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Dip

Spicy Spinach Hummus

Spicy Spinach Hummus

Hummus-making used to be a weekly occurrence in my kitchen. It’s just so fantastically easy and delicious. I’m not sure how I let the ritual run away from me.

I’m happy to say hummus and I have reunited with this green-laced recipe, which I hope will entice you to unite with garbanzos and your food processor as well.

Spicy Spinach Hummus

Hot peppers are a beautiful thing.

Here, they take hummus to the next notch, adding a nice subtle flavor and spice that will make your spread unique in an elegant way. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to make your eyes water. (That is, unless you take your contacts out after handling the peppers…still waiting for the day when I’ll remember not to do that.)

The spice here is moderately mild, and in fact, you may even want to keep the Sriracha on hand if you looking for a little extra fire. Again, it’s the hints of flavor that you’ll note from the peppers that make them special in this spread.

Spicy Spinach Hummus

With just a simple whiz in the food processor, this recipe comes together fast. No roasting, toasting, or fancy stuff is needed to make it complete. But of course, feel free to experiment. That is the beauty of cooking. Want to try roasting those hot peppers? Toasting the cumin seeds? Adding other greens?

Do it, and share with me how it turns out. Cheers.

Spicy Spinach Hummus

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Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens TapenadeKristen Miglore and Merrill Stubbs of the Food52 crew swung through Philadelphia a couple weeks ago to promote their newest book, Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. 

My friend and fellow Philly food blogger, Emily, and I jumped at the opportunity, of course, to go hear them speak. And afterwards, we gushed over the ten trillion genius recipes we had to recreate from the book.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

This was spun off of one of those recipes, the famous Food52 posted “Broccoli Cooked Forever” from Chef Roy Finamore. It was a strange-sounding idea that involved cooking broccoli for, well, forever (2 hours) and adding in a bunch of olive oil and anchovies. Sounds…errr…kinda gross, right? Yeah, that was my thought, too.

Yet, the ladies from Food52, a food site I absolutely adore, were raving about this creation. So much so that they’ve bestowed it with the title of “genius”. The commenters on the online version of the recipe, (it can be found in the cookbook as well), were raving about it too. Naturally, I was intrigued and had to try it for myself.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

Intrigued — but with no available broccoli in my house. Yet, vested with a TON of tough summer greens growing in my garden. And so began the birth of this recipe, which I might have to label as an unforeseen amazement…if not downright ingenious.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

What better way to beat late season toughness out of greens than to cook them forever? Okay, so in my version, I only make you sit through 60 minutes of cooking time because, let’s be real, while broccoli might reach the consistency of butter, collard greens aren’t ever going to get there. They will, however, reach a buttery, super tender texture, which can be achieved within just an hour of simmer time. Voila.

Placed on top of crusty bread with a grating of fresh Parm and a few chopped tomatoes to cut the richness of the olive oil, I think this may have become my new greens go-to. I’ll definitely be making this dish again soon.

Trust me, it may sound a little strange,but I promise, it’s…brilliant!(?)

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Jerusalem’s Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

One of my roommates recently picked up the Jerusalem cookbook. It’s always been one of my favorites to peruse, along with Ottolenghi’s other book, Plenty. I’ve never owned either of the books but have many friends who do, and from their pages, I have loved pretty much every recipe I’ve had the pleasure of helping to recreate.

Mediterranean cuisine may just be my favorite. And Jerusalem is packed with quality ingredients that bring this style of eating to life.

Winter Butternut

The first Ottolenghi recipe I ever made was essentially the non-pureed form of the one typed out below. That initial dish, a baked butternut and roasted red onion side, is one I make often. It introduced me to the heavenly combination of creamy tahini and nutty squash, which I knew wouldn’t let me down in this recipe.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Here, that duo is topped with an intriguing addition – date syrup, or as an alternate, molasses. The cookbook explains that date syrup is an intense, natural popular sweetener in the Middle East, and is great for salad dressings, to sweeten stews, or to drizzle over morning porridge. While I am curious to seek that out, the recipe says that the date syrup can be also be swapped for molasses. I decided to go with the latter, one, out of convenience, but also two, because I love molasses yet feel it’s a rather underutilized ingredient in my kitchen. It, too, felt like a surprise ingredient for the dish, and I thought it worked quite well.

Winter Still Life

Creamy and intense, this essentially turns tahini into something that I would eat by the spoonful. However, it’s rich, and is even better when smeared across a crusty bread. Next time, I might add cayenne for some heat, and possibly even a bit of lime or balsamic to cut it a little bit further. Overall though, this was a hit, and would certainly act as a conversation starter if serving to guests. It has this whole sweet-meets-savory dynamic that begs for questions, and also double dipping. Definitely adding this one to the repeat list. Again, another one from Jerusalem that doesn’t disappoint.

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Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Ain’t no party like a sweet potato party. Or a crostini party. Or a tahini party. Or a Friendsgiving party. Or a Thanksgiving soiree with all your family members you see but once or twice per year and still don’t really know what to talk about besides sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

I can’t say I’m a fan of the word ain’t. (In fact, I had to look up its spelling just for this blog post.) But, I’m a huge fan of parties, even those semi-strange family ones, and I’m  equally a fan of all the ingredients listed above.

Tahini. Sweet potatoes. Honey. Toasted walnuts and baguette. Now that’s a party in a single, not-entirely-too-awkward bite to eat.

I.e., you’re going to want to put this guy on your Thanksgiving party plate list.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Aside from crostini packages that offer a ton of flavor in one fork-and-spoon-free bite, I’m a huge fan of healthy appetizers. Let’s face it, parties aren’t always the most health-friendly activities, Thanksgiving included. In fact, recent research for my day job informed me that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, or the equivalent of the calories you’d use to jog 10 hours straight. Yowza. That’s a party in which I’m not too interested.

Luckily, this recipe packs in the nutrition, sneaking in a little protein while it’s at it. That bean-powered protein and creamy sweet potato fiber will keep you satisfied till the main meal arrives, and keep you feeling good, too.

If that sounds great to you, I invite you to kick off your next party FFFreshAir style, and let this crostini start your taste bud tango. I promise, it’s got way better dance moves than I do.

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Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

When I get eggplant, it heads straight to the oven. Forget stir-fry. Forget sautés. Forget the grill. Forget anything else you’d ever do with the purple beauts.

Like wine is made for sharing, eggplant’s made for roasting.

This applies 95% of the time in my kitchen. Nothing beats a soft and caramelized, creamy bite of eggplant. And nothing’s worse than an undercooked bite, either.  This happens all too often in stir fry, often with restaurants that don’t know what they’re doing.  Stick with baking and give yourself ample time, and you’ll be golden. Your eggplant too.

Heirloom eggplant

Baba ganoush is a classic, Middle Eastern dip. It’s similar to hummus, but swaps the chickpeas for roasted eggplant. It’s creamy, cumin-y, and the perfect smearer for a slightly toasted pita. Try it out while you can because the summer season’s quickly coming to an end, and along with it, farm-to-table eggplant.

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