Hummus | Creamy Chickpeas Spread

Hummus

Talk to people from the Middle East about hummus, and the first thing you hear is that this dip in the U.S. is nothing like the one they enjoy at home. According to my Israeli friend, the right variety of chickpeas play the leading role. Latin American chickpeas are better for soups and salads because they are larger, firmer, and stay whole when cooked. The best for hummus are pea-size chickpeas known as Baladi in Israel. They become soft and easily smashed between fingers when cooked. Unfortunately, in the United States, all chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are labeled the same, unless you shop for them at ethnic stores. And even if you make a trip to an ethnic grocery store, Indian for example, the chickpea names will be specific to Indian cuisine — larger Kabuli and smaller Desi aka chana dhal. Choosing the right chickpeas variety is not really an option for an average grocery shopper who craves for amazing hummus. What is the option then?

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Seafood Chowder

Seafood Chowder

The day has the color and the sound of winter. Thoughts turn to chowder…chowder breathes reassurance. It steams consolation.
— Clementine Paddleford

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Miche | Heirloom Wheat Flours by Barton Springs Mill

Sandeep Gyawali (MicheBread.com) and James Brown (bartonspringsmill.com) are two people responsible for bringing sourdough bread back to my kitchen. After their workshop and tasting a variety of bread loaves made with the heirloom grains available locally, I started baking sourdough bread on a regular basis again. With Sandeep’s permission, I am publishing an extract from the workshop — a universal formula for a delicious and healthy bread a novice can easily make at home.

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Green Dukkah with Hatch

Green Dukkah with Hatch

Last year I finally discovered dukkah and it found its honorable place in my kitchen. I served many vegetable spreads, salads, casseroles, appetizers turning basic recipes into flavorful Middle Eastern delicacies with one simple step — sprinkling dukkah on top. Besides Ottolenghi’s recipe, I created a few my variations. The one with dry powdered Hatch is one of them.

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Dukkah’s Exotic Charm

Grilled vegetables with labne and dukkah

Just reading the list of ingredients convinced me I have to make it: roasted hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, fennel and cumin seeds, dried green peppercorns, coriander seeds, sesame, nigella, sea salt, and sweet paprika. Ottolenghi suggests sprinkling this mix over leafy salads, roasted vegetables, bean pastes, and rice and legume dishes. “It adds an exotic charm,” — he says. And it’s true to the letter!

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Halloween Recipes: Eggplant Witches

Eggplants are magical. There are eggplant recipes in almost every cuisine in the world. Eggplants can be transformed into a delicacy by applying almost any cooking method: simmering, steaming, frying, deep-frying, stir-frying, baking, roasting, charring, drying, marinating, fermenting… They can be cooked savory and sweet. Their flavor is very meaty and full of umami. Eggplants ARE magical. Serve them shaped as witches this Halloween!

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The Feast of Seven Fishes: Tequila-Cured Salmon

Tequila-Cured Salmon Appetizers

Miguel Ravago, one of the Fonda San Miguel founders, was served this dish in the Mexico City home of Guadelupe Rivera Marin, the daughter of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Miguel was so impressed with the taste of salmon that he asked Guadelupe’s permission to recreate the recipe for the restaurant in Austin.

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The Feast of Seven Fishes: Whiskey-Cured Tuna

Bourbon-Cured Tuna

In Texas, we are familiar with cured salmon, but don’t see much cured tuna. The taste, texture, and fatness of yellowfin tuna loin steaks differ from salmon, so does the result of curing it, even if you use the same recipe as for gravlax. In this recipe salt dehydrates tuna to a thick marmalade consistency during 24 hours of curing. Whiskey and spices contribute their specific flavors. If you use a peaty scotch or a combination of bourbon and Lapsang Souchong tea, you will have a note of smokiness in final product.
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