Sunday, November 25, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Roasted Garlic

This is simply a variation of our popular Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe, using roasted garlic instead of fresh garlic. Roasting the garlic gives it a deep, almost sweet flavor, and deepens the flavor of the hummus accordingly.

I like to roast a few additional garlic cloves to use as a delicious garnish.


1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained, reserving the chickpea liquid
3 or 4 ounces roasted red pepper from a jar (half of a 7-ounce jar, or about 1/2 cup), drained
1 or 2 cloves roasted garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree until fairly smooth. If too thick, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.

-- 8 appetizer servings

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Roasted Green Beans with Almonds

Lightly toasted almond slices add a delightful, tasty crunch to these simple roasted green beans.

This is a delicious addition to a holiday feast - or any meal!


2 tablespoons sliced almonds
12 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
1 scant tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry skillet over low to medium-low heat for few minutes until lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, toss the beans with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the coated beans in a single layer in a baking dish, roasting pan, or cookie sheet.

Roast the beans in the oven for 10-25 minutes, turning them once or twice, until the beans are cooked to the desired tenderness.

Transfer the beans to serving plate(s) and sprinkle the toasted almonds over the beans.

-- 3-4 servings

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mushroom Risotto

This is my favorite risotto recipe. The mushrooms add a deep earthy flavor to the rich, silky rice, while a sprinkling of parsley adds a fresh, green overtone.


4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 ounces fresh crimini (brown) mushrooms, coarsely chopped*
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, heat the broth over medium heat almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low, and keep the broth at a slow simmer.

In a separate large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium to medium-low heat. Add the onion, and saute for 4-6 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Do not let the onion burn.

Add the rice to the onion mixture, and saute for a minute or two, until all the rice is coated.

Add the wine to the rice mixture, and saute over medium heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the hot vegetable broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly each time until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

Repeat until the rice is tender and creamy, but still slightly firm in the middle (al dente). The process will take at least 20-35 minutes. You may not need to add all of the broth, or you may need to add some water or more broth to achieve the desired consistency. The finished risotto should not be runny, but should also not be stiff.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, along with salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through.

When the rice is almost done, stir in the cooked mushrooms, along with any mushroom juices in the pan.

Continue cooking, adding more liquid as needed, until done. Stir in the Parmesan, along with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for another minute or two to blend all the flavors.

Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

-- 3-4 servings

* Note: Crimini mushrooms are sometimes sold as “baby portobellos” or “baby bellas”. If you cannot find them, feel free to substitute other wild mushrooms or regular white mushrooms.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mixed Green Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pistachios

This festive salad makes a great addition to a fall or winter holiday meal, but is also great year-round.

It's light, yet so satisfying - and delicious!


4 to 6 ounces (4 to 6 cups) mixed salad greens (e.g., spring mix, mesclun, field greens, or your favorite mixture)
4 to 6 tablespoons Honey-Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette (or your favorite prepared balsamic vinaigrette)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted, shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

Place the mixed salad greens in a large bowl. Add the dressing to the salad greens, tossing well. Use only enough dressing to lightly coat all of the greens with the dressing.

Add the cranberries and pistachios to the salad. Toss lightly, and serve.

-- 2-4 servings