximately 1 hour. Allow to cool until early handled. Remove cloves from skin. Melt butter in pot. Add shallots and cook until just softened. Add the potato and garlic, stirring. Add the broth, brandy, wine and tarragon. Bring the soup to a light simmer for 20 minutes. Either blend in pot with a handheld blender, or blend in regular blender in batches, until smooth. Return to pot, add the sour cream and parmesan, stirring in completely. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in bowls, sprinkle the hazelnuts on top and serve.

And now for the details…

Hiya folks. Sorry for the huge delay between posting. I’ve ended up with a relapse of my concussion, and as a result have been trying to limit my screen time to reduce my symptoms. Since I do need to stare at a screen all day for my job, the blogging has taken a bit of a backseat of late. BUT! I think things are starting to turn, so I am going to be spending a bit more time putting together posts. I’ve had plenty of time to cook, so I’ve got a lot of content in backlog! I just need to get the stuff I have written down into posts!

With that, let’s talk about today’s recipe. A roasted garlic soup. This luscious, velvety bowl of deliciousness is so comforting and luxurious-feeling with ultimately fairly inexpensive ingredients (minus the booze and nuts). It plates really nicely too, so you can impress your dinner guests by serving this as a beautiful (and delicious) appetizer. Y’know… when we’re able to have dinner guests again (*silent tears*).

To get this recipe started.. we need to roast the garlic. This part is super simple, just place the garlic in some tin foil (or a covered oven-proof dish if you’re not wanting to use foil), drizzle it with the olive oil, seal the package up, and place it in a 350ºF/175ºC oven. If you want to make it easier to access the garlic later, you can cut tops off to expose the very top of the cloves before drizzling with the olive oil, but I don’t really find it all that easier. Bake the garlic for approximately an hour.

When the garlic is cooked, remove from the oven, open the package up and let the garlic cool until cool enough to handle. Then, remove those delicious little nuggets of roasted cloves from the skin and set them aside.

Next, melt the butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the shallot or onion, and stir until just softened. Add the potato, and stir until the potato is coated with the butter. Next, add the garlic, broth, brandy, wine and tarragon, stirring well. In the recipe I suggest adding a pinch of tarragon. For any cooking beginners, you may ask: how much is a pinch? Well, if you were to reach into your spice jar and pinch a small amount of the spice between your index finger and thumb? That’s about a pinch.

Bring the soup up to a light simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Next is how we get that nice, smooth texture. If you have one, you could use a hand blender to blend the soup right in the pot. I prefer to blend in a blender so the soup is soup-er smooth (yes I did that). If you have a smaller blender, you might have to do this in batches.

Once blended, return the soup to the pot, and add the sour cream and parmesan cheese until fully mixed. Can you use regular cream here? Absolutely. I just didn’t have any and going to get some just doesn’t seem like a necessary trip.

Finally, serve, topping with the hazelnut pieces, a drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan cheese, and serve.

Happy eating.